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Phil Borges on myths, shaman, and seers

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April 11, 2013

Phil Borges has been living with and documenting indigenous and tribal cultures around the world for the past 20 years.

He has witnessed the State Oracle of Tibet go into a trance, felt the warmth of a healing touch, photographed those who have only seen their faces in a reflection, been the subject of shockingly accurate predictions, but most importantly, he has been the welcome guest of some of the eldest, most fragile, and mystical cultures of human existence.

His encounters while on this long journey have been the catalyst for numerous projects and books that addressed the issues faced by people in the developing world.

But it wasn’t until recently that Phil’s experiences caused him to turn the lens to his own culture.

Always intrigued by the shaman’s role in each community, and “often times fascinated by their abilities,” Phil narrowed his focus and specifically studied these individuals in the various cultures he was visiting when he became aware of a commonality among shamans. Phil explains:

“What intrigued me the most was that the majority [of shamans] had a similar story when I asked how they came into their unique role. Almost every one […] had an episode in their teens or adolescence that would have been diagnosed as a psychotic episode or schizophrenia in my culture. Instead, they were typically taken aside by an older shaman or grandparent and told they had a gift and taught how to manage their altered consciousness and become a valued member of their community.”

The realization has ignited a curiosity that propels Phil Borges on a new social documentary about non-ordinary states of consciousness.  But this time, we may find that it’s not the modern world helping the developing world, but rather the contrary.

Follow Phil on Twitter and his blog for updates on his recent project, Inner Worlds: Shamans, Consciousness and Culture.


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