Common work on the future: concept of healing in neo-shamanism
(Comenius University in Bratislava)
Paper short abstract:
The paper is dedicated to the concept of healing as it is perceived by neo-shamanic practitioners in Slovakia: it is associated with the idea of common work that can cure and transform individuals as well as society. Such work is regarded necessary for the creation of a healthier and happier world.
Paper long abstract:
The paper is dedicated to the concept of healing as it is perceived by neo-shamanic practitioners in Slovakia. It is based on the results of ethnographic research conducted on a group belonging to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and practicing in Bratislava. The research has demonstrated that, though the urban shamans' position in the society of Slovakia is marginal and they are often perceived in a negative way, their own attitude is oriented toward active practicing: being a shaman means helping the general transformation that should result in the creation of a healthier, happier and more beautiful world. In my paper I will investigate political values of my respondents: egalitarian social order, citizens' engagement, ecological lifestyle, individualism and free choice, gender equality. They are linked to the general idea of the interconnectedness of all living beings and the vision of common work on general balance; however, the urban shamans' background and gender stratification of the neo-shamanic groups play here a significant role. I will also pay attention to the relation of neo-shamanic techniques to Complementary and Alternative Medicine, aimed towards the attainment of wholeness and well-being of body, mind and spirit. Such holistic viewpoint offers practitioners ways of negotiating contemporary dilemmas of selfhood, including the contradiction between 'living for others' and 'living for oneself'. Neo-shamanism resonates with this perspective, with the interconnection of individual and social dimensions of healing.
Making a better future with ancient pasts: heritage and utopia in neo-paganism and neo-shamanism