Shamanism is not a belief system. Shamanism is a path of direct revelation and experience ~ deeply personal, alive and connected with the totality of life. Shamanism is one of the oldest healing traditions of all earth-honouring people and can be found in many different cultures worldwide. It is the oldest way in which humans have sought connection with the totality of LIFE and as a ‘spiritual path’ it is over 100, 000 years old.
For those of you who know my work, you know that I refer to myself as a shamanic practitioner – I don’t refer to myself as a SHAMAN. I do this out of deep respect for this ancient healing tradition because I know the origins of the word and what is required to become a shaman/ medicine person.
Often I see and hear people in the West refer to themselves as ‘shamans’ and many of these people have not been born into an indigenous tribe or tradition, have not studied with elders, and most importantly have not gone through the MANY initiations and rites of passage that this path usually requires of a person.
You know, I get it! Shamanism is very popular right now and is certainly making a huge resurgence in many spiritual communities around the world. Everyone it seems wants to be a SHAMAN. I just ask that we all bring some respect to this ancient healing practice and way of life and realise that not even the ‘REAL SHAMANS’ call themselves that!
Why? Because they understand what the word really means and where its origins come from. They also have a deep reverence for this tradition and way of life.
The word ‘Shaman’ actually comes from the Tungus tribe in Siberia and means ‘one who sees in the dark’ and refers to a traditional healer or medicine person. A Shaman is an intermediary between this world and the world of spirit.
Shamans act on behalf of the community conducting ceremonial rituals, healing the people, healing the land and helping to guide others on this sacred path. Traditionally it is the responsibility of the shaman to ensure the wellbeing of the family, the community, and to make sure that there is ‘right relationship’ with the totality of creation.
As well as many other methods of divination and healing, the one thing that all shamans have in common is the ability to communicate and interact with the world of spirit and nature. In this way the shaman helps to maintain balance and harmony on both a personal and planetary level.
Whilst many of us shamanic practitioners, teachers and healers work in similar ways to the ones mentioned above, it is time for each of us to understand our unique gifts and offer them to our communities and to this world. Not as a copy of anyone, of any tradition, or of anything; but as a unique individual with our own stories, our own ancestral and spiritual lineage, our own path to walk, and our own ‘medicine’ to offer this world.
Know yourself and all else will follow!