What is Shamanism?
In short, shamanism is an ancient practice of healing. Shamanism involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness to bring back information, healing and power. Shamans believe all physical, emotional and mental dis-ease is caused by a root spiritual imbalance. Shamans are the “walkers between worlds” and use this ability to restore balance by healing that root cause.
Contrary to popular belief, shamanism is not a religion. It is a method, a tool if you will, used for centuries by indigenous tribes to heal their people. It can (and does) co-exist with all religions from Christianity to Buddhism. There are Baptist ministers who are shaman. There are Buddhist shamans, Wiccan shamans, Gnostic shamans and people you would never imagine would practice shamanism. That said, it IS a spiritual calling, such as a priest or other holy servant has. And that is exactly what we do — we serve in some capacity to heal mankind, animals and the planet. This article by Paul Sivert does an excellent job of showing the differences between Shamanism and organized religion.
Shamanism is not an exclusive practice. Meaning, shaman work with multiple healing modalities alongside shamanism. These can include Reiki energy healing, Angelic healing, Esoteric healing, mediumship and many other methods that compliment shamanism. My personal practice incorporates spirit channeling, mediumship and Reiki healing. Many times I will work on a client and a loved one in spirit or spirit guide/animal comes in to assist or with a healing message.
Aspects of Shamanism
Shamans have a connection to nature because it stems from nature itself. Mother Earth lends her power to the shamanic healing process. We are concerned with the healing of all things because we are all connected spiritually. This includes people, plants and animals.
We endeavor to create a spiritual practice that promotes improvement of the body, mind and soul. Shamanism lives outside the sacred healing space. As a shaman, you don’t clock in at 9 am, do your healing sessions then clock out at 5 pm. Shamanism is a 24/7 way of life. Just as the monk commits to a life of purity and impeccable living, so must the shaman. We must live with integrity and the full expectation that karma exists (because it does!). We will only ask for the highest and best good of all. This is the only way to live in harmony with our soul and all of creation.
Shamans commune with and honor nature as sacred spaces. We love rivers, lakes, mountains, oceans, caves, stars, moon and the sun – we feed energy to and are fed by the energy of these natural wonders. When we receive our bands of power, we can strengthen and feed those bands with these same things. Shamans hold ceremonies to show our reverence for and to work with the natural world to bring harmony and balance to our planet and the universe.
Caring for the Shaman
Healers naturally give to others more than they give to themselves. However, self-care is critical. Shaman are known as the “wounded healers”. We heal everyone but ourselves. If you are considering the shamanic path, know that you MUST practice self-care or you risk infecting your clients with what I call your “bad ju-ju” or “hooch”. You must clear yourself of any past issues and going forward you must stay vigilant to resolve any future issues as they arise. For this reason, during shamanic training, we are not only taught the shamanic methods for use on others, we do these same healing methods on ourselves for self-healing. We undergo the soul retrievals and all the work necessary to clear ourselves so that we do not bring it to those we will be healing in the future. This self-healing is an intense and moving experience.