Shamanism is the most ancient spiritual practise known to humankind and is the “ancestor: of all our modern religions. The word “shaman” comes from the Evenki peoples, a Tungusic tribe in Siberia. This is a word whose meaning has to do with esoteric knowledge and extraordinary spiritual abilities as such a shaman is often defined as an intermediary between the human and spirit worlds. In shamanic cultures, the word “shaman” has come to mean “the one who sees in the dark” or the “one who knows”.
“Today, many of us who study shamanism feel compelled to describe our art and practise using the language of quantum physics in an attempt to give the shamanic arts more credibility…… I believe that doing so actually devalues the 50 000 plus-year tradition of shamanism” Albert Villodo (2010)
Most of what is known about the ancient practice of shamanism comes from ethnographic field work done among the tribal people of Siberia, Asia, Africa, Australia, Greenland, from North, Central and South American and cultures of northern Europe such as the Saami of Lapland.
Shamanic healing is a spiritual method of healing that deals with the spiritual aspect of illness. There are common causes of illness in the shaman’s worldview. A person may have lost his or her power, causing depression, chronic illness, or a series of misfortunes. In this case, the shaman journeys to restore that person’s lost power.
Or, a person may have lost part of their soul or essence, causing soul loss, which sometimes occurs during emotional or physical trauma such as accidents, surgery, abuse, war, natural disasters, divorce or death of a loved one. Soul loss can result in dissociation, post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, illness, immune deficiency problems, additions, unending grief or coma.
Another cause of illness from a shamanic perspective would be spiritual blocks or negative energies a client has taken on due to the loss of his or her power or soul. These spiritual blockages also cause illness, usually in a localized area of the body. It is the role of the shaman to extract and remove these harmful energies from the body.
A shaman heals both the living and the deceased. In healing those who died, the shaman performs a psychopomp ceremony to help those who have died cross over to a comfortable and peaceful place. The ceremony may also include clearing a person, home, or land of spirits that are in a state of unrest.
Because shamanic healing deals with the spiritual aspect of illness, there is no way to predict the results that will manifest emotionally or physically. Shamanic healing does not replace the need for traditional psychological and medical treatment, it complements them.
- The return of the Shaman
- Soul Retrevial: what it is and why it worksSource: Ingerman, S & Wesselman, H. (2010) Awakening the Spirit World – the shamanic path of direct revelation. Sounds True, Inc. Canada