06 May
Shamanic Wisdom
Written by Lesley Crossingham |
Published in HEALING & METAPHYSICS
 
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Shamanism is not an organized religion. It is a spiritual practice that cuts across all faiths and creeds, reaching deep levels of ancestral memory. As a primal belief system it precedes established religion and therefore has its own symbolism and cosmology, inhabited by beings, gods, and totems, who display similar characteristics although they appear in various forms, depending upon their places of origin. It is the most ancient pathway of power available.

 

 
 
Shamanism is a spiritual practice found in cultures around the world from ancient times up to the present day. First and foremost, shamans' practices are practical and adaptable. These ancient practices have coexisted over millennia with varying cultures, systems of government, and organized religious practices. 
 
Many formalized religions, from Buddhism to Christianity, came from ancient shamanic roots and still bear the shamanic threads of deep connection to the divine in all things. However shamanism itself is not a formalized system of beliefs or an ideology. Rather, it consists of various of activities and experiences shared by shamans in cultures around the world. These practices are adaptable and coexist with different cultures, systems of government, and organized religious practices. 
 
 
Whilst there are special schools and diploma courses offered these offerings are a contradiction to the traditions, because the path of shamanism is by its very nature solitary and very personal. Traditionally a shaman would leave their home environment and study or serve a medicine man or woman and learn through apprenticeship. Under their tutilage the new shaman would work in voluntary, ecstatic trance states, which alter their consciousness to travel to the realms of the invisible worlds. Their ability to gain information and make changes in the invisible realms is dependant upon the working relationships they develop with spirits there. In this sense, shamanism is a relationship-based practice of making changes in invisible realms to impact healing, of individuals or communities, in the realm of ordinary reality.
 
For some peoples, such shamanic practice is part of their dominant culture, for others it is directly contradictory. Some individuals are intuitively guided to seek help from a contemporary shaman, often when other options have been exhausted, without even understanding what a shaman is or how they work.
 
 
According to famed American psychologist and consciousness pioneer, Stanley Krippner, shamans are "community-assigned magico-religious professionals who deliberately alter their consciousness in order to obtain information from the 'spirit world.' They use this knowledge and power to help and to heal members of their community, as well as the community as a whole." 
 
Krippner describes shamans as the first physicians, diagnosticians, psychotherapists, religious functionaries, magicians, performing artists, and storytellers. 
 
In shamanistic cultures, all adults are responsible for their relationships with spiritual energies which include the animals and plant life as well as their ancestors, their own personal helping spirits, and Spirit, the creator force. Yet every shaman is unique as is their medicine powers. Some may have an increased facility for traveling in non-ordinary realms while others use their spirit relationships to create changes that will manifest in the physical world, for the healing of individuals or the community. This definition differentiates shamans from other types of practitioners. For example, mediums use altered states of consciousness, but they do not take action in those altered states. And sorcerers take action in altered states, but not necessarily to heal.
 
 
Shamans can enter altered states of consciousness, and possess the ability to enter alternated states at will, and controlling themselves while moving in and out of those states. They can mediate between the needs of the spirit world and those of the physical world in a way that can be understood and used by the community.
 
 
A shaman is therefore a specific type of healer who uses an alternate state of consciousness to enter the invisible world, which is made up of all unseen aspects of the world that affect us, including the spiritual, emotional, mental, mythical, archetypal, and dream worlds. However, the most powerful Shamans use their powers for spiritual growth, not for healing others.
 
There are shamans who come from an unbroken shamanic tradition and continue to practice in that tradition, usually in their native culture. There are others who may spring from a shamanic tradition, but serve to bridge between that tradition and the modern Western world, often by adding ceremonies and rituals that were not necessary in their indigenous culture. Many Native American Indian healers fall into this category. However in all cases, every shaman is called by Spirit to serve the needs of their community.
 
We shall explore shamanism and other forms of metaphysics in this segment of Circle of Stones in future editions. Please check out Lesley's website for other blogs and articles on this fascinating subject matter: www.spiritvision.com.au
 
 

 

Lesley Crossingham

 

 

Lesley Ann is a spiritual artist, an author of over twenty books, clairvoyant and spiritual teacher. She was awarded our Find Your Psychic Spiritual Author of the Year award for the past five years due to her many popular spiritual book titles.

 

Lesley has written over twenty books, numerous magazine articles and many short stories. She has also created three CDs of her music and spiritual meditations. She introduced traditional Native American Indian drummaking to Australia in 1991 and continues to offer these workshops.

 

Lesley writes for several magazines, including New Dawn where she contributes book reviews. You can also read her many book reviews on Amazon's website. Lesley has a journalism background and brings her many skills to writing articles on this site and many others.

 

For further information on Lesley, to contact her, purchase her books, readings or CDs, please go to her website -

www.spiritvision.com.au

 

 

Lesley Crossingham