Psychoshamanism is a synthesis of useful concepts in psychology and practice of shamanism. The word “psyche” refers to the soul or personality system of an individual. Its understanding and care has been long the concern of the world’s spiritual traditions including wisdom and shamanic traditions. There are similarities between some of the mystical ideas of Carl Jung and the core concepts in practice of psychoshamanism. These ideas and concepts are organized around a sacred center that plays the key role in calling us to our life purpose and into a journey of self-discovery.
The ultimate goal of psychoshamanic practice is to help you connect with your sacred center and retrieve your inner warrior to help you push forward toward what you want in life. The psychoshamanic practices are most suitable for clients who are naturally more intuitive and have a high spiritual capacity in order to navigate the non-intellectual information arising from it.
Psychoshamanic mentorship involves two modes of interactions, Listener Mode and Shamanic Mode. The Listener Mode focuses on client’s conscious concerns or aspirations, i.e., “what is being said”. In contrast, the Shamanic Mode involves tuning in to subtle or subconscious sources of information, i.e., “what is not being said”. For example, you may know what you want to achieve in your life, but you are not sure what is blocking you from actualizing it. The Shamanic Mode can help you find or affirm the goal you set for yourself and identify what is in the way to achieve it.
The practice of psychoshamanism usually involve a transformative ritual process. The process is similar to Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, which was developed by studying common themes in tribal ritual processes across different cultures. These themes involves three main phases.
- Separation: Walking away from the collective and ordinary consciousness.
- Descend: Going deep into the psyche to find what one needs to find, e.g. clarity, power or healing.
- Return: Coming back to the society and social order with the boon (what was learned or retrieved), and integrate it to fulfill the purpose of one’s life or to be of service others.
The three fold structure of transformative ritual processes generally require access to a center called Axis Mundi. In shamanic terms, this axis unites all dimensions of consciousness in one zone (a sacred space). The use of shamanic practices in accessing Axis Mundi is necessary to make the personal Hero’s Journey practical. The commitment to a ritual process and practice of shamanic journeying help us find and connect to our sacred center. The role of the mentor is to keep company with the client who is ready to cross the threshold of separation and to make the initiatory descend into her/his inner world. The mentor holds a safe environment for the transformation to happen and client’s boon to be discovered and returned. The experience of Axis Mundi can be in some way compared to accessing Self-Energy in the IFS Self-Leadership Approach.
The practice of Psychoshamanism is also preventative and can help clients with an emerging Psychospiritual Crisis navigate and avoid such an event to actualize. Once an individual is in full Psychospiritual crisis, Psychoshamanism techniques alone may no longer be sufficient in restoring the connection to the sacred center. In such instances, the individual may need to consider conventional psychological or psychiatric treatments. Some Psychospiritual crisis can be positive and serve as a call for individuals to embrace mystical or spiritual insights emerging from their subconscious. The traditional shamanic techniques can also be useful in magnifying life-promoting aspects of experiencing spiritual, mystical, or non-ordinary states of consciousness.