Though you read and hear a lot about mind/body healing and spiritual renewal, it’s sometimes hard to know how to get started on this path. We know from fine work conducted with cancer patients, those struggling with cardiovascular disease and people dealing with mental and emotional disturbances, mind/body methods from yoga to meditation and biofeedback can help to produce profound, positive changes in health and well being.
Adherents point to a sense of greater happiness and of learning how to tap potent inner creative resources. Perhaps you’ve seen Tony Robbins or Marianne Williamson on Oprah, or read about the fine work of Dr. Bernie Siegel or Dr. Deepak Chopra. But how do you get started in this without running off to a remote retreat?
Enter Modern Shamanism, the brainchild of Hamilton Souther, who ventured into the Peruvian Amazon in 2001, studied with two very capable shamans to become a highly talented shaman in his own right and established the much-celebrated Blue Morpho Shamanic Retreat Center outside of the Peruvian Amazon city of Iquitos.
With the aid of his partner, the eclectic and multi-talented Malcolm Rossiter, Souther has developed Modern Shamanism, an online course that offers easy-to-learn methods from the South American mind/body tradition for healing, transformation and the promotion of happiness. Sound great? It is.
I caught up with Souther recently in New York City at one of his weekend Modern Shamanism workshops, where he explained the course to me, and I experienced firsthand this new expression of an archaic tradition derived from the cumulative wisdom of South American shamans who have refined their methods over millennia.
Souther’s goal is to create a practice based on shamanism that accommodates modern life and is stripped of traditional cultural trappings.
“The idea of Modern Shamanism is to see if we can birth a spirituality rooted in modern society, and based on the themes of today,” Souther said. “That expression is that people are not physical beings first, but spiritual beings, that the ability to communicate spiritually is within all of us, that it doesn’t require tremendous extension beyond the normal to make that kind of connection, that spirituality isn’t some extra-ordinary concept but something that is common in everyday life, in essence because we are originally spiritual.”
In New York, Souther and his wife, Wendy, present a two-day introduction to the much more extensive online course.
“Friday is an overview of Modern Shamanism, and a little bit about how the course works and how it can start to transform your life,” Souther said. “Then on Saturday, we get into fundamentals of the practice.
So even if people don’t necessarily wish to continue studying further, in the workshop they are presented with specific life tools that are immediately applicable upon leaving the workshop.”
I showed up at the Modern Shamanism workshop with my wife, Zoe, and three friends, all of whom were keen to try out this new approach.
Souther, who has received lavish media exposure in National Geographic and numerous other media outlets for his shamanic work, is unquestionably the lynchpin of the whole thing. His success and expertise in his own shamanic work give backbone to the credibility of the promises made on behalf of Modern Shamanism.
The introductory workshop in New York took those of us who attended through several exercises that did indeed provide us with delightful tools for accessing trance states and modifying our consciousness quickly and easily.
One of the best parts was when the newlyweds sang mysterious and spell-binding icaros – shamanic songs. Souther is seasoned and nuanced when he sings, and Wendy has an amazing voice. Is there a CD in the future? One can only hope.
The Modern Shamanism workshop was satisfying and worthwhile and delivered on its promises of enabling us to experience various states quickly, while providing practical, take-away tools. As a set-up for enrollment in the online work, it definitely stirred great interest among attendees, most of who signed up for the cyber course.
Souther is confident in this work and offers the first six weeks free, no payment info required – thus, there is no risk. If people get the results they seek, they will continue on for a full year of online immersion.
The online Modern Shamanism course takes those who try it on a step-by-step learning experience that can be undertaken at home, according to each person’s time and schedule. There are wonderful audio clips that accompany the teachings, and coaches are available online to answer questions and guide you if needed. Several of my friends dove into the deep end of the online course and are very excited about what they are learning.
Will Modern Shamanism gain a foothold in the body/mind/spirit transformational landscape? I’d say yes to that. The methods are sound, the approach is well thought-out, and the times demand easily accessible work of this nature for those who either cannot or will not travel to the Amazon to study with shamans.
Whether you choose to embark upon the journey as a holiday gift to yourself, or as a New Year’s commitment to self renewal, Modern Shamanism will surprise you in delightful ways.
Visit ModernShamanism.org to dive in.
Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at www.MedicineHunter.com