New Shamanic Art

This website is dedicated to the healing arts, the healing image, sacred clothing, the poetic word and ancient symbols of healing. Our view of healing art is anything that produces a deep and transcendent experience for the participants, both artist and viewer.  This point of view was developed by Victor Greentree in an article called the Artist as Shaman in a 1991 Quest Magazine.  Ritual is a unifying force and brings these media into a synthesizing whole.  In ancient cultures art was considered a magical force. Objects, clothing, music and chants and other processes all projected these forces.  Hence they were decorated and choreographed to enhance their sacred power.  Early art was connected with efforts to bring change about by connecting with unseen and powerful Spirits.

Now, as we come to a point of advanced human consciousness we have arrived at a point when the qualities of the ancient shaman will be the basis for healing arts. We need, at this critical juncture in history, to be connected to the higher forces. In earlier times, the mandala was considered to be the highest form of art, connecting humans and their culture to the cosmic forces.  Indeed, objects of every kind were originally designed for this connection.

According to Greentree, artists today can be subjected to self-inquiry in deep and profound ways, often a challenging, but necessary fact of their art. In the West, modern art has been about individual search for inner truth. The shamanic tradition of art-makers assumes that the artist is a wounded healer who has committed to the process of self-healing.  Through this inner journey the artist-shaman has the ability to transform self, others and nature. These individuals are not victims of their art.  Instead they use their medium for the greater good.  This inner journey of the artist is the source of sacred art.  This art is based on intuition and feeling coming from the unconscious of the artist.  The images are not necessarily directly reflective of the unconscious but instead are implicit and often veiled, nevertheless the message is transmitted through the art.

Greentree states that the definition of sacred art is anything that can be experienced through the five senses and which produces a Religious Feeling State. Shamanic art or sacred art is that which products this feeling in large groups of people. This peak experience is truly a deep need in the human psyche, including modern human beings.  It is my belief that this need is deeply frustrated by our linear culture bound and rational, scientific material and industrial existence.  It is time for a change.

The most essential meaning of shamanism is shamanic ecstasy a theory proposed by Mircea Eliade in his book Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy.   Directly contacting the Spirit originally was an experience possible for everyone and only later became the purview of the shaman. Experiences of transcendent unity and harmony are ingrained in our psyches and need expression once more as they occurred in ancient times. We need to reconnect with experiences that produce the feeling of unity that can be transcendent and visionary.

Art and artists now can produce this religious feeling state by learning and practicing psychological and esoteric techniques of inducing this feeling state in her self. Then, by extension, through her art, she can produce this same state in others. Art that can produce and is derived from transcendent experiences of the artist is, in and of itself, a healing experience. The artist, having contacted and worked with his Soul, becomes a shamanic force- a shamanic artist producing healing art.

The  time has come for resuming these numinous experiences that shamanic practices used to engender.   The artist, is, as well, in a good position to transmit  these experiences through teaching and leadership.  Forming contemporary rituals and creating them, is, itself an art which can be extremely creative for our times.