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Walt Whitman: Shamanism, Spiritual Democracy, and the World Soul
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Steven gives an overview of the book:

This insightful book begins with the author’s dream, one that urged him to analyze the “shamanic structures” present in the poetry and prose of America’s greatest bard, Walt Whitman.  From a contemporary, analytical psychological viewpoint, Walt Whitman: Shamanism, Spiritual Democracy, and the World Soul demonstrates how Whitman speaks to the age-old sociopolitical and religious questions that are highly relevant to us today.  This extensively researched book is essential reading for those interested in the studies of literature, politics, religion, and psychology.               
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This insightful book begins with the author’s dream, one that urged him to analyze the “shamanic structures” present in the poetry and prose of America’s greatest bard, Walt Whitman.  From a contemporary, analytical psychological viewpoint, Walt Whitman: Shamanism, Spiritual Democracy, and the World Soul demonstrates how Whitman speaks to the age-old sociopolitical and religious questions that are highly relevant to us today.  This extensively researched book is essential reading for those interested in the studies of literature, politics, religion, and psychology. 

 

         

 

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This book is about Walt Whitman: who he was, what he thought, and what role he played in defining and shaping the shamanic poetry of the West.  Shamanism in my understanding is the vehicle for the projection of the Self into archetypal representations through which the urge to wholeness is reflected in the human species by way of the image.  Shamans, that is, were early carriers of the image of wholeness.  What I aim to show is that the archetype of the shaman is one of the first symbols of the Self.  As one of the oldest deposits of wholeness in the human psyche it is one of the primary forms, or psychic gateways, through which we each must pass if we are to achieve connection with the Self at its deepest archetypal levels.  In this sense, America’s foremost poet-shaman Walt Whitman, was not just playing around with language in an effort to appear profound.  He traced his calling to memories from early childhood, and as a revealer of shamanistic states of mind he has much to teach us about the mystery of vocation from an “archetypal-developmental”[i] point of view.  I have chosen this abundant poet as my starting point because he is, to my mind, the greatest poet-shaman who ever lived, and the one who is most often referred to as the father of American poetry. 
[i] The archetypal-developmental method of examining a poet-shaman’s life was first outlined by me in “The Visionary Artist.”

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About Steven

Steven B. Herrmann, PhD, MFT began his writing career in 1991 with an essay on the Santa Cruz poet William Everson. In 1997 he wrote his first paper for the C. G. Jung Institute Library Journal "The Visionary Artist." He has written many reviews on psychological and literary...

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