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Metaphysics Of The Highest Order!

Shamans- Spiritual Rituals and Beliefs

Shamanism is a religion type that is responsive mainly to the Shamans. This religious practice is mainly by people from Siberia and Northern Europe who believe in unseen gods. Shamanism primarily consists of spirituality dwelling in altered consciousness state. A shaman can be described as one believed to get numerous powers via ecstatic religious exercise. Shamans mainly differ depending with the culture. These shamans, regardless of the gender, plays various tasks in their community. Most of such tasks are spiritually relevant and leadership oriented. Their roles include escorting dead people’s souls to the next world and conduct communication with them. They’re also thought to have capacity for healing the sick. Literally, shamanism is derived from the ‘saman’, which originates from Manchu-Tungus. Saman comes from verb, sa- meaning to know. Therefore, a saman is basically an individual who knows it all. This article has all you need to know about the shamanism culture. For instance, its origin, beliefs, practices, and studies. Please read on to understand more about this interesting religion.


Many people hear about shaman and quickly take their minds to the Native American medicine men. However, that alone isn’t enough- there’s more. As said in the introduction, the term shaman is an anthropologist word enveloping numerous beliefs and practices’ description, which mostly talk about spiritual communication, deviation, and among others. It’s believed that being a shaman is a calling. That’s why they’re highly trained and spend their entire life serving the call. Remember, no one simply wakes up one day and calls themselves a shaman, instead the title is acquired after completion of several study years. While it’s not necessarily based on faith like other religions, it’s the oldest spiritual practice focusing on animism and a thought that all things are living and have a spirit. The culture has spread all over many global parts since its commencement. It had to struggle for its rights from oppression by other religions and the government. It’s because they perceive the shamans’ culture to be primitive and manic. It however didn’t matter because its continued practice and mysticism couldn’t be shaken throughout various tribes that withheld the required values. And this happened despite extended periods of no contact between tribal cultures not forgetting that they had similar beliefs, rituals, and traditions.

Training and duties

Recruitment for training was unique. Some cultures selected individuals having some debilitating sickness types, deformity, physically handicapped, or uncommon conditions. In tribes like Borneo, mainly hermaphrodites were picked for training. As some cultures preferred men shamans for shamanism training, others had women as healers. A good example with women shamans was among the European tribes. They worked either entirely by themselves as shamans or alongside men. Among the Norse sagas, the oracular works by female seers were highly recognized. Again, a prophetic description could begin from her lips’ chant. Words following her chanting came from the divine sent to the gods by the volva, the messenger. The Celtic tribe familiarized with the nine priestesses that resided at the Breton coast island. The priestesses had high skills in prophecy arts and performed shamanic roles.

The Nature of Shamanism and Shamanic story is a book written by Michael Berman, in which he talked about multiple shamanism misconceptions. He discusses the notion that shamans were spiritually possessed or were working with spirits. A continuation is that shamans took full control since no indigenous tribe accepted one that couldn’t manage the spirits. Evidently, shamanic practices were realized in various places including Siberia, Scandinavia, and some parts of Korea, Europe, Australia, China, and Mongolia. Others that utilized Shamanic spirituality included the first nations tribes of Mesopotamia, Africa, South America, and North America. Funny enough, nothing or at least no solid evidence demonstrated shamanism among the Greeks, Romans, and Celtic individuals.

Recently, it’s been noticed that some pagans are indulging in neo-shamanism. The practice is linked to associating with spirit animals, vision quests, dream journeys, astral travel, trance medications, and totem. If you’re interested in knowing much about this religion, note that modern shamanism is totally different from the culture practiced by the ancient indigenous people. It’s merely because an indigenous shaman practices the culture on a daily basis and is mainly defined by the numerous cultural issues of their tribe.

A group called Foundation for Shamanic Studies, which was founded by Michael Harner, an archaeologist is a non-profit group with a passion for shamanic practices and traditions preservation. The archaeologist has made efforts in shamanism reinvention for the Neopaganism practitioner today, and continues to honor their firmer beliefs and practices. His efforts enhance drumming rhythm use as the base core shamanism foundation. He even went ahead to publish a book, The Way of the Shaman: A Guide to Power and Healing. The book’s discussion differentiates between the modern Neoshamanism practices and those of traditional indigenous shamanism.

Beliefs and practices

The beliefs and practices by traditional shamans were majorly formed to respond to primary human needs. They occurred to explain and impose control over natural happenings. Take an example of hunters and gathers that made offerings according to their herds’ sizes or the forests’ abundance. On the other hand, pastoral societies depended on the gods and goddesses to rule the weather for plentiful harvests and healthy livestock. Additionally, almost all communities relied on the shamans’ works for their general well-being. A chief belief among the shamanic community is that everything and everybody is interrelated. Ultimately everything starting from plants, animals, caves, trees, and rocks are a part of the entire collection. Don’t forget that each one of them is instilled by its sprit or soul and can be linked to the non-physical being. This whole scenario enables the shaman to travel between the real world and other realm’s beings acting as the link or connector.

