Shamanism? Is that a religion?

The Dark Hedges, Ballymoney Ireland
The Dark Hedges, Ballymoney Ireland

When the topic of shamanism comes up, one of the first questions that gets asked is, ‘what is shamanism?’ And usually the next question is, ‘is that a religion?’ So let’s get right to it and answer these two questions.

What is Shamanism?

The word shaman, comes from theManchu-Tungus Siberian word which means ‘one who knows’ or ‘one who sees in the dark’. It could be said that a shaman is a healer who moves into an altered state of consciousness through shamanic journeys, to access a hidden reality in the spirit world to bring back healing, power, and information.

Shamans are often called medicine women or men, healers, and seers. They believe that all physical, emotional or mental problems have their root cause in spiritual imbalance. The techniques used such as drumming, rattling, use of herbs, crystals and other natural elements have been used since the dawn of time and are similar around the world, despite geographical and cultural differences.

In urban cultures, people often go to shamans as a last resort to restore their health and to find solutions to their problems. In indigenous tribal cultures, it’s usually the opposite. These shamans hold more central roles in the village and is seen as someone you go to first, as it’s normal to go to them as a first port of call.

On to the next question, is Shamanism a religion?

Shamanism is not a religion. It has no central leader, and it’s main focus is not around creating a devoted following. Many shamans would prefer that you take the journey to find your own authentic truth through connecting with spirit.

In shamanism there is no one definitive source document for its beliefs, so it doesn’t have a central theology. In religion, the system of beliefs leads to the ritualized practice of religion. If anything, a shamans practice is the spiritual work they do to connect with spirit to find a solution. At its core, shamanism is a method. A method to connect to the spirit world. In a way, you could liken it to meditation, which can be used to achieve various health and spiritual states of improvements too.

With shamanism, you don’t have to believe in it, practice it or have faith in it for it to work. It is the universal spiritual wisdom that’s inherent to all of us. It is a way for us to connect with nature and all of creation that is at our fingertips. A shaman is a guide that helps people access this wisdom.

If shamanism is calling you, or if you’re looking for answers to life’s mysteries, do spend some time to explore it further. In recent years, shamanism is finding a resurgence with those who are looking for ways to ultimately have happier and more fulfilled lives. The dark ages are over and  the light is being shone on it again for people to discover it’s methods, to reconnect to their spiritual aspects and often to their ancestral roots in the craft.

If shamanism interests you, and you want to find out how Antoinette can assist, you can send a message on the contact us page. Explore the Novostellar website to find out more and to see what’s on offer, and do follow the blog.

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This article was written by Antoinette and originally appeared on March 30, 2018 on the  the Shamanic Tribes blog.

 

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