I’ve been helped by a spirit shaman for a long time now, so that finally I shall share some insights and believes I have developed on shamanism and shamans.
Shadow dancing is a Shaman’s art. While a healer works just with the Light to help heal the self and others, a shaman is different. A shaman works not only with the light, but also the dark forces. Shaman has the ability to conquer shadows, like fear, insanity, loneliness, self-importance, addictions, etc.
Shamanism is a term used for traditions and rituals to understand and communicate with the spirit world. It is based on the understanding that the tangible world is pervaded by intangible forces or spirits who affect humanity. Seen as such, shamanism has existed throughout the world since prehistoric times.
There is a wide range of types of shamanic traditions. There are however common traits and beliefs. These include:
The Role of Spirits
Spirits can play important roles in human lives. They can be either good or bad. Animals play an important role, acting as omens and message-bearers, as well as representations of animal spirit guides.
The Role of Shamans
Shamans are unique members of the community in that they are healers and gurus. They engage various processes & techniques to induce trance, incl. drumming, dancing, singing, meditating, and taking hallucinating drugs. During shamanic rituals, the shaman is an intermediary between the physical and spritual worlds. His spirit may leave the body to enter into the supernatural world. ‘Shamanic ecstasy’ is the terms used for the state in which the shaman transcends.
A shaman works with Spirit to benefit the community. A shaman has the ability to diagnose & cure illness, and to alleviate suffering. Shamans require specialized knowledge or abilities. Shamans are often organized into full-time ritual or spiritual associations, like priests.
How Shamanism Works
A shaman’s work is accomplished by traversing the axis mundi and forming a relationship with spirits, seeking their assistance and/or control. Shamans have been credited with the ability to control the weather, healing & hunting results; doing divination, dream interpretation & astral projection; and traveling to upper and lower worlds.
Some anthropologists object to the term “shamanism” being expanded to fit any healer from any traditional society. Their argument is that it produces a false unity between cultures and creates a false idea of an initial human religion predating all others. However, some others say that these anthropologists simply fail to recognize the commonalities between otherwise diverse traditional societies.
To learn more about shamanism: