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Defining Shamanism

As we are seeing a revival in Shamanism there seems to be a need to clarify and demystify this great confusion around what is meant by Shamanism. If we look to our ancestral roots whether we are from the rolling green hills of old England or the tundra plains of North America or the heart of Mother India all races of people used to worship the Earth they found themselves on. The oldest spiritual practice known to humankind and first religious practices of humanity were Shamanistic based on the worldview that everything in the Universe is connected and interdependent.

Meaning people experienced the Great Mystery embodied in all things. Thus every living thing was respected as sacred. The deep awareness that The Creator resided in Its creation meant that everything deserved acknowledgment. When the great religions of the world formed they feared the pagans and anyone who paid homage to the natural world as heretics and witches. Many whom were brutally murdered for refusing to relinquish there connection to nature. The seed of fear was thus planted into the consciousness of man and the continual disassociation from our natural world has lead us to the crisis we now find ourselves and our world in. Everything from environmental degradation to human depression stems from this great separation from the natural world.

Shamans both male and female were the members of a tribe or village who had the ability to communicate with both the seen and unseen worlds and maintained there close association with nature, ancestors, and there own personal alliance with Spirit Helpers. Their work was to maintain balance and restore health and well being to members of their tribe. It was he or she who held an abundance of love and wisdom in their hearts who could get a tornado to penetrate their heart and thereby move its course of direction to prevent it from harming the people. It was he or she who recognized the Spirit of a tree as something sacred and made regular offerings in gratitude for what it is the tree provides us with- air, Prana, life giving oxygen. We see vestiges of old Earth based religion still present in the oldest religions where offerings are still made to trees, rivers, or mountains as special places of worship.

"A shaman is a man or woman who interacts directly with spirits to address the spiritual aspects of illness, perform soul retrievals, divine information, help the spirits of deceased people cross over, and perform a variety of ceremonies for the community.” – Sandra Ingerman

In some ways the drive for capitalism, for material gain has pushed humanity to create religions which created images of God as something outside of self and outside of nature. This lead to the allowance of the destruction of the natural world, of which without we will not exist.

Think about it, if people viewed a mountain as a part of God, as a physical representation of God, then they would not dare to defile, harm, mine, pollute or destroy that which is God.

By moving the concept of God away from anything natural it created a new unconscious train of thought which lead to the demise of humanity’s connection to that which we are part of, and so the river that was once rightfully worshiped as the embodiment of the Goddess could now be used to dump our human waste. The tree that once was acknowledged as a sacred spirit, can now be senselessly cut down and similarly the mountain can be blown up to take the minerals inside for economic gain, All done without any fear of the consequences. Now we face those consequences and our unborn children will inherit those consequences.

The true Shaman would never have allowed this to happen knowing the demise of all things living would inevitably lead to the demise of humanity.

The different Shamanistic rituals and ceremonies from around the world all carry a similar Thread. Connection to the seen and unseen realms, prayers and offerings to appease and give thanks to both the seen and unseen realms, acknowledgement of the 4 cardinal directions and the Gate keepers who preside over them, connection to the Elemental kingdom as fundamental to who and what we are dependant on for survival and a deep relationship with the Great Mystery that has placed this Earth just so in our universe- close enough to the sun that we are warm but don’t fry and far enough away that we don’t freeze just so this could happen!

Today in our modern “civilized” world where we find ourselves still asking the same questions and more confused than ever about our existence and who we truly are, shamanism has found its way back into today’s culture as a tool to bring about healing, and restore balance to our over domesticated personalities which are longing to experience real freedom and open our hearts to Love and create and celebrate beauty in our world again. This was always meant to be the garden of Eden, shamanism can help our fragmented souls to come on home and give us the strength to reweave our world to create one that we would be proud for our grandchildren and their children to inherit. In Shamanism we consider all our actions and are in service to not only the people we serve but to the next 7 generations. It is the most sustainable philosophy as a fundamental part of its roots.

This week end root yourself in this fertile soil of renewal restoration and rebirth as we remember that which is already known but has been forgotten. Make contact with your Spirit guides and helpers, dance in wild abandon to shake off the shackles placed on us to enslave the human spirit. Find your joy, spread your wings and set your spirit free and realign with the beauty and healing power of Patcha Mamma, Gaia our Mother Earth.

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