Shamanism - What It

Please close this window when finished

EXTRACT FOR
Shamanism - What It' All About 
(Norman W. Wilson)


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Origins of the Word Shaman
Shamanism Is Not A Religion
What Is Core Shamanism?
Four Types of Shamans
What A Shaman Knows
The Shamanic View of the Soul and Spirit
More About Soul, Spirit And Shamanic Beliefs
Columa Cerculie And Shamanism
Shaman, Sage, Raconteur
What a Shaman Does
Native American Medicine
The Shaman As Healer
The Shaman And Drumming
The Shaman's Medicine Bag
Rattles
Smudging
The Shaman's Staff
The Dance
The Shaman And His Medicine
Herbs And Their Uses
Shamanic Healing And Sounds
What Is An Altered State Of Consciousness
The Shamanic Trance
The Stages Of Shamanic Trance
Ecstasy And The Shaman
Consciousness Of Spirit
Creating Alternate Realities Today
The Three S's In Shamanism
Shamanism And Time
Spirit Helpers
The Shaman And Soul Loss
Retrieving The Soul
The Shamanic World View
The Shamanic Realms
How Does One Become A Shaman
The Vision Quest
Shaman, Crystals, And Stones
Addendum



INTRODUCTION

Some of the following information has been included in my novels. However, here, for the first time, I am sharing the rest of a special ceremony.
I met my first shaman when I was seven years old; actually, I was six with three months wait for number seven. My family and I were staying at an Indian campsite along the shores of the pristine Baskatong Reserve, a body of water and land that covered approximately one-hundred-sixty miles.
A personal and special incident remains embedded in my memory. The year was 1940.
It began one warm summer day in mid-July. My mother and I went into the forest to get our drinking water. Our log cabin had no inside plumbing so a daily trip to the natural spring was necessary. On the way back to our log cabin, she decided to stop at one of the teepees for a visit. Three women, one older than the other two, greeted us. We were invited to "sit a spell." There was no furniture except for a three-legged stool. I sat on that, and my mother sat on folded animal skins. After a bit, the older woman pulled out a large knife and looked directly at me. I was sure I was about to be butchered and thrown into a huge pot that sat nearby in which something was cooking. I still remember its putrid smell. I stayed close to my mother.
The woman proceeded to pick up a sheet of white birch bark and with two very swift cuts with her over-sized knife cut out an image and handed it to me. I hesitated— but finally reached out to take whatever it was she wanted me to have.
As I did she said, "You won't appreciate this now, later you will."
I am sure she cackled.
It was a carving of a woman's leg. By the look on my mother's face, she was not too happy. I kept that bark carving well into my late teens. It was passed on to a nephew. As we stood up to leave, the old woman said we were to come back that evening. She would have something else for me.
All day, I wondered what she had for me and if we would go back to see her. Since I was the only child there, it was difficult for me to keep my mind off the special gift. As I recall, I pestered my parents about it until my father said, "Enough. You'll find out when you get there." At least, with that, I knew we were going back to the teepee. Finally, just at sunset, my father and mother and I walked up to the teepees.
As was the custom, we exchanged gifts. My parents gave the older woman a bottle of bourbon. My mother received a birch bark basket and my father an elk's tooth fastened to a strip of leather. For a time, I thought she had forgotten me. I was mistaken.
My gift turned out to be a handmade bow and two arrows. I am sure my eyes popped out of my head. She indicated I should follow her into the nearby woods. With an encouraging nod from my parents, I left with her. After a short walk, she stopped, placed an arrow in the bow and released it. I heard a slight rustle of leaves. She had shot and killed a grouse. She dipped the second arrow into the blood of the bird. She told me this was necessary to make the arrow fly true. She scooped up the dead bird and placed it in a leather sack and slung it over one shoulder. Once we returned to her teepee, the middle one of three, she told me to sit down by a fire pit.
She threw something into the smoldering fire pit, and it flamed up with a sudden swoosh. Slowly, she began to dance around the fire pit, and as she circled me, she began to chant. It sounded something like he-ay-hee-ee. I don't know what it meant. I felt a tingling sensation flow throughout my body. It was a magical moment.
When she stopped chanting and dancing she leaned over me, placed a bloody thumb on the center of my forehead and said, "Don't wash your face for three days."
I was delighted. I wouldn't have to wash my face and have my mother always scold, "wash behind those ears."
Was this a shamanic initiation? It was only the beginning. Did that make me a shaman? No. I would go through other "ceremonies" and spend many hours in the forested areas as well as open fields and fantastic shorelines. There, to learn plants. My journey to the Spirit World has been detailed in other books and sometimes changed for story-line effectiveness.
What follows is an attempt to bring about an understanding of what shamanism is all about.



