To begin explaining what this fascinating topic is all about, let's start with a definite translation of what shamanism is. It is a religious practise that involves an altered state of consciousness, a trance state where there is communication with the spirit world, directing the spirits with the aim to heal. The trance achieved is different to that of a medium and involves a particular type of ecstatic feeling. It is known as the “Shamanic State of Consciousness” which is a trance where the soul leaves the body to make contact with spirits and use the imagination to heal.
It's is commonly associated with native American culture , but it is thought to have been found believed to have been practised in parts of Siberia and even as far as northern Europe.
It is a belief in an unseen world with higher and lower spirits, ancestral spirits, demons, gods, and light and dark forces. It is a religion based on spiritual phenomenon and centred on a shaman’s experience.
Shamans are healers who enter the spirit world and travel astrally to heal the sick. They can also escort deceased souls to the other world. They have many attributes and roles, such as ritual performers and they often use costume, props, music and dance with drama and ritual to achieve their shamanic state consciousness. Other roles include magician, storyteller, weather forecaster and psychotherapist.
Today shamanic beliefs and practises are very diverse in approach and many who follow shamanism combine it with other esoteric disciplines such as tarot, runes and witchcraft and often also incorporate other healing methods. A core feature of shamanism is the belief in and use of the power of animal totems. Part of the trance ceremony often involves drama or dances to connect with the animal spirit guides. These spirit animals are seen as teachers, messengers and guides. The animal totems take the form of an animal that closely reflects your nature and qualities, for example my totem was deer and I met it in a cave behind a waterfall. They are very gentle but also strong and resourceful. The power animal is what you can achieve and develop the related power and potential within. For example my first power animal was a tiger. They stand for strength, power, courage and bold energy. Both the totem and power animals have skills and traits the shaman or the individual practising shamanism can develop within.
To conclude, shamanism is a fascinating subject and very diverse. You will never come across two shamans that are the same and each and every one will have particular preferences and strong skills in certain specific areas. For example, I chose to embrace the performance and dance aspect of shamanism.
If you’d like to learn more or to connect with your totem and power animals, give me a call for a reading!
Gaynor Marie – PIN 600948