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A Messianic Complex and Shamanism: Those challenged by a diagnosis of mental illness may help themselves by ditching contemporary culture and interpreting their own experience through a shamanic cosmology in which no one needs to be saved.

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Résumé

Shamanic initiatory experiences often involve a break with reality and a time of madness, which is perceived of as a kind of test or challenge initiated by a helping spirit. The novice that allows a death of his/her sense of self moves through their own madness to the other side of that challenge transformed. The novice returns to a more ordinary state of consciousness and is acknowledged as a shaman. In contrast, in America similar breaks with reality lead into a dead end commonly referred to as a “messianic complex” in which the person perceives of them selves as a Savior or The One. This interpretation becomes a mental cul-de-sac for the individual with martyrdom the only way out. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she explores the fact that how we interpret our own “madness” is culturally determined, thus those challenged by a diagnosis of mental illness may help themselves by ditching contemporary culture and interpreting their own experience through a shamanic cosmology in which no one needs to be saved.

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