Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What is Shamanism?

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What is Shamanism?

    What is Shamanism? How is it different to other paths, including hedge, kitchen, etc.? Is it a connection to the elements, the land, and/or the spirit world?

    I understand and acknowledge that many different cultures had shamans (or, at least, shamanistic qualities) but were there are specific attributes that were common in each practice? Is shamanism a specific path or is it a umbrella term for many different beliefs?
    Facebook::Witch blog::Book Blog
    Gods and Goddesses, Paths: Dianic & Goddess Witchcraft, Theology & Philosophy, Just Current Events, and Political Pagan Forum Guide.

    Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha

    Question everything.

  • #2
    This will probably sound very contradictory, but while I consider my path shamanic, I don't think Shamanism is a path in and of itself.

    Allow me to try to explain. Shamanism is a philosophy and a way of interacting with the world (in it's entirety). The individual form it takes really doesn't make it shamanic. What makes it shamanic in my mind are two many things: intermediary skills between humans and spirits and service to one's community. No community, then I don't think you're a Shaman.

    As for what makes it different from hedge or kitchen witchery, that's a very blurry line and for myself it's a combination of outlook and personal practise (that community service thing again).

    And yes there are common attributes.
    -3 levels of existence
    -journeying between those levels
    -healing craft, usually a variant on the soul retrieval concept
    -light bearer for the dead.

    Shamans were also guides, teachers, priests and at times fools. They played many roles, seeing to the needs of their community. Which is what makes it so hard to pin down what Shamanism IS

    Does that help?
    The Sexy Heathen Babe

    Comment


    • #3
      Its also an ability.
      The ability to shift consciousness in order to travel to different realms.
      :boing:

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Shanti View Post
        Its also an ability.
        The ability to shift consciousness in order to travel to different realms.
        Very much so. Like cooking or being able to play the piano
        The Sexy Heathen Babe

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Vigdisdotter View Post
          This will probably sound very contradictory, but while I consider my path shamanic, I don't think Shamanism is a path in and of itself.

          Allow me to try to explain. Shamanism is a philosophy and a way of interacting with the world (in it's entirety). The individual form it takes really doesn't make it shamanic. What makes it shamanic in my mind are two many things: intermediary skills between humans and spirits and service to one's community. No community, then I don't think you're a Shaman.

          As for what makes it different from hedge or kitchen witchery, that's a very blurry line and for myself it's a combination of outlook and personal practise (that community service thing again).

          And yes there are common attributes.
          -3 levels of existence
          -journeying between those levels
          -healing craft, usually a variant on the soul retrieval concept
          -light bearer for the dead.

          Shamans were also guides, teachers, priests and at times fools. They played many roles, seeing to the needs of their community. Which is what makes it so hard to pin down what Shamanism IS

          Does that help?
          Originally posted by Shanti View Post
          Its also an ability.
          The ability to shift consciousness in order to travel to different realms.
          Thanks to both of you in answering my questions.

          One more question, if nobody minds:

          What is the difference between a philosophy and a spiritual path? (I apologize if this is rather silly thing to ask.)
          Facebook::Witch blog::Book Blog
          Gods and Goddesses, Paths: Dianic & Goddess Witchcraft, Theology & Philosophy, Just Current Events, and Political Pagan Forum Guide.

          Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha

          Question everything.

          Comment


          • #6
            To my understanding there are two types of Shaman. One, is "classic" shamanism and the other is "core" shamanism. Classic Shamanism are the practices of the various holy people of indigenous tribes. Core shamanism is basically new age shamanism (not an insult, at least in this case). I think that Michael Harner came up with it. Basically he felt that Shamanic practices can be stripped down from their cultural context to "core" techniques. These practices include contacting animal spirits, connecting to nature and so on. I got this info from this artice: http://cauldronfarm.com/writing/shaman_compare.html
            The article is not perfect but it's very thought provoking IMNSHO.

            What is Shamanism? How is it different to other paths, including hedge, kitchen, etc.? Is it a connection to the elements, the land, and/or the spirit world?

            I understand and acknowledge that many different cultures had shamans (or, at least, shamanistic qualities) but were there are specific attributes that were common in each practice? Is shamanism a specific path or is it a umbrella term for many different beliefs?
            I think of Shamanism as more of an umbrella term for many different holy people of various cultures. they have their own words in their own languages but Shaman is a convenient umbrella word which makes for less confusion. If we are talking about modern Shamanic practices I think that the main difference between a shaman and a witch has to do with spirits. A hedge or kitchen witch may or may not believe in any sort of spirit beings. To me it seems that shamanic practitioners and traditional shamans alike believe in some sort of spirit world in which they interact with. Sorry if my post is a little disjointed. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep.
            ___________________________________________________



            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Philosophia View Post
              What is the difference between a philosophy and a spiritual path? (I apologize if this is rather silly thing to ask.)

