DOI: 10.14704/nq.2016.14.2.946

Shamanic Vision Quest: Native American Ritual, Depth Psychology, and Renaissance Natural Magic

Kathryn LaFevers Evans


This paper portrays the shamanic vision quest through dreamtime cosmologies, common to the disciplines of Native American ritual, depth psychology, and Renaissance natural magic. The subject matter of Native American ritual is my practice, of depth psychology is C.G. Jung’s The Red Book, and of Renaissance natural magic is Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples’ De magia naturali. Whether through Native American medicine wheel or medieval geocentric cosmology, these disciplines are grounded in the physics of gravity: the most mundane law governing life on earth, yet perhaps also the most obscure law at play in quantum physics. Physics has recently observed what may be a graviton, a particle that incriminates the weak and lowly law of gravity as the kingpin of all the laws of physics. Gravitational waves also have been measured during the writing of this paper. Graviton: the immovable mover; the non-localized singularity or center of everywhere, but whose circumference is nowhere. Shamanic archetypes, like these medicine wheels or black hole ouroboros, may be experienced via neurologic spindle cells. Images of original nature photography and paintings embody ideas intended to draw the reader into their own shamanic vision of the dreamtime medicine wheel, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. The shaman’s solitary journey, back into the dreamtime of the dark mother, anima mundi or world soul—whether under the hypnagogic spell of an animal spirit guide, Philemon, or Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus—leads from the fiery event horizon of a black hole, to its central graviton singularity, to the dark matter that creates and consumes them. That is the paradox of human existence: only when we become conscious of the unconscious abyss can we live rooted to our singular nature, and from that individuation begin to experience divine love for our shared cosmos. This paper elicits that existential Unity.


shaman; vision quest; depth psychology; natural magic; medicine wheel; graviton; gravitational waves; dark matter; black hole; individuation

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The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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