References and notes

Shamanism Made Easy: Awaken and Develop the Shamanic Force Within - Christa Mackinnon 2018

References and notes

Chapter 1: What is shamanism?

1. C. Pratt, An Encyclopedia of Shamanism, Vol. I, The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., New York, 2007, p.207

2. J. Narby and F. Huxley (eds), Shamans through Time: 500 Years on the Path of Knowledge, Thames & Hudson, London, 2001

3. Examples include M. Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Librarie Payot, Paris, 1951; English edition, Princeton University Press, 1964), which surveys shamanism over 2,500 years; and M. Winkelman, ’A cross-cultural study of shamanistic healers’ (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 21, 1989, 17—24), which compares practices in 47 societies, spanning 4,000 years, from 1,750 bc to the present day.

4. J.G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, William Morrow, New York, 1932

5. C. Lévi-Strauss, ’Shamans as Psychoanalysts’, 1949, republished in J. Narby and F. Huxley, op. cit.

6. C. Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yagui Way of Knowledge, University of California Press, Oakland, California, 1969

7. I have detailed and referenced the research in my previous book, Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012).

8. Some of these early western teachers were Brant Secunda, who trained with Matsuwa, a famous Huichol shaman, and founded the Dance of the Deer Foundation; Joan Halifax, the well-known anthropologist and Zen Buddhist, who wrote Shamanic Voices (E.P. Dutton and Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1979) and Shaman: The Wounded Healer (Crossroad, 1982); Michael Harner, who established the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, defined ’core shamanism’ and spread it widely via his courses; and John Perkins, who studied with the Shuar of the Amazons, the Quechua of the Andes and the Burgis of Indonesia, contributed, with countless books, to a new body of understanding and teaching, and founded the Dream Change Coalition. He took an increasingly critical political and environmental stance, as did Starhawk, Andrew Harvey and others in the shamanic psycho-spiritual activism movement. Alberto Villoldo founded the Four Winds Society, based mainly on Peruvian shamanism, and ran extensive courses, especially in energy healing, whilst Gabrielle Roth based her famous Five Rhythms dance practice on shamanism and the shamanic practitioner Tom Cowan included Celtic shamanism in his work.

9. L. Teish, Carnival of the Spirit: Seasonal Celebrations and Rites of Passage, HarperCollins Australia, Sydney, 1994; M.P. Somé, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1994

10. Unfortunately, with Western demand increasing, a number of people pretending to be shamans have appeared in North and South America, offering a variety of hallucinogens, healing ceremonies and teachings, a trend we can now also see for instance in Africa and Mongolia. The same applies to Western teachers and practitioners: there are skilled, experienced, honourable and ethical teachers and there are teachers who will use seekers to feed their own ego. A very good book to read about this subject is Marianna Caplan’s Eyes Wide Open: Practicing Discernment on the Spiritual Path (Sounds True, Inc., 2009).

Chapter 2: Why shamanism now?

1. Statistics compiled by Oxfam (2014):

2. C.M. Smith, Jung and Shamanism in Dialogue: Retrieving the Soul/Retrieving the Sacred, Trafford Publishing, Victoria, BC, 2007

Chapter 3: The shamanic consciousness and world-view

1. The best-publicized research is a study of Buddhist monks, cited in M. Beauregard and D. O’Leary, The Spiritual Brain, HarperOne, New York, 2007, pp.71—4. During their meditation practices, Buddhist monks focus their thoughts on loving compassion for all living things. The monks in the study experienced permanent emotional improvement, which was shown through high activity in the left anterior portion of the brain, which is most associated with joy. Additionally, the parts of the brain associated with attention, awareness of sensation, sensory stimuli, and sensory processing were thicker in the meditators than in the controls.

2. What we access depends on our intent, the depth of the state, if we practise entering it repeatedly and become skilled at it, which parts of the brain we deliberately activate and which we deliberately deactivate. It also depends on whether we use psychoactive substances and if we experience very profound brain alteration, such as during an NDE or a traditional shamanic initiation ritual.

