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What is Shamanism Anyway?

Shamanism is an ancient practice. Perhaps practice isn’t even quite the right word, because at its core, it is the way humans naturally interact with the world around them and the great web of life.

Traditionally the word Shamanism comes from the indigenous people of northern Siberia. It is now used to describe practices indigenous to all humankind. While there are very specific practices associated with ancient and modern tribes, they mostly share the same basic attributes.

Shamans interact with the spirit world for the purpose of teaching and healing. They penetrate the boundaries of the seen and unseen worlds. Often they practice embodied healing and plant medicine healing, caring for individuals and communities. Many use the practice of dreaming or journeying to access and interact with the spirit world.

Finally, Shamanism sees the essence or spirit in all things and recognizes the interrelatedness of all beings. This includes the rocks and trees, ants and lions, wind, weather, stays, and even our systems themselves. Because of this, there is a natural connection to nature itself as a teacher, leader, and friend.

So what’s all the fuss about? The re-turn towards Shamanism is popular right now because we are turning back towards our inner knowing. After centuries of emphasis on left brain functions, we are bringing all our capacities as humans together. Distinctions that once existed as separations are steadily dissolving. In this process, we are reminded that we actually already have deep capacities for inner knowing. It is especially appealing to those who feel a deep connection to spirituality, but are not interested in religion per see. You know when you know something and we are collectively re-building the self-trust to move from our inner knowing and direct experience instead of what we think we “ought to do” based on external ideals, texts, or dogma.

In this way, Shamanism is empowering people by the masses. You may feel the call to become a Shamanic practitioner and practice healing work with others, or you might just be curious about how the practices work and how you can apply the innate wisdom associated with the practice to your daily life. Even if you aren’t a Shamanic practitioner, you can still learn the ways and find great benefits, peace, and clarity through the teachings.

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