By Witchipedia, Magical Religions and Spiritual Paths

What is Shamanism & its Origins

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Written by: Morningbird & MS Team

Shamanism is a spiritual or mystical practice that is characterized by the use of altered states of consciousness and contact with other worlds and spirit beings, Gods, and ancestors to gather information and/or bring about a result in our physical world.

Origins of Shamanism

The word Shamanism originates from the Northern Eurasian Tungusic language group (Siberia, Mongolia, China) and was appropriated by Anthropologists to describe religious practices around the world that are superficially similar to those practiced by the ethnic speakers of these languages.

These practices are characterized by the designation of an individual (the Shaman) to act as an intermediary between the spirit world and the world of humans who would enter a trance state to communicate with the spirits (Gods, ancestors, nature spirits, others) for divination, healing or to gain their assistance in bringing harm to enemies.

In some traditions, a Shaman can communicate with the spirit of a living, physical person directly in order to identify and heal the cause of an ailment.

Shamanism is an ancient tradition which is believed to have always existed for as long as human consciousness has existed, but just as it has evolved, shamanism has also evolved to a certain extent. Being a practice considered pagan, there were times when it was practiced clandestinely.

Among the objects of power that stand out in this practice that are objects that help to relate to the elements is the snail that is linked to the air element, the holy stick to clean spaces, maracas to help enter the desired state of consciousness, and many others.

Shamanism as such is also based on animism, therefore the energy of water, wind, fire, earth and stones is worked on and a link is created with these elements and in rituals in particular, use can also be made of what are considered sacred plants like ayahuasca.

Being a shaman and practicing shamanism are two very different things. It is believed that people are born with positive qualities to become shamans and in some way they feel that call to get involved in that path, however they can choose not to follow it because for that, a great physical and mental spiritual work is required.

People can turn to a shaman for help, healing or guidance without necessarily being shaman practitioners, however, in order to achieve the desired goal they will have to let themselves be guided by the shaman in the changes they must make. Now practicing shamanism is like a way of living life with connection and respect for nature, taking advantage of and acknowledging its energy and wanting to take a spiritual journey for an awakening of consciousness and spiritual growth.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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