Thursday, July 31, 2014

Are You a Magical Geek? Learn Magic by Email

There are many different ways to learn magic and we have an easy way for beginners to get started. You can actually learn magic through your email. If you're ready to get started on a magical path and looking for a way of how to study magic that will work into your busy schedule, then our Everyday Magic Email Course may be the solution for you. This course sends you an email each week for 52 weeks with magic tips and techniques to try out to learn magic. Here is a sample of one of the many magic techniques you can get from this course:

Slow Down Your Mind
If you have one of those minds that stays in high gear and is hard to turn off or stays in worry mode, you can use magic to help slow it down. A mind that is constantly going can make it hard to go to sleep at night, to meditate or just enjoy some silence and relaxation time. With this technique you slow down your body to slow down your mind.

Here's all you have to do. When you feel your mind taking off and getting out of control, get up and start moving around very, very SLOWLY. Walk from one side of the room to the other taking very slow and deliberate steps. As you move, feel each sensation in your body. Feel your feet making contact with the ground, your arms swinging by your side, your breath moving in and out of your lungs and so forth. The more you sink into the physical sensations and slow your body down, the slower your mind will start moving. Doing this regularly will help your mind be able to slow down when you need it to like when you want to go to sleep or meditate and keep it much more focused when you need to work.

This is also a good technique to use if you are feeling anxious or nervous. Give it a try and then get the Everyday Magic Email Course for a simple way to learn magic and get more magical insights like this.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Want to Change Your Life Magically? Get Ready for the Big Burn

If you have anything unwanted in your life you can get rid of it magically with this ritual you'll find in our Kindle Book, Learn How to Do Witchcraft Rituals and Spells with Magical Tools along with lots of other great rituals. This ritual gives you the power of the Firebowl to do the Big Burn.

The Firebowl
When choosing a firebowl, look for one that is made of brass, cast-iron, ceramic or a hard hardwood. It should be 4-6 inches in diameter and 4-5 inches deep. It should also be a shape that is easily held with one or both hands and light enough to carry in one hand if necessary. Make sure your firebowl has a shape that will be stable when placed on a flat surface. The shape of the bowl should also be curved-in and flared back out at the top rim to promote "columning" of incense or smoke. For this ritual, along with a Firebowl, you will also need:
  • Self-starting charcoal discs
  • Wood chips to insulate the charcoal from resin or incense and facilitate burning
  • Pine resin
  • Finely ground or rubbed sage
  • Sun Candle
  • Pen and plenty of blank paper
Start by lighting the Sun Candle with wooden or paper matches and charging it with this verse:
"Child of Wonder,
Child of Flame,
Nourish My Spirit,
And Protect My Aim!"
Then follow these directions:
1. Stand or sit in the South facing North with your Firebowl and other materials in front of you.

2. Light the charcoal with a match lit from the flame of the charged Sun Candle. It should begin sparking within seconds.

3. Once charcoal in the center of the Firebowl is lit, blow Sun Yellow energy pulled from the Sun Candle into the Firebowl until the disc is burning well. 

4. Add wood shavings to the charcoal, then the pine resin, and then sage as needed until the Firebowl is producing a good column of smoke.

5. Blowing Sun Yellow into the charcoal before and after the verse, and between each line of the verse, use a voice of command to charge the Firebowl with this verse:
"Fire and Air where you are cast,
Let no spell nor adverse purpose last,
Not in accord with me!
Clear from my life these unwanted matters,
Send far from my life these negative factors!
Thus my will, so it be!"

Doing the Big Burn
This magic ritual is especially good for getting rid of unwanted anger, negativity, or negative factors you are experiencing in your life. The technique matches the energy of anger in particular because it burns literally. Be sure to observe fire safety precautions when doing this ritual and follow these directions:

1. Sit in the South facing North with all of your materials in front of you.

2. Light and charge the Sun Candle

3. Charge the Firebowl.

4. Start writing everything that is bothering you or making you feel negative on your blank pieces of paper. Keep writing as fast as you can and get everything out on the paper. Write as much as you need to and don't worry if you repeat yourself. Write until you literally run out of steam (combination of Fire and Water energy).

5. Now you are ready for the Big Burn part of the ritual. Place your Firebowl in front of you (be sure your Firebowl is large enough to accommodate the burning of the papers – if not, move the entire operation to the sink or some other place that is safe for burning)

6. Take a moment to do whatever you need to do to move the anger or negative feelings out of yourself. You might ask for help from angels, ask for guidance, just have a moment of silence, or take several deep breaths.

