Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Monday, November 02, 2009


Master of Shamanism Final Essay:
Learning From the Earliest Human Spiritual Practitioners
By Rev. Daniel L. Moore

            Of all the 'religions' among people, shamans seem to stand out by their very nature of not being defined by a denomination or religion.  I have always been fascinated by these spiritual men and women found among groups like the Eskimos and Siberians.  I had lots of questions and this course provided answers.

            I have been blessed by this course in its approach.  Rather than a "how-to" of ministry, this is a research into shamanism.  The instructor provided a well-documented course that led me to continue research on my own. 

            There is not body of literature left behind by ancient shamans.  What is learned comes from the written observations of others.  The oral history that is transmitted has been captured to some degree.  It is from these sources that we can begin peeking into the earliest spiritual practices of humanity.  We can begin to see the connections with early and modern spiritual practices. 

            I was able to discern some interesting parallels between shamans and the Old Testament personalities.  Shamans walk with the spirit(s).  They are the channel between this world and the spirit realm.  They can be used to heal and warn people.  The early prophets found in the Old Testament seem very similar in practice. 

            Some shamans seem to be called contrary to their wishes.  Certainly Jonah did not wish to do God's will when called to warn Ninevah.  Some shamans come from a line of shamans.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are one family lineage of prophets found in the Old Testament.  Shamans seem independent and do not lead congregations but can be mobile.  They move from village to village as needed.  This was true of several Old Testament prophets.  Elijah and Elisha were mobile prophets who moved from town to town. 

            Shamans were into holistic medicine long before modern medicine considered it.  They were the first psychologists, psychiatrists, pharmacists, hypnotists, and physicians among humans.  They were great observers of the human condition.  In many shamanistic circles, this knowledge would be passed down from mentor to protégé or parent to child (where shaman ministry is inherited). 

            I, like the instructor, do see some shamanistic elements in the Bible.  The instructor really brings out the differences and similarities between Shamanism and the Bible.
            The shaman in the modern view is not considered a pastor but more a prophet per the instructor.  This makes sense to me.  Prophets are dreamers.  They had no agenda but God's.  They can be on the fringe (like John the Baptist in the wilderness).  They are in rhythm with God.   Something we all need to do more of.


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