Shamanism is a practice that has attracted the interest of religious people, philosophers, governments, anthropologists, and scholars for many decades. On the other hand, some religions and governments have fought the practice. But what is Shamanism and is it good or bad for a community?
Shamanism is practiced in many parts of the world, but the belief varies slightly from tribe to tribe. However, they have common beliefs that most of the tribes that still practice Shamanism share. Some of the common beliefs include that spirits influence the lives of a community and its people. That Shamans can speak to this spirits some of which are evil and some are good. More so, they believe that malevolent spirits are responsible for some illness and that Shamans can treat the illnesses.
For shamans to communicate with the spirit world, they use various techniques differing from one tribe to another. They get into a trance using the techniques, and it is in that state that they get to a link with the spirits. Also, they believe in having spirit guides.
Although a community may believe in Shamans, not everyone in that community is usually able to communicate with the spirit world and to practice Shamanism. Communities that believe in Shamanism have special persons they call Shamans who act as intermediaries between the community and the spirits.
Actually, Shamans communicate with spirits of members in a community who succumbed to death.
There are two main ways of becoming a Shaman; you either inherit the powers of your father if you are a boy or from your mother if you are a girl. You can also get initiated into Shamanism by undergoing training. Initiation takes many years and often involve fasts and near death experiences.
What Powers Do Shamans Have?
Shamans are believed to have the power to visit the dead, and communicate with them, some of them allowing their bodies to be indwelt by the dead spirits. Some tribes will always consult Shamans for major community decisions about war, or famine. Shamans include exorcists, mediums, spirit doctors, medicine men, and women. Communities that believe in Shamanism believe that Shamans have the power to heal and also to kill.
Also, some Shamans apart from their power to cast out spirits, also have quite an in-depth knowledge of herbal treatments and use them in addition to evoking evil spirits from the afflicted. Spirits are evoked using various techniques including medicine songs.
North American Shamanism
The most common Shamanism in North America is healing. Other functions involve finding lost objects, foretelling the future, diagnosing disease and general clairvoyant and divinatory practices to mention but some. Shamanic powers are usually used for witchcraft, sorcery or revenge.
Many books have been written to shade light on what Shamanism is all about. Therefore, if you desire detailed information about Shamanism, you can check out books that have been written on the subject. One such book is authored by Don Trudeau titled “Shaman Speaks the Teachings Volume 2.”
All in all, because of the Shaman’s perceived powers to do the extraordinary like killing, curing and communicating with the dead, they enjoy power and prestige in their communities. However, they may be feared or regarded with suspicion if they live in a community that has members with contrary beliefs.