PART ONE
GENERAL INFORMATION


Ten Bears' Last Spirit Quest
A digitized version of the original painting by
award-winning American artist, Gerald Roberts.



ORIGINS OF THE WORD SHAMAN

What is the origin of the word shaman (pronounced SHAYman or SHA-man)? There is some disagreement about the actual origin of the word. Some scholars claim the word shamanism is so indiscriminately used. It no longer has immediately identifiable meaning. The word pretty serves as another example as it is used in "It's a pretty day" or "That's a pretty dumb thing to do." And there are those who claim a complete definition is impossible. Two Dutch diplomats who accompanied Peter the Great's emissaries to China during the late Seventeenth Century are credited with first using the term, shaman.
In 1875, the Encyclopedia Britannica published an article by A.H. Sayee, which used the word shaman. Opinion indicates the word is of Tungas origin. More specifically, it appears that the term came from the Manchu-tangu dialect of Siberia, from where we derive our most common usage.
However, even this is not without challenge. Some ethnolinguists claim the word derives from the Chinese scha-man, while others claim it's from the Pali schamana, a term used for a Buddhist monk. There does appear to be common agreement that the word shaman came into modern language from the Sanskrit, sramana.
The word shamanism, which has been around since the 1600s has now become a heuristic term in Western Culture and refers to a man or woman who fills several roles within the culture. Specifically, two aspects of shamanism have gained popularity: physical and psychological healing.



SHAMANISM IS NOT A RELIGION

Predating organized religions, shamanism is unto itself, not a religion. Because shamans adhere to a belief of a direct connection between healing and the spiritual world, it is easy to equate it with a religion. A Shaman or shamanka (the female counterpart of shaman) act as an intermediary between the natural world and the spiritual world. Simply stated, a shaman is someone who walks between worlds.



Figure 1 Goldes Shaman Priest
in his Regalia

Despite some claims, shamanism is not a cult. Admittedly, there are those who have linked themselves in a cult-like fashion to some of the fundamental shamanic practices, particularly those from South America. It appears the interest is in the use of hallucinogenic drugs. It's doubtful if their use actually brings about an understanding of reality or the use of the individual's inner energy to heal anyone. One needs to beware of fakes and frauds while dealing with modern shamanism.
A shaman does commune with the spiritual world, and he does so for several reasons. Among these reasons, the primary one is to heal a sick soul. Other reasons include the reading of the future, asking for the success of specific endeavors, or to function as psychopomp. Whatever the shaman wishes to accomplish; he does so by connecting with the axis mundi to create a special relationship with the Spirits and in some instances, actually gains control over them. The axis mundi also called the cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, center of the world, or world tree, in certain beliefs and philosophies, is the world center, or the connection between Heaven and Earth. Despite rumors and myth, generally speaking, a practitioner of shamanism is not involved in bringing about harm or 'evil' to someone.
Shamanism is not a specific set of beliefs inculcated in an organized uniform system throughout the world. It does not contain a dogma that outlines the steps in the adulation of a divinity. This does not mean there are not similarities. The primary similarity is the recognition of a spiritual world and the existence of Spirits. Specific ceremonies, chants, and training do not appear on a universal or worldly plane. Cultural differences are a singular mark.