7. Now, light the papers with your wooden or paper match and let it burn in the firebowl. You can light each sheet individually (many people find this method more satisfying), or wad up the whole mess of papers and light the entire thing (again observing fire safety precautions).

8. Then sit back and watch your anger go up in smoke.

If you are dealing with a chronic or stubborn problem, you may need to do the Big Burn on a daily basis for 40 days or more. This will give you 40 days of making a daily conscious contact with the Universe. Doing this technique as a daily ritual will also build the strength of your spell matrix for 40 days in a row. While some experts feel that bad habits or chronic conditions can be handled in less than 40 days, spiritually the number 40 is very effective.

So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed with anger or other negative feelings or situations, just get out your firebowl and do the Big Burn. Magically melt those problems away so you can enjoy life.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Or, visit our website for more great resources.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Magical Newbie? Get the Downlow on Magic and How to Study It

It seems like we get more and more emails all the time from people just discovering the world of real magic and wanting to know how to study magic. We think it's great that the word is continuing to spread and more people are showing an interest in magical studies. Of course when it comes to magic, there are numerous traditions that one can study. We suggest that newbies look through our website and blog articles to get an idea of the type of magical studies and traditions that we offer. But no matter what tradition you end up finding that resonates with you, learning about the 4 elements of Air, Water, Earth, and Fire is always a good place to start. Since everything in the Universe is comprised of the 4 elements, they are literally part of everything else you will study in magic.

Starting with the 4 Elements
In general the magical tradition that you choose to follow will define how to study by what types of resources are available. Since the 4 elements are at the foundation of magical studies, we start our Basic Magic class students off by teaching them indepth information about the correspondences and characteristics of each of the elements. They then use each element with its various colors and each of its characteristics in a practical way so as to develop personal experience with each. This same information is available to all in short courses of each element on multi-media cd. After the 4 elements have been mastered, students can then move on to studies that include:
  • Universal Laws that govern magical practice
  • Hand Magic and Self Defense
  • Magical Tools: Firebowl, Wand, Athame, Chalice and Plate
  • Divination
  • Tarot
  • Sonics
  • Spellwork
More Magic for Newbies
One important point to make to newbies is that magic is an ongoing study. It is not a quick study and for the true magician it becomes a way of life. And though there are various magical traditions that have differences in their ways and practices, there are also many similarities between them. It is pretty universal that magic gives us the ability to communicate with beings on all levels, gives us a connection with nature and spirit beings, gives us direct experience with the workings of the Universe including co-creating to manifest that which we desire, and is a path of spiritual growth. Magic as practiced at the Esoteric School is also defined as:
  • a precision science
  • the science of deliberate creation.
  • the science of effective prayer.
  • the science of manifesting Higher Will on the energetic and material planes
  • the science of heightened awareness, selective perception, and dynamic, harmonious relationships.
  • the study of intention (as per Aleister Crowley, one of the greatest magicians).
  • the system of creation, not coercion.
If all this sounds good to you, you can get your magical feet wet with our Kindle Book, Witchcraft Spell Book: The Complete Guide of Witchcraft Rituals & Spells for Beginners. To find out more about the magical studies we offer and how to study magic visit our How To Study Magic section of our website for a more extensive look at magical topics. After all it's never too late to make magic a part of your life. 

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Or, visit our website for more great resources.

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Magic for When Someone is Acting Like a Donkey's Butt

Can you use magic when someone is treating you badly, invading your privacy or sacred space or just rather acting like a donkey's butt? As long as you make sure you are on the right side of the Rules of the Road, the rules for magical self defense, and have done nothing to provoke the situation, then you certainly can. There are several means of self-defense magic that you can use in this matter, but using simulacra or voodoo magic is another option. You can learn more about voodoo or simulacra magic in our How to Do Voodoo ebook, but here is a technique one of our mentors used when he discovered a "watcher" had been placed in his home.

What is a Watcher?
Before getting to the voodoo technique; a little history. What exactly is a watcher? There are magical practitioners that can create energy matrices that look like insects such as flies, wasps or ants or they animate the actual bodies of small insects that have died. They use these forms because they are able to slip through your shields and omnils that you have around your home for protection. They are usually used to spy on you or influence you and are therefore called watchers. Watchers many times are thought forms that are sent by others. Since thought forms are connected to the body with a silver cord, they can be dangerous when cut. Cutting one of these cords causes it to snap back at the person and can sometimes result in death. If you suspect you may have a watcher around you, look for signs such as an insect that shows up in a place it could not have naturally gotten to, one that does not have the right numbers of legs and wings that it should naturally have, or if it travels in a straight line or follows you around the house.

