What is Shamanism?
Let’s start with a brief overview. Shamanism is a form of direct revelation. Basically, instead of going to a tarot reader or someone else to tell you information, you are the conduit and do this on your own (Though, I myself, love visiting a card reader too, they can offer great validation to shamanism.)
The word “Shaman” has its roots from the word Šaman, meaning “One who knows” from the Manchu-Tungus tribe in Siberia.
Shamans and practitioners mainly uses a percussion to reach altered states of consciousness. This usually includes the monotonous beat of a drum, or a rattle. Depending on the region, they may also use other instruments to lead them into the hidden realms. In Australia they us a digeridoo and click sticks. Some use the voice like Norway, Lapland, and the Sami.
The shaman uses this monotonous tone deepen his state of consciousness to let the free soul travel into the hidden realms (the hidden realms in which I speak are often times called the Dreamtime, invisible realms, or the Other World. You’ll more likely hear non-ordinary reality here in the western world though) to bring back information and perform healings (this is called a shamanic journey).
Non-ordinary reality is seen as split into 3 specific areas: the lower world, the upper world, and the middle world. These realms have very distinctive features that we will get into in a later post. Within these hidden realities are where helping and compassionate spirits, who offer their guidance for the planet and all life on earth, reside. And it is these spirits that Practitioners interact with. The ones they work with are either Power Animals who take animal form, or Teachers that take human form. Many cultures see these human form spirits as gods and goddesses in which they honor with specific rituals and ceremonies.
The shaman will work with these spirits to pinpoint the areas of imbalance within the client and then will assist in the ceremonies coming ceremonies to restore the balance. And this would be a good time for me to segway into illness from a shamanic point of view.
What is illness physically? An illness can be various things, from an infected cut, or bronchitis. It can manifest mentally or even emotionally. Really, anything that makes us feel less than 100%.
While medical practitioners and psychotherapists look at these physical or mental and emotional aspects, Shamanism Practitioners look at the Spiritual aspects of illnesses. This means we as practitioners look at a spiritual or energetic imbalance in the system.
There are three causes of illness on the shamanic spectrum. Power loss, Soul loss, and spiritual intrusion or a possessing spirit (Disclaimer: many people think this is absolutely negative and liken it to a possessing demon, when in actuality, those are extremely rare. The most common case is the soul of another human who has not passed on yet.) It is usually a combination of these 3 things that cause illness, very rarely is it just one single reason.
When you go to a shamanism practitioner or make a spiritual pilgrimage to a tribe with a shaman, it is not the power of the shaman that does the work, it is a partnership between the Shaman and his/her helping spirits. These spirits are the ones who lead the shaman’s free soul to where it needs to go and helps bring the shaman back, and it is they who do the work. While the job of the shaman is to become a “Hollow Bone” (Put ego aside and work directly with the spirits), tell the client their healing story in a positive light, love and care for the earth and her people and the tribe, and to provide ceremonies and healing services, though one of the most important roles the shaman plays, is the helper, they will assist you in your healing journey should you need it.
Though it is not the power of the shaman who heals you, it is yourself. After the shaman or the practitioner performs the ceremonies and work with the spirits, they will provide some tools to help you begin walking your own healing journey.
Throughout the world the Shaman goes by many names (I urge you to look some up, they’re quite fun to pronounce and usually quite profound), and though their names and titles differ there is a beautiful unity to the practice of shamanism.
We call this Core Shamanism, which is what I practice. Core Shamanism takes what is the same around the world and puts it into the practice.
Well what is the same?
The drum and rattle are used to create a monotone percussion beat that helps lower from a beta state, to an alpha state, and finally to a theta state where shamans and practitioners can enter NOR with ease.
The three worlds. The Upper, Middle and Lower worlds are the same. They might differ in names and cultural appearances. But they are essentially the same. There are a few practices that believe there are more realms that you must travel to. But as many practitioners around the world are saying, the veils are thinning and we can access the worlds easier or the worlds are merging in some places, including ours (we will cover this in another blog post).
The teachings come in metaphors.
Outside of time and space
It causes you to slow down. When you slow down, things come slower to you, thus creating the illusion that we “have more time”.
Power Animals and Helping Teachers
Your experiences and expressions are your own and thus individual.
There’s much more that is the same and is quite astonishing. If you wish to know more or would like to conduct your own research, I am more than willing to provide some tips and pointers, websites, and books.
Through everything that is the same it is the individual practitioners that “add the meat to the bones”, each one adds their own style, technique and rituals. The spirits tell each practitioner to do something that will fill the shaman with the most light and inner peace and power that will help them grow into that “Hollow bone” that can provide each client with a beautiful and unique experience. It is because of this individuality that the deep work of shamanism is able to go deeper and more beautiful with each and every step.
May you go forth in Love and Light,