So what is Shamanism?


So what is the definition of Shamanism? Wikipedia tells us that,

"Shamanism or samanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner (shaman or saman) interacting with the spirit world through altered states of consciousness, such as trance."

First let me get rid of part of that statement, shamanism is not a religion, it is a belief system that works with multiple spirit guides, plant allies, animal spirit helpers, ancestors, and the elements to bring about healing in an holistic way that respects all living beings. Trance work, guided journeys, rituals, hallucinogenic practices, drumming circles, psychopomp work, all form part of this incredibly far reaching modality. 
Shamans can be found in almost every population on the planet, from the South American countries, to Russia, Australia, Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, the Inuit, Native Americans, Tibet, Nepal, India and the African nations to name a few. Each holds sacred a connection with the wise ones who communed with the spirits for guidance and to heal those suffering traumatic wounds of mind and body. Each culture acknowledging and working with specific ancestors, gods, goddesses, plant allies, spirit animals and nature spirits. All honouring the elements of earth, air, fire, and water, and interacting with the energetic worlds which exist unseen just outside of our own reality. 


Traditionally Shamans have been the wise ones of tribes and villages, looking after the spiritual and physical well being of their people. Wisdom keepers who communed with the natural world to bring information that would foretell times of lack and plenty. Their most familiar and often terrifying role is trance work and ecstatic dance, where Shamans use drumming, movement, chanting and mind altering substances to enter a deep trance state so that they can access the Other realms. (Thankfully there are other ways to do this successfully which don't require three days of preparation and fasting to achieve!) These trance states allow the Shaman access to information locked deep within the memories of the client and with the help of spirit guides belonging to themselves and the client, pinpoint the causes which can then be removed or worked on with the client. And that is a very important point to note, Shamans and their guides know exactly the problems facing their clients, they are shown exactly what caused the problem and how it can be healed, they then guide the client through the process and help them release the wounds that were found. They do not miraculously wipe away problems with magic it takes work on all parts to achieve the ideal result.