Testing For a Watcher
There are a few different techniques you can use as a test to see if you do have a watcher and possibly find out who sent it. Here is the technique we promised to pass on from our mentor.

Use your Chalice, the magical tool for the Water element, to first capture the suspected watcher. The Chalice is a type of standing shield that is as effective as an omnil so anything captured in it becomes confined and isolated. When you see the suspected watcher being still, put your Chalice upside down over it. Then slide a thin cardboard piece under the Chalice and holding the cardboard over the top of the cup, turn the Chalice to an upright position. Now you have captured the watcher and can inspect it more closely through the Chalice. If you want to find out who sent it, you can do like our mentor did and tape the cardboard down over the top of the cup so that it doesn't escape, then pack it up and send it literally on a slow boat to China. Once he did this, all he had to do was look around at people he knew for signs of seasickness or nausea. Once he found the person who had these symptoms for several months, he knew that he did indeed have a watcher and exactly who had sent it. This works because the sender did not disconnect from the watcher before it was trapped and so whatever was done to the watcher had the same effect on the sender. It is like a simulacra that is keyed to a particular person or a voodoo doll. For this reason, you do need to be careful and make sure you are within your magical rights when planning what you will do to the watcher.

To learn more about simulacra or voodoo magic and watchers as well as various techniques to use with them all, check out the How to Do Voodoo ebook. There is so much you can magically accomplish with this fascinating study.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Or, visit our website for more great resources.

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Find Yourself in a Spiderweb Situation? Cut Those Lines Magically!

When you find yourself in a sticky situation that you want to let go of or unattach from, the athame is the perfect magick tool to use. You can cut psychic "lines" attached to yourself or others with the athame which is the magick tool to conduct Fire energies. The athame has a wide variety of magick uses that you can learn about in our Athame: Fire Tool ebook. The technique of using a fire energy beam for cutting lines is a way to release unhealthy relationships and situations by severing the psychic attachment they have to you. Cutting lines on a person will not affect healthy relationships or situations, only unhealthy ones. Some of the ways to tell if these psychic lines exist on a person are:
  • sore spots on the back, neck or shoulder blades
  • bad dreams
  • being sick several days or longer without reason
  • brooding over a broken relationship

Cutting Lines with the Athame
When cutting lines with an athame, be sure to hold the athame tightly with both hands so that it does not bounce off a tough line. Make sure as you make the various cuts that you overlap them so you get all the lines on every side. Don't cut directly in front of a person as they have a lot of shielding in the front of the body. Some people notice that they are a bit dizzy or feel tired after this procedure has been done. They may need to sit for a while or rest and you may want to sweep them with a flare of Sun Yellow energy off the athame from head to feet to add back energy

Here are steps to follow to cut psychic lines on another person:

1. Stand in the south facing north and have the person you are cutting lines on stand to the north of you facing away from you.

2. Have the person close their eyes and ask them to relax.

3. Load your athame with the fire energy color of electric blue from a candle flame or color chip and project a beam of electric blue off your athame 3 to 5 feet beyond the person. This beam will be used to cut through the lines.

4. Standing at a right angle to the person, make the first cut directly behind them by starting with aiming the beam at a level above their head and making a forceful downward cut. The beam should be about a foot away from the person's back.

5. The 2nd cut is made to the right and slightly behind the person in the same way as the first.

6. The 3rd cut is made to the person's right again, but closer to the front of their body (remember to not make the cut directly in front of them).

7. The next two cuts are made on the left side of the person's body, reflecting the two positions of the cuts you made on the right side.

8. Finally, make a horizontal cut above the person's head from right to left, and below the person's feet (you can extend your beam into the floor to make this cut). The blade edge of the athame faces left as you make these two cuts.

The diagram at the top of this article will give you a visual representation of the lines and the order in which to cut them.

So the next time you find yourself in a spiderweb situation with lots of psychic lines sticking to you, just have a magical friend whip out their athame and cut those lines right away. More quick, fun and easy magick that you can learn to do.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Can You do Magic in a Roadside Cafe? Of Course!

