Shamanism as a Spiritual Path

Shamanism as a Spiritual Path

did you know that shamanism is the oldest form of spiritual practice in the world the shamans way of life is nearly as old as human consciousness itself there are records left from shamanic cultures found in burial sites stone objects and petroglyphs on cave walls many of these artifacts date back to the Paleolithic era the Stone Age 40 to 50 thousand years ago some researchers speculate that the Neanderthals practiced early forms of shamanic behaviors the roots of shamanism can be found in every culture around the globe and in every religion but what is shamanism and why is it relevant today the word shaman is thought to originate from Siberia and Central Asia although there have been many words used in different tribes and regions the Russian tango Issyk saman is the word that has become the modern term shaman it means to know every culture and every generation has their shamans they may be called by different names and practice in a variety of culturally distinct ways but they are the ones that are touched directly by spirit and move to engage with the numinous the shaman knows the spiritual realms and how to interact and communicate within these realms a shamanic worldview understands that all life is sacred that everything has a spirit or energy and these spirits these energies are interacting and communicating all the time the shaman forms a kinship with spirits and is a mediator between the human and natural spiritual worlds the shaman knows how to travel and engage in the spiritual and energetic realms communicating on behalf of themselves their family community and world dr. Thomas Patrick Lavin describes a shaman as a person who has been forced by fate to take an inner awful journey which ultimately gives a new form to the person and to the culture this journey demands sacrifice isolation from the collective's expectations and a particular form of courage which is able to accept new forms of awareness and new forms of the divine in suffering shamans maintain a sense of humor choosing a path of joyfulness they acknowledge pain but seek to live in joy they lead a serenely joyful existence as a complex person tributes to the future a transcender joyfully invested in complex goals every religious tradition has stories of persons who have walked the shamanic path some religious traditions have called shamans by different names sage st. the Bodhisattva are but a few of these names shamans are called into service through a situation or currents that awakens them and at the same time separates them from others this calling places the shaman on the margins of the tribe or society an initiating event opens the door between the worlds and allows the shaman access to realms that are otherwise considered taboo the shaman has a choice whether to walk the path and be initiated or decline often the choice is so severe as to be a choice of becoming a shaman or dying there is a doorway within our minds that usually remains hidden and secret until the time of death the vici old tribe in Mexico has a word for this shamans are initiated through spiritual contact through forces of nature and through direct transmission from spirit and from shaman to shaman shamans are mapmakers as they journey out into these spiritual realms they become familiar with the terrain shamans work with helping spirits in the spiritual realms to access information for divination healing and transformation there are consistencies and commonalities and all shamanic cultures globally and throughout time all shamans use some form of practice that allows them to shift their perception through altered states of consciousness they journey into the spiritual realms the shaman is a technician of ecstasy shamanic practice allows an individual access to direct personal spiritual experience shamans engage in an animistic relationship with nature all those shamanic cultures and religions are generally oral traditions and do not refer to a particular sacred text there are symbols and images that continue to be used which hold an archetypal quality and meeting all shamanic cultures have sacred objects and tools the drum is a common traditional instrument used to help create a shift in consciousness dance and sacred postures have been used by shamans throughout time sacred plant medicines that have psychotropic properties are used like a sacrament to embody the divine and transform all shamanic traditions have rites of passage ceremonies and rituals shamans believe there is a spiritual cause and solution for all physical and emotional illness a shaman will journey into the spiritual realms on behalf of the person in need and assist in the process of resolving their disharmony both ancient and modern shamanic traditions involve healing practices through spiritual technologies that is physical and emotional suffering the first form of shamanic healing was through extraction of the diseased or intrusive energy or object in the early Paleolithic era in the old world so loss was treated through soul retrieval which began in the late Paleolithic era and Siberia spirit intrusion was treated at the end of the Pleistocene era in Western Asia sorcery as a disease theory has been the most widespread cause and treatment of illness throughout history in all cultures sorcery is based on negative thoughts from self or others that create disharmony illness and suffering in order to engage in shamanic practices a shaman will journey into non ordinary reality into the upper middle or lower worlds and these spiritual worlds time moves differently the future present and past are connected and accessible all time exists at once and rather than being linear it becomes circular the three worlds in the shamanic cosmology ascend and descend along a vertical axis or axis Monday that the shaman can use to connect with these worlds it is like an umbilical cord or The Tree of Life the shaman will experience the divine creator our all-encompassing God presence in these realms the spirits of nature are animate and can speak the shaman learns directly from the spirits of nature in order to assist in the survival and benefit of humans humanity is seen as directly connected and part of the natural world the Medicine Wheel is an example of the horizontal axis of shamanic cosmology this wheel represents the branches of the tree of life bearing the elements of our physical world earth air water and fire in the centre where the horizontal axis meets the vertical axis there is the fifth element of spirit shamanism is still practiced in various forms around the world a modern eclectic form of shamanism began to be popularized in the mid to late part of the 20th century books written by anthropologists and scholars provided information to a new generation of spiritual seekers this new movement of interest in shamanism comes at a time in history when many of the indigenous cultures are in danger of losing their ancient wisdom sacred knowledge and technologies to modernism these old shamanic cultures are shrinking and disappearing different shamanic cultures are interacting and sharing information mysteries and secrets that were once kept separate from public awareness are now accessible what is being created from this melding of cultural shamanism is shamanic hybrids that are changing individual and societal awareness and perception shamanic healing practices medicinal plant knowledge and spiritual cosmologies are being used and reinterpreted to assist the needs of our time with the combination of new and old ways comes controversy and creative possibilities there has always been the potential to abuse the power and benefit that shamanism provides new communities based on spiritual relationships connecting with nature are bringing more awareness to the needs facing a global community and an earth and ecological crisis what makes us shaman powerful and trustworthy a shamans power is measured by the ability to embody joy to a shaman power is the ability to work with energy shamans are masters of consciousness shifts that enable them to use and interact with the creative lifeforce for beneficial purposes the shaman is trustworthy with this power when they surrender to the divine and are in service to the greater good of nature and humankind can anyone become a shaman today a different kind of shaman is being called forth as our species has individuated from Mother Nature and participated in one of the greatest ecological disasters and historical evidence many people are being called and awakened to be a voice of the earth and spirit we live in a different time than our ancestors did but shamanism has always existed and served a purpose for humankind it will continue to evolve as we do you

Thank you for this video. Being a shaman in modern American is confusing and lonely, leading to so much awareness and disappointment BUT watching this reaffirmed that I'm here, I've been called to this and I will keep going to serve my purpose. I truly appreciate you sharing how we are different now, the world needs different things from us. I also find it entertaining that I became an anthropologist before I realized/accepted that I was a shaman. Seems to be a common theme in these neo-shaman days. Blessings to you!

could have done without the flute. in this case too loud and too high, harsh on the ears while trying to hear narrator.
clearly the flutist is skilled and music is beautiful on its own, but not well chosen or engineered for this video. too loud.


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