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Describing Shamanism will not be an easy thing . Anyone who works Shamanicaly most possibly will have their own ideas and experiences  that will differ to mine .


First , Shamanism is not a Religion , though it’s practice  is not incompatible with most religions and traditions .  There is no  hierarchy , Sects , Sacred text or Dogma


For me it is the connection with Nature  and to the Spirit of the Natural world . Something we have often lost for one reason or another . Or we don't have the time and the chance to get outside and walk in the Natural world .  


The Shamanic concept is an Animistic view  that everything is Alive and has spirit/soul , Animals , plants , Trees, Stone , rocks , Rivers , woods , Mountains and even inanimate objects . Everything has a presence and in that way everting has spirit.  And I must point out that “All Shamanic cultures are Animistic , But not all Animistic cultures are Shamanic” ( Nicholas  Breeze Wood )


Shamanism is old.  We don't really know how old . But it would possibly begin with our connection to the Natural world our earth and  the Universe .   Probably with our need to understand our world and  and make our way in it in order to survive. To find food , water and shelter .  

It is suggested  Shamanism goes way back into Human History . As dates as far back to our hunter gatherer (palaeolithic ) Cultures . Practiced by our Ancestors . from Ritual artefacts in the African Rift valley from 400,000 years ,  Cave art from 30,000-years-old shows evidence of shamanic practices, and Shamanic tools have been found in Iron Age remains.  


The Word Shaman cones from the Siberian Tungus peoples . It is a corruption of the word Samaan. The word Shaman has found it way from Russia into the western culture  and is in common use today .   There are pockets of Shamanic practice in tribal peoples throughout the world . But they do not all call themselves shamans and will have different names for those who perform this practice .

Indeed throughout the world each Shamanic culture will have it’s own traditions and practice.  But a Shaman from  one Society would  understand and recognise what a Shaman from another culture  was  practicing . Showing a remarkable constancy in these methods amongst  different Cultures , and indeed they are doing the same work .


As I say there are pockets of traditional Shamanic practices throughout the world  including Siberia , Some Tribes of North and South America ,  Groups in India and the Himalayas ,  and Northern Europe including the Vikings with their practice of Seidr . This Ancient  practice of Seidr died out  centuries ago but is being  reconstructed from the old Texts ,sagas and archeological evidence.


The Role of a Shaman  first and foremost is to communicate with the Spirits . Those of the Ancestors , local Gods and  local Spirits . travelling out to other Spirit worlds . In order to do this the Shaman must enter a trance in order to merge with these Spirits .So as to gain knowledge and power  to aid his/her Community.

Shamanism is a tribal practice and the Shaman is there to serve his community .  With Healing , Ceremonies, support  , wisdom and information . Also Using his/ her practice to  help defend that community.    But in this  Culture the primary job is that of a healer.


There are arguments that being a Shaman is a calling . That you cannot chooses to have that position. but you are born  to be a Shaman . Or Rather you are called to be a Shaman  If the Spirits want you . No Spirits equals  no Shaman .                                                                   However Jonathan Horwitz believes  shamanism  is “an ability that we are all born with  but it is taken away from us , “ How . well trough the system of eduction , being told to grow up , having to survive in this material world . Bu some people manage to either Hang on to  or  mange to reconstruct their ability to return to the practice of Shamanism.                                                                                                                                                 Paul Francis ( Therapeutic Shamans) Believes that Shamanism is wired into the Human Psyche , Deeply familiar at an Ancestral level. This makes (re) learning shamanism easy and familiar experience for many people .  


Shamanism  can be used in many ways : from finding answers  Divination , to Healing for self and others , Counselling for personal and spiritual development . All undertaken with Spirit guides , allies and helpers . Shamanism  connects us to all life and brings us wholeness .



Further Reading .  So What exactly is Shamanism them, by Nicholas Breeze Wood                                              

Animism - Everyday Magic  Jonathan Horwitz .      

Both articles are in Sacred Hoop Special guide to Shamanism Ed:-  Nicholas Breeze Wood , Pub Sacred hoop




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