What Is a Shaman?
The term “shaman” originates from the native peoples of Siberia and it means “one who sees in the dark.” Shamans are often called “see-ers” (seers) or “people who know” for their direct experience of spiritual knowledge.
The Origins of Shamanism
Shamanism is an ancient practice of spiritual healing. Some say it is the oldest form of healing on the planet, dating back forty thousand years ago. Evidence of shamanic practice has been found in tribal societies on all continents from cave drawings to graves. It is believed that the social function of the Shaman was oracle, healer and spiritual guide all in one. Their job was to maintain a connection with the spirit world.
What Shamans Do
A shaman has the ability to tap into and enter the spirit world by going into a trance-like state—usually using the sounds of a drum or rattle. A shamanic healer seeks to retrieve information from spirit in order to bring that power and healing back to those in need.
Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit
Shamans believe that all problems whether they be physical, mental or emotional have a root cause. That root cause stems from a spiritual imbalance, which translates to spiritual illness. Shamanic healing addresses the spiritual aspect of illness—the part of illness that is in your spirit, soul or energy body. Shamans believe injury or illness appears in the spirit before it shows up in the physical body. Likewise, if the body is injured the injury will also exist on the level of spirit.
Shamans direct and move energy to restore harmony within the individual. Shamans provide this ascended wisdom and healing through many various modalities.
How Do Shamans Heal?
Shamans forward messages from the spirit world, perform hands on healing, connect you with your spiritual guardian or power animal (animal spirit) and practice sound therapy (which may include drums, rattles, and chimes). They also perform sacred smudging, removal of unwanted energies, aura cleansing, chakra balancing, and soul retrieval.
A shaman works to restore balance, wholeness and wellness to the people. Shamans will not extend healing without being asked. They respect privacy and will not cross the lines of free will. No promises are made concerning outcome because they are consciously aware that healing comes from spirit.
A Channel For Divine Healing
Shamans are known for saying they are not the healing, they are the connection to healing. Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds.
Energy medicine is intended to heal the soul. Healing the soul brings balance to our thoughts, feelings and restoration to the body’s health.
Who and What Is a Modern Shaman?
When one hears the word shaman the mind is directed to thinking primarily of indigenous cultures and relating the term to medicine men or women.
In some cultures, shamanic practice is passed along in families. For others it is obtained through formalized training sessions.
Times are changing. Nowadays it is very likely that you have heard the term shaman connected with phrases such as Modern Day Shaman or New Age Shaman. Contemporary people are studying and applying shamanism as a life path.
How To Recognize a Shaman
Modern shamans come in every shape, size, color, ethnicity and package, although many people still have preconceived notions as to their appearance. You could be standing next to one and never know—unless your shaman is wearing skins and claws. A modern shaman will keep in mind their client and community before adorning these sacred articles of attire and jewelry.
However, if you find yourself in close proximity to a shaman, you may sense their spirituality and strength. These individuals carry an innate power or divine force within them, clearly unstated yet present. They radiate a subtle confidence and stability. You may feel the supernatural energies that surround them.
What Issues Do Modern Shamans Address?
Modern day Shamanic practitioners are sought after for traditional methods of divination and healing as well as consulted by those seeking practical solutions to everyday problems such as seeking spirituality, health challenges, relationships, aging parents, career endeavors, and finding one’s purpose or mission in life.
The practitioner will bring back advice and points of action from the spirit realms to assist the client on their healing journey. It is the responsibility of the client to be willing to make these necessary changes toward a positive and healthy shift to their being.
An ethical Shamanic practitioner would never suggest that you should forsake your primary medical physician. Shamanic work can be and should be done in conjunction with western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), alternative medicine etc.
Finding and Connecting With a Shamanic Practitioner
Shamans know that strength comes from adversity. It is a necessary lesson on your journey. If the shaman has experienced their own personal illnesses and made it through extremely difficult times, this learning process has created an open heart, and an abundance of compassion that allows the shaman to understand your suffering on a personal level. It establishes a bond and raises the trust factor.
With this added insight, they are fully aware of the powers needed to manifest your particular healing. You will know that you are in good hands. If you are committed to the process, your shaman will guide you through every aspect required to obtain the changes for restoration.
Keep in mind that shamanism does not adhere strictly to one religious doctrine. A shaman can treat a client of any faith. Shamanic healing provides support by working with the soul and the wisdom of spirit guides.
Of course you want your shaman to deliver results. I have found that if desired outcomes are obtained, the shamanic healer needs no advertisement besides word of mouth referrals. Success stories spread like wildfire. Testimonies from healed and happy clients are the shaman’s truth and calling card.
Is Shamanism Effective?
There is a mysterious element to how the shaman effects a cure because shamanic healing is individualized to each unique person and their illness. It has been difficult to lend itself to conventional research designs, which has led to speculation of shamanic approaches.
Research on Shamanic Healing
Because it is an interpersonal experience derived of many aspects and is not something completely tangible, it can be problematic to quantify. However, there have been some studies done on the efficacy of Shamanic Healing.
- Shamanic healing had long-term and lasting effects on pain and disability resulting from Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs).
- A man of the Guahibo tribe in Colombia was bitten by a deadly snake. Despite traditional western care, his health declined. He made a full recovery after being paid a visit by the local Shaman. Doctors concluded that the strong psychological effect cured the patient.
- Shamanism as a healing paradigm for complementary therapy. The comparatively recent psychoneuroimmunological perspective appears to be congruent with and also to validate ancient shamanic healing technique. Both may share essential principles with complementary therapies and illuminate their essential healing processes.
- A review on Esoteric Healing Traditions, including Shamanism, by Jeff Levin, PhD, MPH from Duke University Medical Center
The successful techniques used have stood the test of time and speak directly to effectiveness.
About the Author
Kaylee is a co-founder of Mind Body Spiritual Awareness. She has been mindfully aware of and practicing her psychic abilities since she was a child. Led by her spirit guides, Kaylee has obtained a vast wealth of knowledge and experience with the ethereal realm and alternative modalities of energy healing. Kaylee is a shamanic healer and New Age artist.