3. C.G. Jung, Symbols of Transformation, G. Adler and R.F.C. Hull (eds), Collected Works, Vol. V, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1967

4. I will come back to the dreamworld and dreaming later in this book. Not all of the grandmothers you dream about — to stay with this example — would be seen as spirits, because some of the figures we encounter arise from our personal subconscious —e.g. it could be a memory of your own grandmother.

5. J.G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks, William Morrow, New York, 1932; annotated edition State University of New York Press, Albany, NY, 2008, p.33

6. M. Pallamary, Spirit Matters, Mystic Ink Publications, Carlsbad, CA, 2001

7. M. Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Librarie Payot, Paris, 1951; English edition, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1964, pp.35—58

8. P. van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience, HarperOne, New York, 2010

9. If you would like to delve deeper into this subject, I have outlined the developments in quantum physics, field theory and higher mathematics in my previous book and connected them to the shamanic world-view. See C. Mackinnon, Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, 2012, pp.83—94.

10. Vibrations are repetitive wave-like patterns — ’probability patterns’ in contemporary language — in physical systems in the atomic and sub-atomic realm. As far as we know from quantum physics, the universe is a field where everything has an inherent wave-like pattern. These patterns are called quantum waves, or probability waves, as they are relatively stable. That stability determines how probable events are on an atomic level and, of course, on the level that we experience as the physical world.

11. D. Chopra, D. Ford, and M. Williamson, The Shadow Effect, HarperCollins, New York, 2010, p.88

12. D. Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Routledge Classics, London and New York, 2002

13. On the whole, spirits are neutral. Nevertheless, they can either cause harm or be helpful to humans. Interaction with helpful spirits creates greater harmony, improves wellbeing and is a source of wisdom, guidance and power. Interaction with other spirits, such as the spirit of a dead person who hasn’t passed over properly to the land of the dead, or a spirit who intrudes into this world using a host’s body, can be harmful.

Chapter 4: Shamanic territories

1. The Japanese regard Mount Fuji as the centre of the world, whilst for the Sioux it is the Black Hills of Dakota and in Judaism the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The famous Mount Kailash in Tibet serves in this capacity for traditional Hindus, as well as for some streams of Buddhism, where it is seen as the gateway to the mythical land of Shambhala. The Kun-Lun mountain chain in China stands at the centre of the Taoist world. We also have man-made symbols that represent the axis mundi: the staff carried by wise men and also used as a symbol in medicine; the pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico, with their stairways that lead to the sky; the poles of ascension in Mongolia and Siberia; and man-made hills all over the world.

2. Descriptions of the three worlds are on the whole based on the research of Mircea Eliade (1951/1964) and Michael Harner (1980) (see Further Reading), but variations are used worldwide, as well as by most contemporary Western practitioners. There are numerous levels within each of these worlds — in some Toltec traditions, for instance, there are 13 heavens or upper worlds — and details also vary, but not significantly. There is debate as to whether they exist independently of the human mind or are levels of human consciousness. In a strictly shamanic sense, they do exist independently of the human mind but are accessible through it and are therefore also levels of consciousness.

3. S. Ingerman and H. Wesselman, Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation, Sounds True, Inc., Boulder, Colorado, 2010, p.31

Chapter 5: Bringing the shamanic dimension into your daily life

1. C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Vintage Books, New York, 1961

2. A dreamlodge is a ’place of looking within’. It is different from introspection, as it’s a spirit power state and place. It is retreating into a dreaming state to access inner knowing. Traditionally, it was done communally in a lodge. Women did it during their menses.

