What is Shamanism? A Journey into the Sacred World of Nature’s Keepers
Upon seeking the shamanistic knowledge you will likely encounter the terms ‘Mother Earth or ‘Mother Gaia’. These are the names given to our home and she has been personified for the following reasons. Our ancestors deduced that this world births us, gives us bountiful gifts of food, shelter, companionship and so on. The Sun is the giver of life and without its presence, none would exist. Its rays are the seeds that fall upon the fertile soil of the Earth and its waters—where they are cultivated and all forms of life have sprung forth. They are personified as the mother and father of creation—our celestial parents. Shamanism uses the language by which we effectively communicate with what can loosely be described as the world of nature’s spirit within all beings.
Five Fundamental Aspects of Shamanism
Connection with Nature
Shamanism at its deepest core, it’s most sacred space, is a human connection with nature. It is the language by which we communicate with ‘mother earth’. The ancient indigenous cultures have derived their teachings from the simple truths, signs, and signals that nature offers us when we observe and interact more deeply with it. This has had a profound impact on cultures over time due to the understanding of the intricacies at play within the balance of life.
Healing of Self and Community
Shamanism seeks to not only heal the individual but the entirety of consciousness. You cannot go to a shaman and expect to be lead through some kind of metaphysical-psychiatric appointment. Shamanism includes all aspects of the natural world—plants, animals, earth, air, water, mind, and spirit. The entirety of the tapestry of life is one symbiotic unit. If the universe is a monolithic tapestry, then shamanism is the loom weaving together the various elements, sewing up any tears, and recoloring any tarnished hues in the fabric of our lives.
There are daily routines in the life of the shaman. The shaman sees ritual and sacrament just as necessary as eating, drinking and breathing. The key to entering this world is through the emotions. If you are already engaged in this self-work then you’ll know what this means. If you do not, then you now have a good indicator!
Pilgrimage to Sacred Places
Learning to approach and connect with the world around us is integral to shamanism. Seeing the power and beauty of life unfolding leads us to the majesty of creation that is manifest in natural wonders. Wonders such as rivers, lakes, mountains, caves. The shaman pays homage to these sacred sites and embarks to reawaken and invigorate the energy within such places.
Vision and Ceremony
Ceremony and ritual honor the spirits of nature. The shaman dedicates their time and awareness to continued understanding, love, and acceptance of all things. This is done to encourage, cultivate, and provide a balance that is without end. The ceremonies and visions across ancient indigenous cultures share many core values and observations. Is this indicative of a common denominator in the communication with nature? The numerous accounts of visions around the world bare witness to the lessons that our mother Earth has to teach us. When the shaman shares with others their honed skills of navigation of the spirit world, it is a testament to the raw power of unity that we are biologically programmed to receive.
In the Now
It can be easy to ‘pigeon-hole’ shamanism as a skill that is learned or passed down. Whilst this is true, there are always those before us who pass down their knowledge, it is not necessarily the whole truth. Shamanism, in its most fundamental nature, is a full investment of mind, body, and spirit in the now. It is the interplay with what is unfolding to us as truth, moment-by-moment while also feeding back into our ancestry and the beginning of time. It is being aligned with our souls’ journey that grants us the ability to heal our own wounds. Just like the old adage of the finger pointing to the moon, with shamanism one may point the fingers in a slightly different manner: one that points outward to the stars, the other that is pointing inwards, straight at yourself.
Shaman, Healer, Sage
In the documentary ‘Shaman, Healer, Sage’, Alberto Villoldo recites his experience as being classically trained amongst the shamanic descendants of the ancient Incas for more than twenty-five years. He explains the healing concepts central to the shamanic rite of passage and dives into the ‘luminous energy field’ that we are only beginning to comprehend as a collection of human minds on Earth. It is the shaman’s practice to alleviate dis-ease in order to reconnect with this dense field of intelligent energy. He also warns of the dangers of an unspecialized practitioner.
“Black magic happens not only in Haiti and the bayous of Louisiana but anywhere well-meaning but poorly trained individuals lay their hands on others, attempting to perform healing, and unknowingly transmit toxic energy to them. Students will sometimes comment that this can’t happen if you are sending love to another person, as this energy is supposedly pure and holy. I remind these students of the pain that we can inflict on others in the name of love. In time, I discovered another kind of black magic we do to ourselves: the negative thoughts and beliefs that we use from our personal power wreak havoc on our immune system.”
This is one story amongst many that are now revealing the age-old practices of these once secluded cultures. They uncover our ancestral lineage and seek to reunite us with the truth of who we really are. There is great wisdom in that which we do not yet accept nor understand. We have come far as a species and carried much of what brought us here with us into the modern era. The ancient teachings of energies and plant-medicine have all but disappeared from the majority of our collective consciousness. Yet, there is a revival beginning and it is one that you have a key role in. If you are alive here now at this time on Earth then there is a great calling to you from the depths of our historic past. Will you answer it?
Hygge, Lagom, and Sisu — Three Powerful Nordic Life Philosophies You Want to Know About
https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamanism (and its subsidiary links)
Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy
Medicine of the Americas – Alberto Villoldo, PH.D. (Harmony Books, NY)