What is Shamanism?

The word “shaman” originates in Siberia and means “one who sees in the dark”. The term refers to a traditional healer or medicine person. Shamanism is a spiritual practice or group of activities and experiences common to shamans around the world from ancient times up to the present day. Suggested to be 30,000 to 40,000 years old (with some anthropologists saying over 100,000 years old), it is the oldest healing technique known to humankind. Its practices are adaptable and coexist with different cultures, systems of government, and organized religious practices. Nowadays, in non-indigenous cultures, shamanism is studied and practiced as a life path.

Within the shamanistic worldview, individuals and practitioners seek to be in relationship with the spirit present in all things. A core practice of shamanism is the shamanic Journey, a time-tested method for accessing information and receiving guidance. The Journey carries the practitioner outside of time and space into what is known as Non-Ordinary Reality. This is done to retrieve information, often regarding the health of a client and with the intention of restoring their personal power and authority.

From a shamanic perspective, illness or disease originates at the spiritual level and has three causes – power loss, soul loss, and/or the presence of intrusions. Shamanic healing is not necessarily an instant cure for long-standing conditions but it can be the initiation of a process so that physical, emotional and mental healing can begin.