3. Don Martin Pinedo, shaman/healer of a lineage of shamans from Peru, in Shaman’s Drum, Vol. 89. Shaman’s Drum was a journal of the Cross-Cultural Shamanism Network. It ceased publication in 2013. Back copies can be requested from the Shaman’s Drum Foundation,

Chapter 6: The shamanic journey

1. M. Harner, The Way of the Shaman: A Guide to Power and Healing, Harper & Row, New York, 1980

2. S. Ingerman, Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide, Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado, 2004

3. C. Pratt, An Encyclopedia of Shamanism, The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., New York, 2007, p.25

Chapter 8: The power and beauty of ceremony and ritual

1. M.P. Somé, Of Water and the Spirit: Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman, Penguin, New York, 1994, p.32

2. E.L. Rossi, A Discourse with our Genes: The Psychosocial and Cultural Genomics of Therapeutic Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, Editris S.A.S., Benevento, 2004. Provides a good overview over the research into holistic brain responses.

3. S. Somé, The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient Teachings in the Ways of Relationships, William Morrow, New York, 1999

4. R. Walsh, MD, PhD, The World of Shamanism: New Views of an Ancient Tradition, Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, Minnesota, 2007

5. If you are interested in a detailed descriptions of the traditional ways of using ceremonies, including the fire ceremony, you will find them in my previous book, Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012).

Chapter 9: Dancing with spirit

1. G. Roth, Sweat your Prayers: Movement as Spiritual Practice, Penguin Putnam, New York, 1998, p.6. (The expression ’the wrong garden’, referring to the Garden of Eden, is used to describe the arrival of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.)

2. The traditional Sun Dance of the tribes of the Great Plains in North America is just one example of dance being used to achieve profound altered states of consciousness, to connect with spirit, to initiate, to honour the sun and to bring vision and medicine power to the dancers. Traditionally the Sun Dance lasted for three to four days, with a period of fasting, cleansing and praying beforehand and continuous fasting during the period of the dance. Dancers went on until they lost consciousness, often reporting spirit walks and visions during the ceremonies and celebrations. Each dancer’s intent was their own, and their journey during the dance and their encounters with spirits and powers were theirs to manage and endure, but the medicine power they gained was to serve the family and the community.

3. N. Frank, Trance Dance: The Dance of Life, Element Books, Shaftesbury, 1995. Provides a good overview of indigenous trance dance practices.


5. J. Verghese, R.B. Lipton, M.J. Katz, C.B. Hall, G. Kuslansky, C.A. Derby, A.F. Ambrose, M. Sliwinski, H. Buschke, ’Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly’, New England Journal of Medicine 2003, Vol. 348, pp.2, 508—516

Chapter 10: The medicine wheel

1. Wheel interpretations, such as the teachings of the different directions, differ slightly from region to region and there also are adaptations by contemporary shamanic practitioners. I have been taught a combination of the Hopi and Mayan wheel and will use this here. For the purpose of this book I will only include some nature aspects of the four directions as well as basic human aspects. If you are interested in exploring the medicine wheel further, I have included eight directions and a split centre — 10 aspects — in my previous book, Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012), and also explained in more detail how the wheel works when taking more directions into account. There are also some good books that go deep into the medicine wheel, which I have listed in the Further Reading section.

2. Bill Plotkin offers a new, very insightful approach in his book Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World (New World Library, 2008), using the wheel to describe the eight stages of human development, personal, social and spiritual, and defining the tasks at each stage to become ’who we can be’, based on the hero’s journey and spiritual development.

3. If you are interested in learning a bit more about the medicine wheel, see my previous book, Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012).

Chapter 11: Spirit, soul and the sacred in nature

1. M.R. Ungunmerr-Bauman, Dadirri: Inner Deep Listening and Quiet Still Awareness,, 2007

2. Quoted in J. Narby, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, Georg Editeur, Geneva, 1995; English translation Victor Gollancz, London, 1998; second impression Jeremy P. Tarcher, New York, 2003, p.24

3. E. Gatoga,

4. Genesis 1:28


6. O. Lyons,, p.1

7. Details about research into the connection between nature and human wellbeing can be found in my book Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012), pp.263—5.

