W3 Refection: A Doctor for Disease, a Shaman for the Soul

The article “A Doctor for Disease, a Shaman for the Soul” provides a great deal of illustration to confirm the beliefs of a Shaman. Dictionary.com defines a Shaman as a person who acts as intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, et cetera. Prior to my enrollment in this course I had taken an Anthropology 370 course where we discussed a novel that dealt very closely with the work of Shamans. That novel was called “The spirit catches you and you fall down”, it reference many Hmong culture beliefs and one of those was that of the healing powers of a Shaman. The story was based upon a true story that depicted the life an epileptic Hmong child named Lia Lee and the struggles her family faced due to their different cultural practices and beliefs. Many of the details discussed in the article for example the burning of papers and the sacrificing of small animals was heavily incorporated into the detailing of this book.

Their interaction traditional healing relationship with patients keeps them in good standing with the community beliefs. Shaman are viewed as very influential figures within Hmong culture and are greatly adored. The article states that under a new policy recognizing the role of traditional healers, the hospital is inviting Hmong shamans to perform nine approved ceremonies. The policy is the first of its kind in the country and may become a linkage for more acceptance. The Shamans are viewed as traditional healers so they could operate in any system of healthcare in my opinion. They mainly perform their rituals with the homes other cultural believers but as our health care systems are diversifying we will begin to see more and more in different setting other than homes and hospitals.

“Welcoming Shamans.” The New York Times. September 19, 2009. Accessed July 3, 2015.

Dictionary.com. Accessed July 3, 2015.

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