Where Sun Dances Heal

What the world's ancient shamanic healing traditions can teach us today


| July 15, 2004


Five thousand years ago 10 African bushmen in the Kalahari Desert dancing around a bonfire capture the attention of their ancestors, who save a boy's heart by transferring !num (spirit) into his ailing body. Meanwhile, in the plains of North America twelve men gather inside a sweat lodge to pray to Wakan Tanka and wrap the sick one inside the skin of a black-tailed deer. Hours later, a vision of an eagle appears, followed by the arrival of the Bear Spirit, which breaths on his neck and pumps blood to the man's heart once again.

'As a means of helping communities heal disease, stay in balance with their environment, and remain in the right relationship with each other and spiritual domains, shamanic medicine has survived the winds of time for at least ten thousand years,' writes Bonnie Horrigan for Science and Spirit. 'It was the first medicine mankind had and, in the beginning, it was the only medicine.'

But our modern Western culture struggles to understand shamanic healing because God does not play a role in our medicine. 'Rather than seeking divine grace,' Horrigan continues, 'we strive for knowledge, self-reliance, and control.' Simply put, what we do not truly understand, we dismiss. Anthropologists hit a wall when trying to understand the Earth's slowly dying tribal cultures because they constantly filter tribal beliefs through their own cultural lens.

But Profiles of Healing, a series edited by anthropologist Bradford Keeney, offers a remarkably filter-free view into the personal worlds of still-living tribal medicine men and shamans, Horrigan writes.
-- Jacob Wheeler

Go there>>Where Sun Dances Heal

Related Links:






Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265