Please close this window when finished

Shamanism - What It

Please close this window when finished

EXTRACT FOR
Shamanism - What It' All About 
(Norman W. Wilson)


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Origins of the Word Shaman
Shamanism Is Not A Religion
What Is Core Shamanism?
Four Types of Shamans
What A Shaman Knows
The Shamanic View of the Soul and Spirit
More About Soul, Spirit And Shamanic Beliefs
Columa Cerculie And Shamanism
Shaman, Sage, Raconteur
What a Shaman Does
Native American Medicine
The Shaman As Healer
The Shaman And Drumming
The Shaman's Medicine Bag
Rattles
Smudging
The Shaman's Staff
The Dance
The Shaman And His Medicine
Herbs And Their Uses
Shamanic Healing And Sounds
What Is An Altered State Of Consciousness
The Shamanic Trance
The Stages Of Shamanic Trance
Ecstasy And The Shaman
Consciousness Of Spirit
Creating Alternate Realities Today
The Three S's In Shamanism
Shamanism And Time
Spirit Helpers
The Shaman And Soul Loss
Retrieving The Soul
The Shamanic World View
The Shamanic Realms
How Does One Become A Shaman
The Vision Quest
Shaman, Crystals, And Stones
Addendum



INTRODUCTION

Some of the following information has been included in my novels. However, here, for the first time, I am sharing the rest of a special ceremony.
I met my first shaman when I was seven years old; actually, I was six with three months wait for number seven. My family and I were staying at an Indian campsite along the shores of the pristine Baskatong Reserve, a body of water and land that covered approximately one-hundred-sixty miles.
A personal and special incident remains embedded in my memory. The year was 1940.
It began one warm summer day in mid-July. My mother and I went into the forest to get our drinking water. Our log cabin had no inside plumbing so a daily trip to the natural spring was necessary. On the way back to our log cabin, she decided to stop at one of the teepees for a visit. Three women, one older than the other two, greeted us. We were invited to "sit a spell." There was no furniture except for a three-legged stool. I sat on that, and my mother sat on folded animal skins. After a bit, the older woman pulled out a large knife and looked directly at me. I was sure I was about to be butchered and thrown into a huge pot that sat nearby in which something was cooking. I still remember its putrid smell. I stayed close to my mother.
The woman proceeded to pick up a sheet of white birch bark and with two very swift cuts with her over-sized knife cut out an image and handed it to me. I hesitated— but finally reached out to take whatever it was she wanted me to have.
As I did she said, "You won't appreciate this now, later you will."
I am sure she cackled.
It was a carving of a woman's leg. By the look on my mother's face, she was not too happy. I kept that bark carving well into my late teens. It was passed on to a nephew. As we stood up to leave, the old woman said we were to come back that evening. She would have something else for me.
All day, I wondered what she had for me and if we would go back to see her. Since I was the only child there, it was difficult for me to keep my mind off the special gift. As I recall, I pestered my parents about it until my father said, "Enough. You'll find out when you get there." At least, with that, I knew we were going back to the teepee. Finally, just at sunset, my father and mother and I walked up to the teepees.
As was the custom, we exchanged gifts. My parents gave the older woman a bottle of bourbon. My mother received a birch bark basket and my father an elk's tooth fastened to a strip of leather. For a time, I thought she had forgotten me. I was mistaken.
My gift turned out to be a handmade bow and two arrows. I am sure my eyes popped out of my head. She indicated I should follow her into the nearby woods. With an encouraging nod from my parents, I left with her. After a short walk, she stopped, placed an arrow in the bow and released it. I heard a slight rustle of leaves. She had shot and killed a grouse. She dipped the second arrow into the blood of the bird. She told me this was necessary to make the arrow fly true. She scooped up the dead bird and placed it in a leather sack and slung it over one shoulder. Once we returned to her teepee, the middle one of three, she told me to sit down by a fire pit.
She threw something into the smoldering fire pit, and it flamed up with a sudden swoosh. Slowly, she began to dance around the fire pit, and as she circled me, she began to chant. It sounded something like he-ay-hee-ee. I don't know what it meant. I felt a tingling sensation flow throughout my body. It was a magical moment.
When she stopped chanting and dancing she leaned over me, placed a bloody thumb on the center of my forehead and said, "Don't wash your face for three days."
I was delighted. I wouldn't have to wash my face and have my mother always scold, "wash behind those ears."
Was this a shamanic initiation? It was only the beginning. Did that make me a shaman? No. I would go through other "ceremonies" and spend many hours in the forested areas as well as open fields and fantastic shorelines. There, to learn plants. My journey to the Spirit World has been detailed in other books and sometimes changed for story-line effectiveness.
What follows is an attempt to bring about an understanding of what shamanism is all about.



