While the definition of Shamanism can be quite broad, it is loosely defined as ‘an ancient healing tradition and a way of life’. In this day and age, ‘shamanism’ has become a popular key word, used a lot in the western world and in new age groups. It is important to remember that some of the Shamanic practices used today in some communities may be a little different to traditional Shamanism.
The origin of the word ‘Shaman’ comes from the Tungus tribes in Siberia and is used to describe the spiritual and ceremonial leaders in the different indigenous cultures around the world. Shamanism is about connecting with nature and the earth. All ancient healing rituals stem from nature, so practicing shamanism is a way in which humans can strengthen that natural connection.
The main questions that Shamans ask is: ‘why do certain situations happen in our lives and why do we act the way we do? Is it connected with the nature of our creation – why and how we came to be?’ Many communities from all over the world, such as the Native Americans, the Aboriginal people of Australia and the Maori’s of New Zealand have been practicing shamanism for hundreds and thousands of years, yet a lot of them have been misunderstood and have fallen victim to ‘witch hunts’.
There are several aspects of Shamanism; connecting with nature, self-healing and healing others, spiritual practice, pilgrimage to sacred places and ceremonies. Shamanism is about feeling a connection. Perhaps to yourself or to nature or to healing or to clairvoyance – a connection to something greater than ourselves. In the Western world, it can also be likened to personal development or growth.
One of the most important aspects of Shamanism, mentioned earlier, is ceremony. A ceremony is symbolic of putting your intentions into practice. There are many ancient rituals used around the world, but you can perform your ritual in whatever way you choose, as long as you are giving notice to the spiritual world that you are ready for change. There are many ways in which you can conduct a ceremony, it can be solo or together with others. You can meditate for 10 minutes or put your thoughts out into the world. You can journal how you feel or what you wish for and then burn it.
Shamanism is a way of life. If you feel you are being called to this path, embrace it and go into it deeper.