What is shamanism, really?

treeWhat is shamanism?  I have heard bits and pieces about it throughout my lifetime, and when I became a paranormal investigator, the words “shaman” and “shamanism” kept popping up.  My friend Nancy, who leads the paranormal team I am a part of, was the first person I ever saw actually practice shamanism.  I was so drawn to her drum, and the herbs she would light.  I remember one time I watched her perform a ceremony to keep us safe and protected and she made a large circle on the ground with corn meal, while she spoke to her Native American ancestors.   What was this all about?….I had no clue, but I knew I wanted to learn more.

So, I did a bunch of research about different Shamanism courses that are offered.  I finally settled on a course and a teacher that seemed like a good fit for me.  My teacher’s name is Dr. Steven Serr, with Shamanism101.com.  Once I was signed up, I was excited to jump into my studies.  I have to admit, I was still feeling a little bit of anxiety…..was this some kind of witchcraft I was signing up for?  Will there be any crazy rituals or anything?  I was told that shamanism is not an organized religion….is this true?  Will I have to hug a tree and dance like a wild boar?   Are Birkenstocks required?

I have many unanswered questions still floating around in my mind, but here is what I have learned so far:

  1.  Shamanism is not a religion, or at least not an organized religion.  I guess the best way to describe it is a way of living while honoring the Earth, the environment and all living things.
  2. It doesn’t look like there is any voo-doo involved.  No witchcraft either.  No judgment here, it’s just not the path I am interested in walking right now.
  3. Shamanism has been practiced for over 30,000 years.  Pretty cool!

Here are some basic things I have recently learned:Maui Sun Rays

Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered state of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world. A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and helaing.[Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world.

 

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