Introduction to Integral Shamanism
Let’s define some terms before we explore what Integral Shamanism is.
Shamanism is a practice that involves accessing altered states of consciousness to channel transcendental energies, wisdom and healing for the benefit of others. Cyndi Dale, author of the Subtle Body, gives a brilliant summary of what shamanic work entails:
“The art of energetically walking between worlds and dimensions with full access to all intuitive abilities, usually while in an altered state. Abilities might include entity detection and exorcism; dealing with possession (an attachment to an entity or part of it) or recession (part of self is in something or someone else); soul retrieval and healing (the soul or part of it is absent from the body); delivering people from energetic bindings, such as cords (energetic contracts between two or more people or souls), or life cords (attachments between two or more parts of the self); codependent bargains (energy contracts where only one of the members gains); and curses (negative energy fields that hold one or more in bondage). (2009, p.32-33)
Integral means whole, inclusive, comprehensive, and wholistic. Integral Theory is a comprehensive map of reality that “uses all the known systems and models of human growth—from the ancient shaman’s and sages to today’s breakthroughs in cognitive science—and distills their major components into 5 simple factors, factors that are essential elements or keys to unlocking and facilitating human evolution (Ken Wilber, An Introduction to the Integral Approach).” These 5 major elements are the AQAL or Integral Operating System. AQAL stands for All Quadrants (intentional, behavioral, cultural and social), all Levels (stages of evolution and development) all Lines (multiple intelligences of an individual, etc.), all States (states of consciousness like waking, dreaming, sleeping or altered states, etc.) and all Types (male and female, personality types, etc.)
Integral Shamanism applies Integral Theory to the shamanic path. It is theory and practice. Integral Shamanism is a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates, among other things, transpersonal psychology, Transformational Breathwork, integral therapy, shadow work, Vajrayana Buddhist and Esoteric Christian philosophy, Chinese 5 Element Theory, Integral Philosophy, meditation, yoga, nutrition, subtle energy technology, and ancient shamanic practices and entheogenic plant medicines.
Shamanism is one of the oldest ways of exploring the Great Mystery of the Divine in human history. Shamanism has been practiced and evolved through individuals and cultures for thousands of years. And today, as the world becomes more complex, more uncertain, and changes at an ever rapid rate, old systems fail and new paradigms take their place. Shamanism must also evolve to include new developments in human consciousness and culture. Integral Shamanism is attempting to include the gifts of Eastern and Western thought with the essence of traditional tribal shamanic cosmologies through a universal philosophy and Integral practice. By integrating the wisdom from various perspectives, methodologies and traditions, a more balanced and efficient approach to spiritual growth can be achieved—one that helps transform peak states of consciousness illumination into more permanent traits of psychological and spiritual maturity.
The more whole and healthy the body and mind can be, the more Spirit’s service to the world can be fulfilled. And the more whole a person can be, the more harmony and service can be contributed to the upliftment of the human family. Spirit, Body, Mind, including its Shadow, unified and lived to the fullest for the service of humanity and the planet, is a key goal of Integral Shamanism. The Light, Love and Life, energies of Enlightened consciousness, yearn to be expressed through the power of the human Heart. Together, as we heal, learn and grow to become the highest expressions of ourselves, we can help transform the suffering and chaos of our planet to create Heaven on Earth.