8. B. Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World, New World Library, Novato, California, 2008, p.6

Chapter 12: Embedded in the cycle of life

1. Generation after generation has been introduced to archetypal teachings and figures via fairy tales, which has allowed them to immerse themselves in a world beyond their ordinary reality, identify with the trials and tribulations of the characters, and, in the process, learn about the cycles of fear and overcoming fear, of tension and release, and of fighting evil so that good could triumph. The latest example, in the form of the phenomenal worldwide success of the Harry Potter books and films, has proved again the amazing impact of well-constructed stories centred on the magical and archetypal.

2. I am restricting myself to the creation story. But many of the stories we tell ourselves are restrictive. I have written more extensively about how we can become aware of such stories and change them in a shamanic/therapeutic context in my previous book, Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012).

3. C. Pratt, An Encyclopedia of Shamanism, Vol. II, The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., New York, 2007, p.14

4. Due to the breathtakingly fast industrial and military developments of the last few centuries, and especially the devastating wars, the religious crusades, the slavery, imperialism, fascism and other ’isms’, as well as the devastating ecological consequences of our recent way of life (to name but a few), we may not find many wise teachers in our recent ancestry. On the whole, our more recent ancestors didn’t live lives that were, in a traditional sense, healthy, good or wholesome, as they didn’t live lives in accordance with spirit. They therefore have less wisdom than the ancestors who lived Earth-based lives.

5. O. Lyons, ’An Iroquois Perspective’ in American Indian Environments: Ecological Issues in Native American History, C. Vecsey and R.W. Venables (eds), Syracuse University Press, New York, 1980, pp.173—4

6. B. Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World, New World Library, Novato, California, 2008, p.201

7. Psychopomps are shamans who stay with the dying and lead their souls into the other realms. They also work with souls who get stuck between the worlds, as can happen when we die a sudden, violent or traumatic death. The big wars that have characterized the last few millennia have produced, according to certain strands of shamanism, vast energy fields that are ’contaminated’ with such stuck souls.

8. Eve Bruce, a surgeon from the USA, includes her experiences with the same shamanic initiation ritual in more detail in her book Shaman MD (Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, 2002).

Chapter 13: Sacred medicine plants

1. M. Pallamary, Spirit Matters, Mystic Ink Publishing, Carlsbad, CA, 2007, p.154

2. There is an increasingly fascinating body of research into the psychological and therapeutic applications of psychedelics, their workings on the brain and how they enhance personality and consciousness within the academic fields of psychology and neuroscience. In the UK, Prof. David Nutt, Prof. Roland Hopkins, Dr David Luke and Dr Amanda Fielding are some of the better-known researchers involved.

3. I have described the Gabonese healing ritual with ibogaine in depth, including the ’scientific’ interpretations of how what happens in the brain, in my previous book, Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012), pp.104—109.

4. Lesley Myburgh,

5. R.G. Wasson, ’Seeking the magic mushroom’, Life magazine, June 10, 1957, reproduced, 2011

6. If you are interested, Terrence McKenna’s books (see Further Reading) and videos offer a wealth of experiences, information and discussions about the subject:

7. Pallamary, op. cit.

Chapter 14: Shamanic work in the dreamworld

1. R. Anwander, The International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD), ’Dreams without Borders’ conference, Montreal, Quebec, 2008. Stanley Kippner also describes these dream practices on his website:

2. S. Magaña, The Toltec Secret: Dreaming Practices of the Ancient Mexicans, Hay House, London, 2014

3. L. Irwin, The Dream Seekers: Native American Visionary Traditions of the Great Plains, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, 1996, p.237

4. R. Modesto, and G. Mount, Not for Innocent Ears: Spiritual Traditions of a Desert Cahuilla Medicine Woman, Sweetlight Books, California, 1986; second edition 1989, p.6

5. S.M.S. Jones and S. Krippner, The Voice of Rolling Thunder: A Medicine Man’s Wisdom for Walking the Red Road, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, 2012

6. Stanley Krippner is an outstanding professor of psychology and eminent researcher. His publications reach into the hundreds, including around 30 books, and he is one of the leading experts on shamanic dream practices. His website,, provides a wealth of information on dreaming and other shamanic subjects.

7. For example, Sergio Magaña. See The Toltec Secret, op. cit.