You can pretty much perform magic anywhere that you are comfortable doing it. I have found that sometimes it is a great way to kill time when traveling and stuck somewhere due to delays of one kind or another. Have you ever found yourself stuck in a roadside café due to road closures? Me too. Instead of getting upset at the delay, I try to see it as an opportunity for some time to engage in magic communications I've been too busy to get to. And no I don't have to dig all my magical tools out of the car and set up an altar. All I have to do is grab a corner booth and a cup of coffee.

Using the Chalice to Communicate
The chalice is the magical tool for the element Water. Water is the element of emotions and thus the language of Spirit. The chalice is therefore the magical tool that is perfect for Spirit to Spirit communication. Let's say you are on your way home from a business trip, stop off in this café because the road ahead is closed temporarily and know you are going back to work in a day or two with a boss that you are having problems with. This is a great time to get a cup of coffee and turn it into a magic chalice for communicating on a Spirit level with your boss.

Quick Keying the Chalice
First you need to key your cup to align the energies and personalize it to yourself. There is a more permanent way to key your own personal Chalice that you normally use for magical procedures and you'll find the directions for how to do that in our Chalice: Water Tool ebook. But for now you can just use this quick key method on your coffee cup. Here's how:
1. Find a color source that is Water Blue in color.

2. Hold your hands around both sides of the cup and drawing from the color source start circling Water Blue energy from your output hand, through the cup, into your input hand, up your input arm, across your shoulders, down your output arm and out your output hand again.

3. Keep circling the Water Blue energy in this way for about 3 minutes.

4. Pull the Water energy back into your body.

Your cup is now temporarily keyed and ready to use as a magic Chalice. Let's move on now to how to do the Spirit to Spirit communication.

Communicating With the Chalice
The chalice can be used to send psychic messages or as a means of having a two-way conversation with someone on a Spirit level. Be aware that Water messages can be compulsive so be careful what types of messages you send as you want to stay on the right side of Rules of the Road to avoid karmic backlash. Here's how to use the chalice for communicating:
1. Fill the chalice with a dark flat liquid, in this case coffee, leaving ½ to ¾ inches headspace at the top of the cup.

2. Sit in the South facing North.

3. Place your cup in front of you and block out all distractions.

4. Move the cup so that you are looking at the liquid's surface at a 45 degree angle.

5. Visualize the face of the person you want to communicate with just under the surface of the coffee to establish a direct psycho-spiritual link with them.

6. Start talking to them just as you would as if they were physically present. Make sure your attention is focused on that person, your message and any responses that come and not on any other thoughts or anything that distracts your attention. Become very emotionally interested and curious about the communication as that can help carry the message across more strongly.

7. If you notice the surface of the coffee becomes steamy or cloudy or you start to get a headache or achy eyes, you are pushing too hard. Relax, breathe and try to continue talking to the person just like you would in person. Some people find closing their eyes works better for them.

If you are just sending a message to your boss's spirit then you are done. If you are having a true conversation, then you'll need to wait for a response. Since this is a communication from Spirit, the answer may be in a different form than the person would usually give from their everyday personality. Be aware of what messages you hear in your head or that come to you from your surroundings. You may also need to do this communication more than once to increase its effectiveness.

Anytime is magic time. Look for opportunities to practice your magical skills instead of sitting around getting angry over what you perceive as wasted time. You can learn more about using the magic element of Water in our Magical Element Water homestudy course and then get the Chalice ebook to learn all sorts of magical things you can do with the Water tool.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Or, visit our website for more great resources.

Image courtesy of samuiblue / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fascinated by Tarot? How to Make the Tarot Personalized to Your Life

The tarot is indeed a fascinating study that can be used in a variety of magical ways. Tarot spreads can be thrown for divination purposes to address just about any situation or question you have. You can also pick a card each day as a daily ritual to learn tarot card meanings, "wear" the card for the day to take on the characteristics it represents or as a way of getting messages from the Universe by studying the tarot card meanings you select daily. Tarot can also be used in creating Tarot spells to bring about changes and co-creations in your life.

Personalized Divination
Using the Tarot for divination gives you a direct method of obtaining information not available to the physical five senses by psychic or magical means. Magical divination is mainly used to direct our fates. By throwing tarot spreads for various situations in your life and interpreting tarot card meanings, you can discover the influences, energies and probability lines active in your life that pertain to the specific situation the tarot spreads are about. Having this information allows you to see what influences are affecting your situation and know where you can make changes to affect the outcomes in your future lines if you so desire. This is why the Tarot is such a valuable tool. Since the future is not pre-destined, you can change the future any time before it happens and using tarot spreads gives you the information you need to decide if and what you want to change.

