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.

Search This Blog

Monday, November 23, 2009


Here is lesson 2 and 3

Unifying Assumptions

The basic unifying assumption with Shamanism is that everything in the universe is alive and can be communicated with when approached properly.

These perceptions assist in the understanding of different realities from the one main-stream mundane reality suggested as "Ordinary Reality." Our true power comes in recognizing our relationship to these realities. Shamanism deals with recognizing each person has a helping spirit  and by working with the persons spiritual aspect of health. 

It sees the realms as having a topography with a lower, middle and upper world.
The anthropologist Michael Harner is noted as stating the core elements are practiced rituals and beliefs that occur universally across cultures. These core elements include: Ecstasy a sensation of being outside one's self, often joyously.  This is the ecstatic energy of Shamanic journeying, skiing and sex.

Lower level shamanic reality is experienced as a journey passing through a tunnel to where power animals and other healing instructive forces reside. This is not the hell considered in Christianity. Middle World is considered ordinary reality experienced in the spiritual sense.  Participation in Divination and other forms of healing are done at this level. In Upper World it can be a positive journey for the Shaman as they travel upwards from Middle World again this is not considered as heaven.

Non-ordinary reality is where the Shaman journeys to. It is not of the Aristotelian logic. Ordinary reality is our general life in our ordinary state of awareness. This is linear and of a logical formulation.

Power is another element obtained through the right relationship to the other realms as we over come and achieve immunity against negative spiritual influences there by enjoying fullness of life. The power animal is the helping spirit or familiar that has agreed to act as guide advisor and healer. The Shaman which is a "Tungas" word refers to a person that contacts these other realties for healing and wisdom  in service to the community.

The Shaman's Drum is considered to symbolize much spiritual power and is the Shaman's horse to travel to these other worlds.  It is usually a one-handed drum struck with a mallet. The Shaman's rattle is used to communicate with the spirits and assist in the healing work.

Shamanic consciousness is an altered ecstatic state created usually through the use of a sonic driver, a repetitive sound or the use of mind altering herbs. The sonic driver could be a voice, rattle or drum. 

The World Tree can used as the axis mundi as the energetic connection used to traverse between the worlds.

A Shaman can be helpful in the recovery of Soul Loss. A psychic trauma that has affected the individual as a result of a physical or psychological trauma.  In essence this traumatic result has left the individual's soul missing and the person feels disoriented or lost.. something amiss where they may be depressed,have a loss of vigour or lust for life.

The Shaman recovers a soul through Shamanic journeying to bring the persons soul back to it's home. Upon retrieval of the soul the person must nurture themselves and help to develop the newly recovered soul. The soul could have left at a much earlier time in the persons life and it will have to have assistance to return to original function and development the community can also assist at this point.

Shamanism Lesson 3. Religion

By Rev.Cynthia Vickers

Shamanism as a religion has been considered by some people to be a primitive-religious-magic practiced by aborigines through out the world.  There appears to be several view of the expression of Shamanism and their rites and practices including the removal of evil spirits.

The Siberian tribes had a noticeable mythology foundation which was track able back to nomenclature.  This was supported by a intellectual activity in Mongols and neighboring nations of Europe known as Shamanism as explained by scientist writing of Banzaroff. With the introduction of Buddism the Mongolic Nation's old religion became known as "The Black Faith" (Khara Shadjin) and the Buddism, " The Yellow Faith"(Shaira Shadjin). With the Chinese it was considered as Toa-Shen (gambolling before the spirits) this is according to Father Jakiuv.

Further understanding of Shamanism looks at the Palaeo - Siberians is considered the simplest form of Shamanism with Neo-Shamism  being the most complex. The Palaeo-Siberians were mainly family members and the Neo-shaman more the
profession Shaman. Not that the Palaeo -Siberian was more primitive it was the professional attended more the application of ceremonies and rites with the influence of communal life. Geographical influences also had effect on practice as relating to the heat and cold. These were the differences most directly noted on the practice.

With this understanding it becomes a personal determination that one decides whether the Shaman is a cult to the Siberian region or if it is part of the general primitive magic-religion.

The family Shaman is noted amongst Palaeo-Siberians and the professional amongst the Neo-Siberians. The family shaman are losing ground in modern times amongst the many tribes, with the exception of the Chukchee. Whether it is a individual or professional shamanism that occurs the reference that is implied is a person "with spirit" (enenilist), from enen, a shamanic spirit is also know by some writers as Arctic Hysteria. The most identifiable trait of a good Shaman is their power and other unusual qualities.

Because the Shaman's vocation is rather vague in description with the exception of the working the drums and singing of melodies the family "tries to communicate with spirits in the same manner as a shaman." The difference between the families and the professional is timing..the family is in the outer room in daylight, the professional in an inner room at night.

The vocation of Shaman is an inspired person often having overcome serious nervous afflictions. To be called to become a Shaman is generally equivalent to being someone afflicted with hysteria and they overcome the disease by answering the call of Shamanistic Practice. As a believer the acceptance means accepting several spirits or at least one as a protector or servant in which the Shaman can communicate with the whole spirit world.

Rev. Cynthia Vickers


Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

No comments: