My-beloved-the-ex-neuroscientist-shaman has posted a concise thought-piece on the mysticism of the Jedi in Star Wars 1-3. As she’s a practicing curandera, she’s got a good point to make. Plus, I sat through those three movies with her… so it’s good something of benefit came out of that!
As I watched the movies, I kept track of how many times Anakin Skywalker violates some of the basic principles of being a shamanic apprentice – and of how Obi-Wan Kenobi fails to correct him in any meaningful way. I had a whole rant prepared about how the Jedi aren’t shamans, but upon further reflection, that’s a bit like saying that an apple isn’t an orange: the Jedi, at least at the stage at which we see them from the time of The Phantom Menace, aren’t even trying to be shamans anymore, if indeed they ever were. They’re archetypal heroes of the Joseph Campbell variety.
So what is the difference between an archetypal hero and a shaman?