Northern Tradition Shamanism
What is Northern Tradition Shamanism?
This is a form of shamanism that largely features working within the Norse pantheons, and holds true to some northern traditions. However, this practice was coined by Raven Kaldera, thus, the best way to explain it would be to show what Kaldera says about it:
"This tradition is a blend of the ancient shamanic traditions of many of the peoples of northern Europe- the Germanic, Norse, Anglo-Saxon, and a little bit of Saami, Russian and western Siberian. It is spirit-taught, or at least it is being spirit-taught to me, and my learning of it is an organic thing.
My definition of shamanism is "a spiritual and magical practice that involves working with spirits and is designed to serve a tribe". It's distinct from thaumaturgic magic, which is working magically with directed energy, or theurgic magic, which is working with divinely inspired symbol systems like runes.
This is working with Entities, and that's a whole different ball game. Shamanism is also distinct from religion proper, because while it is certainly a spiritual practice, and has always traditionally been embedded in a religious cosmology, it is a practical discipline that serves the people in concrete ways healing, divining, channeling, and generally enhancing people's lives."
Northern Tradition Shamanism, or NTS, is not related to or a part of Heathenry- or its sects such as Asatru, Rokkatru, etc. While Heathenry is the reconstructionalist religion and practice of pre-Christian Scandinavian faith- NTS is a spiritual practice. It is more closely identified with Northern Tradition Paganism, which itself is a reconstructionalist form of neo-paganism. Raven K himself has said many times that he does not identify with Heathens, and that he is more eclectic neo-pagan than anything. He also put up a disclaimer to explain that his practice is reconstructionalist-derived and largely UPG (unverified personal gnosis).
He also makes the note that Northern Tradition Shamanism has a lot of similar workings as Seidhr- which is a reconstructionalist-based magickal practice. Seidhr itself has several tie-ins with shamanism, but never quite says whether it is or isn't a form of shamanism. There's a lot of debates over whether it should be considered one way or the other and what practices should be included in it. However, Raven K simply says " NTS is a form of [spirit] -taught shamanism and that is all ".
If you'd like to read a bit more about *what* NTS is and isn't, I would direct you to look at the FAQs on Raven K's website:
What does Northern Tradition Shamanism consist of?
NTS has a wide variety of topics it covers. It's core is basic shamanism. NTS teaches the importance of spirit-work and learning to communicate and learn from wights. The wights it discusses largely come from Northern/Germanic tradition. It includes the Aesir, Vanir and Rokkr Gods from the Norse pantheon. It also includes the Jotunfolk and learning to work with the Alfar (Elves) and Duergar (Dwarves).
Some of the main practices and focus of NTS is centeralized around:
- Altered states of consciousness
- Healing/Soul-matrix work
- Journeying (Pathwalking/AP)
- Spirit-possession and horsing
- Working with elements/elemental wights
The biggest focuses of NTS, in my opinion, would be on Journeying and Altered States of Consciousness (ASC). The ASC serve the purpose of putting a person in the correct state of mind in order to do their spiritual work and to communicate with wights and other entities. This is the state of mind that is achieved before attemping projection or horsing, and it largely viewed as a necessary step. ASC includes things like meditation and trances, and other practices which seek to open ones self up and prepare their mind for whatever work they have ahead. In NTS, the Altered States of Consciousness are broken down into 8 distinct paths- each focusing on a different way to achieve the altered state of mind needed for NTS. I already wrote a brief article introducing this, which can be found:
Journeying/Pathwalking is another big focus that I plan on explaining indepth when I have more time. It has many parallels to AP, or Astral Projection. In this context, journeying largely refers to projecting yourself between the realms. As Raven K says: " There are two ways that I know of to visit another world. (There may be more, but I don't know about them yet.) One is traditionally referred to as "journeying" (if you're Pagan), or "faring forth" (if you're a Heathen seidhr-worker), or "astral travel" (if you're a New Ager). It consists, at its most simplest, of removing your astral body from your physical body and taking it elsewhere. ".
Pathwalking is similar, though slightly different: It is meant for people who cannot seemingly project with ease. " Pathwalking, or "way-taming" as we've also called it, after one of Odin's titles, is the technique of walking in two worlds at once. In order to do it, you "pull in" the other world and superimpose it on this one. Your physical body walks in your home world, while your astral body moves through the second world ."
To explain each of these practices would take a lot of time. In the future I plan on writing articles to cover each of these sections, but for the moment suffice it to say that there's a lot of wiggle room in defining which practices NTS specifically covers. In the future I'll likely be focusing on writing about these different practices, how NTS approaches them and how I myself practice them. Until then, I hope this serves as a basic introduction to NTS.
Raven K's Site: