Shamanism and the Future of Politics and Religion and Shamanism

We are meditating on the state of mother earth and our democracy in the broader context of the wonders and gifts of Earth and of the emerging call to shamanism which draws its energy from acknowledging the sacredness of the earth.  Recall Thomas Berry’s statement that we need “fewer priests, fewer professors and more shamans.”  I meet more and more people in our day who are responding to a shamanistic-like vocation.  They rarely seek traditional seminaries to train in.

“Spiral Dance” Photo by Pat Kight on Flickr.

Very often in the life of a shaman there is a powerful shock or rupture or breakdown that initiates a breakthrough.  In creation spirituality language, that means a deep via negativa experience resulting in a deep via creativa experience that can also result in a profound via transformativa experience.  The wounded healer emerges.  

Is coronavirus and the January 6 insurrection and the recent votes to veto an investigation into that insurrection following on four years of an authoritarian, narcissistic and lying president amidst the denial about climate change and the efforts to sabotage democratic elections in America forever enough to initiate a kind of social shamanism on a large scale?  

Can we take advantage of all this dying to enter into the place of loss, rupture and shock to derive a new energy and vision from it just as shamans do?  Have we experienced enough shock and rupture and breakdown in these days of coronavirus fatalities to trigger a breakthrough for our country and put it on a road of sanity and more fealty to the constitution of the United States, imperfect that it is?

News clip of seven women being validly ordained as Catholic Priests without permission from Vatican. Originally posted to YouTube by

Maybe this is why Thomas Berry alerted us to the need for a shamanistic revolution.  Can the human race “wake up to justice” as Hildegard of Bingen puts it?  It is a time for all hands on deck.  Time to bring our passion for justice and love of the earth and all her creatures to the table.  And our passion for democracy too.

The very dark forces we are up against in government at both state as well as national levels are on the rise.  

John Paul II and then-cardinal Josef Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Under the JPII papacy, 107 theologians were silenced, expelled from their orders, or banished from the Church.

So too are dark forces in religion such as are named in the revelatory book by Frederic Martel and which we can see in the corrupt and fascist papacy of JP II and his chief inquisitor Cardinal Ratzinger, and of the perverse canonization of Junipero Serra, colonist extraordinaire, and the recent Vatican document forbidding priests to bless gay unions and in the lies from the Vatican that because “Jesus did not ordain women, therefore the church can’t.”  

The truth is that Jesus did not ordain men or women—the priesthood is a second century thing.  It often happens that when a movement is launched by a charismatic leader, after he or she dies there is a struggle that can take generations to determine how to organize and create structure that honors and implements that person’s vision.  Such was the second century priesthood and it, not Jesus, excluded women.

See Matthew Fox, A New Reformation; and Matthew Fox, in Hildegard of Bingen, a Saint for Our Times, “Wild Woman and Shaman Proclaiming Wisdom, Creativity, and the Holy Spirit,” pp. 81-96.

Banner Image: Light breaking through and rupturing the darkness of the cave. Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you sense shamanism on the rise?  

Recomended Readings

A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality & The Transformation of Christianity

A modern-day theologian’s call for the radical transformation of Christianity that will allow us to move once again from the hollow trappings of organized religion to genuine spirituality. A New Reformation echoes the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 and offers a new vision of Christianity that values the Earth, honors the feminine, and respects science and deep ecumenism.
“This is a deep and forceful book….With prophetic insight, Matthew Fox reveals what has corrupted religion in the West and the therapy for its healing.” ~Bruce Chilton, author of Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography

Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century

Matthew Fox writes in Hildegard of Bingen about this amazing woman and what we can learn from her.
In an era when women were marginalized, Hildegard was an outspoken, controversial figure. Yet so visionary was her insight that she was sought out by kings, popes, abbots, and bishops for advice.
“This book gives strong, sterling, and unvarnished evidence that everything – everything – we ourselves become will affect what women after us may also become….This is a truly marvelous, useful, profound, and creative book.” ~~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism.

