definition

What is Shamanism?

March, 2018

**An excerpt from the book: Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

 

What is Shamanism?

Shamanism is not a faith, but a wisdom tradition in which we learn purely from our own individual, collective and personal experience. It is not a religion and is dogma-free; indeed it supports any existing spiritual practice one already has. Many of us deeply desire a connection to our own ‘soulfulness’ and that of all other living beings in a free and natural way. This is the essence of Shamanism.”

– John Cantwell

“Shamanism is a path of knowledge, not of faith, and that knowledge cannot come from me or anyone else in this reality. To acquire that knowledge, including the knowledge of the reality of the spirits, it is necessary to step through the shaman’s doorway and acquire empirical evidence.”

– Michael Harner, Ph.D.

 

The etymology of the word “shaman” itself comes from the Siberian language and it was originally used to refer to a spiritual healer in the community. In each area of the world, including Europe, earth-based spiritual practices can be traced back to specific groups of people who knew how to enter into communion with nature spirits through non-ordinary reality in order to obtain information that could aid in the healing of a person or a community.

Today, shamanic practitioners do not focus on what is “broken” in a person or even necessarily how the imbalance happened in the first place. Shamanism is concerned primarily with reminding an individual of their inherent wholeness. Shamanic practitioners see that when a person experiences trauma or illness, they are not in need of fixing; rather, parts of their being splinter or shatter away from the whole causing inner and outer dissonance. Because imbalances manifest in the spiritual energetic level of being first, this is also where practitioners travel to bring back these pieces to the afflicted person.

Today, many of us have lost contact with these old ways. In the modern world, we’ve had to adapt ancient traditions to fit our hurried, busy lifestyles. Urban shamanic practitioners train in ancient shamanic technologies in order to heal themselves and to support healing in others in the community. Ancient tools are used by everyday people again with great success: drum journeys into the spiritworld, vision quests for extended time out in nature, and other spiritual ceremonies. All of these strategies help us to quiet our inner world so we can hear the voice of Spirit and our inner wise one who knows what medicine we need to heal.

This may seem strange to people who were not brought up in shamanic cultures. However, ancient peoples knew that the consensual reality we live in is not the only reality we can sense and participate within. It is not uncommon for shamanic practitioners to work with spirit guides, totem animals, and their ancestors in order to affect positive change in their own lives and in the world around them. In shamanic cultures, dreaming is not an idle activity with no useful function: it is the way people dream a new reality into being. This does not involve attempting to control anything outside the practitioner. And so just like a journeyer can enter the spiritworld for answers to problems, she can also enter the spiritworld to lend energy to a different dream than the one she is currently living. In fact, both are needed in order for healing to be effective.

As individuals on a growth and evolutionary edge, if we choose, we continue to heal until we die. Healing requires us to keep sensing the splintered parts of ourselves, working with the spiritworld to bring them into wholeness again. This is a tremendous act of power that we are capable of as human beings. Unlike other living creatures, humans can consciously learn to direct their will to literally change the pathways available to them in the future. Shamanic practitioners learn to responsibly travel the spiritual realms to affect change. This takes years of practice and mentors who know how to teach these methods with skill and care. Although there are some modern-day shamanic practitioners that are charlatans, there are many more who are earnestly passing their teachings onto sincere and responsible individuals willing to learn these ancient ways of dreaming, healing, and creating.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, Reiki Master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

For Amazon information, click image below

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com