"That the shaman works on the invisible and unreal does not necessarily mean
that his science is a fictional one. He constructs a bridge between the world of the spirits and the material world, so that
the latter feels and responds to the former, bringing results that are seen in the 'real' world."
---Jimmy Weiskopf, Journalist, Columbia.
"I like the term 'shaman,' which is Eastern in its origin, because it comes
with the understanding that the shaman must know about both the 'good' and the 'bad,' in order to defend himself and help
others. The shaman is someone who is responsible both to his own nature and to nature in general. He (or she)
is aware of life's cycles and how these changes connect inside and outside his own being. This is an awareness that the shaman
can impart to those who truly wish to nourish themselves as well.
...Shamanism may not be a science, but it is a prescience that is empirical in nature, where the observable
can be studied and worked with. If we watch carefully, we will see that the future is a direct causal progression of what
we perceive each moment. We must learn to observe and read the future within the symbolic cosmology of our surroundings. If
that future is good then we can embrace it---if not, we can work to create another."
---Eduardo Caldero'n Palomino, Curandero, Peru.
The 'heart of a warrior,' courage, ability to face the truth, and knowing one's true calling without fear of extremes or 'ugly
things' are the qualities of the shaman.
---Guillermo Arevalo, Curandero, Shipibo-Conibo, Peru.
"Shamans are born, not made, in every culture, even in the declining
"....more and more people are talking about shamans: saying....that the rattle,
independent of any God, is sufficient, saying it finds lost souls, saying all kinds of things. We, among the strongest who
see spirit and experience its power, say that many who talk about such things have not seen, heard, or been touched by what
is most essential. We are thereby called to speak our simple truth: A shaman is someone who prays to their God. Prayer is
the instrument, the link. All other paths only pretend. It is prayer, prayer, and more prayer. This is what gives you flight,
brings you the purest sight, and reconnects you to the web of light.
You will know a shaman by the sound of their prayer. They carry the word souls.
No song, no shaman. Songs of prayer come from a serving heart. They cleanse, forgive, and rekindle hope. There is no other
way of the shaman than prayer and song. It is the way we know God, it is the way we become the forest, it is the truest
"The life of a shaman is one in which much is revealed. A shaman
sees what others cannot see. He or she feels the suffering of the world and in one's own life, but deals with this by grabbing
the rattle and praying harder each day. Suffering and prayer comprise the way of the shaman. The problem today is that there
are no shamans who can help other shamans stay strong. We've lost this kind of person.
If you didn't come to earth to be a shaman, there is nothing you can do to become
one. God chooses you. You cannot make yourself become a shaman if you were not chosen to be one. No one can teach you how
to be one. You are not a shaman unless you have been given a song."
---Tupa Nevangayu, Guarani Shamans Of The Forest, Bradford Keeney, PH.D, Ringing
"Forget 'shamanism' and forget 'shaman.' Look at the universe inside and outside
yourself. Open to the mystery. Plant things, trees, vegetables, and talk to them. They will make more sense than you or I
ever could. The human is much bigger than he or she appears to be. Everything is much bigger than it appears to be. It is
all a matter of the doors of perceoption. The way that the eyes change to see the difference between illusion and truth. This
is somnething that can be learnt. The base if it all is the opening of the heart."
---Arbolita Pashak, Curandera, Chiapas, Mexico.
"Shamans, real shamans, master shamans absolutely know it's about
love and confirm it again and again through these ceremonies. Originally
a shaman was a person initiated by a culturally sanctioned shaman and thereby transformed into a rare kind of person who was
mystical and practical in nature. The shaman from prehistoric lineages bore the responsibility of maintaining the living
link between everyday life and active awareness of the spiritual. It was the responsibility of the shaman to uphold as
a living demonstration the reality of senior spiritual identity. The shaman's life was his or her demonstration of their
connecting link with The Spirit. That demonstration can appear in a variety of ways, depending upon the person and the
---R. Alan Fuller, High Holy Adventure, Shamans, Spirits & Mediums
I know and Love.
"...the shaman's path is not about the mind but the heart. ...on the shamanic path synchronicity occurs routinely and can reach an astonishing level. The
adept shaman knows to step out of the way and let the natural order of things unfold. Along the way it helps to know
how to read the clues nature provides. The message of the Q'ero, like North American Indians before them, is not only
an ecospiritual one, but also one of continuous mysticism. This direct way of experiencing reality is not exclusive to
Indians, but common to all mystical traditions."
