Need To Know More About Shamnism

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MysticDreamFaerie
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Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by MysticDreamFaerie »

If there's one thing that I've always been interested in was Shamanism, but I've also been interested in Druid too. How are they different? Are they both about healing? Sorry but I don't know the difference between the two and was wondering if they are similar at all? These are the two things that I'm interesting in reading about and researching and than I'll know next on where my path will go from there.

Before Wicca/Witchcraft has always been interesting to me, but I'm more drawn to Shamanism/Druid right now. Something in my heart is telling me to ask more about it, but I'd like to know from other people's perspectives on how they are different or if they are similar. It would be much appreciated, thank you. :flyingwitch:

I hope it's still okay to post on here. I've used this site in the past and been gone for a long time cause I basically lost my path due to depression and anxiety and now I'm trying to get myself back on the right back. And I think following this path will make me truly feel better inside and out. I've had a rough year and dropped everything spiritual about myself cause I lost hope in myself. I started to doubt myself and didn't think that I could do it but now I'm really willing on trying and to be successful.
"Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it." ~Tori Amos

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Yex
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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by Yex »

Druids were the educated class of the ancient Celtic people, most remembered as being their religious leaders. Modern Druidry is a magical/religious movement that seeks to revive/continue the legacy of the ancient druids. It's not necessarily Celtic Reconstructionism, nor do modern Druids necessarily have to worship the Celtic pantheon, but rather it is an attempt to carry on in the tradition/spirit of the ancient Druids. Neo-Druidry is not even necessarily Pagan, and prior to the 20th century usually wasn't, although to-day it usually is. Common themes in Druidry include veneration of the Earth and the forces of nature, respect for all life, et cetera.

Shamanism is not so much a religious movement as it is a series of techniques that are used around the world to achieve altered states of consciousness to communicate with the spirit world. Shamanism is found all around the world, in many different forms. (The term "shaman" itself comes from the peoples of northern Asia, and its universal application is the product of anthropology). Shamans often serve as healers or guides for their communities. Shamanic techniques for altering consciousness include drumming, use of song, use of entheogenic drugs, sweat lodges, sleep deprivation, fasting, exposure to the elements, "vision quests", et al.

Shamanism can be applied to many varying religious traditions. It has been suggested that the ancient Druids were the shamans of the Celtic people.

As far as being ok to be on this forum, I am a Druid, as well as a student of shamanism, and I am not Wiccan, so I'm sure you're fine.

Edit: I should add that it's perfectly possible to consider oneself a witch as well as a shaman or Druid, or all three.
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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by MysticDreamFaerie »

Interesting, I did a little bit of more research on the internet. I understand Shamanism a lot more but I'm still confused about Druids. Do Druids do magic at all or no? Are Druids consider to be witches? Sorry for so many questions, I just know about about Druids based on they're symbol which I love and heard a lot about Celtic. Is it possible to study both and use both in practices? You've mention that you've used all three, that's pretty interesting. Do you recommend any introduction books to Shamanism and Druids? I found a few on Amazon but I'm not sure which ones to get first. I guess I could buy books based on they're ratings that I see on Amazon and just give the books a try. I just need some introduction books first that will be easy for me to understand. And lastly are these consider Pagan Witches/Witchcraft or are both of them entirely differently from each other. I'm just trying to learn more about the differences in each other and when I want to know a lot about something, I ask a lot of questions. I hope I'm not annoying anyone, lol.
"Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it." ~Tori Amos

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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by Thistle »

Hi Mystic :) I really don't know much of anything of of druids or shamans really, but I wanted to say hello. I'm very much where you are in trying to get back to my path. I deal with anxiety and depression as well and it kind of led me off my path. But in grief I've realized how much I need it.

So definitely read all you can, these paths are never ending learning experiences. Remember to follow whatever feels right. It doesn't necessarily have to be one single thing. I know I'm not much help, but many blessings on your path!
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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by Jenny Crow »

Hello MysticDreamFaerie,

If you wish to learn more about Shamanism read "The Way of the Shaman" by Michael Harner. Then you can read his second book Cave and Cosmos. He is a well-known Shaman who also offers courses. This isn't something you can just read about though and then start to practice - you have to learn how to travel between the worlds and bring information back from the Otherworld. You need to know how to protect yourself while journeying and learn how to work with the spirits to bring information back to the living. It takes time and dedication.

Druids are not considered Witches. As Yex said, they were the religious leaders of the Celts. They were considered experts at magic and very powerful. If you want to know more about them go to O.B.O.D. (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids). Druidry is a specific path usually based on Celtic pre-Christian philosophies, although sometimes, I believe, it can have Christian overtones. There's a person in Wales, Mike Williams, who is a Druid through O.B.O.D. and a mentor for Druidry students in the O.B.O.D. as well as a shamanic practitioner. He has written a book called "Follow the Shaman's Call".

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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by Yex »

OBOD is good, and for another perspective on Druidry you can check out Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF). I'm a member of both. The latter is more explicitly Pagan. There are other groups out there as well.
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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by corvidus »

MysticDreamFaerie wrote:Is it possible to study both and use both in practices?
Everything is possible ;)
But some practices require simplicity.
It will depend on how you decide to work.
Do you recommend any introduction books to Shamanism and Druids?
Mircea Eliade's Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy

And lastly are these consider Pagan Witches/Witchcraft or are both of them entirely differently from each other.
Shamanism: probably the first 'path' known to people, on account of a shaman being 'called' to work. This calling is basically an inner drive towards self-healing and evolution in whichever area needs evolving (in the shaman). After the shaman has healed himself, he is capable of healing others.
If a shaman was not able to heal himself properly, he was prone to practicing witchcraft out of spite, jealousy, egoism or some other vice.
Most of the time, shamans have no need to practice witchcraft. So if you meet one who does, that's a good indication of his lineage and state of mind. Healing rituals, by the way, are not the same as witchcraft.

Druidry: I like to think of it as evolving out of shamanism, as a group of like-minded individuals (probably all practicing shamans) began promoting certain ideas and formed a system. Why? Probably to protect what they considered sacred knowledge from outsiders.

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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by firebirdflys »

corvidus wrote:Most of the time, shamans have no need to practice witchcraft. So if you meet one who does, that's a good indication of his lineage and state of mind. Healing rituals, by the way, are not the same as witchcraft.
Hummm, what about witches practicing shamanism?

Acording to my anthropology teacher, witchcraft was what shamans did...for lack of a better word.

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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by Becks »

Use of sympathetic magic? Check
Use of spirit helpers? Check
Astral travel of some sort? Check
Spell casting? Check
Use of Plant and Animal allies? Check

I agree with FB.

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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by Yex »

Also, one way to look at is that witchcraft as we know it developed out of necessity when Europe was Christianized. Therefore, witchcraft developed out of Paleopagan magic (Paleopagan defined as Paganism in its original form, pre-Christianity) eg the Druidry of the ancient Celts; which in turn, if you trace it back far enough, would have developed out of prehistoric shamanism (shamanism in the quintessential "tribal" context, that is).
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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by corvidus »

firebirdflys wrote:Hummm, what about witches practicing shamanism?
I don't see why witches can't practice shamanic techniques.
But that doesn't make them a shaman ;)

To me witchcraft is something individuals or groups do for themselves, whereas any shamanic ritual is done on the behalf of someone else.
Acording to my anthropology teacher, witchcraft was what shamans did...for lack of a better word
You shouldn't believe everything a 'teacher' tells you, especially one working for an institution..
:)

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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by Becks »

In this case, the lovely Firebird is correct.

"The word shaman comes from the Evenki and related Tungusic languages such as Manchu, where it also appears as samaan or s’aman. European invaders and travellers picked it up in the late 1600s. Later, Russian ethnographers and European anthropologists used the word beyond its original ethnic context"

From: http://www.sourcememory.net/womanshaman/samaan.html
(Most sources say this, and this is the most succinct answer)

The article goes on to say that are also similar words in a Sanskrit and Chinese, though linguists don't think the etymology of the word is derived from these groups because of research into tones.

The word 'Shaman' in its current context was quickly applied by anthropologists to describe the magical practices of original people's healers. We have the anthropologists and popular museum culture of the 18th and 19th century to thank for the fact that we use this one word in a general sense-to describe the gifted healers of indigenous societies around the world. These indigenous groups would have people in their communities who practiced magic. Many of these practices the world over have similar devices for delving into the sacred, and this is what current 'nouveau shamanism' is based on.

Traditionally practitioners were important people in the contexts of their communities, even though their status and power could sometimes be equated with fear and a bit of distancing. The ska'age was a powerful person who was called on in times of sickness to diagnose and heal. People are people and as such would practice good or bad work depending on their will. Where I am from, the shaman would not live in the centre of town, and consequently upon death he or she would probably be buried a distance form the village and others. Respect of their power carried on into death.

Of course indigenous peoples the world over had their own words, in their own languages meaning "shaman". Ska'ages or sa'arawas are the words for medicine person where I was born.

Technically, a shaman's practice would be dictated by the culture in which they lived...magic, the land, animal and plant energy, and belief would intertwine from time immemorial and that would dictate practice. The ska'age would have animal allies linked to shamanism in that land....certain animals are the shamans domain, and within that certain animals and spirits would work specifically with that ska'age.

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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by firebirdflys »

firebirdflys wrote:for lack of a better word.
that was the key phrase,
and although you would find me in the front of the class of free thinkers, it's because of higher education we are privilaged to do that.
corvidus wrote:I don't see why witches can't practice shamanic techniques.
But that doesn't make them a shaman
True , however one would be hard pressed to find a person in the position of being able to devote their life to such work...certainly not in the Pagan community as we know it. Perhaps in some tribal nations. We who practice shamanistic methods do so for the world, their community and theirselves. It's been said and is being documented, that when we use herbs, dance, drum, pray, chant, trance, vision... etc etc. we are participating in a healing ritual.

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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by MysticDreamFaerie »

I have a lot of crystals. Do shamans ever use crystals at all? I've never been in a trance before and wouldn't know how to do that but I do meditate quite often. I really hope I'm able to do all of this. Shamanism has always interested me and I'm willing on learning how to do all of this. I'm pretty much a beginner to all of this to be honest. I'll just buy the book that I was suggested on getting and reading it and see where it takes me. I'd like to be able to work with herbs and crystals though.
"Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it." ~Tori Amos

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Re: Need To Know More About Shamnism

Post by manshin »

You can't choose to be a shaman. There isn't really a choice in the matter. You're more talking about hedgewitchcraft.

Traditional shamans do not typically use crystals like new agers do. We are animists, but we don't keep hoards of quartz around.
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