Tag Archives | Shamanism

Interview With ‘Psychopomp’ Author Amanda Sledz

In her series Psychopomp, author Amanda Sledz takes a literary approach to writing about urban shamanism, magical thinking, tarot, telepathy and other themes usually reserved for the fantasy genre. The series follows four characters: Meena, a woman who has experienced a break with reality; her parents, Frank and Esther; and Lola, a teenager who is becoming a shaman whether she wants to or not.

The first book in the series, Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate, explores mental illness, empathy, our differing experiences of place, immigration and cultural identity, and the way our experience of family shapes our identity — without resorting to the cliches of genre fiction or descending into boring academic prose.

An excerpt from the first installment is here. I recently caught-up with her to talk about Psychopomp, self-publishing and more. Via Technoccult:

Klint Finley: I understand you wrote a first draft of the first book in college — can you walk us through how the book evolved?

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Hallucinogenic Plants And The Expansion Of Consciousness

How did the Mayan shamans gain their much-vaunted knowledge about astrological cycles, precession of the Equinoxes, and the intriguing series of calendars culminating in the infamous Long Count Calendar that will expire on December 21, 2012? John Major Jenkins, Graham Hancock and Alberto Villoldo talk about the shamans' use of hallucinogenic plants to access the realm of the supernatural in this clip from 2012: Science or Superstition: Subscribe to Disinformation's YouTube channel.
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Poetic Re-Evolution: Reality Sandwich Interviews Jodorowsky and Montadon

Sophie Pinchetti interviews filmmaker and artist Alejandro Jodorowsky and his wife and artist Pascale Montandon for Reality Sandwich (originally from the magazine, THE THIRD EYE):

Created by four hands, a third artist is born. The artistic communion, first drawn by Jodorowsky and then infused with colour by Montandon, levitates between fantasy, tragedy, humor and spirituality — all of which recall the essence of mysticism and symbolic theatrics in Jodorowsky’s films.
Sophie Pinchetti:  Your collaborative work seems to converge around spirituality. Where does your interest come from? 

Alejandro Jodorowsky: Spirituality is abstract. True art leads you to the discovery of your spirit. It’s not the quest, it’s the application, the practice of spirituality.

Pascale Montandon: In the same way I was simply going to say that it is a way of being in the world, a way of living. And obviously when you do an artistic work, the material of work is oneself.

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Peruvian Shamans Predict Obama Victory

Obama wins the most important of endorsements. This same association of shamans correctly prophesied his 2008 victory, it should be noted. Via Canada.com:

A group of Peruvian shamans are predicting the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama — and are trying to help it along.

The 12 medicine men and women in traditional Andean dress gathered Monday at the top of Lima’s San Cristobal hill, where they burned incense and rubbed a poster of Obama with flowers and the plant common rue, which is supposed to bring luck. Meanwhile, a poster of challenger Mitt Romney was assaulted with maracas and a sword as the shamans sang, whistled and danced in a circle for journalists, who came and went as the ceremony continued.

The group has staged similar rituals for the press ahead of major sports events and Peruvian elections.

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Shamanism Returning to South Korea

Via Reuters:

Photo credit Vassil

While Buddhism and various forms of Christianity remain the most widely practiced forms of religion in Korea, Reuters reports that the ancient practice of shamanism is on the rise:

In leaping from poverty to rapid modernization, the county’s dictatorship in the 1970s tried to eliminate shamanism, claiming that shamans deluded the world, while some Christian missionaries demonized them and their followers.

But today, visiting a mudang – shaman priest or priestess – is so common that politicians consult them seeking answers to questions such as whether they should relocate their ancestors’ remains to ensure good luck in the next election. Shaman characters have also featured in popular television shows.

“Public perception towards shamanism has improved a lot, with popular TV dramas contributing to shifting these views,” said Park Heung-ju, an authority on mudang at the Kut Research Institute in Seoul.”You can find repose by meeting with mudang.”

Continue reading at Reuters.… Read the rest

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Batman and Shamanism

BatmanSascha Idakaar gives us an unusual perspective on Batman over at Modern Mythology:

The mask is an idea, a symbol, we could look at from a million angles. It is, even at first glance, our double, a close relative of the mirror — but it is something other than the mirror. The mirror shows us our double. A mask creates a second double atop us. It transforms rather than reveals.

