Shamanism?

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Mikhael
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Shamanism?

Post by Mikhael »

I've heard this come up several times before in this forum as a life path for some but what is shamanism exactly? I know they were healers in native american tribes and walked between realities for cures but can someone go more 'in-depth' for me? I'm kind of curious. :)
Let me take you down cuz I'm going to.. strawberry fields.. nothing is real..

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace-- Jimi Hendrix

Granamyr
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Post by Granamyr »

I'll take a crack. Put simply, shamanism is the practice of using an altered state of consciousness in order to facilitate communication with the unseen realities some call the spirits or the gods and the spirit world or worlds.

This state is reached using a variety of ways and sometimes is dependent on the culture the person comes from. Dancing, drumming, breathing, meditation or even plants are used to shift one's focus to the unseen. The practice of shamanism can be for multiple reasons...one might consult the spirits about an illness, or upcoming weather for example. Shamanism is not necessarily a religion but a craft that is compatible with many religions depending on what spirits you work with.

A key point regarding many shamans is that they usually undergo a very intense initiation in the spirit world. One example would be the idea of being ripped apart and then healed though not always completely whole again. The idea is willing sacrifice in order to grow in wisdom. And too, they are generally at the service of their community. Well, traditionally and culturally. Modern shamanistic types (meaning those who are probably shopping for books online or at a metaphysical shop) are more than likely solitary folk with no tribal society that is dependent on their lore and practice.

Still, the old ways are still practiced in many indigenous cultures even today. I would imagine though it is very different from what many think. Including me! And heck, they may not even recognize my thoughts as being what they do!

*two cents*

EDIT: And...I just realized this isn't very "in depth" like you asked. Still, hope it helped a little. :)

AP670
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Post by AP670 »

A shaman well, this is a wide question all cultures have had a shaman.

Release.the.bats
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Post by Release.the.bats »

I'd say Granamyr gave you a good basic understanding.
A shaman is someone who is chosen into their path, and they will recieve horrible illness [mental and physical] if they continue to refuse this call for one reason or another.
I've had three callings, the first was a physical illness that I never really felt like I got over [it's a long story], the second was a physical/mental illness, and the last was a severe mental issue.
You don't really get a choice to be a shaman, you just are one.
Anyone can learn the ways of the shaman, but that doesn't make them a "true" shaman, they won't be as strong as a real shaman.
Shamanic practices differ depending on culture, but the first shamans were women.
Shamanism is the oldest form of spirituality that has been found.
Also, Shamans see animals and insects as being holders or providers of magick, energy, information etc. things that people cannot understand without an animal presence or guide.

One Walker
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Post by One Walker »

Hi Mikhael!

I'd like to comment on something bats said, and no disrespect intended toward you at all bats, okay?

Shamanism may be a calling but I don't believe it is any more so than any other such as Empathy, Telepathy, Clairvoyance, or whatever. A person's 'calling' seems to me to be a matter of personal inclination; not in the sense of actually making a conscious decision but more along the lines of a person's disposition. This disposition may or may not be a product of the environment the person is exposed to in this lifetime. Personally I believe the stronger influence is that of past lifetimes. Who we are always seems to end up being who we were in the past if you look at it from the viewpoint of our paths extending over many lifetimes as a continual growth process.

In that regard, yes, you may have physical and/or mental problems if you radically deviate from the path but this would be more like a natural reaction or 'punishment' you bring on yourself rather than a punishment by some deity. An example would be if you ate something that was toxic, poisonous, or otherwise disagreeable to your system. You naturally are going to get sick or suffer other adverse effects, right? Same thing here, or at least that's my opinion. This is why so many people seem to be unhappy or feel something is missing in their lives. What they're missing is the path they truly Need to be on.

I follow a Shaman's path and can honestly say I never experienced any kind of illness prior to turning specifically onto this path. Perhaps because I was always on it anyway...

But I digress.

Anyway, I started out following a Stone Shaman's path but as my learning and understanding grew I quickly expanded my scope. The larger scope of Shamanism deals not with individual deities but universal energy-hence the four Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. This energy exists in all things (Yes, you can think of it as The Force if you want. It doesn't really matter.). The wellspring of this energy is The Divine, The Creator, The Creative Forces, God, Goddess, or Supreme Deity-whatever you choose to call it. This is where all the power and strength of Magic comes from and this same energy is available to both humans and other deities. As a Creative energy its 'polarization' is Positive, not Negative. Shaman's look at magic as the transformation of this energy to bring about change. They may call directly upon this universal energy or they made seek assistance from other beings or creatures. As for myself, I call on The Divine but ask The Elements and other animals and/or flora for assistance in the calling.

Again I apologize in differing with my friend Bats but there is no strength, special gift, or power in a Shaman beyond their ability to attune with the the Creative Forces. In this respect they do not hold power or strength because they only channel and direct the energy, not hold it or seek to control it (it always ends up that they can't).

Now, this definition may not fit in with the textbooks or popular opinion but it is the path I follow. People may not look at it as a 'true' or 'historically correct' version of Shamanism and I'm okay with that. The work will get done just the same and that's the only thing that counts!

Hope this helped some Mikhael! Bats, sorry if we disagree. No offense intended. Peace and Blessings!

One Walker. :D
We have seen what Power does.
We have seen what Power costs.

One is never equal to the other.

Release.the.bats
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Post by Release.the.bats »

The only thing I disagree with in your response One Walker, is the strength comment.
Typically, not in your case since your a stone shaman, but most shamans deal with spirits.
Evil and good, recently deceased and "immortal" ones.
In the specific type of shamanism I am part of, I have to go into death in order to piece together souls of the dead so that they can be guided to the "otherside" instead of staying "inbetween".
Taking this into consideration, I have been through a lot to allow me the mental and physical strength to deal with the dead and going into death in a mental/psychological/spiritual sense, if you had someone who simply decides to do this for whatever reason.
They would exhibit really horrible side affects, part of my strength lies in experience and the other is that it's something I was chosen to do because of the strength I already contained as a person.

I did forget that there are different "types" of shamanism, I mainly focus on the ones that deal with departed spirits for obvious reasons.
Sorry for forgetting you One Walker.

One Walker
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Post by One Walker »

Too true, Bats! No problems here!

One Walker. :D
We have seen what Power does.
We have seen what Power costs.

One is never equal to the other.

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