shaman

THE RAVEN LODGE

Of Shamanic and personal development

Shamanism FAQ

 

"Shamanic ecstasy is the real "Old Time Religion," of which modern churches are but pallid evocations. Shamanic, visionary ecstasy, the mysterium tremendum, the unio mystica, the eternally delightful experience of the universe as energy, is a sine qua non of religion, it is what religion is for! There is no need for faith, it is the ecstatic experience itself that gives one faith in the intrinsic unity and integrity of the universe, in ourselves as integral parts of the whole; that reveals to us the sublime majesty of our universe, and the fluctuant, scintillant, alchemical miracle that is quotidian consciousness. Any religion that requires faith and gives none, that defends against religious experiences, that promulgates the bizarre superstition that humankind is in some way separate, divorced from the rest of creation, that heals not the gaping wound between Body and Soul, but would tear them asunder... is no religion at all!" Jonathan Ott

Shamanism is a word borrowed from the Siberian Tungus tribe, one of the first shamanic cultures to be studied. The office of Shaman is a unique one, and is present in the history of every hunter/gatherer culture around the world. In tribal culture, the Shaman is the link between the people and the worlds of the spirit, employing ecstatic trance states to travel to other dimensions. The Shaman is the priest, healer, magician, diviner, and the mediator between the living and the ancestors.

The state of ecstatic trance is central to shamanic practice, and is achieved through various methods (and combinations of methods), including self-hypnosis, hallucinogens, and repetitive drumming. Many of the major themes of religions- ascension to heaven, descent into the underworld, etc., are believed by anthropologists to have originated in shamanic practices.

The use of hallucinogenic (or, entheogenic) substances is central to most Shamanic traditions. In the Amazon, the most notable of these is Ayahuasca, a complex brew with renowned healing properties. In the Americas, tobacco was popular, and in Siberia, marijuana. The use of these substances is so central to Shamanic practices that some researchers, such as the late Terrence McKenna, believe that they are inextricably linked with the origins of human spirituality. Additionally, there are traces of entheogenic plant use in almost all historical religions, a curious fact that is largely ignored by most modern religions.

One becomes a Shaman generally by heredity or selection, and through rigorous and sometimes difficult (even dangerous) training and initiation. Beware of dubious claims of anyone offering high priced 'workshops' in idealized Native Shamanism- most shamanic traditions are practiced in secrecy and are not available to outsiders or curiosity seekers. It is highly unlikely that a true initiate will go on the workshop circuit, and many tribal leaders consider these to be exploitative and offensive.

About Shamanism

 

SHAMANISM IN WORLD CULTURES:


Native American Shamanism


Celtic Shamanism

North Pacific shamanism


Siberian Shamanism

Mongolian Shamanism

 

Books, music, movies about Shamanism

 

Texts about Shamanism:

Shamanism: Religion or Rite? by Michael Ripinsky-Naxon
Shamanism in Siberia from Aboriginal Siberia, by M. A. Czaplicka. [1914]
This is a comprehensive review of the ethographic literature concerning Shamanism in Sibera.
Shaman, Saiva and Sufi by R.O. Winstedt. (1925)
This is an ethographic account of spiritual practices in Malaysia at the start of the 20th century, which included Shamanism, Animism, Hindu and Islamic influences.
Animism by G.W. Gilmore [1919]
Animism is the concept that the entire universe is alive; this belief is central to Shamanistic spirituality.
Aino Folk-Tales by Basil Hall Chamberlain [1888]
This is a collection of folktales of the Ainu, a shamanistic ethnic minority of Japan.


 

 

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