It is not difficult to write you a 300 word comment on this course.
First, what I liked - Bishop Pat's attempt to be fair and unbiased in
reporting of all this information. I particularly liked the documentation
and footnoting that accompanies each week's offering. It not only gives
credibility to the lessons, it allows me to do further reading on various
specifics of the topic.
Week 20's essay was one of my favorites. I appreciate the integration of
the shamanic and the psychosocial, and the information about the various
psychological studies on shamanic states. Calling attention to multicultural
behavioral, expectational and consciousness comparisons was well done in
this lesson as well. I have been presented the question of whether what
shamans do is actual, or psychological, particularly in the realm of soul
retrieval and other "difficult to explain" practices. Bishop Pat puts
this into proper perspective in lesson 20. This is relevant on many levels and
from many viewpoints, as is well explained in lesson 20. Placing shamanic
work in proper cultural and community context is essential, as is
acknowledging that shamanic work empowers the individual client, in the
framework of community support. Bishop Pat's treatment of ethical
considerations is excellent as well. It is my experience and opinion that
shamanic ethics, integrity and confidentiality are no less essential than
those of any medical or psychological practitioner.
It is particularly valuable to me to read about shamanic practices and
customs in the various cultures worldwide. I believe that the course has
done a good job of addressing that. I liked the treatment of the shamanic
cultures in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, as this is the hub and early
diffusion of the ancient human shamanic diaspora. I would have appreciated
more discussion of African shamanic customs. The taste of the !Kung customs
was delicious, left me wanting more. I would have liked to see more and
in-depth treatment of other traditions including the Amerindian, Australian,
Maori and the variety of Asian cultures. The quick glimpse into Taiwanese
shamanism was tantalizing.
What I did not like about the course was the amount of errata in the texts.
I have served as an editor in the past, and so I may notice them more than
other readers might. Some of this may be due to the process of transferring
the text from print to electronic media, or merely to flying fingers on the
I would have liked to see the text in a more conventional format, as well.
Utilizing the entire page for text, rather than a long slender column would
have been easier to read for me, and would present better continuity.
All in all, this is a valuable course, which manages to present, in only 20
lessons, an overview of many aspects including more depth in some which are
of particular interest to me.
Caroline "Kitty" Laib-Norris*******************************
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