---J.E. Williams, The Andean Codex, Adventures And Initiations Among
The Peruvian Shamans.
"Shamanism is the form of pre-historic culture which used controlled access
to ecstatic states. Ecstacy is a non-personal knowing state, usually of ritually determined duration and context, used to
acquire knowledge in ways not limited by the reach of the physical senses."
---Willard Johnson, University of California at San Diego, Preface, Rio Tigre and
Beyond, F. Bruce Lamb.
"When you travel in the Amazon people say that all the real shaman
have died off. And even by most anthropological accounts the last of the really highly trained shaman died around 1965....
---Wade Davis, Author, Botanist, Adventurer, interviewed by Peter Gorman.
"It is hard to calculate precisely, but in small-scale tribal societies
probably one out of every 25 or 30 people recieves a shamanic calling. Since shamanism seems to be a universal
phenomenon, this statistic should be cross-cultural, which means there are at least 10 million people in our culture who potenially
fit the shamanic role. Some of these people are currently alternative healers of some sort, some are artists or psychologists,
and I have no doubt that many of them are imprisoned in mental hospitals, or they are among the muttering homeless who
refuse integration into society. ....contact with the invisible world is as essential as ordinary knowledge or material gain
or any reward that the 'real world' can offer."
---Daniel Pinchbeck, Breaking
Open the Head.
"The shamanic narrative persists and has grown throughout the 20th
into the 21st century, dissemminated by radical anthropologists, ethnobotonists, scholars, artists, and therapists. The message
remains that humanity has a dual nature, a life of the external world, and the life of the inner unconsciousness. And that
if these worlds can be reconciled, and made one again, the fertility circuit will be maintained, and the human condition
in time redeemed.
Shamanic ecstasy is so inate, primary, rooted in biology, and transcending
cultural differences, that shamanism is theoretically recoverable by even demythologized Westerners."
---Steve Beyer, Religious Studies and Psychology Phd.s.
Shamanism - connecting body, heart, soul and spirit:
Shamanism is an ageless Medicine Way of Nature
that transcends religion and all systems of belief. This holistic spiritual healing tradition is still in general use
today in some parts of the world. Since European contact, this Medicine Way has been practiced more
or less openly among indigenous people as permitted by Church and local political authorities. It is a healing wisdom
way of life that is devoted to service. Shamanism embodies universal wisdom that goes beyond
ethnic cultural borders. This is why we may have been immersed in identical understandings but under different descriptions.
Some historians believe the origin of the term shaman derived from
the Vedic 'sram,' meaning to practice austerities. For example 'asram' means an abode where spiritual disciplines are
taught and practiced. Others believe the term has its origin in early Indo-European languages. In
the Evenk language of Central and Northern Asia, shaman means 'the one who knows.' To shamanize
was to use out-of-body journeys to mediate between the seen and unseen worlds serving spirit, community and individual.
According to Shamanism everything has a Spirit,
a specific spiritual vitality. 'All the green,' those that walk, stand, swim, crawl, and flow including the clouds,
wind, rivers, stars and mountains. There is continuous interaction between different dimensions, forces and entities of the
cosmos. For the shaman/a humans, plants and animals are eternally connected through cause and effect.
Urban de-mythologized people of all cultures, for the most part, are unable to comprehend, let alone experience, these
energetic forces and characteristics of Nature without extended meditation time in Nature. Shaman/a have mastered the meditational methods of traversing the non-ordinary
dreamtime reality to bring health and happiness to the people. These methods may include fasting in the wilderness, chanting,
dancing and drumming. Psycho-active medicinal plants are not a requirement. Shaman/a have ancestral
or animal spirits which provide protection, assist traversing the dreamtime realms and guide in their healing work. The shaman/a
is a facilitator who lets the Spirits do the work.
Shamanism follows an unbroken wisdom-bridge stretching back into
Neolithic times. There are theories that the practice dates back at least 40,000 years when early humans experienced
a burst of creative development and suddenly began to explore spirituality, looked for understanding of life after death,
created more advanced tools and began to paint incredibly accomplished cave art. The traditional master shaman/a's
personal visionary experience and 'way of knowing' the energetic cause of illness or the problems of the people
is connected to the accumulated wisdom that derives from their ancestors, a line of succession from the mythological
origins of their society.
