Written by Lisa Wilder-Holistic Burnout Solution Coach/Shaman
What is Shamanism?
Shamanism is an ancient spiritual practice that has been used by traditional healers and spiritual leaders for thousands of years. Despite its long history, shamanism is still widely misunderstood by many people, often due to a lack of accurate information and misconceptions propagated by popular culture. In this blog, we will explore what is shamanism, its true benefits, and how it can help you on your spiritual journey.
Part 1: Debunking Common Myths About Shamanism
Before delving into what is shamanism, it’s important to dispel some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding this spiritual practice. Some of the most prevalent myths include:
Myth #1: Shamanism is a Religion
One of the most common misconceptions about shamanism is that it is a religion. However, shamanism is actually a spiritual practice that has been used by many different cultures and religions around the world. In fact, many modern shamanic practitioners do not identify with any particular religion or spiritual tradition.
Myth #2: Shamanism is Only for Indigenous Cultures
Another common misconception is that shamanism is only practiced by indigenous cultures in remote areas of the world. While shamanism is indeed an integral part of many indigenous cultures, it is not exclusive to them. Shamanic practices have been adopted and adapted by people of various cultures and backgrounds around the world.
Myth #3: Shamanism is All About Hallucinogenic Drugs
Many people believe that shamanism is all about taking hallucinogenic drugs to achieve altered states of consciousness. While some shamanic cultures do use certain plants and substances for this purpose, it is not a necessary component of shamanism. In fact, modern shamanic practitioners typically do not use such substances in their practice.
Myth #4: Shamanism is a Dying Practice
Contrary to popular belief, shamanism is not a dying practice. While it may have been suppressed in certain cultures, shamanic practices continue to thrive and evolve in many parts of the world. Additionally, many people in modern societies are drawn to shamanic practices as a way to connect with their spiritual selves and the natural world.
Part 2: What is Shamanism?
Now that we’ve dispelled some of the common myths surrounding shamanism, let’s explore what is shamanism and what it involves. At its core, shamanism is a spiritual practice that involves connecting with the spirit world and the natural world to facilitate healing, growth, and transformation. It is often described as a “path of direct revelation,” as shamanic practitioners receive guidance and insight directly from the spirit world.
Shamanic practices vary widely depending on the culture and tradition in which they are practiced. However, there are some common elements that are shared by many shamanic practitioners around the world. These include:
- Connection to nature: Shamanic practitioners often work closely with the natural world, using the energy and wisdom of plants, animals, and other natural elements to guide their practice.
- Altered states of consciousness: Shamanic practitioners use various techniques to enter altered states of consciousness, such as drumming, chanting, dancing, and meditation. These altered states allow them to connect with the spirit world and receive guidance and insight.
- Spirit guides and power animals: Many shamanic practitioners work with spirit guides and power animals to help them on their spiritual journey. These guides and animals may appear to the practitioner during altered states of consciousness, and they can offer guidance, protection, and healing.
There are many other shamanic practices that vary widely depending on culture and tradition. Some of these practices include:
- Soul retrieval: In shamanic belief, when a person experiences trauma, a part of their soul can become disconnected or lost. A shaman can perform a soul retrieval ceremony to help the individual retrieve and reintegrate their lost soul parts.
- Power animal retrieval: A shaman can help an individual discover their power animal, which is a spiritual guide in animal form that can provide support, protection, and guidance.
- Extraction: In shamanism, it is believed that illness and negative energy can become lodged in a person’s energy field. A shaman can perform an extraction ceremony to remove this negative energy and promote healing.
- Divination: Shamanic divination involves communicating with the spiritual realm to gain insight and guidance on important life decisions, relationships, or other issues.
- Ceremony and ritual: Shamanic ceremonies and rituals are often used to honor the spirits, ancestors, and other beings in the spiritual realm. These ceremonies can also be used to mark significant life events or transitions.
- Dream work: Shamanic dream work involves exploring and interpreting dreams to gain insight into the subconscious mind and access spiritual guidance.
- Energy healing: In addition to extraction, shamanic energy healing can include techniques such as chakra balancing, aura cleansing, and energy clearing.
These are just a few examples of the many shamanic practices that exist. Each tradition has its own unique practices and beliefs, but they all share a common goal of promoting healing, spiritual growth, and connection with the spiritual realm.
In the world of shamanism, it is important to understand the concept of journeying. Journeying is the act of entering a trance-like state to explore the spiritual world and communicate with spirit guides and power animals. This practice is done through the use of rhythmic drumming or other sonic tools, such as rattles or singing bowls.
Journeying can be a powerful tool for healing, as it allows individuals to connect with their spiritual selves and gain insight into their lives. Shamanic journeying can help individuals identify and overcome blocks or traumas, release negative patterns, and access their inner wisdom and creativity.
Another important aspect of shamanism is the use of plant medicines. While the use of plant medicines is not necessary for shamanic healing, it is a common practice in many shamanic traditions. Plant medicines can be used to induce altered states of consciousness, allowing individuals to access spiritual realms and gain insight into their lives. Common plant medicines used in shamanism include ayahuasca, peyote, and psilocybin mushrooms.
It is important to note that the use of plant medicines should only be done under the guidance of an experienced shaman or healer in a safe and controlled setting. Plant medicines can be powerful tools for healing, but they can also be dangerous if not used properly.
Shamanism is a holistic approach to healing that addresses the mind, body, and spirit. It is not a substitute for medical treatment, but it can be used in conjunction with traditional medical practices to promote overall wellness. Shamanic healing can help individuals connect with their true selves, overcome obstacles, and find meaning and purpose in their lives.
In conclusion, shamanism is a diverse and multifaceted practice that has been used for thousands of years to promote healing and spiritual growth. Whether through journeying, plant medicine, or other shamanic practices, individuals can access their inner wisdom and gain insight into their lives. If you are interested in exploring shamanism, it is important to work with a trained and experienced shaman or healer to ensure that you are safe and supported on your journey.