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12 thoughts on “Shamanism and the Future of Politics and Religion and Shamanism”

  1. Avatar

    The call to shamanis worries me a bit. One of the main perps at the Capitol was the guy with the horned hat. Now in jail a judge has ruled that shamanism is a religion and he has a right to vegetarian food. How do you distinguish a truevshaman from a mentally ill imposter?

    1. Avatar

      How do you tell a real Christian from an impostor? By their works, by their behavior — and it is the same with a shaman or shamanic practitioner. Shamans work to heal individuals and their communities, according to the various traditions in which they were trained, whether it be the core shamanism taught by Michael Harner or the practices of a specific culture’s traditions. A trained shaman works on request, and not without invitation; it’s a matter of ethics. I don’t know what tradition the guy with the horned hat was trained in, and I haven’t seen him do any healing so I can’t speak to that. I am a shamanic practitioner, trained by students of Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman.

    2. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      joseph, just because someone says they are a Shaman doesn’t mean they are one anymore than if I claimed to be a congressman it would make me one. Shamanism has been studied and researched for many years, and if you’d like to read about authentic Shamans read Mercia Eliade’s book on Shamanism.

  2. Avatar

    Yes, it is all about healing Our collective personality. We need to heal the split between thought and feeling. If we merely intellectualize we can put a spin on anything (koan from Zen: WORDS ARE TRAPS). Once thought becomes aware of feeling or feeling becomes aware of thought we get closer to integrating the collective personality. The on purpose strategy of “denial” is another story. Integrating the thought-feeling split is an “inside job.” This lies in education like these clear meditations. But when the collective thought-feeling split becomes integrated to a higher degree Our collective personality will exist in less duality because the “inside” of Us will be like the “outside.” We become more aware of each other and the earth. What else can we do but have patience and work (help) to make it happen.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Thank you Gary for your insightful comment. In the gospel of Thomas Jesus talks of “When you make the inside like the outside, and the outside like the inside…” Something to think about…

  3. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    When I contemplate upon the gospel story, the message and teachings of Jesus, what often arises to my awareness is the movement from man made religions towards the spirituality of relationship, founded on a deep love, respect, and acceptance of truly valuing the many diverse and unique blessings that each creation has to give of itself to the whole. Blessings given to and inherent within each, to be shared with, tended to and cared for. What hangs in the air like a veil of fine mist, which by the way, God tore apart from top to bottom is the illusion of seperation, which man made religion has often been blind to. Seeing beyond the veil, humanity now has an opportunity to discover the pathway of relationship open to all. The collective of humanity is constantly being encouraged to surrender to this evolutionary and revolutionay natural movement, however many resist. Resistance and surrender is the tension humanity lives in, within the human struggle of this unfolding movement. Day by day, moment by moment we are either choosing to surrender to or resist against this movement towards the reality of relationship, our diversity within unity, our living Oned With the Great Mystery of the all and the everything of creation.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, thank you for your comment. And thank you for reminding us of the message and teachings of Jesus vs man made religions. Thank you also for the image of God tearing the veil of illusion of separation from us. And finally may we surrender to God…

  4. Avatar

    Thank you for the reminder that Jesus did not “ordain” any gender but sent his disciples out to the whole world. And Jesus had nothing to say about abortion or differences in gender identification, nothing about homosexuality. He had a lot to say about hypocrisy and waking up and turning toward the good. That people cannot see is frightening to me, but he also had a lot to say about not fearing.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      You’re right Sue! Jesus did not ordain any gender, nor did he teach much of what the Church teaches and has taught. Maybe the Church should remain silent on issues that Jesus was silent on…

  5. Avatar

    God, our Loving Mother-Father Creator, bless all women called to the priesthood to serve our sisters and brothers, daughters and sons of our Trinitarian Beloved….
    – Damian Maureira

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Damian, I can here your call for the ordination to the priesthood. This is something that both Matthew and I would agree with. After all, its been over 2,000 years! I think that in itself shows its about time!!!

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