Shaman are spiritual beings with the ability to heal, work with
energies and 'see' visions. The essential characteristics of shaman
are mastery of energy and fire as a medium of transformation. A
shaman may exhibit a particular magical specialty - such as control
over fire, wind, magical flight, or shape shifting.
In contemporary, historical or traditional shamanic practice the
shaman may at times fill the role of priest, magician, metaphysician
or healer. Personal experience is the prime determinant of the
status of a shaman. The distinguishing characteristic of shamanism
is its focus on an ecstatic trance state in which the soul of the
shaman is believed to leave the body and ascend to the sky (heavens)
or descend into the earth (underworld). The shaman makes use of
spirit helpers, with whom he or she communicates, all the while
retaining control over his or her own consciousness.
The ability to consciously move beyond the physical body is the
particular specialty of the traditional shaman. These journeys of
Soul may take the shaman into the nether realms, higher levels of
existence or to parallel physical worlds or other regions of this
world. Shamanic Flight, is in most instances, an experience not of
an inner imaginary landscape, but is
reported to be the shamans
flight beyond the limitations of the physical body. While most
shamans in traditional societies are men, either women or men may
and have become shamans.
Traditional shamans developed techniques for lucid dreaming and what
is today called the 'out-of-the-body experience'. These methods for
exploring the inner landscape are being investigated by a wide range
of people. Some are academics, some come from traditional societies
and others are modern practitioners of non-traditional shamanism or
neo-shamanism. Along with these techniques, the NDE or
near-death-experience have played a significant role in shamanic
practice and initiation for millennia.
The term 'Shaman' comes to the English language from the Tungus
language via Russian. Among the Tungus of Siberia it is both a noun
and a verb. While the Tungus have no word for shamanism, it has come
into usage by anthropologists, historians of religion and others in
contemporary society to designate the experience and the practices
of the shaman. Its usage has grown to include similar experiences
and practices in cultures outside of the original Siberian cultures
from which the term shaman originated.
Shamanism is classified by anthropologists as an archaic magic-religious
phenomenon in which the shaman is the great master of ecstasy. There
is extensive documentation of this in ethnographic studies of
traditional shamanism. With this renewed interest in these older
traditions these shamanic methods of working with dreams and being
conscious and awake while dreaming are receiving increased
As noted in this article, the 'call' to shamanism is often directly
related to a near death experience by the prospective shaman. Among
the traditional examples are being struck by lightening, a fall from
a height, a serious life-threatening illness or lucid dream
experiences in which the candidate dies or has some organs consumed
and replaced and is thus reborn. Survival of these initial inner and
outer brushes with death provides the shaman with personal
experiences which strengthen his or her ability to work effectively
with others. Having experienced something, a shaman is more likely
to understand what must be done to correct a condition or situation.
While shamanism may be readily identified among many hunting and gathering peoples and in some traditional herding
societies, identifying specific groups of individuals who might be
called shamans is a difficult task in more stratified agricultural
and manufacturing based societies. A society may be said to be Post-
Shamanic when there are the presence of shamanic motifs in its
traditional folklore or spiritual practices indicate a clear pattern
of traditions of ascent into the heavens, descent into the nether-
worlds, movement between this world and a parallel Otherworld, are
present in its history.
Such a society or tradition may have become very specialized and
recombined aspects of mysticism, prophecy and shamanism into more
specialized or more "fully developed" practices and may have
assigned those to highly specialized functionaries. When such
practices and functionaries are present or have replaced the
traditional shamans found in historical or traditional shamanism the
use of Post-shamanic is appropriate.
Knowledge of other realms of being and consciousness and the
cosmology of those regions is the basis of the shamanic perspective
With this knowledge, the shaman is able to serve as a bridge between
the mundane and the higher and lower states. Few indeed have the
stamina to adventure into these realms and endure the outer
hardships and personal crises that have been reported by or observed
of many shamans. Among the cultures that practice Shamanism are
Native Americans in North America, Indians of South America, Africa,
and South and East Asia.
New technologies can enhance the sounds of certain musical
instruments - such as drums. Many people connected to the 'Rave'
movements will enhance the sounds of the music electronically. These
groups often use techno-shamanistic sounds in their music.
Many of these people hope to link the newer sounds and vibrations
with ET civilizations - such as those from Sirius. They see this as
a form of communication. I believe that many of these people are
striving to reach the tones of creational harmonics for initiation
and triggering of their soul memories.