Shamanism. Almost all of us know the word but still, it seems shrouded in mystery to most. Some people are often under the misconception that shamanism is one religion, when in fact, it is a spiritual practice that can be observed across a wide variety of cultures, religions, and spiritual beliefs. So we can find shamanism being practised all across the globe!
The word “shaman” itself traces its roots to the Siberian tribe of Tungus. And shamanism itself has been practiced since ancient times and it still is being seen today and has seen a bit of a split in the way it is practiced, either traditionally or the modern version. It is also a way of life. The very essence of it, however, is that shamanism denotes a deep connection with the divine and with nature.
Shamanism is spearheaded or enacted by what we call “shamans.” In some places, the word “shaman” is often associated with someone who is a healer. But it can also mean someone who is able to form a connection with the spirit world, who can enter a different state of consciousness. This is often a person who can take their transcendental energies and channel them into the arts of divination or healing. Shamans know that the subtler energetic realm expresses the material world into being. They can access both the material world AND the energetic realm in a way most of us can’t.
In “An Encyclopedia of Shamanism,” Christina Pratt writes that a shaman is someone who has mastery over 3 things in particular: altered states of consciousness, acting as a bridge between the energetic/spiritual realm and their community, and addressing the needs of others in a way that others in the more material sense can’t.
And while doctors are able to cure ailments of the body and the brain, shamans can heal something else entirely: the ailment that is alienation, the untethering of our bodies and emotions from the spiritual and the earth itself. This alienation is the root of diseases of both the emotional and physical kind. It is the job of modern shamans to cure that alienation with “Oneness,” which serves to rebuild inner harmony.
So what are the aspects of a shaman? Shamans must be able to connect with nature and tap into Mother Earth’s power. They have to be concerned with the overall health of their community, including plants and animals. It is recommended they observe spiritual practice every day for their body and soul to grow exponentially, to keep a constant connection with all creation, and maintain harmony. Shamans also ought to make pilgrim journeys to sacred places and natural wonders. Lastly, shamans head ceremonies to celebrate the nature spirits and help establish balance.
In essence, shamanism is the art, practice, and constant study of drawing in, storing, and using power to change reality. The purpose of this? It’s all for your community. The aim of a shaman always is to heal, act as a bridge to the divine, share prophecies, and engage in feats of the supernatural kind. As you can tell, being a shaman is no laughing matter. It is a very big responsibility.