Part 1: Shamans of the Global Village
Shamans of the Global Village is a independently produced documentary series focusing on indigenous entheogenic medicines and the Western shamanic resurgence. It is a project that has been a long time in the making, has gone through many challenges, but because of the passions and unique skill sets of its creators, is like nothing you’ve ever seen.
The following is a conversation between the show’s director, artist & filmmaker Niles Heckman, and show host, writer & journalist Rak Razam. The two created the show together in 2015 and the pilot episode was released on October 1st, 2016 at the official site www.shamansoftheglobalvillage.com.
Niles: What is shamanism and specifically, what is shamanism in the 21st century, my good man?
Rak: Shamanism is something which has been around for millennia. It is basically not just the world’s oldest religion, it’s the most direct form of spirituality and of engaging with the intelligence and the spirit of the Earth itself in all its forms.
There have been practitioners of shamanism–and of course this word ‘shaman’ is a western conceit–it’s a construct by western anthropologists. It comes from the Siberian tradition of their ‘šaman’, of their medicine person. But there are medicine people all around the world in many different cultures. They work with psychoactive and mind altering plants with trance, with dance, with different ways of spirit, with the drum, with breath work and with ways to get “out of the body” and to engage on a spiritual level.
In a spiritual ecology, it’s almost like the astral level, where in an animist tradition the world is full of intelligences and entities and spirits.
And those energies affect us and the medicine person traditionally works on behalf of the health of the tribe to keep people not just healthy individually, but mediated in “Gaia” [in the planetary ecology] to be in balance and to be in right relationship with all the species, so that energy can flow through and everything is in accord.
That’s what I believe the role of the medicine person is. And that’s what the role of the shaman has been in many different cultures across the world. This is what has been lacking in the West as we have dominated and conquered, raped, and pillaged the planet as well as thrown the world out of balance, like in the movie Koyaanisqatsi.
This is why it is so vital and so important that the role of the medicine person, the shaman, comes back to the West and comes back to leading us into “right relationship” and to unity consciousness and into an ecological and spiritual awareness of the Earth as a whole organism, which we are part of and in relationship with.
Niles: And it’s not even just the West, it’s pretty much the entire industrialized first world. Even in large cities in the East for example, because the problem with modernity, in terms of infrastructure and imperial society, is that it’s kind of completely philosophically and spiritually bankrupt and wisdom traditions and ancient cultures such as indigenous people, shamanic people, people of the land, know more about who they are as a multidimensional human being than people that are purely in material, five sense reality. Which is all there is for many people in the industrialized first world. So we are severed from our spiritual nature of divinity and cosmos. That’s a key component to shamanism.
Rak: That’s a good point because when I say the West I almost mean that West has spent a few generations now to impose globalization in the world and Western values and so the West is actually like a virus that will encapsulate the old world like Europe and Asia and everywhere.
Our show likes to quote Marshall McLuhan, “it is a global village”. We are a global village and it has been imposed politically from the top down but we are also a spiritual global village which comes from the bottom up.
From this interconnected root system and “as above so below.” And as this need for a spiritual re-balancing is happening, at the same time the global political networks and tribal networks of nation states are sort of disintegrating. There’s this reclamation and this resurgence of spiritual anchoring that’s happening all across the world and it is a global village and we do need these Shamans of the Global Village.
Niles: Right and you just mentioned as above so below which is a key component to understanding who and what you are as a human being. A major component of that is your own personal individual sovereign path as a direct experience path. The issue that a lot of industrialized first world religious or spiritual systems have is they’ve severed from the direct path. So shamanism is a very singular direct path because it’s all about your own direct experience and that is just so crucial.
To be continued…
JOIN US next week for Part II: Groomed by Planetary Intelligence…