              Not that much really they are basically the two sides of the same coin. The philosophy is the theoretical and the spirituality is the experiential aspect. Really they work best together, rather then separate.
              The Sexy Heathen Babe

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Vigdisdotter View Post
                And yes there are common attributes.
                -3 levels of existence
                -journeying between those levels
                -healing craft, usually a variant on the soul retrieval concept
                -light bearer for the dead.

                Shamans were also guides, teachers, priests and at times fools. They played many roles, seeing to the needs of their community. Which is what makes it so hard to pin down what Shamanism IS
                I think that is a very good explanation.

                For me personally, the first thing that often comes to mind when someone refers to Shamanism or takes it as a part of their path is that they are likely to eventually become a teacher/guide in some aspect of their life, as this path tends to call to that particular type of individual.

                Shamanism for me personally is tied to the very base things in life - the elements, the Earth, animals and instincts. It encompasses the spiritual, the physical, and the astral.

                More than anything, it has taught me to explore and test my limits in these areas. (Sadly, I lack a better way to put that.)
                "If being sane means thinking that there is something wrong with being different, I'd rather be completely freaking mental."
                -- unknown


                "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition
                of your life; define yourself."
                --unknown

                Comment


                • #9
                  Disclaimer : In no way , shape , or form , am I trying to begin a dispute...
                  I have a different view , and I shall express it...

                  If we take the concept of the populace of the world ,
                  as community , then I can agree , regarding the shaman ,
                  and community , in order to be classed Shaman...

                  I believe someone may practice shamanism , and not
                  live with , and interact with "community "...

                  At least , most of the time...

                  If the Shaman is in contact with the Spiret world...

                  If the Shaman , is traveling between the three main worlds ,
                  with subsets , in my tradition , on the " vertical axis "...

                  And , in my tradition , also , the four elemental realms ,
                  on the " horizontal axis "...

                  If the Shaman is " holding a place " , or "doorway" open ,
                  for the marriage of those worlds...

                  If that Shaman is releasing souls from this plane of existence ,
                  the Spirets inform them of , that need that assistance...

                  If that Shaman , might perhaps work on the Earth Healing level ,
                  rather than " village healing " levels...

                  If that Shaman was working with energies on a pan theistic view ,
                  of recognizing , and interfacing , with being...( mineral , plant , animal )

                  I believe that person is still to be classed " Shaman "...

                  With one last clause...If an individual , or community group , sought
                  out their help , even though they had never interacted with them before...

                  And the need was genuine...

                  They would have a responsibility to assist...A commitment made upon
                  assumation of the role , not to the community , but directly with the
                  World of the Spirets...

                  One not wise to break...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's an interesting perspective. After all, if we can realize humans are not the only life-forms, we should be able to say they aren't the only community a Shaman can serve and work with?
                    Om Namah Shivaya.

                    "Im finding seeking the sacred, well, that its rather like falling in love, the harder you seek it, the less likely it is to happen." - Brightshores

                    "When your consciousness is directed outward, mind and world arise. When it is directed inward, it realizes its own Source and returns home into the Unmanifested." ~ Eckhart Tolle

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RainInanna View Post
                      That's an interesting perspective. After all, if we can realize humans are not the only life-forms, we should be able to say they aren't the only community a Shaman can serve and work with?
                      It is interesting! And I like it because I perceive the Earth as an Entity fully capable of making that decision for acceptance.

                      However, I think that a very important part of the whole of Shamanism is the recognition and acknowledgment of the people/community/beings one serves as Shaman.

                      That is, one is a Shaman for the specific community, not as a piece of personal identity.
                      So, for example, someone could be the Earth's Shaman but then (imo) would not be speaking for any other specific group or entity.

                      So (still only my opinion) one wouldn't say "I am a Shaman" because that is claiming as personal identity something that is reserved as recognition from the community.

                      The Earth could say, "Joe here is My Shaman."
                      But the Shaman wouldn't then be empowered to prance around telling unconnected people that ze was Earth's Shaman; I think ze would then be permitted to say,
                      "Thank you, Earth."

                      A friend of mine put it very well, " 'shaman' makes me think of my shamanic journeying recording. The author says that if a person tells someone "I am a shaman" the spirits consider that boasting and give them "the big SURE ENOUGH" and take their powers away." I'm sorry to say that I don't know who the author is, but I find the message to be very resonant.