PART ONE
GENERAL INFORMATION


Ten Bears' Last Spirit Quest
A digitized version of the original painting by
award-winning American artist, Gerald Roberts.



ORIGINS OF THE WORD SHAMAN

What is the origin of the word shaman (pronounced SHAYman or SHA-man)? There is some disagreement about the actual origin of the word. Some scholars claim the word shamanism is so indiscriminately used. It no longer has immediately identifiable meaning. The word pretty serves as another example as it is used in "It's a pretty day" or "That's a pretty dumb thing to do." And there are those who claim a complete definition is impossible. Two Dutch diplomats who accompanied Peter the Great's emissaries to China during the late Seventeenth Century are credited with first using the term, shaman.
In 1875, the Encyclopedia Britannica published an article by A.H. Sayee, which used the word shaman. Opinion indicates the word is of Tungas origin. More specifically, it appears that the term came from the Manchu-tangu dialect of Siberia, from where we derive our most common usage.
However, even this is not without challenge. Some ethnolinguists claim the word derives from the Chinese scha-man, while others claim it's from the Pali schamana, a term used for a Buddhist monk. There does appear to be common agreement that the word shaman came into modern language from the Sanskrit, sramana.
The word shamanism, which has been around since the 1600s has now become a heuristic term in Western Culture and refers to a man or woman who fills several roles within the culture. Specifically, two aspects of shamanism have gained popularity: physical and psychological healing.



SHAMANISM IS NOT A RELIGION

Predating organized religions, shamanism is unto itself, not a religion. Because shamans adhere to a belief of a direct connection between healing and the spiritual world, it is easy to equate it with a religion. A Shaman or shamanka (the female counterpart of shaman) act as an intermediary between the natural world and the spiritual world. Simply stated, a shaman is someone who walks between worlds.



Figure 1 Goldes Shaman Priest
in his Regalia

Despite some claims, shamanism is not a cult. Admittedly, there are those who have linked themselves in a cult-like fashion to some of the fundamental shamanic practices, particularly those from South America. It appears the interest is in the use of hallucinogenic drugs. It's doubtful if their use actually brings about an understanding of reality or the use of the individual's inner energy to heal anyone. One needs to beware of fakes and frauds while dealing with modern shamanism.
A shaman does commune with the spiritual world, and he does so for several reasons. Among these reasons, the primary one is to heal a sick soul. Other reasons include the reading of the future, asking for the success of specific endeavors, or to function as psychopomp. Whatever the shaman wishes to accomplish; he does so by connecting with the axis mundi to create a special relationship with the Spirits and in some instances, actually gains control over them. The axis mundi also called the cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, center of the world, or world tree, in certain beliefs and philosophies, is the world center, or the connection between Heaven and Earth. Despite rumors and myth, generally speaking, a practitioner of shamanism is not involved in bringing about harm or 'evil' to someone.
Shamanism is not a specific set of beliefs inculcated in an organized uniform system throughout the world. It does not contain a dogma that outlines the steps in the adulation of a divinity. This does not mean there are not similarities. The primary similarity is the recognition of a spiritual world and the existence of Spirits. Specific ceremonies, chants, and training do not appear on a universal or worldly plane. Cultural differences are a singular mark.



