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is Shamanism Shamanism is a
methodology based on the the concept of Animismand that the mediation between the visible
and the spirit worlds is effected by shamans
Shamanism is an anthropological
term referring to a range of beliefs and practices
requiring communication with the spiritual world.
A practitioner of shamanism is known as a shaman
is not a religion, but a methodology. It is a
system of beliefs or practices that emphasise
communication between the physical and spiritual
worlds and predates the other organised religions
of mankind. Shamanism is also recognised as the
oldest healing tradition in the world.
Shamanism is a tribal system that exists
today in cultures without a tradition
of literature, shamanism emphasises
that links exist between the human world
and the world of spirits. Practiced
intermediaries known as shamans,
act as a type of conduit to pass communication
between both these worlds.
Shamanism still exists throughout the
world today, despite the persistent
attempts of missionaries, religious
zealots and fanatics to eradicate it.
has enjoyed a resurgence of interest
in the last twenty years. Many books
on the subject have contributed to the
heightened interest. Many indigenous
shamans have come forward in recent
years to help train others and share
their knowledge. They believe their
prophecies have urged them forward and
that the time is now. One
of the basic principles of shamanism
is the belief that everything has a
spirit and is alive. The tree has a
spirit, the rock has a spirit, If everything
has a spirit and is alive, we humans
then find ourselves in a position of
equality rather than dominance.
Most importantly, shamanism can make
a practical difference in this world
we live in, it can bring about a change.
many thousands of years, our ancestors
all over the world discovered how to
maximize human abilities of the mind
and spirit for healing and problem-solving.
The remarkable system of methods they
developed is today known as "shamanism,"
a term that comes from a Siberian tribal
word for its practitioners: "shaman"
(pronounced SHAH-mahn). Shamans are
a type of medicine man or woman especially
distinguished by the use of journeys
to hidden worlds usually known through
myth, dream, and near-death experiences.
Most commonly shamans do this by entering
an altered state of consciousness often
using monotonous percussion sound.
What we know today about shamanism comes
from the last living bearers of this
ancient human knowledge, the shamans
of dying tribal cultures scattered in
remote parts of the world. Few of them
are left today, due to the destruction
of their peoples and cultures, and to
deliberate attempts to eradicate the
shamans and their knowledge, even though
shamanism is not a religion, but a methodology.
A shaman is one who goes into an altered
state of consciousness at will. During
this altered state, the shaman makes
a conscious choice to journey to another
reality, a reality which is outside
of time and space. This other reality
is composed of three layers: the lower
world, the middle world and the upper
world and is inhabited by helping spirits.
The shaman is able to establish relationships
with these spirits and to bring back
information and healing for the community
or the individual.
Now, at the last moment, open-minded
Westerners are beginning to discover
for themselves that the shamanic methods
can yield astonishing results in problem-solving
and healing, both for themselves and
for others. As a result of their use
of these ancient methods, people are
acquiring a new awareness of their spiritual
unity with all beings, with the Planet,
and with the Universe. They are also
discovering that there is a dimension
of reality beyond that ordinarily perceived.
practice of shamanism is derived from
ancient teachings and is practised worldwide.
Although ancient, (it is estimated that
shamanism may have originated over 10,000
years ago) its practice also exist in
the modern world, it survives in areas
such as Tibet, North & South America
and within various African tribes. Shamanism
is used to restore balance and healing
to both people and the planet we live
in. The practice of shamanism involves
shamanic practitioners making journeys
or soul-flights to other realities in
order to bring back advice, help or
soul-parts for the individual/community.
Shamanism has existed since the beginning
of time on every continent of the planet.
It is the oldest way of healing the
individual, dating back as far as to
the Stone Age. A shaman/shamanka (feminine)
is an individual that can alter his/her
state of consciousness and travel at
will between this world and otherworlds
to find healing, guidance and knowledge
for themselves, the community and the
Aspects of shamanism were encountered
in later, organised religions, generally
in their mystic and symbolic practices.
Greek paganism was influenced by shamanism,
Some of these shamanic practices of
the Greek religion were later adopted
into the Roman religion.
There is a strong shamanistic influence
in the Bön religion of central
Asia, and in Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhism
became popular with shamanic peoples
such as the Tibetans, Mongols and Manchu
beginning in the eighth century. Certain
forms of shamanistic ritual became combined
with Tibetan Buddhism and became institutionalised
as the state religion under the Chinese
Yuan dynasty and Qing dynasty. One common
element of shamanism and Buddhism is
the attainment of spiritual realisation,
often mediated by entheogenic (psychedelic)
In Europe, starting around 400 AD, the
Christian church brought about the collapse
of the Greek and Roman religions. Many
temples were destroyed and important
shamanic ceremonies were outlawed. Starting
with the Middle Ages and continuing
into the Renaissance, much of remaining
areas of European shamanism were wiped
out by campaigns against witches often
orchestrated by the Catholic Inquisition.
This repression of shamanism continued
as the Christian influence spread with
Spanish colonisation. In the Caribbean,
and Central and South America, Catholic
priests followed in the footsteps of
the Conquistadors and were instrumental
in the destruction of the local traditions,
denouncing practitioners as "devil
worshippers" and having them executed.
Later in North America, the English
Puritans conducted periodic campaigns
against individuals they perceived as
witches, and more recently, attacks
on shamanic practitioners have been
carried out at the hands of Christian
missionaries to third world countries.
The Upper World is the spiritual
realm which contains the realm of
the stars. It is the world where
the blueprints of life may be seen.
Teachings about healing and identity
are derived with the help of guides
and the lessons of mutual responsibility
Middle World is that world in which
we live and breathe. This world
is shadowed by the otherworld, which
constantly overlaps, so that we
may move from one dimension to another
The Under World is the realm of
ancestors and spirits - the root
of our deepest thoughts and emotions,
the depths of our psyche. It is
the place where the light within
the earth may be accessed to bring
healing and growth
Animism (from Latin anima "soul,
life") is a philosophical, religious
or spiritual idea that souls or spirits
exist not only in humans but also in
animals, plants, rocks, natural phenomena
such as thunder, geographic features
such as mountains or rivers, or other
entities of the natural environment.
Animism may further attribute souls
to abstract concepts such as words,
true names or metaphors in mythology.
Animism is found widely in the religions
of many indigenous peoples, and also
in Shinto, and some forms of Hinduism,
Sikhism, Pantheism and Neopaganism.