by Claudia Goncalves
Shamanism is the earliest spiritual path in human history. Shamanic practice is found in all the Earth's indigenous people. It underlines the truth that all is interconnected and everything has a spiritual nature to it.
Shamanism is a way of living rather than an adherence to a religious doctrine. The core of shamanism involves acknowledgment and interaction with the World of Spirit and a re-connection to our Earth mother.
A shaman is a men or a woman who serves and seeks the spiritual wellbeing of his or her community. He or she seeks higher knowledge to serve their people and maintain the balance between people and the spirits of all things.
To be a shaman involves establishing a relationship with the powers of creation. There are infinite numbers of ways to do this: prayers, fasting, medicine walks, shamanic journeys, meditation, initiation's rites, sacred ceremonies such as vision quest, sacred pipe ceremonies, earth lodges, rites of passage, sweat lodges, etc. Ceremonies are ways in which we can establish a connection and communication with the non-ordinary reality or world of Spirit.
Tradition and the ways to express shamanic ways vary from culture to culture but the essence of it is the same: establishing a connection with the spirit world to bring healing and insights to the physical world for self or for the community.
One of the most common starting point is the connection with the Spirit Guides. This involves one entering what we call a shamanic stated of consciousness in order to receive or access information from the Spirit World through the Spirit guides.
Once a shaman is seen and respected by the Spirits because of his or her integrity, purity of heart and clear intent, then those Spirits become allies, serving and assisting the shaman with his or her work. The initiation into the Spirit World is then established. Humility and purity of heart are important on the shamanic path, without humility and purity of heart, the spirits cannot see one's light. The more the shaman works on developing his or her consciouness - on another words: the higher the state of consciouness - the more help he or she receives from the Spirits.
Accessing states of higher consciousness involves awareness of interwoven realities. These interwoven realities, or web of life, is where the shaman travels to do his or her work as healer, diviner, soul retriever, bridge, messenger, guide for lost souls, etc.
In the Shamanic path you are the teacher and you are the student and that is what makes this path so powerful. The more you work developing yourself spiritually, opening your heart to love more, serve others unconditionally and expand your consciousness, the more help you receive from the Spirits. The Spirits then become your allies and also your teachers. To truly walk the Shaman's path you need to be selfless.
One can say that Shamans are people called by compassionate Spirits to work as a bridge between the spiritual and the physical worlds. They are seen and respected by the Spirits because of their integrity, purity of heart and clear intent to serve others rather then the self. The Spirits then become their allies in serving and assisting with the work at hand.
The tests faced on the path can sometimes be vigorous, but the challenges are there as ways of learning and self-development in order to support and empower the shaman on his or her service.
Many are called but just a few answer: This is mostly due to fear and sometimes the arduousness of the path.
While almost anyone can train to become a shamanic practitioner and develop his or her shamanic skills, it is ultimately the Spirits who choose who will become a shaman. This is when the initiation into the Spirit world really begins.
Traditionally one does not call him or herself a shaman. It is the community who seeks his or her help who really validates him or her as a shaman. It is only the Spirits who trully initiate one into being a shaman and then a life relationship with the Spirits begins.
Humility and purity of heart are very important on the shamanic path. The path can sometimes be rocky and arduous if one is not constantly keeping the self in check.
Spirit is in everything, everywhere and in each one of us!
(known by the Spiritis as Standing Stone)