This article is the introduction to a series on
Navigating the Evolution of NeoShamanism
The Aware Project and InnerSpace Integration are happy to provide a platform for this message from the medicine community:
NAVIGATING THE EVOLUTION OF NEOSHAMANISM
Compiled and Edited by Ashley Booth,
Tricia Eastman, and Dr. Joseph Barsuglia
The United States is often referred to as a ‘melting pot’ of cultures and traditions, and this certainly holds true for the burgeoning ‘NeoShamanic’ medicine movement. As the community surrounding this work evolves, a variety of shamanic traditions and medicines are crossing paths in ways that are new to both Western culture and to each other. As we collectively learn how these medicines might work together, and as new safety and medical research becomes available, it is vital that we create ways to integrate, share, and advance this knowledge.
The inspiration for writing this article comes from experience and observations gleaned from across the neo-shamanic global village. In this rapidly growing movement, a flurry of practitioners are moving into the space and more people are seeking these ancient forms of healing. As a result of the increased use and amalgamation of medicines, some have faced significant challenges during ceremonies and in the integration process that follows.
Our goal is not to create some kind of gold standard, but to offer initial suggestions that might function as a starting point for open community dialogue, critical thinking, and self-reflection, in addition to informing those interested in sacred earth medicines. We are all on this ride together, and collective and personal responsibility are an essential part of creating a sound vessel for everyone to journey successfully.
How do we, as a community, create a space for conversation about ‘right relationship’ with these life-changing earth medicines?
WHO WE ARE
We are a community of psychedelic and entheogenic advocates, educators, integration providers, scientists, researchers, mental health professionals, spiritual teachers, facilitators, and shamans. We want to support the mindful and safe use of these sacred substances for the transformation of humanity. Given the prohibitionist culture that we are currently living in, some of us choose to remain nameless. We are committed to participating in an interdisciplinary peer network to share knowledge, keep ourselves accountable, and stay in integrity with the medicines, respective lineages, and new potential applications for these gifts. We are not claiming there a single way or path.
WHY DID WE CREATE THIS?
The responsible use of sacred earth medicines, such as ayahuasca, San Pedro, iboga, kambo, bufo, 5-MeO-DMT, peyote, mushrooms and more, is helping many individuals remember and awaken to ancient sensibilities and connections to ourselves and these timeless tools. The ‘NeoShamanic’ movement is in a germinal phase, integrating indigenous wisdom from all across the planet, and introducing medicines from different continents and lineages. As our collective experience with these medicines and traditions grow, we can become more equipped to utilize these tools in safe, responsible, respectful, and self-governing ways.
With a lack of consensus guidelines and training programs, there are many who enter this space as facilitators or practitioners without sufficient knowledge or experience to navigate the numerous and complex medical, psychological, and spiritual issues that can arise in this work with modern, Western participants.
To follow, are suggestions to would-be participants and facilitators of this transformative work. Our desire is that this living document might serve as an evolving resource for our growing community as we walk this path together.
In the coming months, we aim to introduce a number of topics that we will expand upon with the help of the medicine community and integration network.
SITTING SAFE SERIES TOPICS INCLUDE:
(these sections will become links as they are released)
Introduction (jump back to the top)
Questions to ask yourself
Questions to consider asking a practitioner
Questions a practitioner should ask you
Part 3: Best Practices for Facilitators
Part 4: Ethics and Agreements
Part 5: Trip sitting
Part 6: Healing Communities
In the spirit our endeavors here, we highly recommend listening to this talk by community thought-leader, Bob Jesse at the MAPS Psychedelic Science Conference 2017. While his critique is piercing at times, he makes some very important points for us all to meditate on.
Please take care and share...