What is Shamanism? Shamanism is a term that is widely used and means a variety of things to different people. The term shamanism became popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s as there was an interest in ancient and indigenous cultures. Shamanism describes a variety of ideas, cultures, and traditions, and groups them, almost haphazardly into one big category.
A shaman is a healer, counselor, and spiritual adviser, and originally, shamans lived in tribal communities. It is derived from the Tungusian word, “saman,” meaning “one who knows.” The Tungusic people of Northern Asia are among the few remaining reindeer herding tribes in Siberia. It is worth mentioning that the word is also close to the Chinese word for an ascetic or Buddhist monk, “sa-men,” which is derived from the Sanskrit term “cramana,” via the Pali transcription “samana.”
Indigenous cultures do not refer to themselves as shamanic. Each culture has its own language and names for their spiritual leaders, practices. When we refer to a culture as shamanic, we are viewing it through a western or modern lens and not the perspective of that specific culture. It is very important to understand that there is a concern among indigenous groups that some people who are practicing contemporary shamanism are misappropriating the cultural beliefs and practices of traditional cultures. We have personally seen someone who claims rites to a cultural lineage that they did not earn, or they are teaching culturally specific practices of an indigenous group that is not their tribe and they have not been given permission to teach.
Hummingbird Wellness practices a hybridization of…
Earth-Based Lineage Traditions: This refers to the highly individualized traditional cultures that are nature-based. These earth-based wisdom traditions each have their own unique world-view, practices, rituals, and language. In some cases, there are similar practices found in these cultures though these societies have not had contact with one another.
Applied Shamanism This reflects the practical application of certain core shamanic practices in a modern therapeutic context to assist with healing self, earth, and all of its beings. This includes various forms of therapy, mediation, addiction counseling, and spiritual counseling. It specifically seeks to make these core practices relevant for people today. It emphasizes the difference between core practices and the practices unique to specific traditions and lineages.