PTSD Spirituality: From Trauma to Shamanic Formation

The connection between PTSD and Shamanism on the PTSD Spirituality Blog continues below.

 In Western Hemisphere Shamanism there is a Three Part Model for the Formation of the Shaman:

 1. The Call of Ecstatic Experience (Candidacy to the Vocation. Can be read as a voluntary or involuntary event)

 2. The Dismemberment (Being taken apart and then reassembled.  This process can be fatal, literally and/or metaphorically)

 3. The Formed Shaman (Mediates for the community, often at continued risk to self.  Mediating for the community means to help heal the community, possibly by taking the illness on yourself, perhaps fatally so)

 John Grimm, in his, The Shaman: Patterns of Siberian and Ojibwe Healing, summarizes the three part structure as follows:

 1. The Call from the Spirits

 2. Sickness or Withdrawal from Previous Activities

 3. Emergence of the Formed Shaman

 In coming PTSD Spirituality Blog posts I will examine each of these stages of the shaman’s formation in light of experiencing trauma, having PTSD, and interpreting those experiences.  While the Shaman model is not suitable for everyone with PTSD, it can be useful for some.  It does not require that one have PTSD from either a particular civilian or military source(s).  It only requires one to have been traumatized to the point of PTSD and have survived the process.

 I might also add that one can be a mainstream Christian and not have a conflict with learning from a shamanistic model.  In my previous post I mentioned that I began this study of shamanism in the context of my research on the Gospel of Mark.  There is not a conflict between learning from shamanism and living in the Christian Revelation and Tradition.  Each helps the other to be more clearly understood and to help one to commit to peace.

Semper Pax, Dr. Z


  1. [...] formation of a shaman is a three part process.  The first stage deals with the Call from the Spirits.  The formation [...]

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