Temazcal Sweat Lodge in Cozumel

by Fyllis Hockman

I am sweating profusely. My pores are so overrun with liquid that I fear I will float away in a river of my own perspiration. Since I am molting inside a sweat lodge, I figure I can’t go very far. Temporarily reassured. 

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The Reluctant Shaman

Rachel E. MannI could write about my two trips to the former Soviet Union, the first during the time it was being speculated by the old Sovietologists that Andropov had died because he was no longer showing up in Politburo photo shoots, and the second the summer of the coup when a drunk Yeltsin danced on a tank in front of the White House in Moscow.  These are among a number of outer trips in my life.  But for me, the outer journeys are just juicy manifestations of a bigger and far more important inner journey that led me to becoming a reluctant shaman.


Just declaring in a public forum that I am a shaman takes the breath out of me. To say that my life is a trip may actually be an understatement.  I mean, I think it’s a truly crazy trip when you realize you suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia and simultaneously you suddenly find yourself meeting spirits who come to help you, or you are wandering in the Underworld where you meet and retrieve lost parts of yourself, and you encounter the traumas of your ancestors and even the world as a whole. In the process, I have met some interesting and amazing men and women, in this more ordinary realm of life, some of them whom I call the “new shamans” of the West.

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