Shamanism is the practice of connecting to spiritual wisdom for the purpose of healing one’s self and the community. Comparable to figures like ‘the oracle’, ‘sorcerers’ and ‘medicine men/women’, a shaman is seen as a sort of ‘bridge’ between the physical plain and the higher, spiritual realms. Many shamans will communicate with ‘shamanic spirits’ to aid a client in healing or to help a lost soul transition safely to the afterlife.
History of Shamanism
Shamanism has roots in almost every culture in existence, from the jungles of South America to the North American plains to the mountainous regions of Mongolia — traces of shamanism can be found in almost every culture, especially traditional, ‘native’ tribes. Shamanism has been around for centuries. Some even say that it’s the oldest spiritual practice in existence.
Though shamanism is now practised all over the world, many people point to the herding tribes of Mongolia as the birthplace of this ancient practice. In these tribes, the shaman was considered to be one of the most influential and revered members. They were the ‘wise man/woman’…the ‘sage’ who had access to a whole host of powers. These powerful men and women were (and still are) able to perform miraculous feats for their tribespeople, including controlling the weather, communicating with animals for hunting purposes and healing illness.
These days, many people will hear the word ‘shaman’ and instantly think of a tribesman in a headdress administering ayahuasca. Though plant medicines can be a very valuable tool in shamanism, it’s not the only way shamans connect to healing powers. Ancient shamans were able to reach transcendental states through methods like meditation, fasting, sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion, and isolation. Though plant medicines like peyote and ayahuasca were crucial to reaching higher states of consciousness, they were just one of many ways a shaman could connect to spirits.
Our modern-day shamans are not so different from these native tribesmen and women. These days, you can find shamans practising out of natural healing clinics as well as their own homes. People continue to look to shamans for help on ‘soul retrieval’, life advice, hands-on healing and to communicate to their loved ones who are on the other side, and yes…there are lots of shamans who continue to use plants like ayahuasca in special healing ceremonies.
Why You Should Practice It?
Though not everyone is destined to reach the life-altering heights of becoming a full-fledged, Mongolian shaman, there are many benefits to exploring one’s natural shamanistic abilities. Exploring one’s shamanic abilities can introduce a deeper understanding of the spiritual root of illness and suffering and how to heal one’s self and others through the power of spirit.
Channellers and healers, though not natural born shamans, can still learn to develop shamanic abilities and learn from ancient shamanic wisdom. Even in ancient times, shamans would guide others in their spiritual awareness, knowing that everyone has the ability to talk to spirits and access higher states of consciousness to a certain degree.
Shamans are typically ‘born’ into their abilities and will undergo a series of ‘initiations’ before they become a practising shaman. Spirits will tend to overtake their body and create an illness, causing extreme, unexplainable symptoms like stabbing pains and losing the ability to walk. Many shamans will say that they were ‘chosen by the spirits’ to become a shaman, almost against their will. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart and many people ‘fall’ into it, either because they have a close connection to the spirit world or were born into a lineage of shamans.
Keep in mind that the path to becoming a shaman is in no way ‘fun’. It’s often marked by an illness or ‘dark night of the soul’ and many shamans in-training will contemplate whether it’s even worth it to go through this tumultuous process. However, if you know, deep down, that you’re meant to be a shaman, then it is so. Those destined to be shamans will willingly go through what they must because they know it’s what they’re meant to do.
Being a shaman is like being a doctor, always on call, ready to help and serve the community through the wisdom they discover in the spirit realms. It’s a full-time job, but the rewards are great. Many shamans will feel a deep sense of purpose and nobility from the services they provide to humanity.
How Do You Know If You’re Meant to Be a Shaman?
- You are attracted to mysterious, esoteric concepts
- You’ve had a near-death experience and saw what it’s like on the other side
- You have the ability to see, talk to, feel and hear spirits
- You can feel the emotions of the people around you
- You have the ability to control your dreams
- You feel a strong connection to nature
- You feel most at ease when you’re alone
What Does a Shaman Do?
Like we said, shamanic abilities don’t stop at ayahuasca ceremonies. As a shaman, you might be employed to help a client who’s in a state of intense mental or physical distress. In this case, a shaman would go into the ‘higher realms’ by putting themselves into a trance state and put the client’s soul back together. It’s believed that every soul on earth is actually one part of a greater ‘oversoul’. We all have parts of ourselves that are walking around on other planets, timelines and universes that might be in a dark state of mind. It’s up to the shaman to retrieve the part of you that’s stuck in the dark and heal it. Shamans also have the ability to help souls stuck in purgatory after a shocking death to reach the light. Shamans are also able to heal themselves and others through dreaming, astral projection and channelling healing powers from shamanic spirits.
The role of a shaman is to serve his/her community through the wisdom gained from the spirit realms. Shamans are often humble people who understand the sacrifices they must make in this life in order to help and heal humanity. Their job is essentially to bring those who are suffering into the light and in doing so, create a better world.