This is a follow-up to another thread I posted in another subforum, but I felt that it was necessary to place it here because it's a little more personal than my first thread about Christopher Vogler's Wordpress account.
For those who aren't familiar with his work, Vogler is a veteran story consultant for a lot Hollywood film companies and is a teacher to many students of film and writing. He was partly responsible for helping influence stories like The Lion King, Fight Club, The Thin Red Line, and many other films. He wrote a book titled The Writer's Journey, which isn't only a helpful guide for writers, but in a way, it's also a philosophy on life and the many challenges that come with it.
One particular section he writes about is the writer's journey, which is compared to that of a hero's journey: we each have Shadows (like low self-esteem or confusion about our goals), Tests and Ordeals (the struggle to sell our work), the works.
In the same section, he also writes about how writers are very much like shamans:
For me, I agree with Vogler because in our own ways, writers are definitely like shamans. We can travel to other places when we're writing, or even dreaming when we sleep, and explore parts of ourselves and the worlds in which we write in and discover answers to questions/solutions to problems. We can pick up things like warnings or signs of what can come because of our experiences, and basically we understand the world in a new light than when we did before.As writers we travel to other worlds not as mere daydreamers, but as shamans with the magic power to bottle up those worlds and bring them back in the form of stories for others to share. Our stories have the power to heal, to make the world new again, to give people metaphors by which they can better understand their own lives.
When we writers apply the ancient tools of the archetypes and the Hero's Journey to modern stories, we stand on the shoulders of the myth makers and shamans of old. When we try to heal our people with the wisdom of myth, we are the modern shamans. We ask the same ageless, childlike questions presented by the myths: Who am I? Where did I come from? What happens when I die? What does it mean? Where do I fit in? Where am I bound on my own Hero's Journey?
So what are your thoughts on this?