Jungian shamanism

J Psychoactive Drugs. 1989 Jan-Mar;21(1):113-21. doi: 10.1080/02791072.1989.10472148.


The literature on shamanism generally describes a specially gifted individual who is able to contact and communicate with a realm where spirit beings offer wisdom and help, and who actively transmits this knowledge to others. There seem to be approximately five features that define shamanism: the necessity of a "call"--an illness or accident that signifies the necessity of the individual to work with the spirits; the method used to achieve communion with the altered state of reality; the quality of the altered state of consciousness (ASC); the process of healing that is utilized; and the psychic feats that distinguish the abilities of a shaman. Carl Jung displayed all five of these features in his life and psychotherapy, including dreams and waking fantasies in childhood; the use of active imagination in the induction of an ASC; contact with forces, knowledge, and power of the unconscious; a dual "personality," and the dialogue with the inner world--the unconscious, the realm of the archetypes; the use of these discoveries to counsel, advise, and heal; and psychic abilities, such as clairvoyance and out-of-body experiences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Jungian Theory*
  • Parapsychology
  • Psychoanalytic Theory*
  • Religion and Psychology*