At the same time, a lot of psych pop lit has been written about Batman. But I’d like to use Batman as the pop culture model of the role of the mask.

Who is Batman, really?

Is is a story about how an emotionally disturbed, very rich young adult deals with psychological trauma that he cannot let go of. Some ideas, some emotions, are things that we hold onto, and they are done with us the moment we are done with them.

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The Politics of Belief

Aboriginal War Veterans Monument

Photo: Padraic Ryan (CC)

A tribal shaman was once interviewed by a skeptical anthropologist and asked whether or not he actually believed in the truths behind the spiritual medicine he practiced. The shaman’s reply was surprisingly candid, for he admitted that his technique was completely fraudulent, and yet he still defended it for the simple reason that it often seemed to heal the patients.  This brief exchange cuts to the core of the issue of why some people are religious and others are not. It all boils down to two simple questions – “Is it true?” and “Is it good?”

An atheist is someone who answers “no” to the first question, and usually (but not always), “no” to the second question as well. As such, there are a variety of tactics that atheists will employ in promoting arguments against religion. Charles Darwin, for example, was supposed to have been nudged permanently over the cusp into disbelief after having studied the behavior of a certain species of parasitic wasp.… Read the rest

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Santa Claus: Dybbuk, Tulpa, Legend

FreakingNews.com

FreakingNews.com

What is it about this time of year that melts even the hardest disinfonaut scepticism? Sure, Santa Claus might be the old shamanic magic mushroom cult incarnate repackaged to dupe us all into developing a Pavlovian response to the Baron Samedi of consumerism that he has now become, but I’ve always suspected the rabbit hole went down deeper.

And then I came across this blog post by  paranormal researcher Jeff Belanger:

My friend Al told me he was struggling with telling his four-year-old daughter about Santa Claus. “It’s the only lie I’ve ever told her,” he said. I too have a four-year-old daughter and am currently in the thick of Santa Fever at my house, where we’ve been lauding Père Noël for the last three Christmases. He’s a legend I’m honored to propagate.

I study legends for a living. Monsters, ghosts, extraterrestrials, and ancient mysteries swirl around me like smoke from a smoldering campfire.

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Alberto Villoldo On Ayahuasca

Alberto Villoldo

Alberto Villoldo

Disinformation’s sister video label True Mind has just released a documentary film featuring Alberto Villoldo, Amazonia: Healing With Sacred Plants. Dr. Alberto Villoldo writes for True Mind about his film:

I started out in the brain laboratory at San Francisco State University – literally surrounded by hundreds of formaldehyde preserved brains. We were studying how we develop psychosomatic disease, and how we could create psychosomatic health.

One day I realized that I had been looking out of the wrong end of the microscope, becoming caught in the minutiae of neurons and brain chemistry, and missing the larger picture of the mind. I decided to leave my lab and travelled to the Amazon, to work and study with medicine men who had no MRI’s and brain scans, only the power of the mind and local herbs to heal their patients.

For twenty-five years, I apprenticed with extraordinary shamans and healers, and learned the use of the fabled vine of the dead, ayahuasca.

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14 Shamans Murdered in Peru

Shaman

Photo: BDean (CC)

Nancy R writes on Care2:

Fourteen traditional healers have been brutally murdered in Peru in the past 20 months, allegedly at the urging of a local mayor. The Peruvian government has sent a team of investigators to look into the incidents. While 14 shaman have disappeared, the bodies of only seven have been retrieved so far; the indigenous healers were shot, stabbed or hacked to death by machete.

Protestant Sect Members Suspected: The prosecutor’s office of Alto Amazonas province stated that the alleged murders were carried out by a man known locally at the “witch hunter,” at the behest of his brother, the mayor of the town of Balsa Puerto. A Peruvian government adviser and expert on Amazon cultures alleges that both are members of a Protestant sect that claims shamans are possessed by demons and must be eliminated. The Peruvian Times reports that the shamans had been planning to form an association to share their knowledge.

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