Paper presentation: Ancient Shamanic Emotional Healing Techniques and Today´s Philosophical Counseling

Abstract: In the shamanic thinking, an important idea is that the earth does not belong to us. Earth is just a wonderful and welcoming host, both for us and for other species. Has the sense of ownership dehumanized us, as the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau would observe? Possible. Lust for wealth, greed, selfishness, these traits specific only to man, among all the inhabitants of the planet, led, over time, to its dramatic deterioration. Earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires and floods, consequences of man’s reprehensible acts, have attracted rapid and irreversible planetary changes. But perhaps there are other ways of metamorphosis. After all, the butterfly emerges from the cocoon naturally, not through trauma or abuse. In today’s so depressing global context, ancient forms of spirituality such as Shamanism appear as an effective dressing for wounded spirits in the senseless struggle called „living”, and the path to healing that they propose us lies in the reconnection of the human being with nature and, ultimately, with his true self. In the shamanic sense, all disease comes from imbalance and out of relationship with nature, with others, with ourselves. Awareness of the importance of this relationship for our health is the first step towards healing. There are many definitions and conceptual frameworks regarding the term shamanism. Even more are the ironies, criticisms or even fear of shamanic healing techniques. But above all, Shamanism is a spiritual and cultural tradition that reflects some of the oldest forms of healing. It is said to have appeared over 10,000 years ago, being widely practiced in South America, Oceania, Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet or Korea. In fact, traces of shamanic practices appear, according to Eliade, in the existence of our ancestors everywhere. Even the ancient Taoism contains elements that root it in Chinese Shamanism. Thus, the practices of the Shangqing included some shamanic rituals, and one of the first Taoist philosophers, Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu), wrote some stories that are supposed to contain shamanic elements. The modern philosophical period, starting with the rationality of Descartes, led to an emphasis on the importance of analytical thinking at the expense of spirituality, a current that dominated humanity for several centuries. Last century, the research into the history of religions led Eliade to believe that spirituality would defeat the thinking characteristic of the modern period. And here Eliade seems to have been right. In the contemporary period, marked by an unprecedented technological evolution, ancient traditions are reborn, paradoxically, including in the modern form of Neo-Shamanism. A recent article (2023) in The Economist points out that Shamanism is the fastest growing religion today. The Economist reports that the growing popularity of this „religion” is due to climate change anxiety.

BIO:  I am a Ph.D. assistant professor at a private university in Craiova, Romania. I have two bachelor, degrees, one in Letters, and the second in Orthodox theology. The paradoxes of orthodox dogmatics determined me to go further, looking for answers to my existential questions in philosophy, so I did a master in philosophical hermeneutics and religion, as well as a Ph.D. with the topic Postmodern Philosophical Language, in Timisoara. I have published poetry and prose, but most of all I want to be useful to others, so I set out to specialize in philosophical counseling.