We must be respectfully grateful for this legacy of the Medicine Way of Nature traditional
aboriginal cultures preserved for the spiritual health of the people of today. More than ever, modern people need life
with soul. If we go back far enough this Medicine Way can be found in
the tradition of all cultures. Historically all societies have aboriginal origins and have a name for the Medicine Way
person who practices what today could be called shamanism. For example, sangoma in South Africa, folk healer
of Old Europe, wu of ancient China, dang ki of Singapore, dukun of Indonesia, karadji of Australia, kahuna in the Hawaiian
Islands, marakame in Mexico's Sierra Madre, paye of the Takana and taita of Columbia, curandero/a across South America,
yachak of Equador and the Ingano, and shiripiari of the Ashaninca and Campa in Amazonia. In Amazonia traditional indigenous
language groups have their own respective words as well as Spanish terms for Medicine Way healers. They may recognize
but seldom use the term Chamanista. North American natives do not use the term shaman/a to describe
their medicine men/women, healers or traditional holy people.
In ancient times the shaman/a was relied on to divine
intent of neighbouring tribes as well as location of food and the cause and cure if illness. If they were unsuccessful,
their life could be short. Shaman/a have exceptional courage, are not afraid of unusual spiritual
realms, are not faint hearted about unappealing things and know their role in their society. Following only the
Spirits - The Laws of Nature, they recieve protocols for ritual ceremony and healing. The traditional shaman/a
is a master of ceremonies, makes propitiatory offerings, removes toxic aggressive energy, recovers lost soul parts and conducts
healing for those who are committed to personal transformation.
Until modern times, the shaman/a was highly respected in their community due to possession of visionary power that enabled
communication with the Spirits that ruled the tribe's destiny. As well as healing illness, settling disputes, arranging marriages
and conducting ceremonies to ensure abundance of game or good harvests, they were responsible for teaching the youngsters the tribe's traditional
stories and accepted moral behaviour. Their word was law. Today the shaman/a's following is mainly due
to healing skills.
Shaman/a see both the physical and non-ordinary reality as a field
of forces. It doesn't matter if we believe in a spirit world or not, the results of their work is the same. They will not
try to convert you to a religion. They work to effect a cure of a spiritual/energetic source of illness regardless
of what the client believes. The shaman/a has no doubts. There always is a question whether the
client is truly committed to personal transformational healing.
By chanting, shamans use themselves as an instrument
to enter the primordial underlying level of all manifestation. In this state of shamanic unity consciousness,
at the finest level of intuitional feeling that the human nervous system is capable of, the master shaman/a
with pure intention changes the vibrational direction of energy to effect healing. These 'magic melodies' are taught
only by the higher energetic selves of the plants, animals, stones and other Laws of Nature. The apprentice receives
the chants directly from the spirits when the requisite level of illumination has been achieved.
Thankfully, although troublesome, many toxic spiritual energetic problems
in the Today World are 'garden variety,' caused by fear, competition, envy and resentment by family, business and social interactions.
Looks that kill, killing someone with kindness, running competing businesses out of town, willingness to step on others
to climb the corporate ladder, disrespect of others' Medicine Way experience and protocols are some current methods of sorcery.
Negative thoughts towards others is modern black magic. Some anthropologists maintain that sorcery was seldom prevalent before
the arrival of Europeans with their imported emphasis on ownership of property.
Master shaman/a, when not accessing dream-time realms
and performing ceremony and healing work, typically have a daily routine of family life and work which keeps them psychologically
balanced and grounded. They have an unpretentious down to earth manner having transcended the need for excessive
recognition and accumulation of property. The focus is mainly psychological rather than on worldly abilities.
Acutely aware of the weaknesses of the people, with laser sharp insight
into human behaviour, they can exhibit an outrageous scathing sense of humour which the so-called civilized may consider
politically incorrect. Although they find humour in humbling the pretentious, mostly they laugh at themselves for
their own humiliations. They often have a bawdy vitality. Shaman/a are human, which means they inevitably
make mistakes. Nature has the abilty to humble at every turn. Master healer-shaman/a are visionaries,
not saints or gurus. Their work is to help clients focus on their personal healing and spiritual issues.
Shaman/a are ordained by the Spirits. It is important
to understand that regardless of ancestral heritage, the license to shamanize comes from the Creator alone
by way of the Spirits - The Laws of Nature, through divine revelation in night-time dream visions and meditating
and undergoing austerities in the wilderness. Cultural or religious authority is not relevant. Shamanic ability
is 'received' rather than taught, given or taken. We don't hunt the Spirits, the Spirits find the appropriate person. Often
the future Medicine Way person is reluctant to accept the role because of the psychologically demanding nature of the
duties, but the Spirits may not give rest until they accept. Mentors can assist in interpreting visionary experience but essentially
shamanism is a personal quest.
