Facts about Shamanism
By: earthlight / Novice Jul 05, 2012
Post # 1
Since not many on here know about shamanism, I thought I would do a post on it.
Now shamanism has come from many areas all with small differences in their practices; some things such as age at which trials of a shaman are undergone and what the trials are.
To begin with, I will point out what a shaman is.
Shaman means wise man or medicine man depending on the language. Shamans were protectors of their villages as well as healers guiders and spiritual enlighteners. Shamans talked to spirits from Mother Nature to help and aid them when they needed assistance. One thing a shaman had to be was humble. They may be considered the leaders of a tribe, however they were the servants of the tribe. Shamans had to have knowledge of herbs as well they were healers both spiritually and physically. They also gave blessings to hunters and newborns. Shamanisms were most commonly known in the native American society.
Shamans believe in the otherworld, which is a place split into 3 realms, lower realm (not hell) where spirit guides and power animals dwell, Middle realm which belongs to human spirits where past life memories can be gathered, and Higher realms which is a place of angels, higher selves and celestial beings.
Shamans were the connectors between the spirits of the earth and the tribe they protected. When a person got very sick shamans went into trances to heal the afflicted person. Shamans believe that many illnesses were from the spirits and were curses and a shaman was meant to find the spirit responsible and reason with it. Another issue shamans had to deal with was soul loss. If you are overwhelmed physically by an accident, assault rape etc or emotional, divorce, death, feelings of worthlessness (depression) can lead to soul loss. Soul loss can cause energy loss and general feelings of emptiness or a shadow of their former selves. A shaman is then tasked with finding the missing parts of the persons soul in the otherworld and retrieving them helping to make the person whole it means that a person is able to overcome an emotional or physical harm.
Shamans have to pass trials before becoming a shaman. They vary from culture to culture but some are: finding a power animal, fasting, tracing for visions, healing and cloud splitting.
1 What a power animal is (I will attach a link).
2 Where your power animals are.
3 How to find your power animal.
A power animal is a shaman's source of strength both spiritual and physical. They are life long friends who will never leave you.
Here is a site that explains a lot.
Also Here is their meanings
If unsure feel free to mail me.
2 Power animals dwell in what is called the lower realm (no not hell).
It works like this:
Lower realm is where power animals and spirits live.
Middle realm is where us humans live.
Higher realm is where gods and higher beings live.
This is a basic Power animal meditation.
Close your eyes. Then imagine an area such as a wood. Then walk around this a bit until you find a hole. Usually in a tree or a hole.
Then you should go down the hole and you should get to a clearing (and this isn't a Alice in Wonderland scene). You should then walk around for a bit and see various animals. When an animal appears to you 3 times, ask it to be your spirit guide.
After you have done this and the animal has accepted, open the palm of your hand and the spirit animal should shrink to fit in the palm of your hand. Then hold your hand to your heart and feel the energy move around you.
Then go back up the hole you came through and back to where you have started.
This meditation can take a while to do ; please be patient and if it doesn't work first time keep trying. :)
(Used by Dr Steven D Farmer)
Some examples of when you're walking around is seeing trees, plants and other things. Be mindful of what you see. The first test is finding the hole.
Also, the animals may give you guidance to where your power animal is. e.g the spirit guide could go to your guide is waiting for you somewhere near and may or may not give a location or clue.
Power animals can be gained through meditation as above or can be found by a shaman. Many hunters had their power animals found for them by a shaman since they became more effective hunters and this increased the tribes chances to survive.
If there are any questions you wish to ask me please mail me.
This sounds like native american shamans. I would like to point out the word shaman comes from syberian tribes but used to describe tribal magic people. I personally follow the northern tradition shamanism
Did not mean to offend anyone with that sorry. The main thing i was thinking of is that few people know the origin of the word and get offended when they think some one is misusing the word when they are not. Raven k has a lot of info on that subject at northernshamanism.org sorry this is not a link
Re: Facts about Shamanism
By: Personified Moderator / Knowledgeable Jul 05, 2012
Post # 6
I,too, would be interested in seeing a continuation of this. I would love to hear more about how shamanism is implemented into your practice and compare some of the difference and similarities between the types we follow.
I thought this was really well written. The power animal aspect intriques me quite a bit. In my practice, we tend to call these animals "animal fylgja", and they are more or less similar to what you described. However, our animal fylgja are worked with on the upper and lower level, and used throughout pathwalking practices, healing,cursing, trance-work, channeling, etc. They tend to be a mirror representation of the person, and supposedly through this tradition it is believed that they are actually a part of the person's HugR, or soul. Because of that, its thought that if harm befalls the person- the same harm befalls the fylgja. Should the fylgja become sick, the person becomes sick (spiritually, which leads to shaman sickness).Advanced shamans, who have learned to work with a variety of fylgja, channel different animal aspects as well as pathwalk in the form of the animals they have worked with. Does your practice have similar things to this?
