Shamanism is an ancient spiritual practice estimated by anthropologists and archaeologists to be at least 40-50,000 years old.
It’s most common modern application is as a healing method in which practitioner and Spirit work in partnership to restore balance.
Traditionally, the role of the shamanic practitioner was that of healer, diviner and conductor of ceremonies. But they were always of service to the community. Not only did they hold a deep understanding of life and the world, but possessed the ability to communicate with the Spirits to ask where the best hunting was to be found, what herb might save a person’s life and the causes of physical/emotional/mental and spiritual dis-ease.
Simply put, when a Shamanic practitioner works they enter into a different state of consciousness by shifting their awareness. This was traditionally by drum or rattle but also accessible using vocal chanting or repetitive sound, didgeridoo, fasting and prolonged time in darkness (to name but a few!) – to meet with spirit in order to receive answers and guidance or to perform healing work, with the practitioner being the face, voice and body transmitter of the work.
Our ancestors first encounters with the normally unseen world of spirit and an introduction to this that would have sparked their own enquiries into the universe was most likely from dreams. Each night a women or man would have closed their eyes in a fixed position in our world and yet would have awoken some hours later in the same place having known and had clear memories of traveling the world to new unseen places, having experiences and perhaps receiving messages yet being most certain that they, their bodies had not been anywhere.
The fascinating thing about shamanic practice the world over is that if one strips away the cultural specifics, local beliefs and deities, the core practices/methods employed are very much the same.
The goal of the Shamanic practitioner is always to serve and heal. For healing, this means helping the clients to become more whole, to increase their vitality, their good luck and general well-being. Shamanic healing has the potential to work for everyone but is not necessarily *for* everyone. We are all different and therefore the optimised healing modality for each individual will vary.
But for many, shamanic healing is the most time tested of all practices with integration of both our spiritual and non-spiritual selves.