Please close this window when finished

EXTRACT FOR
Shamanism - What It' All About 
(Norman W. Wilson)

Please close this window when finished


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Origins of the Word Shaman
Shamanism Is Not A Religion
What Is Core Shamanism?
Four Types of Shamans
What A Shaman Knows
The Shamanic View of the Soul and Spirit
More About Soul, Spirit And Shamanic Beliefs
Columa Cerculie And Shamanism
Shaman, Sage, Raconteur
What a Shaman Does
Native American Medicine
The Shaman As Healer
The Shaman And Drumming
The Shaman's Medicine Bag
Rattles
Smudging
The Shaman's Staff
The Dance
The Shaman And His Medicine
Herbs And Their Uses
Shamanic Healing And Sounds
What Is An Altered State Of Consciousness
The Shamanic Trance
The Stages Of Shamanic Trance
Ecstasy And The Shaman
Consciousness Of Spirit
Creating Alternate Realities Today
The Three S's In Shamanism
Shamanism And Time
Spirit Helpers
The Shaman And Soul Loss
Retrieving The Soul
The Shamanic World View
The Shamanic Realms
How Does One Become A Shaman
The Vision Quest
Shaman, Crystals, And Stones
Addendum



INTRODUCTION

Some of the following information has been included in my novels. However, here, for the first time, I am sharing the rest of a special ceremony.
I met my first shaman when I was seven years old; actually, I was six with three months wait for number seven. My family and I were staying at an Indian campsite along the shores of the pristine Baskatong Reserve, a body of water and land that covered approximately one-hundred-sixty miles.
A personal and special incident remains embedded in my memory. The year was 1940.
It began one warm summer day in mid-July. My mother and I went into the forest to get our drinking water. Our log cabin had no inside plumbing so a daily trip to the natural spring was necessary. On the way back to our log cabin, she decided to stop at one of the teepees for a visit. Three women, one older than the other two, greeted us. We were invited to "sit a spell." There was no furniture except for a three-legged stool. I sat on that, and my mother sat on folded animal skins. After a bit, the older woman pulled out a large knife and looked directly at me. I was sure I was about to be butchered and thrown into a huge pot that sat nearby in which something was cooking. I still remember its putrid smell. I stayed close to my mother.
The woman proceeded to pick up a sheet of white birch bark and with two very swift cuts with her over-sized knife cut out an image and handed it to me. I hesitated— but finally reached out to take whatever it was she wanted me to have.
As I did she said, "You won't appreciate this now, later you will."
I am sure she cackled.
It was a carving of a woman's leg. By the look on my mother's face, she was not too happy. I kept that bark carving well into my late teens. It was passed on to a nephew. As we stood up to leave, the old woman said we were to come back that evening. She would have something else for me.
All day, I wondered what she had for me and if we would go back to see her. Since I was the only child there, it was difficult for me to keep my mind off the special gift. As I recall, I pestered my parents about it until my father said, "Enough. You'll find out when you get there." At least, with that, I knew we were going back to the teepee. Finally, just at sunset, my father and mother and I walked up to the teepees.
As was the custom, we exchanged gifts. My parents gave the older woman a bottle of bourbon. My mother received a birch bark basket and my father an elk's tooth fastened to a strip of leather. For a time, I thought she had forgotten me. I was mistaken.
My gift turned out to be a handmade bow and two arrows. I am sure my eyes popped out of my head. She indicated I should follow her into the nearby woods. With an encouraging nod from my parents, I left with her. After a short walk, she stopped, placed an arrow in the bow and released it. I heard a slight rustle of leaves. She had shot and killed a grouse. She dipped the second arrow into the blood of the bird. She told me this was necessary to make the arrow fly true. She scooped up the dead bird and placed it in a leather sack and slung it over one shoulder. Once we returned to her teepee, the middle one of three, she told me to sit down by a fire pit.
She threw something into the smoldering fire pit, and it flamed up with a sudden swoosh. Slowly, she began to dance around the fire pit, and as she circled me, she began to chant. It sounded something like he-ay-hee-ee. I don't know what it meant. I felt a tingling sensation flow throughout my body. It was a magical moment.
When she stopped chanting and dancing she leaned over me, placed a bloody thumb on the center of my forehead and said, "Don't wash your face for three days."
I was delighted. I wouldn't have to wash my face and have my mother always scold, "wash behind those ears."
Was this a shamanic initiation? It was only the beginning. Did that make me a shaman? No. I would go through other "ceremonies" and spend many hours in the forested areas as well as open fields and fantastic shorelines. There, to learn plants. My journey to the Spirit World has been detailed in other books and sometimes changed for story-line effectiveness.
What follows is an attempt to bring about an understanding of what shamanism is all about.



