NEW: The Fruits of Consciousness: Shamanism and the Initiatory Journey

An age-old way of changing consciousness, particularly for healing purposes, has been shamanism. Focussing on the initiatory journey made by shamans, with reference to classic commentators on the subject such as Carlos Castenada, Michael Harner and Mircea Eliade, we will look at both traditional and revived forms of shamanism, from a range of cultures, and critically examine its methods, activities, outcomes, and the role of the practitioners acting as technicians of the sacred and travellers between the worlds. A little light experiential work may be undertaken (e.g. meditation, visualisation or path-working) alongside the application of relevant anthropological and psychological perspectives to analyse and appraise the value of shamanism today.

Who is this course for

No previous experience required - course suitable for all people interested in healing, personal development, anthropology or psychology.

What does this course cover

Overall Aim - to clarify the term `shamanism' and its cognate terms, describing its practices; demonstrate the survival of shamanism today via the healing arts and argue for the relevance of a shamanic perspective for modern society.

Exposition of both traditional and modern shamanism (Siberia, the Americas, Europe); exploration of links between it, psychotherapy and the medicine man (Africa); shamanic dance and sound - chakra phonetics; construction of shamanic sacred space; shamanic counselling and soul retrieval; classical myth as providing models for the initiatory journey - Demeter, Inanna, Orpheus, Pwyll; fairy tales as otherworldly journeys in shamanic consciousness; contemporary commentators - Carlos Casteneda, Michael Harner, Joan Halifax, et al.

By the end of the course you should be able to -
1. recognise the cross-cultural breadth and historical depth of shamanism
2. appreciate the universality of the shaman's role and be able to distinguish it from that of related spiritual and/or other healing specialists.
3. Understand the contemporary expressions of shamanism as found in e.g. dance, drama and the arts more generally.
4. Acknowledge the value of a shamanic perspective for personal growth
5. Perceive changes in consciousness reflected in myth and fairy tale as being indicators of journeying.

What will it be like

The areas are explored via DVDs, handouts, discussion and exposition with some light experiential exercises. Progress will be assessed via feedback through question and answer sessions, round robin debate and observation of responses to material presented, visual, written and aural.

What else do you need to buy or do

Writing material, folder and/or file. Reading, perhaps something practical between the two day schools would be beneficial, chasing up references, etc

What this course could lead to

The tutor's courses on ritual, myth and mystery tradition; courses on anthropology; practical shamanic workshops, drumming classes and so on

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Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’