Traditionally those who have received the gift 'to shamanize' spend
long periods of their life in training with mentors who practice what they teach. To become proficient and recognized
by the community as a traditional Medicine Way person requires rigorous apprenticeship involving long periods of
social isolation, sexual abstinence, strict dietary prohibitions against consumption of alcohol, sugar, salt, dairy, pork,
oil, spices and anything fermented. A common theme is near-death knowledge of the spiritual domains. If the apprentice, even
temporarily defaults on the prescribed rules and protocols of their training, the Spirits can take back all the attainment
of teachings, good luck and personal health. And sometimes the result of deviation from the apprenticeship protocols
can be death. The traditional Medicine Way is a hard school, a demanding vocation. You can't take anyone where you
have not yourself already had direct experience.
Traditionally the Spirits or the resident shaman/a
taught apprentices in their teen years with rigorous testing for suitability. Today, even in remote communities, few
aboriginal youth have interest in their society's traditional healing wisdom. It is rare these days for anyone, native or
non-native, to be willing to submit to extended solitary time in the wilderness to 'receive' the
magical songs, healing and ceremonial teachings and the Spirits authorization to practice the Medicine
Way. With the passing of legendary healer-shaman/a the awesome spiritual power they embodied is
next to lost forever to their community and humanity. Old-timers lament there no longer are any true healers who are
willing to undergo the regimen of rigorous apprenticeship required of their ancestors to strengthen and
purify sensibility to spirit teachers. Recognizing that it is next to impossible today to experience the pure natural
environment and stress-free way of living of the past, nevertheless, a few remaining traditional master shaman/a
are reviving interest by opening their doors for apprenticeship to outsiders.
The Spirits - The Laws of Nature
- give only what is needed, not what is wanted. For this reason 'wanabe' shamanism is empty. Those who
call themselves a shaman/a, medicine person or healer is advertising, to those who know, that the
focus is on ego. Genuine shamans have always been fewer than their imitators, who darken the essence of ancient
wisdom by performing ceremony to attract the attention of a gullible public.
The term shaman has gone 'hollywood' as in shamanic
financial consulting, shamanic sports coaching and shamanic business strategies,
ect. It is laudable to employ archaic knowledge of the principles of Nature to help others but does it involve shamanic
ecstatic experience journeying the dreamtime to identify and solve problems.
Neo-shamanism is popular through
seminar workshops and books due to seekers not being able to find true aboriginal master shamans. Prospective
students are welcomed even though they have not experienced any shamanic night-time dream
visions. The New Age romanticized way twists archaic spirituality into an exploitive marketable commodity. Intellectual
shamanism, although useful to train the mind, only takes the seeker to the threshold of the non-ordinary dreamtime
reality. Due to a lifetime of spiritual discipline some are rewarded with the ability to spontaneously enter shamanic
consciousness outside of night-time dreaming, either in deep meditation or daytime altered state of consciousness
'seeings from the heart.' But for most, daytime conscious imagination of chackras and light realms is invention. Representational
easy-chair shamanism is seductive but essentially empty of spiritual vitality.
Anthropological studies is not shamanism. Invoking 'borrowed' spiritual energetic forces that others
have described about their personal experience is not the Medicine Way. Repeating ceremonial form without
having experienced the transpersonal reality of the state of consciousness that underlies the ceremony is not
shamanism. Focus primarily on rules and protocols and moving people around in ceremony without understanding
or having been personally taught the original spiritual intent is not shamanism. Medicine Way elders
maintain that 'playing with the medicines' is potentially spiritually and energetically harmful to the seeker, their
family and the families of everyone involved. Witnessing traditional ceremony does not give authority to practice, let
alone teach others.
In our search for understanding of our personal dream vision shamanic
experiences, if we honestly look into our hearts, many of us have discovered that chasing after spiritual gurus
and medicine persons is an egotistical pursuit. It has been said, 'don't call any person Master, the humans will
disappoint every time, asking for money, sex or assistance in obtaining fame. Therefore put your trust only in the Great Spirit.'
Because the Great Spirit, by it's very nature is indivisible, and shamanic
dream visioning is a way of 'feeling' wisdom pictorially, it is impossible to experience shamanism
in an intellectual academic representational way.