An open heart has no limits

Shamanism: intro

Shamanism's roots are lost deep in time.
The term "shaman" originates from the Altaic word "saman", meaning "priest of the Ural-Altaic peoples". It was also used in the wider native Tungus, Mongol and Turcic cultures in ancient Siberia, where shamans were healers and people of wisdom who communicated with nature and the world of spirits. "Shamanism" has now become a widely-used term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world.

To a shaman the world of nature is sacred, and it is common that a shaman would interact with trees, rocks, rivers or animals in a manner rather similar to how we interact with fellow human beings, in a sense that to a shaman - trees, rocks or rivers are alive as humans, and all are connected, are the children of the same all-pervading force of life (Mother Nature, Great Spirit). Shaman sees the world as a temple, with the sky as its' roof, and everything under the sky has its sacredness.


Shaman learns how to enter a state of trance in which linear thinking disintegrates, and direct communication with spirits may take place through the heart and the senses. This is referred to as shamanic journeying. An experienced shaman would also likely know how to guide someone through a journey, or s/he may take a journey on someones behalf.
Shamans are often knowledgeable in natural medicine. In ancient times shamans often held the role of the community medics.
In all world traditions shamans use some sort of sounding - drums, rattles, wond instruments and more. It appears that music plays a very important role for us, whenever we want to connect to our hearts, to the nature and to the essence that is beyond our individual selves.
Many shamanic traditions implement the use of psychedelic plants to aide the connection to the spiritual world.
There are many variations of shamanism throughout the world; and several common beliefs are shared by all forms of shamanism. Mircea Eliade identified that the following beliefs are universal to all shamanic traditions:

  • Spirits exist and they play important roles in individual lives and in human society.
  • The shaman can communicate with the spirit world.
  • Spirits can be good or evil.
  • The shaman can treat sickness caused by evil spirits.
  • The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy and go on "vision quests".
  • The shamans spirit can leave the body to enter the supernatural world to search for answers.
  • The shaman invokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message bearers.
  • The shaman can tell the future, scry, throw bones/runes, and perform other varied forms of divination.


Suggested reading: Mircea Eliade: Shamanism, Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy.


Amazonian Shamanism

Role of the shaman

Types of shamans

Shamanic Diet


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