Cultural anthropologist and author, Dr. John Broomfield, looks a little like a modern-day Indiana Jones, and he has a novel way of finding solutions to society’s pressing humanitarian dilemmas.
Dr. Broomfield has spent much of his life travelling the globe studying the ancient shamanic practices of the world’s indigenous cultures: the methods he says our tribal ancestors used to resolve problems before mankind became complicated.
And he believes many of the solutions to healing personal, family, community and global environmental issues still lie in the simple and practical nature-based wisdom our forebears used.
The New Zealand academic is an internationally recognised authority on indigenous spirituality and has studied under teachers of American Indian, Tibetan Buddhist, Hindu, Balinese, New Zealand Maori and Australian Aboriginal traditional practices.
This week, he begins his world speaking tour with a public lecture on ancient wisdom applied to modern-day solutions, and a five-day training retreat in shamanic methods which will be held at the Crystal Waters Permaculture Village, at Conondale. Dr Broomfield said the natural environment and rainforest areas in the coast’s hinterland were ideal for the training work, which was open to anyone.
A former Professor of Asian and Comparative History at the University of Michigan in the US, Dr Broomfield’s career has included teaching posts at the Australian National University, as President of the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and fellowships at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies.
He says recovering a ``sense of spirit’’ was vital to the welfare of western communities world-wide.
"Shamanism understands that the health of the individual is embedded in the health of the family, the wider community and the Earth itself.
"By drawing on knowledge from ancient spiritual traditions, other cultures and nature, we can indeed transform our world," Dr Broomfield says.
"Shamans believe that illness is not, at core, about germs or genetic defects but rather about loss of soul – by individuals and communities both."
"We are all descendants of Shamanic peoples. These ancient, world-wide spiritual traditions are our inheritance and we can re-learn the techniques our ancestors used for healing ourselves, families, communities, animals and the Earth itself," Dr Broomfield says.