SIDE EVENT OSCE – HDIM 2014 - 1st Oct, Warsaw

Shamanic Practices and related health and spiritual issues



Shamanic Practices and related health and spiritual issues

Does European law violates fundamental rights of shamans? Are contemporary laws still based in an out dated separation of body and soul, science and religion?

After a thousand years of Christian hegemony, Europe is today a melting pot of different spiritual and religious traditions. Some are easily incorporated in society; others stick out with uncomfortable edges, challenging preconceived ideas of society. Some traditions as so fundamentally different that they seemingly collide with the practice of law.

As the spiritual practices are rapidly growing in the OSCE member states, it is of paramount importance to highlight the human right situation of shamanism, as the freedom of religion and health is today obstructed by judicial practice that has not been adapted to a modern religious landscape.

Traditions such as the shamanic, where spirituality and medicine are seen as a whole, are specifically challenging for European law, where science and religion are strictly separated since medieval times.

Shamanism regards life as whole, with body and soul connected to the surrounding nature. Health and healing at a physical level depends on the health at a spiritual level, and vice-versa. Natural plants are used to connect the shaman to the spirit and to guide the healing processes.

The use of plants within shamanic practice is challenged in Europe today, not being recognised as fundamental part of a religious tradition.

The laws obstructing the shamanic medicinal plants were never intended for this situation. They are further ambiguous and unclear but are still blindly implemented, without a proper discussion on how the judicial practice should adapt to modern multicultural society, without violating fundamental rights of religion and health.

shamanic practices