I am currently reading The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner, a pioneer in incorporating Shamanism and Aboriginal medicine to Western thought.
Naturopathic Doctors are not trained in Shamanism, however, I have always been curious about this long-used form of medicine and without searching too much for explanations, to gently grasp some of the concepts as described by Shaman's, their apprentices, and indigenous medicine.
What I am finding most intriguing are the parallels between it and other vitalistic concepts of health and healing as described in Homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine (Qi and meridians). The basis that when the body's vital energy is strong, there is less chance of invasions, of progression or worsening of existing illness, and lifting of depression and anxiety.
I am discovering similarities between the philosophy of homeopathy and how the body expresses or does not, its energy - with some of the concepts in Aboriginal medicine.
In Shamanism, Michael Harner refers to our power guide, or animal spirit. Which is not a material concept, but an energy. The concept of animal medicine is seen in all Aboriginal cultures, including Australian, where they refer to the Dreamtime. This is a mythological concept of a time when all animals, including humans, were able to communicate. Over time, the shifts in consciousness has created divisions and taken new forms, however, because time is not linear in Aboriginal Dreamtime, this ability to communicate is accessible through trance or other shifts in consciousness.
Wise Women of the Dreamtime recounts Australian Aboriginal stories of this dreamtime, and the author interprets some of the stories. Storytelling is a very important practice among Aboriginal people, and to understand the roots of this practice is an account of both symbolism, and the universal consciousness that is expressed in many facets of nature.
Yoga and other forms of meditation, breath-work, and mantra may also affect a heightened state of consciousness which, in the East, is part of daily life for relaxation and longevity, and for spiritual development.
On this quest, or what Shamanism may refer to as a vision quest, I am exploring the red thread of these traditional forms of medicine. However, if all of these have a similar concept, then how did Western medicine take a turning point? Does Western medicine have its roots also in traditional medicine? When was that divide?