The most recent census indicates that shamanism, an odd “religion,” is becoming more and more prevalent in Wales and England. In 2011, there were just 650 individuals who claimed to be followers of the belief system; but, in 2022, that number had more than tenfold risen to 8,000 persons. Shamanism is now the religion in the nation with the quickest rate of growth. What precisely is it then?
Read More: shamanism
Shamanism is not a formal religion but has existed for thousands of years. Although the precise location and time of shamanism’s introduction into human awareness are unknown, we do know that it has influenced technology, art, and medicine.
Originating in Australia, Siberia, Korea, and the Americas, it is credited with giving rise to several faiths, including the Bon branch of Buddhism found in Tibet.
Despite the fact that the phenomenon’s names and origins vary widely depending on where in the world one finds it, the human urge to establish a connection with the earth, the stars, and eventually “that which is greater than ourselves” never changes.
Furthermore, because shamanism is based on the singular experiences of its practitioners, it resists being organized into a single religion even if it exists within the category of religious experience.
What does shamanism entail?
It’s crucial to comprehend the underlying worldview of shamanism before attempting to grasp it. The ground, or physical world, the human world, and the stars, or cosmic world, are the three distinct but equal aspects of the shamanic worldview.
A shaman or other shamanic practitioner is supposed to be able to connect with the spirits that are thought to exist in each of these worlds. Although this worldview is inherited, each practitioner’s approach to practise is distinct due to how they choose to manifest it in their own work.
The single constant in shamanism is that the shaman or shamanic practitioner enters a temporary altered state of consciousness through dancing, singing, chanting, drumming, prayer, music, and occasionally indigenous plants found in the area, like ayahuasca. This is comparable to being in a psychedelic state and is called a shamanic trance.
The practitioner’s job in a trance is to find knowledge that is said to reside in the client’s spirit. The client is often seeking an explanation for why anything in their life or health has gone wrong. After that, the practitioner will share with the client what they observed during the trance, allowing them to utilize that knowledge to rebalance their life or health.
Why train to be a shaman?
Serving a community has always been a shaman’s duty. Before completing a shamanic study to expand their knowledge, many modern western practitioners have training in disciplines like psychology, nursing, or complementary and alternative medicine.
They are going to employ and incorporate what scholar and novelist Ruth-Inge Heinze calls shamanistic techniques. These include methods like ceremonial work, hands-on healing, and meditation trance practice.
Typically, practitioners seek a more comprehensive framework of health that encompasses the human spirit and can provide an explanation for any personal or professional experiences—such as those related to spirituality—that do not readily fit into the models they were taught during their schooling.
Is it safe, and who uses it?
A modern Westerner may turn to shamanism for a variety of reasons, including self-help and personal growth, according to my own study on the practice and patient safety. They can be looking for a sense of community, a higher purpose or meaning in life, or a way to express their discontent with traditional medical care.
Shamanism is not a single, cohesive subject of study. It is also not governed by any authority. The term “shaman” is not legally protected nor precisely defined. It is important for participants to carefully examine who they approach to collaborate with, as standards from the cultures of origin might not have translated.
It is not often the case that Western practitioners completely embrace the shamanic principles necessary for safe work. Clients could thus be left with experiences and knowledge that they do not quite comprehend or know how to handle.
In order to overcome romanticized and exploitative perceptions of indigenous peoples, modern practitioners must reflect on why they are motivated to operate in this manner. Training and developing your art without crossing the line into cultural appropriation might take a long period.
Additionally, there’s a chance that those who may be experiencing mental health problems like psychosis or substance abuse disorders may view shamanism as a means of rationalizing and explaining their actions or symptoms, like drug use, delusions, or dissociative states, as spiritual experiences and forego seeking out traditional medical care.
Despite this, shamanism has been associated with increased community, empowerment, and a closer bond with the Earth. More awareness of environment is definitely something that should be appreciated, especially in light of the current state of the climate issue.