It is not difficult to write you a 300 word comment on this course.
First, what I liked - Bishop Pat's attempt to be fair and unbiased in reporting of all this information. I particularly liked the documentation and footnoting that accompanies each week's offering. It not only gives credibility to the lessons, it allows me to do further reading on various specifics of the topic. Week 20's essay was one of my favorites. I appreciate the integration of the shamanic and the psychosocial, and the information about the various psychological studies on shamanic states. Calling attention to multicultural behavioral, expectational and consciousness comparisons was well done in this lesson as well. I have been presented the question of whether what shamans do is actual, or psychological, particularly in the realm of soul retrieval and other "difficult to explain" practices. Bishop Pat puts this into proper perspective in lesson 20. This is relevant on many levels and from many viewpoints, as is well explained in lesson 20. Placing shamanic work in proper cultural and community context is essential, as is acknowledging that shamanic work empowers the individual client, in the framework of community support. Bishop Pat's treatment of ethical considerations is excellent as well. It is my experience and opinion that shamanic ethics, integrity and confidentiality are no less essential than those of any medical or psychological practitioner. It is particularly valuable to me to read about shamanic practices and customs in the various cultures worldwide. I believe that the course has done a good job of addressing that. I liked the treatment of the shamanic cultures in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, as this is the hub and early diffusion of the ancient human shamanic diaspora. I would have appreciated more discussion of African shamanic customs. The taste of the !Kung customs was delicious, left me wanting more. I would have liked to see more and in-depth treatment of other traditions including the Amerindian, Australian, Maori and the variety of Asian cultures. The quick glimpse into Taiwanese shamanism was tantalizing. What I did not like about the course was the amount of errata in the texts. I have served as an editor in the past, and so I may notice them more than other readers might. Some of this may be due to the process of transferring the text from print to electronic media, or merely to flying fingers on the keyboard.
I would have liked to see the text in a more conventional format, as well. Utilizing the entire page for text, rather than a long slender column would have been easier to read for me, and would present better continuity. All in all, this is a valuable course, which manages to present, in only 20 lessons, an overview of many aspects including more depth in some which are of particular interest to me. Caroline "Kitty" Laib-Norris*******************************
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