Shamanism is the intentional effort to develop intimate and lasting relationships with personal helping spirits by consciously leaving ordinary reality and journeying into the non-ordinary realms of the spirit world.
Shamanism has been practiced in every continent of the world since the beginning of history including Australia, Europe, the British Isles, Asia, India, China, and the Americas.
And the practice of Shamanism is, therefore, available to all people from every race and culture worldwide.
Shamanism is a cross-cultural spiritual path that is a method rather than a religion. And Shamanism coexists with established religions in many cultures.
I like the observations about Shamanism that Tom Cowan has written in his useful, and easy to read book “Shamanism As a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life“:
“But for all the mysterious and exotic phenomena associated with shamanism, the core shamanic experience is really simple, timeless, and universal. There are many ways to define and describe shamanism, which is basically a way of viewing reality and the use of empirical techniques to function within that view of reality.”
Essential Perspective Of Shamanism
The essential perspective of shamanism is based on the fact that we are, and all creation is, one with Spirit:
- Everything is alive.
- Everything has spirit and awareness.
- Energy and matter are the same. Everything is vibration.
- Everything that exists is an energy system within a greater energy system.
- Everything that exists is connected to everything else in a web of energy or life.
- Unseen/inner/spiritual reality affects visible reality.
My Introduction to Shamanism
Although a number of Shamans conducted workshops over a number of years during the 90s in The Reiki Store that I co-owned in Toronto, Ontario, Canada I never took their workshops.
Foundation for Shamanic Studies
The Foundation for Shamanic Studies referred me to Jeannette McCullough who became my teacher and a dear frriend. My first work with her involved a weekend Medicine for the Earth workshop that had been developed by Sandra Ingerman.
Other Shamanic Training
There is a wealth of shamanic teaching available through books, videos, and audios prepared by Shamans worldwide. Of course, there is a lot of garbage produced as well. One doesn’t become a shaman by taking a 2-week course over the internet.
I have been referred by my teachers to other Shamanic teachers and I hope that you find the works of Jose Stevens, Lena Stevens, don Miguel Ruiz, John Matthews, Michael Harner, Renee Baribeau, Sandra Ingerman, and Tom Cowan to be true and useful. Blessed journeys to you.
Shamanism & Shamanic Practice Related Pages
Visit these pages about Shamanism and Shamanic practice to learn more:
- Core Shamanism
- Celtic Shamanism
- Shamanic Organizations
- Shamans & Shamanic Practitioners
- Recommended Reading and Audio in Shamanism
Is shamanism a religion?
The practice of shamanism is a method, not a religion. It coexists with established religions in many cultures.
In Siberia, you’ll find shamanism coexisting with Buddhism and Lamaism, and in Japan with Buddhism. It’s true that shamans are often in animistic cultures. Animism means that people believe there are spirits. So in shamanic cultures, where shamans interact with spirits to get results such as healing, it’s no surprise that people believe there are spirits. But the shamans don’t believe in spirits. Shamans talk with them, interact with them. They no more “believe” there are spirits than they “believe” they have a house to live in or have a family. This is a very important issue because shamanism is not a system of faith.
Shamanism is also not exclusionary. They don’t say, “We have the only healing system.” In a holistic approach to healing, the shaman uses the spiritual means at his or her disposal in cooperation with people in the community who have other techniques such as plant healing, massage, and bone setting. The shaman’s purpose is to help the patient get well, not to prove that his or her system is the only one that works.