                      BTW, I like 'Walker Between Worlds' very much too. Very specific and not grandiose.
                      *I am a mystic and work through Imbas rather than re-constructive archeology. Lore, history, and research are vital tools and permit us to validate and amplify communications we recieve. Disagreement and referencing of materials are also welcome benchmarks. What I say is not the 'Truth' but only my perception/opinion/belief and I am happy to give the same consideration to everyone else's point of view.*

                      http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png

                      "everyone [is] entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Stephen Colbert

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am most satisfied , and content , there are different opinions of the word Shaman , and it's meanings , and applications...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wasicuya

                          I despise the use of the term Shaman. It is a term much like the term Squaw. It is aWASP term for any leader or Holyman of any culture that
                          did not follow or bow down to xianity.

                          It has been mentioned that a "Shaman" had contact with the Animal/ Spirit world. In the culture of MY people all of the people had contact with this realm. Each individual had at some point a guide, four legged,or winged one.
                          Of the peoples that swan in the waters or crawled on the earth.

                          There were holy people of many types. There were seers of visions, healers,
                          shield makers, arrow makers, war leaders, peace leaders, and many others.

                          At times there were "Medicine People" who had the power to overrule the council.

                          Again it has been mentioned that a "shaman " must be part of a community. Define community. During my life I have communed with
                          2 leggeds, 4 leggeds, winged ones, and those beyond the veil.

                          As long as You choose to use the derogatory term Shaman I will
                          speak of certain others as WASICUYA.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I despise the use of the term Shaman. It is a term much like the term Squaw. It is aWASP term for any leader or Holyman of any culture that
                            did not follow or bow down to xianity.


                            "Shaman" is an Evenk (formerly known as Tungus) word, from Siberia. It does not have the same connotations as "squaw". Anthropologists appropriated the term for simplicity's sake to describe similar practices among many cultures around the world, including many Native American/First Nations cultures.

                            Yes, there are "plastic shamans" who steal things and misrepresent them to the world. However, I don't think that many people who use the term shaman, particularly with the understanding of the anthropological and cultural history of the term, intend to use it in any derogatory form. I think you're reading too much into pagan use of the term, and also making assumptions about the people who use it. Pagans are becoming more aware of the dangers of cultural appropriation, but that doesn't mean we can't develop our own practices.

                            *************

                            Also, responding to something else earlier in the thread--there's a lot more than "classic" and "core" shamanism. Not everyone who practices neoshamanism is a core shaman. I, for one, can't stand core shamanism. I know what Harner was trying to do, but I think he did a shoddy job of it. His version of shamanism is drawn from only a couple of cultures, but is presented as core to all forms thereof. Additionally, in The Way of the Shaman he focused primarily on what he thought "Westerners" would want, so it's mostly focused on healing. However, shamanism in various cultures may not only include healing, but also finding game, and even attacking rival communities and their shamans. The shaman was not always a trusted figure, even in hir own community. In Korea, for example, while shamans may be consulted for various things, it's not considered desirable to have a shaman in your family.

                            The way I have developed my own neoshamanic path is by reading anthropological sources to see the different things shamans in various cultures do in interacting with the spirit world. Then I ask myself how I, in modern American cultural context and based on my own experiences and background, would do the same things. I do not use core shamanism or its derivatives, and I always present what I do as being of my own creation, not traditional to any indigenous culture.

                            But that's how I do things; YMMV.
                            http://www.thegreenwolf.com (my main website with books, artwork and other goodies)
                            http://lupabitch.livejournal.com (I'm quite active on Livejournal)
                            http://paganbookreviews.com(book review blog)
                            http://therioshamanism.com (my path)
                            My Etsy Shop

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I maybe wrong for others but I find for myself that many "Shamans" are rather reclusive and loners to a great extent. At times a part of their society but also seperated from it to a certain degree, literaly on the fringes.

                              I find for myself that I serve my community from a removed facet more often than an actual hands on perspective. I usually end up in conversation with or helping others on an indiviudal basis. I do not seek it out but will be in a place and the conversation turns to some item that the person is having trouble with and it just comes forth.

                              I frequently end up in the woods with a group and i'll say something or do something and it will trigger a conversation on the Green People, The Winged Ones, the Two Legs or Four Legs, etc. Sometime I find I get questioned about why does the earth feel this way or that way in a given area. What can we (collectively) do to fix it.

                              Many times I feel removed or seperated from the people about me and find solace in the woods. Yet as I move threw the woods I feel sensations from the land and animals of things that need to be done. Some times its a spiritual thing almost like a light to open a doorway to cross over other times like a shield to force something out or away.

                              For many years it was as the warrior. That service to land and people done via the military service. Yet the global trek also introducing me to various other forms of shamanic belief and influences.

                              For me I seldom use the term to describe myself, but have several friends who use the term to describe me to others.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X