Ever since the 16th Century scientific revolution which was heralded in by the likes of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Bacon, Descartes and Newton there has been a clash of paradigms between contemporary science and metaphysics.
Up until this point in history, this radical separation in man’s approach to the mysteries of our World did not exist until everything changed with the advent of the new reductionist philosophy—one which the spiritual and religious spheres felt unable to uphold.
It is only the mutual disregard that each side holds of one another that offers any sense of commonality between them and divisions are as deep today as they ever were.
Nevertheless, there are a few signs of a melting in antipathy between these deeply entrenched poles of thought.
Claude Poncelet PhD is a rarity amongst his peers in that he is a speciliased scientist, with a strong connection to the American political system. He has also been a practising Shaman for over 25 years.
Early on In his book The Shaman Within, he explains why he not only does not see any conflict of interest between the disparate philosophies in his life but that he has actually found his Shamanic work to compliment his research into nuclear and astrophysics.
The first part of The Shaman Within addresses many questions regarding Shamanism: what it is, how it can operate as a spiritual path, how it aids and explains the key questions of life and the human experience as well as its function in the realm of the healing arts.
Following this the author closes part one of the book by discussing shape-shifting—a technique that is more closely identified with the Shamanic tradition than possibly any other.
The second part (Shamanism in the Twenty-First Century) explores the role of Shamanism in daily life—from its application in family and professional life,
Here the authors scientific mind comes to the fore as he takes a look at Shamanism in the sphere of scientific discoveries. It is here that he reveals his belief in the existence of a middle ground between the two apparently opposing principles of science and spirituality.
Next, he introduces the reader to his experiences in the Void, which is a deeply dark and empty area of the Shamanic world and then explores Quantum physics—perhaps the one aspect of science that truly does encompass metaphysics.
This journey into the realms of cosmology and astrophysics continues through to the end of the book. During which it engages with some of the deepest scientific theories whilst maintaining a Shamanic viewpoint along the way. Everything from the Big Bang, Black Holes, Quasars and Pulsars through to cosmic radiation is covered here.
In the final section of the book the reader is brought a little more down to Earth with an examination of the role Shamanism can play in healing the planet, revitalising communities as well as its role in group ritual work. It closes by proposing that Shamanism is capable of restoring our thoroughly broken relationship with nature by examining our own personal Shamanic connections to the natural world.
The book is not illustrated but contains an extensive list of references and full index.
Our Review of The Shaman Within by Claude Poncelet
The Shaman Within is not in any sense a manual on the magickal arts.
Indeed, its strength is not to be found in any sort of retrospective on Shamanism but is instead to be found through its examination of the path available to those seeking to tread a more meaningful understanding of the mysteries of inner and outer space.
Throughout its pages the author has executed a fine job in presenting his radical ideas without recourse to either New Age sentimentality or scientific mumbo-jumbo.
As a whole the book is both an engaging and fascinating account delivered superbly by someone of deep insight who clearly has his feet in two camps. His Shamanic viewpoint has so evidently broadened his understanding of science whilst conversely his vast experience in dealing with cold hard logic has enriched his understanding of the inner states of being and consciousness.
This is not an exhaustive study of Shamanism nor does it feature heavily on what a Shaman can attain in his/her magickal life. Instead it offers the wonderfully exciting proposal that we are actually on the edge of developing a completely new, galactic Shamanic tradition that integrates and adapts modern scientific principles within a spiritual and metaphysical framework.
The Shaman Within challenges consensus reality. It broadens the consciousness of its reader and stretches the limits of human imagination. It is a book that successfully bridges the world of spirit and matter and offers a truly authentic approach to healing this planet, and its peoples.
The Shaman Within is a brave and thoroughly enjoyable read, which offers much to a spiritual activists and inquisitive members of the scientific community alike.