What is shamanism?
The word shaman originated from a word in Siberia and eventually came to be applied to all medicine men and women of indigenous cultures who's practice includes the flight of the soul. Anthropologist studying indigenous cultures throughout the world, began to find that for different cultures, there were similarities in the way the medicine men and women worked with healing and connecting to the spiritual aspect of people and the world. While there were differences specific to culture, removing the the cultural reference revealed a core system of practice. The core practices are called core-Shamanism - a phrase coined by Michael Harner.
Shamanism is the practice of these core techniques, either for healing or to gain spiritual knowledge. Shamanism is sometime studied with the cultural reference, sometimes without, but the essential nature of the shamanic practice does not change, nor has it changed since ancient times. It has adapted to fit the times or the culture, but its essential core has been the same.
Shamanism is not a religion, not unless you want to make it into one. It has been and is being practiced by peoples of many religions, from Christianity, to Judaism, to Hinduism. You will find shamanic practitioners of every faith.
So what then is shamanism?
It is a direct experience of spiritual knowledge. Because of the direct nature of the work, it tends to facilitate growth in every religious faith. People will share shamanic experiences in groups, but the insight you gain from shamanic practice are unique to you.
As a healing practice shamanism has been very powerful for both the people of today and those reaching back into the beginnings of recorded history.
The reason that it is so powerful is because each healing is tailored to the needs of the individual being healed. Western medicine seeks to find one cure that works for many, if the number it helps is too small it isn't offered at all. The shaman provides unique treatment, which holistically addresses what a person needs at this time.
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