The difference between shamanism and western medicine

Important differences that make some people look for shamanic sessions with plants to try to heal

Shamans are often many things: leaders of a community, links with the spiritual world, but above all they are healers or men who reestablish the health of individuals, society or the environment. In recent years, particularly due to ayahuasa ceremonies, the possibility of finding a "shamanic healing" has become popular in the West. There are certainly data that suggest that plants such as ayahuasca, hallucinogenic mushrooms or iboga, among others, can be used to effectively treat different conditions, particularly mental illnesses and addictions. And in fact, new academic research with psychedelics has begun to play with the idea of ​​creating a medical protocol of a "religious experience", since it seems to have various effects on a person's health - for this, they are not only ingested psychedelic substances but used some kind of music and visionary art.

What makes what we have called "shamanic healing" attractive to many people is that it is based on a premise radically opposed to allopathic Western medicine. While, for the bulk of doctors within this scientific system, the mind does not play a leading role in physical conditions, for shamanism - in a way as for Ayurveda or Tibetan Buddhist medicine - all diseases do not they only have a psychological component but are essentially physical manifestations of a spiritual problem. As writer Graham Hancock says: "a shaman will look for the causes of a disease beyond physical aspects, in the soul or in the spirit." And in addition, not only will he use a medicine, such as ayahuasca, but he will use the plant as an interface to communicate with allies, with spirits or ancestors, who can assist in both diagnosis and healing. You can also use songs and music that are a way to bring the patient to a state of order and harmony. (Interestingly, one of the parents of Western philosophy and even mathematics, Pythagoras, also used music to heal his students).

Evidently, shamanic medicine, if we can talk about something like that, is more holistic than Western medicine, which, however, increasingly begins to recognize the importance of mental factors, in light of things like the placebo effect and else. Another important thing is that when treating diseases as a thing of the soul, shamanism suggests that they mean something, they have something to tell us, they are voices or symbols that seek to lead us towards a transformation. As the psychologist James Hillman, Jung's student said, "until the soul does not get what it wants, it makes you sick." This makes us change the way we face a disease. Instead of flooding it with drugs that suppress symptoms and make us forget or ignore the depth that is manifesting, shamanic healing or even what has been called " depth psychology ", it asks us to listen to our diseases and reflect on their root causes . Seneca wrote: "In all diseases nothing is as pernicious as a premature remedy." Modern western medicine is highly effective but it is also extremely aggressive and in many cases goes against nature, which is, according to Paracelsus, the best doctor. "Who is a better teacher in this [in medicine] than nature itself?" Wrote the doctor and Swiss alchemist. "Now that we have concluded that the doctor must be educated by nature, we must ask ourselves, what is nature but philosophy? What is philosophy but invisible nature? " What it poses is a medicine in harmony with nature, which in its patterns and rhythms reflects a kind of philosophy. Hence a medicine that is patient, that makes the individual notice that their actions and thoughts are responsible for their health and that take into account principles of the cosmos such as cycles and impermanence. All things change and decay, but by not clinging to them, by not fighting against and stressing ourselves too much, we let them flow calmly - and thus, we do not block the self-healing response itself. What Paracelsus poses might seem retrograde and even dangerous, but it deserves to be heard:

Nature - not man - is the doctor. Man has lost the true light of reason ... Try to enable you to follow nature again, and she will be your instructor. Familiarize yourself with the nature store and with the shelves in which its virtues are stored. Nature's paths are simple and do not require complicated prescriptions.

500 years ago, Paracelsus already detected a corruption of the medical industry:

They have completely deserted the path indicated by nature, and built an artificial system, which is only suitable for cheating the public and undermining the pockets of the sick. His power is only that his gibberish is unintelligible to the public, that he has faith that it must mean something, and the consequence of this is that no one can approach them without being deceived. His art does not consist in curing the sick, but in earning the favor of the rich, cheating the poor and penetrating the rooms of the noble ... They denounce me because I do not follow their school; but their schools can't teach me anything that deserves to be known ..