Halifax, Joan

Halifax, Joan – According to her website, Joan Halifax Roshi is “a Buddhist teacher, Shaman and anthropologist,” having been a faculty member of Columbia University, the University of Miami School of Medicine, the New School for Social Research, the Naropa Institute, and the California Institute for Integral Studies. She founded the Upaya Sen Center in 1990. Her work on shamanism includes Shamanic Voices: A Survey of Visionary Narratives (1979), chronicling the practices of a variety of individual shamans, including the Mexican Mazatec Indian curandera Maria Sabina and San (Bushman) healer Old K’xau. Shaman: The Wounded Healer (1982), a richly illustrated “coffee table” book, has made shamanism accessible to a wide audience and popularized the role of the shaman as a wounded healer—someone who has endured an often life-threatening illness but, with the assistance of other-than-human persons, has been healed in order to become a shaman and healer. Such an initiatory sickness is not unusual in indigenous shamanisms, though not universal. The concept of shaman as wounded healer must be contextualized as a device enabling Western understanding rather than a universal indigenous reality and is simultaneously a problematic metanarrative lacking nuance.


Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007


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