Apart from the traveling ability between the two worlds, shamans can inform about oracular messages and prophecies to the people who need to listen. Most of such prophesies and messages maybe simple and geared to an individual, but often times affect the whole community. Some cultures advocates for consulting with the shamans for informed guidance and decisions before elders take over in concluding. The same shamans also used transducing strategies for vision and message reception. Another practice by shamans was the healing role. They had an ability to repair physical body imbalances and destroy an individual’s spirits. Are you wondering how this was done? Well, they could simply pray or perform rituals such as singing and dancing. It happened easily because they believed sicknesses originated from malevolent spirits. It’s the reason the shamans worked towards driving the negative energy away from the person’s body. By doing so, it’d help protect the individual from future damage by such spirits. You should also note that shamanism isn’t a religion as discussed, it’s actually a spiritual practices collection utilized by the culture in context of its existence. In the modern world, various people practice shamanism with everybody doing it in their specific and outstanding way depending on their society and view. You’ll find that many shamans today take part in political movements with others majoring in activism that focuses on environmental problems.

Siberian shamans

Siberians are considered to be the starters of shamanism practice. The main group herded by this culture was from Northern Asia called the Tungus. Siberians and Mongolians highly respected the shamans in various tribes. The honor was initiated either by other shamans, through learning mystic ways, or via taking a solitary. Siberian shamans were categorized depending on what they did best- for example, skilled healers, some who could conjure black magic, or others that would ward would off evil spirits. Mongolia and Siberia had common yurts that were symbolic among shamans. A yurt is simply a link existing between physical plane, underworld, and heaven. During ceremonies involving talking to the dead souls, shamans are directed to the cosmic world through a smoke emanating through the yurt’s middle path.

The Siberian shamans have a botanical hallucinogen called Amanita muscaria commonly known as the fly agaric mushroom. This plant is extremely dangerous when consumed in large doses. That’s why a shaman should be keen to identify and have a correct prescription. After feeding on this mushroom, a shaman would drink its urine makes the poison harmless and achieve the mushroom’s effects. Today, modern shamans in Siberia believe quarter of the population are in this religion. This shamanism portion is referred to us Tengerism and are recognized nationally as a religion. It mainly looks at co-existence with other regions in the country and environmentalism.

North American shamanism

In North America, shamans acquire their abilities through election, personal quest, inheritance, or spiritually. Their focal point is removing intrusive items. It’s done through literally sucking out the object to eliminate diseases and other things causing physical ailing. Furthermore, they have ability to control weather patterns, offer future wisdom, and help with hunting. The North American shamans have a key role of healing, and have a bigger number as men. The females are located in areas near Northern California. You should also note that shamanism in Northern America is almost similar to that in Siberia as likened to the Southern region.

South American Shamanism

Shamans in South America are major figures in the entire tribe. They’re closely associated with jaguars and are believed to have ability to convert into them at will. In that case, jaguars are not thought to be real animals but either dead shamans’ souls rooming the physical realm or a transformed shaman. Tribes with little or no knowledge about shamans mostly associate shamans with jaguars. Ayahuasca ceremonies are practiced by creating tea from yage, a Banisteriopsis caapi plant. The substance from this plant has strong psychedelic experiences to man due to a psychoactive compound it produces. On consumption, the compound reacts negatively to a stomach enzyme called monoamine oxidase. For this reason, one should combine this yage plant with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor found in various antidepressants. It’s a mystery how the shamans understood how to mix over 40,000 different plants growing in the rainforest. But they said the plants guided them. The compound is given to seekers and by themselves when wanting to connect with spirits.

South American shaman have a key relevance in developing an ecstatic state through playing instruments. They mainly use rattles alongside drums. Rattles are symbolic among the shamans. It shows the awakened state connecting the real and their spiritual world. A rattle contains three parts, the gourd that symbolizes the universe and the stones or seeds stand for ancestors’ passed souls. The other is the handle that signifies the shamans and ancestors’ connection. In Peru specifically, shamans sing a song named ‘ icaros’, or one that comes out with a meandering pattern and looking like a maze or puzzle. However, it can properly be read the way musicians red sheets in music.

The bottom line

Shamanism is not a religion per se, but it’s characterized by various rituals, beliefs, and practices depending on the culture it exists. It’s composed by shamans who are a main figure in the society and possess several traits. For instance, they’re thought to have divine healing powers and can communicate with the transcendent world. Illnesses are eliminated through simple prayers or ritual performances such as singing and dancing. For a shaman to be trained, one should have a specific characteristic such as lameness, or any other illness. Shamans are believed to be helped by spirits. They can travel between the real and spiritual world and serving as the connection between the two. Messages and prophesies are shared and given to people who should hear them. You’ll find that a message or prophesy maybe meant for one person, but the impact touches the whole community. Various communities in different parts of the globe including Siberia, North America, South America, and Mongolia among others took part in these culture. People in the modern world continue with shamanism but do it in a different and unique way as compared to traditional indigenous cultures. For example, modern shamans participate in political developments as activists mainly to focus on environmental issues. 

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