What is shamanism?
In the words of Sandra Ingerman, “Shamanism is the oldest spiritual practice known to humankind and what we know about shamanism is that it dates back probably about 100,000 years if not more. It was a spiritual practice that was practiced by all peoples around the world. The word Shaman itself comes from the Tungus tribe in Siberia and it means one who sees in the dark, or healer, depending on what translation we go with. Shaman is a man or a woman who goes into an altered state of consciousness through the use of percussion or plant medicine in order to enter the non-ordinary reality, or the other world, to seek guidance from helping compassionate spirits, or spirit guides.”
Chances are that if you ask a hundred people, you might get a hundred different answers to what exactly shamanism is and many might struggle to put it into words at all. It is my belief that we all need to find our own understanding of the practice through our own experiences. This is my take on the subject. If you prefer to hear it in person, get in touch.
Once upon a time…
…we lived in tribes, communities, villages and our lives were closely intertwined with nature and the elements. The term and the specific functions might vary throughout cultures but let’s assume it was customary for each tribe, community or village to have a person that people would go to to seek help with their ailments and troubles: shaman, healer, medicine man/woman, sage, witch doctor, herbalist and so on. This function would most likely run through the bloodline and be passed on from parent to child, generation to generation.
As time went on, populations grew, some civilisations disappeared, others advanced, religions were formed and gained power, wars were fought, there was the witch hunt, the crusades, colonisation, industrial revolution, technological revolution, to name a few. And finally we find ourselves in the present day largely disconnected from our roots, from our ancestors and their practices, from nature, from the world of spirits and from our own souls. Some even from their bodies.
Modern solution for modern times
I personally see no sense in trying to recreate the way we lived back in the day of tribes and medicine people. The modern world needs an appropriate modern solution. Daily actions that can be incorporated in our modern lives. No need to retreat to the hills. Real change happens on the inside and from the inside.
To me shamanism means cultivating connection. Connection with nature, with spirit, with my guides. Cultivating my intuition and remembering. Remembering and trusting that all I ever need is already within me. That I don’t need to look to the outside to be whole. And therein lies my freedom.
Shamanism really is a way of life. A way of life that is in harmony with nature. Life can be one continuous ceremony if we let it. Some call it mindfulness. It’s about waking up in the morning and greeting the sun. Or the rain, or whatever weather happens to be served on any given day. It’s about honouring nature and the elements for they give us what we need to thrive. It’s about giving thanks. It’s about spending time in nature and just listening. Listening with our hearts and souls. It’s about learning to trust our gut feeling. It’s about being aware of the energies of our thoughts, words and actions and always aiming to come from a place of love.
Get in touch to hear more, or to book a treatment with me.