From a shamanic point of view, mental illness is not what most people think it is. It is signaling for the birth of a healer, this meaning that they come to aid in the birth of a healer. Malidoma Patrice Some born into the Dagara people believes this to be true, he even teaches workshops on his West African Spirituality here in the US.
The person suffering from mental illness is someone who was chosen as a medium to deliver a message from the spirit world to the whole community. Dr. Some says that these mental and behavioral disorders are just two energies that are not quite compatible merging together in the same field. When someone doesn’t get assistance dealing with the presence of the energy they have obtained from the spirit realm.
When Some came to the US he was shocked at how we treated people with mental illnesses. His culture does not view mental illness as something that needs to be stopped at all costs. He was and still is appalled at how the ‘healers attempting to be born’ are being treated here in our culture. He says that the way we treat them is a major loss.
Dr. Some claim to have seen lots of entities and beings surrounding the patients in the ward he visited first. This referring to beings that only shamans and psychics can see. Some notes these beings were the causes of all the internal turmoil these people were dealing with. In the Dagara community, they help the person dealing with crisis reconcile both energies rather than working to expel or suppress one.
In order to test his belief that the shamanic view he had on mental illness was true even here in the western world Dr.Some took a mental patient back to Africa with him to his village. Alex, an 18-year-old American who suffered a psychotic break at the young age of 14 was drugged to an extreme extent and institutionalized but nothing was working to help improve his mental state. With permission of his parents, Alex made his way to Africa with Dr. Some.
Within about 8 months Alex was normal. He was even able to participate with healers in the healing business. He spent 4 years in the village because he wanted to, he said that he felt safe in the village. In a mental institute, a shaman does not simply see ‘a bunch of crazy’s’ a shaman sees a ton of unappreciated healers waiting to be born.
To hear Some talk about this himself please take the time to check out the video below. His wisdom is astounding. What do you think about all of this?
Inspired by “The Shamanic View of Mental Illness” by Stephanie Marohn