The term shamanism comes from the Manchu-Tungus word šaman. The noun is formed from the verb ša- ‘to know’; a shaman is literally “one who knows.”
We don’t have a word in English that describes individuals who practice ancient healing modalities in this country. “Medicine Women and Medicine Men” are terms that may be more familiar and used when referencing indigenous healers. These are terms which have also been used interchangeably by many scholars. The shaman is the mediator between the supernatural powers and mankind, and the medicine-man/woman is primarily the curer of diseases through traditional techniques. The shaman may also be an expert in medical knowledge of the supernatural disease processes. This means that some shamans are medicine-women/men and conversely some medicine-women/men are shamans.
The scholars and anthropologists of The Foundation of Shamanic Studies have brought back the healing methods of indigenous peoples from around the world and have come to understand a common path that the shaman takes to do healing work. This is called Core Shamanism and is being offered to anyone seeking this path.
Core shamanism allows us to learn practices that connect with our own specific land, plants, animals or spiritual guides. You need only to be human with a compassionate heart to learn these methods and rituals of the shaman. I respectfully use the word shaman and shamanism to describe aspects of my work but I am not a shaman. I am one who practices this spiritual healing methodology and I have great respect for the ancestors of animistic cultures where it originated. I am a practitioner of core shamanism.
“The specific intent of this approach is to practice a methodology which is the common property–by heritage–of all humans. The original inventions of elements of this common heritage are lost in the mists of time, but are certainly tens of thousands of years old. As such, they cannot be attributed to any specific living group and thus become the property of all living people.” ~ Bill Brunton
To have a deeper understanding of the evolution of shamanism in America, please enjoy Bill Brunton’s article: “The Reawakening of Shamanism in the West”.
The path of direct revelation
Shamanism is an ancient spiritual practice that has been found on every continent dating back 40,000 years. This spiritual practice is based on the concept of animism, which holds that all things on this planet have a spiritual essence. Our ancestors believed that their health and survival depended on maintaining a relationship between the natural and spiritual worlds. They relied on the shaman to act as their intermediary between the visible and the invisible worlds. Through rituals designed to work with the helping spirits, the shaman facilitated the wellbeing of the community and addressed the spiritual disharmony believed to be at the root of an individual’s illness.
As mankind modernized, organized religion succeeded in marginalizing shamanic practice. But over the past thirty years, interest in shamanism has surged in the western world. Dozens of books on the topic continue to be published every year. In addition, many western therapists and health practitioners have incorporated shamanic techniques into their own practice. For these professionals, this practice is by no means to take the place of traditional or alternative healing methods but seeks an integrative approach to healing that adds a deeply personal and profound spiritual dimension.
The Shamanic Journey
Discovering non-ordinary worlds
This kind of journey refers to shifting of consciousness and going into a trance state. While in a trance the shamanic practitioner travels to a “non-ordinary” reality with a specific intention to meet with their spiritual guides to get information (for themselves or on behalf of others) and then intentionally returns to ordinary reality to share the information.
There are many ways that we can see or perceive information while doing a shamanic journey. Many of us have a mixture of the “Clairs” while journeying. The most common of these is Clairvoyance, which is the ability to receive information about a person, object, land, or physical event through means other than the known human senses. Clairaudience – Sound, Clairsentience – Feeling or touch, Clairconscious – Knowning, and Clairsalience – Smell, are all ways to convey the information is given in a shamanic journey.
Fine Art Paintings