Stanley Krippner

Stanley Krippner has spent the last several decades investigating the field of human consciousness, conducting research in such areas as dreams, hypnosis, shamanism, and disassociation, often from a cross-cultural perspective, with an emphasis on anomalous phenomena that seem to question mainstream paradigms. By "pushing the envelope" of orthodox models of actuality, he believes he and his colleagues have provided room to move for individuals and groups whose experiences, often classified as pathological, actually represent different belief systems, different ways of being, and different mythologies. He is an executive faculty member of The Saybrook Institute, where his personal commitment to teaching has been honored by the establishment of an interdisciplinary chair for the study of consciousness. He is an author and a contributor to several books on altered states of consciousness, dream states, and parapsychology.

Shamans and Drugs

The pioneering ethnologist Mircea Eliade looked upon "narcotic usage" by shamans as an indication that their traditional practices had degenerated. Although Eliade was right about many matters, he erred regarding psychoactive drugs (few of them "narcotics"). What are today called "entheogens" were present at the beginning of shamanism, especially in Siberia and the Americas. Not all shamanic traditions use drugs, but those that do continue to surround their employment with safeguards and ritual. Ayahuasca, for example, was used in the Amazon for centuries before it became a sacrament in some contemporary religious groups. Peyote is a sacrament in the Native American church, and marijuana is sacramental among Rastafarians. Join Stanley Krippner for an in-depth look at the Shamanic use of psychoactive substances.

Shamans and Sex

Unlike practitioners from many religious and contemplative traditions who abstain from sexual activity, many shamanic practitioners use sex as a part of their training and practice. On the other hand, sexual abstention is common before specific rituals such as the gathering of peyote buttons and various purification ceremonies. The "moon lodge" custom in some Native American tribes, though a purification, did not reflect a denigration of women's menstruation as "unclean" (as was the case in some early Western traditions), but an acknowledgement of women's power and an opportunity for them to spend time together apart from other members of their social group. Join Stanley Krippner for a look at the complex issues surrounding sex and its relationship with shamanic practices.

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