Personalized Signifier
Many people using the Tarot today do not use signifiers. In our classes, we teach throwing Tarot spreads using a signifier. We feel this makes the reading more precise as well as more personalized to a particular person. The signifier card is a card selected to represent a person or a specific issue, question or situation. Signifiers are keyed to the person the tarot spread reading is for or to the situation or issue. This serves to make it even more personalized in addition to picking a signifier card for people based on chronological age and sun sign. Below are some guidelines for picking a signifier for a person, but you can't always pick a signifier based on the chronological age of the person. Also take into consideration how they act or behave. If you are doing a tarot reading for a child for instance who is particularly mature for his or her age, then you might want to use the knight instead of the page. We use the Waite Rider deck in our classes, but for those who use a Crowley deck, instead of using the page card, you can break it down further into sex by using the prince or princess. That deck also uses the knight as the adult male because according to Crowley there are no adult males as males never reach maturity.

Sun Sign Signifier Selection Guidelines:
Air (Wands):
Gemini
Libra
Aquarius

Fire (Swords):
Aries
Leo
Saggitarius

Water (Cups):
Cancer
Scorpio
Pisces

Earth (Discs):
Taurus
Virgo
Capricorn

Age Signifier Selection Guidelines:
Page – Conception to teenager
Knight – Teenager
Queen – Adult female
King – Adult male

So for example, if you are a Taurus who is an adult female, you're signifier might be the Queen of Discs and if you are a teenager whose sun sign is Leo then the Knight of Swords might be a good signifier for you.

Personalizing Your Tarot Deck
Another thing that makes the Tarot personalized to you and your life is taking the time to key each of the cards and the other magical tools you use to key the cards and in doing tarot spreads. Keying your own Tarot deck attunes it to your own personal energies. To key the cards in your deck you need a keyed Plate and to key the plate you need a keyed Chalice. That's a lot of keying admittedly, but taking the extra time to do these magical steps will make your Tarot experiences much more personal and create a connection between you and the cards. Using a keyed plate to key the cards sets up a magical shield for each one to protect tarot spreads from any outside interference including any doubt or negative factors you might have about a particular reading.

If you find you are fascinated with the Tarot and its many uses, you can learn more about it in our Tarot homestudy course or as a part of our Basic Magic class. Divination can empower you to take control of the direction your life is taking and give you the information you need to make decisions about where you want your life path to lead and what you want to attract to your life. And after all isn't that one of the many great reasons we choose to have magic in our lives?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Or, visit our website for more great resources.

Image courtesy of audfriday13 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Shamanism And Medical Science - Mutually Exclusive Disciplines?

contributed by reader, Jenni Greaves

Shamanism is, sadly, viewed by many as a dubious quack-practice grounded in bygone superstition. The minds of such people are closed to the potential of shamanic healing, and they have no wish to discuss the matter. However, some who may not quite believe in the more mystical aspects of shamanism are perfectly willing to accept it as a practice which can be of immense help to the psyche. Indeed, many have likened psychologists to modern shamans, their jobs essentially being to conduct people through the sometimes perilous realm of their souls (or psyches) and resolve conflicts therein. Though the ideological theories of the two doctrines may differ in some ways, the essential aim and, often modus operandi, bear marked similarities. This is increasingly becoming a matter of interest to modern science. Vanderbilt University points out that "Shamanic methods of working with dreams and being conscious and awake while dreaming open new doors in psychological research into the nature and history of consciousness" [1].  While some may be doubtful about the magical aspects of shamanism, modern medicine is growing to accept its psychological and even physical value. Even disbelievers can therefore benefit from shamanism without feeling that they are compromising their scientific principles.

The Psychoanalyst As Shaman
The idea of shamanic soul-flights as psychological healing tools have been present ever since the fathers of psychiatry began to appreciate the presence of and delve into the human subconscious. Freud and Jung, the undisputed fathers of modern psychiatry, were incredibly interested in the myths, symbols and archetypes with which shamans work. Both saw such things as representative of deep cultural mores which are both embedded within and representative of the human mind. Though couching his theories in scientific language, the exploration of the psyche which Freud published in "The Interpretation of Dreams" [2] would have been recognizable to any shaman. The way Freud saw it, mythic frameworks, symbols, and tale-formulae were a way in which humans could interpret and engage with their psychological states (and the demons inherent therein). The shamanic view is something more mysterious, spiritual, and magical, but the idea of healing through a mythic 'soul-journey' is common to both disciplines.

