“There is another reality in addition to the ordinary reality of space, time, matter, and energy,” writes Claude Poncelet, author of The Shaman Within, who has spent nearly thirty years engaged in shamanic practice and twenty-five teaching others to access this alternate reality. What may be surprising is that Poncelet is also a physicist specializing in nuclear physics, astrophysics, and cosmology, as well as a university professor and environmentalist who served as chief staff liaison on President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development.
For Poncelet, there is no inconsistency between shamanism and science; rather, he finds that “the modern scientific story and the shamanic story look increasingly similar in their understandings of reality.” What makes his work so exciting is his ability to bring shamanism, a ten-thousand-year-old way of accessing alternate reality, into the 21st-century Western world.
Shamanism differs from other spiritual practices in that it derives its power through the use of altered states of consciousness to access the spiritual dimension of reality. Poncelet offers practices that allow us to “see” and experience as a shaman does—with the heart, the third eye, and all the senses of the energy body.
Poncelet explains shamanic perspectives and principles (that everything is sacred and interconnected, that there is a spiritual dimension to reality, and that we have the capacity to intentionally enter this dimension) and makes connections between them and modern science, particularly quantum physics, cosmology, relativity theory, and neuroscience. His work, filled with personal experiences in both realms, lifts the veil between ordinary and non-ordinary reality to reveal the world as it truly is—alive, infused with spirit, and accessible.
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