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Contemporary Voices from Anima Mundi

A Reappraisal

Edited By Frédérique Apffel-Marglin and Stefano Varese

This book is a reconsideration of spirituality as a lived experience in the lives of the contributors. The authors speak both as well-informed scholars and as individuals who experienced the lived spirituality they give voice to. The authors do not place themselves above and outside of what they are writing about but within that world. They speak of living psychospiritual traditions of healing both the self and the world; of traditions that have not disembedded the self from the wider world. Those traditions are from indigenous North and South America (5 essays), a Buddhist/Shakta from Bengal, an Indo-Persian Islamic psychoanalyst, and a mystical Jewish feminist rabbi. The book also includes a historical essay about the extermination of the Renaissance worldview of Anima Mundi.

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Chapter Four: The Sorcerer, the Madman and Grace (Jacques Mabit)

Extract

chapter four

The Sorcerer, the Madman and Grace

Are Archetypes Desacralized Spirits? Thoughts on Shamanism in the Amazon

jacques mabit, m.d.translated by george gould, MPhil.

Can (Amazonian) shamanism hope to offer some insights on Jungian psychology? Can it answer questions plaguing contemporary Western culture? Because Amazonian shamanism is so much older than the Jungian school of thought, does shamanism have more to offer humanity in terms of self-knowledge? Does the concept of individuation make any sense when applied to the different ethnic groups of the Amazon region?

To begin with, is it even possible to establish a fruitful dialogue between these two approaches to understanding human nature? No, strictly speaking, a dialogue is not possible simply because, if Jung and his disciples are wordy and long-winded (no offense intended), shamanic traditions are never written down, and shamans themselves are silent guides whose teachings are passed on through practical experience, not verbal discourse.

I therefore find myself in the privileged yet uncomfortable position of speaking on behalf of a silent shaman, though I am not in any way an expert on Jung either. This being the case, I must beg your indulgence, as well as that of the members of the Amazonian tradition of which I speak, for any translation mistakes or any inadequate linguistic approximations to which I may have to resort. To avoid these inaccuracies, any verbal discussion of the subject would necessarily have to be accompanied...

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