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The Perennial Philosophy Series
The Writings of Frithjof Schuon
Books on Hinduism
Spiritual Poetry
A Definition of the Perennial Philosophy
The Universal Spirit of Islam: Keys for Interfaith Understanding
Spiritual Masters - East & West Series
Paul Goble's World: Native Americans' relationship to all created beings
What are the "Foundations of Christian Art?"
Treasures of the World's Religions
  Light on the Ancient Worlds: A Brief Survey of the Book by Frithjof Schuon Back to the List of Slideshows
An excerpt from
the second chapter of
Light on the Ancient Worlds,
"Fall and Forfeiture,"
written by Frithjof Schuon
slide 4 of 10

Chapter 4:   American Indian Shamanism

What is the spiritual value of American Indian Shamanism? What are its foundations and main ideas? How is it different than and how is it similar to the great world religions? Schuon gives us many keys to penetrating this fascinating world.
What is the correct and concrete meaning of the Indian idea that everything is “animated”? In principle and metaphysically it means that there springs forth from each thing—from its existential center—an ontological ray that is made of “being”, “consciousness”, “life”, a ray which connects the object through its subtle or animistic root to its luminous and celestial prototype; from this it follows that it is possible for us to attain to the heavenly Essences by taking anything whatever as starting point. Things are coagulations of the divine Substance; the Substance is not things, but things are it, and they are so by virtue of their existence and their qualities; this is the profound meaning of the polysynthetic animism of the Indians, and it is this acute consciousness of the homogeneity of phenomenal worlds that explains their spiritual naturalism and also their refusal to detach themselves from nature and to become involved in a civilization made up of artifices and servitudes and carrying within itself the seeds of petrifaction as well as corruption; for the Indian as for the Far-Eastern, the human is within nature and not outside it. (Excerpted from page 64.)

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