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Shamanism

Shamanism is the most ancient spiritual practice known to humankind. We know from the archaeological evidence the practice dates back at least 40,000 years. Some anthropologists believe that the practice dates back over 100,000 years.
The word “shaman” comes from the Tungus tribe in Siberia and it means spiritual healer or one who sees in the dark.  Shamanism has been practiced in Siberia, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, Greenland, and native North and South America.
A shaman is a man or woman who uses the ability to see “with the strong eye” or “with the heart” to travel into hidden realms. The shaman interacts directly with the spirits to address the spiritual aspect of illness and perform soul retrievals, retrieve lost power, as well as remove spiritual blockages.  The shaman also divines information for the community. Shamans have and still act as healers, doctors, priests and priestesses, psychotherapists, mystics, and storytellers.
Shamanism teaches us that everything that exists is alive and has a spirit. Shamans speak of a web of life that connects all of life and the spirit that lives in all things. Everything on earth is interconnected and any belief that we are separate from other life forms including the earth, stars, wind, etc is purely an illusion. And it is the shaman’s role in the community to keep harmony and balance between humankind and the forces of nature.
There are a variety of ceremonies that shamans perform. They lead ceremonies to welcome children into the world, perform marriages, and help people transition to a good place at the time of death. They lead ceremonies to mourn the death of loved ones. There are important initiation ceremonies performed to mark certain transitions in a person’s life such as from moving from childhood into being an adult.
One of the major ceremonies a shaman performs is called a shamanic journey. A shaman is a man or woman who goes into an altered state of consciousness and travels outside of time into the hidden realms that many term non-ordinary. I see non-ordinary reality as a parallel universe to ours. The Australian aborigines call non-ordinary the Dreamtime. It is also referred to as the Other World in Celtic traditions.
In these hidden realities there are helping spirits, compassionate spirits who offer their guidance and also their healing help in behalf of all life on earth.
reprinted with permission from Sandra Ingerman.  [http://www.sandraingerman.com link title]
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