Mind, Body, Soul - Full Integration
Recently, medical science has begun to turn its attention to the spiritual and emotional aspects of healing. Initially this trend began (understandably enough) within the spheres of mental health and psychiatry. However, the medical establishment is now tentatively beginning to explore the connection between mind and body in an enhanced manner, focusing on the emotional aspects of pain and disease, and the physical effects of psychological trauma. This field of study began where physical illness and mental trauma self-evidently overlap – with addiction and substance disorders. The popularity and apparent success of recovery programs which focused on a degree of spirituality gave medical authorities – accustomed to dealing with disorders purely on a physical or chemical basis, pause for thought. The Betty Ford Institute and the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment investigated the phenomenon in 2007, concluding that "spirituality, however hard to define in operational terms, likely constitutes an important motivator for recovery for some (perhaps many) substance-dependent people." [3]. From a shamanic point of view, an addiction is an affliction of the soul caused by the absence or damage of some aspect of the self. Retrieval of the errant part and spiritual re-integration causes the person to become whole again, whereupon they will not need the actions of drugs or alcohol to fill the 'gap'. While unwilling or unable to accept this precise reasoning, medical practitioners are now accepting that addiction is a psychological problem which can be greatly aided by psychoanalytical and spiritual techniques which aid psychological wellness and wholeness. Rehabs.com state that many treatment centers now employ semi-spiritual methods designed to promote mental wholeness and wellness, including "massage and acupuncture services"  [4].

Shamanism and Pain
Shamanism and shamanistic techniques are also being explored in relation to pain and the person's ability to cope with it. In 1949, anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss published "Structural Anthropology" [5] – a book which delved into anthropological theory, practice and conclusions. Within this book was a paper entitled "The Effectiveness of Symbols", in which Levi-Strauss described and analyzed a shamanic ritual of the Cuna people from Panama. The purpose of the ritual was to aid a woman with a difficult childbirth. The shaman, through an elaborate blend of tale-telling and ritual, pulled the woman into a mythic yet deeply personal world which Levi-Strauss perceived to belong to the cultural subconscious. The shaman and his patient believed themselves to be drawing positive spiritual energies to their side and embarking upon a mythic journey through which the woman's soul would be rendered whole and she would gain the strength needed to get through the birth. Levi-Strauss saw it in less mystical terms, but was in no way immune to the psychological potential of the ritual. Indeed, he compared the shaman to a psychoanalyst and drew strong parallels between the ultimate aim and results of the ritual and that of a psychoanalytic session. Neither was he too closed-minded to appreciate the real, physical healing potential of the shamanic ritual. Even though he did not believe in magic or the religion of the Cuna, he did believe in the potential within the mind to heal and aid the body. According to Levi-Strauss, the shaman was "making explicit a situation originally existing on the emotional level and...rendering acceptable to the mind pains which the body refuses to tolerate".  Medical science increasingly accepts that the volume of pain is less important than the mind's ability to cope with it. Naturally every person has their breaking point, but it is truly astounding what the human can bear when they have the right mentality. The British Journal of Anesthesia points out that a person's beliefs about and understanding of the pain which they are experiencing can form "part of the psychosocial context, known to be the largest indicator in predicting the extent of pain-associated disability" [6], and go on to recommend cognitive behavioral therapy for sufferers of chronic pain, in order to diminish their suffering and enable them to cope. In just such a manner does the shaman build up the psychological strength of the patient, bolstering them, unlocking the resources hidden deep within their souls, and enabling them to draw upon those resources to aid them in their pain.

Better United
It seems, therefore, that shamanistic techniques and medical techniques - particularly those of the psychiatrist - can be successfully combined to bring about healing even for those who do not believe in mystical shamanism. The ancient shamans knew a good deal more about the depths of our minds and the relations between mind and body than western science has, until recently, cared to admit-  and their techniques can still be used to bring about unity and healing for suffering people.

[1] Vanderbilt University, "What is Shamanistic Healing?"
[2] Sigmund Freud, "The Interpretation of Dreams", Sterling Publishing
[3] Marc Galanter, Helen Dermatis, Gregory Bunt, Caroline Williams, Manuel Trujillo, Paul Steinke, "Assessment of spirituality and its relevance to addiction treatment", Betty Ford Institute and Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 2007
[4] Rehabs, "Advantages and disadvantages of various methods"
[5] Claude Levi-Strauss, "Structural Anthropology", Basic Books Publishing
[6] C.Eccleston, "Role of psychology in pain management", BJA, 2001