Mysticism/Psych Course 13: Third Wave of Kabbalah: Psychology

The third video of the second week the class* is about the relation of psychology and the “Third Wave of Kabbalah” including the idea that Hasidic leaders were shamans

  • The Hasidic movement is still with us.
  • Cover of Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of EarthseaHasidic leaders were shamans, see Professor Garb’s book
  • Shamanism is the oldest form of mysticism. Two roles of shamans:
    • Mystic, of going into other worlds, having all kinds of experiences of the depth of reality.
    • Magician. Power and ability to curse, to fight, to heal the body and soul.  People can lose their souls, they can get lost in some, something in life and lose their soul. And the shaman’s go on a journey to get it back.
  • Novels about this:  Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea; The Green Mile by Stephen King, Philip Pullman’s documentarial series
  • The main vehicle that the shaman uses is trance, is to go deep into trance, to find the parts of a soul, fragments and lost parts of a soul. What Hume called the shadow inside oneself.
  • How does Shamanism related to psychoanalysis, and how does trace relate? The shaman’s work of trance to go deep into trance inside the psyche.
  • Freud began his career by studying hypnosis; he had a problem with eye contact; so he moved to what he called the talking cure. Trance, hypnosis is to go directly into the unconscious.
  • Cover of Jung in AfricaJung in Africa discovered Shamanism and in himself the traumatic journeys: The Red Book, that has revolutionized the Jung studies.
  • The whole field of trance is more developed by Jung;  Milton Erickson and Gil Boyne, Dan Russell  have merged  hypnosis with mystical traditions with shamanic traditions.
  • The Hassidic leaders were shamans in many ways.
    • They worked a trance
    • They put their followers into a kind of collective group trance
    • They provided this healing that the people needed: during private consultation the rabbis would look into their soul
    • The Hassidic leaders also had this access to paranormal powers; the Hassidim believe that the leaders have paranormal powers
  • Literature and the novel is very important in order to appreciate spiritual worlds
    • Chaim Potok’s The Chosen  speaks about a Hassidic rabbi.  And the next book more about his son, Danny, who becomes a psychotherapist. He rebels against becoming the success of his father the rabbi, and how he wants to become his soul
    • Fishrish Nelson’s(sp?) novel (not in English). Who also was a descendant of rabbis who became a psychotherapist.

* This blog entry is part of my series on Professor Jonathan Garb’s“Modern European Mysticism and Psychological Thought” course I am taking at Coursera.

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1 Response

  1. Duri says:

    > Two roles of shamans:
    Mystic, of going into other worlds, having all kinds of experiences of the depth of reality.
    Magician. Power and ability to curse, to fight, to heal the body and soul. People can lose their souls, they can get lost in some, something in life and lose their soul. And the shaman’s go on a journey to get it back.

    May I add a third one?

    “The shaman’s work entails maintaining the balance in the human community as well as between the community and the gods or divine forces that direct the life of the culture. When these various domains of existence are out of balance, it is the shaman’s responsibility to restore the lost harmony.” (Shamanic Voices, by Joan Halifax, Penguin Books 1979, p.18)

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