I look past the work "shaman" in this because it's used broadly, which takes from the more academic way of classifying. But I also cringed because of the attempt to condense all belief into one article. Good try, but I just don't think it should be done.
For instance the belief that sickness is caused by spirits is actually inaccurate. Medicine people believe everything has a spirit, and the sickness itself has spirit. You can break this down into a scientific view, since germs are living organisms, they do in fact have a spirit (life force), although they would be considered low level spirits. Whether the illness was inflicted or caused through an imbalance, it still doesn't negate the fact that the illness is "alive". Just as antibiotics kill bacteria so that it can pass from the person's body, a medicine person would work to remove the spirit/energy of the illness. There is no separation of spirit and physical, it is through spirit that life gains its vitality.
That's a Cherokee view as I know it.
As for 3 worlds, I was never taught that. I'm not aware of it being anything the Cherokee believe. There are varying levels of spirits and seven heavens. That's all I'm aware of. In my family low spirits were considered to be under the earth. So in all you're looking at 9 divisions, much like the tree of life in Kabbala. I've personally journeyed to 6.
There are many many false ideas of Cherokee belief. Cherokee for example are not polytheistic. They believe in one great spirit (creator) and the rest are spirits of higher or lower level, the higher ones having the most power over their area. Settlers called them gods but this word or meaning wasn't apart of the Tsalagi language. This is why the Cherokee people found it easy to convert to Christianity, they are monotheistic and have a very open idea of spiritualism, and now unfortunately many old Native American laymen medicine is found with psalms and even the name of Jesus added to them. I was speaking with an Apache woman who shared with me some of her passed down medicine, and it involved the psalms, and she actually lives near the reservations and has family there. It's very hard to filter through the "Christianized" beliefs and even I struggle to find authentic literature. Since written language wasn't introduced until many years after settlers arrived, the purity of the heritage is not what it should be. My great grandmother was unfortunately no different. Although the Cherokee beliefs were still there there were Christian touches. And although it was never spoken of, I believe the lack of the language being passed down was due to what the government did. My great grandmother would have been the right age to be forced into the schools that forbid the children to speak tsalagi and tried to strip them from their culture. My grandmother was not Christian, actually, she didn't like Christianity and her views were very basic Cherokee belief. That's who I took after. I deny any Cherokee religious claims that are strangly a lot like Christian belief.
This is a great example of the bs you'll find.
"The Cherokees believed in an after life and those who had behaved in a "good" manner went to a place that was light and pleasant. Those who had behaved poorly would be sent to a bad place and face torture."
Really? Come on now....
I actually find this
extremely interesting and I would absolutely be delighted to meet one of these people if this is true.
But you forget that i said i was not wrring about everything about shamanism just a few points i could write pages and waffel on. Raven your point that you study Cherokees i was talking about shamanism in the widder terms.
Shamanism is not set to one area of the world many areas of the world have had shamanism thats why i said things may be diffrent my example was the trials given and the age at but there are other things such differances incudling the types of animals a shaman works with.
The other world has 3 realms and in shamanism that is a few when i talk about shamanism i do not select one strict veiw since that narrows learning all of shamanism has diffrent veiws since you look mainly at Cherokee i look at it all and all have diffrent teachings on certain things this is true but if you want to teach something its best to of practised and tried it yourself and in my experance the 3 realms are there for example i found my power animal in the lower realm.
Also for your infomation on cringing about the artical some people do not wish to know everything they want to know bits if i wanted to write a book i would but that would be pointless in my opinion
And also about "sickness is caused by spirits is actually inaccurate" As personified showed shaman sickness is spitral yes bacteria have spirits but were still physical and back then shamans did not know what bacteria was. Many tibes did belive that the world was effected by spirits of the elements they would travel to a place where they could find the spirits of water if they wanted it to rain ect. The problem is there is no set record of shamanism as you said teachings are dilluded but each person should be able to see what works for them.
You miss my point entirely earth. I'm saying that, making general statements about shamanism worldwide is not a good idea. You cannot put them all together. They are all very different. I gave an example of how a native american tribe contradicts your statements to demonstrate that shoving all medicine men in one category will end up with erroneous statements.
And I don't research the Cherokee. Both my grandmother and grandfather were Cherokee. Literature on the web and most books are garbage. I only look for websites to try and find good ones for those interested in the culture. I was stating that it is extremely hard to find and most information is misunderstood or Christianized which means a random person wanting to learn about Cherokee medicine and belief cannot. They need to know a Cherokee person who has been taught it. The information I know is from my family and friends who are either also Cherokee or visit the reservations and talk to them there. So you or anyone else will not know about the ways even if you try, and I'm sure the Tsalagi people aren't the only group that let's people believe false information to keep their ways sacred.