Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Integral" Shamanism

Last year, Bill, at Integral Options Cafe, wrote about what he called "Meta-Shamanism," where a "meta-shaman moves vertically along the whole Spiral, accessing the necessary energies, values, or traits of any given Meme as needed to solve the current situation. Within the Meme accessed, the meta-shaman is able to move within the horizontal or vertical orientation of that Meme as needed."

He goes on to say "The meta-shaman recognizes the entire Kosmos as a manifestation of Spirit, the source and destination of the manifest Universe. The gods, goddesses, and spirits humans have recognized throughout their history remain alive and valid within each of the vMemes that spawned them."

"Meta-shamans are capable of selecting (through a conscious process, or some intuitively - Gary), the Meme required at any given time. Within the selected Meme, whichever form of consciousness transformation is appropriate to that Meme is accessible, whether it's the trance state of the traditional shaman in Purple, or the nature mysticism of the Green Meme."

The danger with traditional Shamanic practices is, of course, the classic trap of of the pre/trans fallacy (as first identified by Wilber), in that it mistakes a previous level for an advanced level.

It is in this sense that I agree with Bill's well thought out analysis of "Meta," or even "integral," shamanism. I like his use of Spiral Dynamics as a values model to move through various stages of shamanism, and I want to try to take it a bit further, moving into Wilber's AQAL model, as well.

As Ken points out in Boomeritus, one of Shamanism's great contributions has been providing profound techniques of inducing altered states of a psychic and subtle nature, and that can be a path out of flatland. The trick seems to be to be able to take the altered-states technology of the shaman and fit them into more adequate interpretations. That shamanic STATES exist cannot be denied, but what STAGE do they get plugged into?

Whatever one's experience is of the shamanic altered-state practice is, like all state experiences, they will be interpreted first, by the altitude of the shaman, and individually interpreted, or reinterpreted, by the person experiencing the altered state based on their own development.

In this sense, Shamanism is no different than any other path that leads to altered states and transformation. "Integral" shamanism goes beyond traditional therapy and traditional shamanism: During this time of evolutionary unfoldment, an "integral" shaman may intuitively, or with purpose and intention, use all their tools, all the perspectives, including the the AQAL model, developmental levels, lines, states, and stages, recognizing that the people they are working with can be met where they are, and with a sense of using these skills, including shamanism, to have a sense of what needs to happen next, healing and opening paths to higher states of consciousness.


WH said...

Hey Gary,

Nice post. I never really went back to the ideas in that post, but I think there is something useful in there. I'm glad to see you expanding the ideas, especially since I know you have more than a passing familiarity with shamanic work.

Thanks for your work here -- I hope to see more on this (maybe I'll even come back to it, since I think my thoughts have changed slightly since reading Integral Spirituality).


Gary Stamper said...

Hi Bill,
I'm still learning about shamanism, and I have a great teacher, but what I find interesting is that when I google all these topics like "Integral Shamanism, "Open heart," "Integral Relationship," or like subjects, your name, and mine, keep popping up. Thank YOU for all the work you've done in these areas that inspire me.

Peace back,


kate said...

i consider myself an integral shaman . . . call the work i do integral shamanics. i did things in a very green, holistic sort of way for a lot of years, then went back to school, got a master's in public health, and even did an independent study class looking at the correlation between chronic disease and adverse childhood experience using the integral theory model :) i like what you said in your post about jumping around the spiral as needed. it's exactly what i feel i do, based on where on the spiral the client lives, what issue we're working on with them, and how things just seem to roll around during a session. i'd never really thought about it before til i read your post . . . so thank you :)