Compared to the other people in the western world, and where we focus on pathology and the idea that this behavior is something that needs to stop, Dr. Malidoma Patrice Some, a West African Shaman has a different view of mental illness.
According to Dr. Some, the depression, bi-polar, psychosis and schizophrenia may perhaps be a remarkable transformation in consciousness and an inevitable step towards human development.
Dr. Some and the Dagara people support the shamanic view that signals mental illness as “the birth of a healer.” According to them, this person has selected as a medium for a message to the community. The “mental illness” according to Westerners, is“good news from the other world” according to Dagara people.
“Mental disorder, a behavioral disorder of all kinds, signals the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field. Disturbances result when the person fails to acquire assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm” said Dr. Some.
Dr. some encountered how the country deals with mental illness when he first visits the United States in 1980.
“So this is how healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with power from the other world is just being wasted.”
According to what he says, the West is not trained in how to deal with the existence of psychic phenomena and the spiritual world. The person who lacks the capacity to recognize what is happening is labeled as “insane” and they are given high doses of anti-psychotic drugs which hinder spiritual evolution.
In the presence of these people, Shamans and psychics are also able to see “entities” or “beings” that linger. Dr. Some examined the screaming and yelling exhibited by the patients in the psychiatric ward came to a conclusion that the entities were trying to rid the medication out of their bodies and their pain was heightening in the process.
According to Dagara tradition, these people are considered as a bridge between the physical and spiritual world and the community assists the person to reconcile with the energies of both worlds. But, if they fail to do this, it aborts the birth of a healer and sustains the initial disorder of energy.
According to him, Schizophrenia is having “receptivity to flow of images and information, which cannot be controlled.”
“When this kind of rush occurs at a time that is not personally chosen, and particularly when it comes with images that are scary and contradictory, the person goes into a frenzy.”
Using a practice known as a “sweep” Shamans will clear foreign energies out of the individual’s aura as it has the ability to calm the spiritual energy that is being received and calms the person down. The Shaman will attempt to come through from the other world in turn and give birth to the healer by aligning the high-voltage energy of the spirit. But if you block this, it creates and exacerbates the situation.
Shamans try to remove them from the aura rather align them when the energy channeled is negative.
Dr. Some was curious that whether his techniques would be applied to all patients while in the USA. Only upon a request, he took an 18-year-old mentally-ill patient into his African village. He was hospitalized and suffered from hallucinations and severe depression for four years and his parents were stumped on what to do. After eight months, their son had become “quite normal” after participating in Shamanic healing rituals and understanding his gifts as a healer said Dr. Some. He stayed another for years in the village as a healer before returning to US to complete his Psychology degree at Harvard. Dr. Some said that “he discovered that all the things that he needed to do had been done, and he could then move on with his life.”
Assisting individuals in rediscovering a spiritual point of view which is necessary for one to live is one of the gifts Shamans can bring to the Western world. Adopting the spiritual realm of life reduces the likeliness of mental distress which stems from the fact that “they are called by beings from the other world to cooperate with them, in doing healing work.”
Dr. Some said that “some of the spirits trying to come through, as described earlier, may be ancestors who want to merge with a descendant in an attempt to heal what they weren’t able to do while in their physical body.”
Also, he added, “Unless the relationship between the living and the dead is in balance, chaos ensues. The Dagara believe that, if such an imbalance exists, it is the duty of the living to heal their ancestors. If these ancestors are not healed, their sick energy will haunt the souls and psyches of those who are responsible for helping them.”
He also thinks that taking a ritualistic approach to mental illness creates an array of opportunities and can change the individual’s life for the better.
sources used: mysticalraven.com