PART ONE
GENERAL INFORMATION


Ten Bears' Last Spirit Quest
A digitized version of the original painting by
award-winning American artist, Gerald Roberts.



ORIGINS OF THE WORD SHAMAN

What is the origin of the word shaman (pronounced SHAYman or SHA-man)? There is some disagreement about the actual origin of the word. Some scholars claim the word shamanism is so indiscriminately used. It no longer has immediately identifiable meaning. The word pretty serves as another example as it is used in "It's a pretty day" or "That's a pretty dumb thing to do." And there are those who claim a complete definition is impossible. Two Dutch diplomats who accompanied Peter the Great's emissaries to China during the late Seventeenth Century are credited with first using the term, shaman.
In 1875, the Encyclopedia Britannica published an article by A.H. Sayee, which used the word shaman. Opinion indicates the word is of Tungas origin. More specifically, it appears that the term came from the Manchu-tangu dialect of Siberia, from where we derive our most common usage.
However, even this is not without challenge. Some ethnolinguists claim the word derives from the Chinese scha-man, while others claim it's from the Pali schamana, a term used for a Buddhist monk. There does appear to be common agreement that the word shaman came into modern language from the Sanskrit, sramana.
The word shamanism, which has been around since the 1600s has now become a heuristic term in Western Culture and refers to a man or woman who fills several roles within the culture. Specifically, two aspects of shamanism have gained popularity: physical and psychological healing.



SHAMANISM IS NOT A RELIGION

Predating organized religions, shamanism is unto itself, not a religion. Because shamans adhere to a belief of a direct connection between healing and the spiritual world, it is easy to equate it with a religion. A Shaman or shamanka (the female counterpart of shaman) act as an intermediary between the natural world and the spiritual world. Simply stated, a shaman is someone who walks between worlds.



Figure 1 Goldes Shaman Priest
in his Regalia

Despite some claims, shamanism is not a cult. Admittedly, there are those who have linked themselves in a cult-like fashion to some of the fundamental shamanic practices, particularly those from South America. It appears the interest is in the use of hallucinogenic drugs. It's doubtful if their use actually brings about an understanding of reality or the use of the individual's inner energy to heal anyone. One needs to beware of fakes and frauds while dealing with modern shamanism.
A shaman does commune with the spiritual world, and he does so for several reasons. Among these reasons, the primary one is to heal a sick soul. Other reasons include the reading of the future, asking for the success of specific endeavors, or to function as psychopomp. Whatever the shaman wishes to accomplish; he does so by connecting with the axis mundi to create a special relationship with the Spirits and in some instances, actually gains control over them. The axis mundi also called the cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, center of the world, or world tree, in certain beliefs and philosophies, is the world center, or the connection between Heaven and Earth. Despite rumors and myth, generally speaking, a practitioner of shamanism is not involved in bringing about harm or 'evil' to someone.
Shamanism is not a specific set of beliefs inculcated in an organized uniform system throughout the world. It does not contain a dogma that outlines the steps in the adulation of a divinity. This does not mean there are not similarities. The primary similarity is the recognition of a spiritual world and the existence of Spirits. Specific ceremonies, chants, and training do not appear on a universal or worldly plane. Cultural differences are a singular mark.



Please close this window when finished