Welcome to the Shamanic Pathways I will begin by giving you
a brief explanation of Shamanism.
Shamanism is a complex system of beliefs which include the knowledge
of and the belief in the names of helpful spirits in the shamanic
pantheon. The memory of certain texts - song, legend and myth: rules
for activities - ritual sacrifice, technique of ecstasy, tools; and
paraphernalia used by shaman - drum stick, mirror costumes. These
set of elements differ in every culture.
Shamanism speaks of beliefs, attitudes, convictions or ideological
practices. It is not a religion, which is a systemised set of beliefs.
It involves the acceptance of certain social roles including healer,
poet/storyteller/bard and ideologue. This was defined by a Russian
scholar named Hoppal in 1987.
There are many pathways in shamanism; they differ in a lot of ways
except they all share the same core belief system, so no matter which
culture (Asian, Australian, Aboriginal, Celtic, Native American both
north and south) the core belief is common to all. Shamanism can be
found in historical, political and regional every day living from
the nomadic tribes to the hunter-gathers and from the agriculturists
to the city-states.
The word shaman is a Tungis word from the Evank speaking peoples
of Siberia, its translation means, “One who sees with eyes closed
/One who sees in the dark”. The word shaman has been used to
include the likes of witchdoctor, magician, soothsayers and medicine
man/woman, this has lead to confusion and also the very nature of
shamanism and its ability to incorporate and adapt. Though a shaman
can be a witchdoctor, this does not mean every witchdoctor is a shaman.
Evidence has been found that suggests the shaman has been with us
for the past 20,000 years, which makes it the oldest belief system
in the world. Throughout this time span the core belief of shamanism
has remained consistent.
You maybe wondering what is the core belief? The core belief is the
knowledge of the spirits you will call upon, the knowledge that they
will reply. The belief that you the shaman have important work to
do and the knowledge that the welfare and wellbeing of your tribe
/community is in your hands this wellbeing includes the physical and
emotional as well as the spiritual. These are some of the core beliefs
others I will mention as we progress.
Is the shamanic path open to or is this certain peeps. The answer
to this is yes if it is your path to become a shaman you will. People
often wonder how they will know if the shamanic path is for them and
all I can say to that is if you are attracted to it and you wish to
follow then try it and you will know if it is for you. I think it
is a feeling you get when you know you’re on the right path.
People often say that Shamanism seems like it switches/turns into
something else, this is the known as the ability to shape shift and
is only part of shamanism. This is a small part as there are many
other facets to shamanism to work with before shape shifting.
Now I would like to give a brief explanation on the shaman as the
healer. Part of the duties of the shaman is the welfare and well being
of the community this includes as I said the physical and the spiritual.
The people of the community would come to the shaman and tell him/her
their ills and woes, and then the shaman can start the healing, using
various methods including, herbs, crystals, sacred objects, medicine
animal spirits. The modern shaman can when, qualified, use such things
as hypnotherapy and regression therapy. The modern shaman will also
advise the patient to first seek their doctor’s help and offer
his/ her own healing as a complimentary therapy to that of the doctor.
At the start of healing the shaman will talk with a helpful spirit
to ascertain the best method to be used. In order to talk to the spirit
the shaman will enter a trance state; this is known as making a journey
in an altered state of consciousness. To achieve this altered state
some pathways suggest the use of certain plants but most use rhythmic
drumming repeated again and again, rhythmic movement, chanting and
breath work, or a combination of these.
It is difficult to achieve at first but with practice it begins to
get easier till the shaman can do it at will. Whilst in this altered
state of consciousness the shaman retains full control and is aware
of everything around him/her. He/she can also communicate with and
influence the forces of nature. He/she can also manipulate universal
forces for the betterment of the community.
The shaman is not bound to the realities of time and space or its
limitations, and will go anywhere in order to facilitate the wisdom
and guidance of a spiritual entity.
What plants would the shaman use to reach trance state? These I believe
are called ethnogenic plants but basically the ones that have hallucinogenic
effects. Payote? Yes that is one that has been used by shaman to reach
altered states of consciousness as has toad licking
Would guardians be able to help with healing? Yes as they are the
ones who will tell you where the spirit is if you have to fetch them.
They will guide you and also if need be impart wisdom to you.
Do you think a modern shaman are having to conform to regulation and
authority by having to advise people to seek modern medicine first
before the shaman can heal, or is it shaman way to use best tools
around them? It is the shaman way to use what is best for the patient
and unless the shaman is a doctor and can prescribe say anti biotic
drugs then the advise is as it stands.
What animal spirit would help with anxiety as I heard you can call
on spirits to help you with it? One that is playful springs to mind
and also a calming one the otter and the cat.
Can anyone able to become a shaman, I have heard of journeys to become
a shaman with certain tasks/rituals? I it is your path to follow Amazon
then you will become a shaman
Do you have to be called a shaman by a tribe? No you dont have to
be called a shaman and if it was up to me I wouldn't have any label.
So basically a shaman is one that heals people and earth animals,
is this a fair comment? In his/her basic form the shaman is a healer
of all things.
Are there a certain form of healing a shaman uses Some people tend
to get a little mixed up as the shaman pathways and those of the hedge
witch run along together for some time the shaman uses that which
is best for the patient.
I will continue with the shaman and his many hats in the next Shamanic