My theoretical focus is on the phenomenological similarities between the shaman shape-shifter and the person with dissociative identity disorder (better known as multiple personalities disorder). While there exists identifying symptomology and descriptive factors concerning DID/MPD, the crux of the issue – the processing etiology of this adaptive response – is conspicuous by its absence. Understanding the phenomenology behind this psychological manifestation seems particularly dictated by research that either “rules out” or “finds similarity to” previously documented disorders or diseases. Careful empirical observation and identification of symptoms, reactions and effects on physical, mental, and emotional behaviors are documented to produce a “scorecard” that allows an academically-qualified person to decree that someone has or has not such a disorder. However, the actual process behind such alleged presenting issues is neither attainable nor knowable to anyone other than the owner of such. What has come to my attention is the similarity of the evidence and manifestations of DID/MPD to those overt mannerisms of the shape-shifting shaman of indigenous cultures. In this shamanic process, not only does the shaman believe, perceive and attain a different “identity”, but also the observers themselves perceive and believe that exact change – that transformation into a “new” identity. There are no observers who are not touched in some manner by that change. I call this innate ability “psychomorphism”. I see it as a subconscious ability of an individual to so transform her or his thoughts, feelings, and behavior to such an extent as to present as an alternate identity. In the case of a shaman, this ability is a controlled and focused activity, consciously sought and attained in an altered state. In the case of a person with DID/MPD, this seems to occur on a continuum from a subconscious uncontrolled unfocused reaction to a more aware, more controlled, more focused activity as healing is attained. I feel that an intensive, abrupt trauma (generally in childhood) tends to ignite this psychomorphic talent as a protective agent which lies hidden in the subconscious throughout the lifespan, and reacts spontaneously in response to actual and/ or perceived threats to the person’s well-being.
The MPD Shaman's Journey