Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Shamanic Journey


Shamanism encompasses the belief that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment.
Shamanism is a 'calling' AND NOT A PRACTICE TO BE ENTERED INTO LIGHTLY. Individuals who are 'called' typically experience an illness of some sort over a prolonged period of time. This illness will prompt the individual to seek out spiritual guidance and other shamanic healers. Such illnesses are usually not healable/curable by physicians and western medicine. The shaman heals through spiritual means that consequently affect the human world by bringing about restored health.

Generally, the shaman traverses the axis mundi (The axis mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, columna cerului, center of the world) is a ubiquitous symbol that crosses human cultures. The image expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms.) and enters the spirit world by effecting a transition of consciousness, entering into an ecstatic trance, either auto hypnotically or through the use of entheogens. I have left the psychoactive and poisonous plants off the list. The methods employed are diverse, and are often used together. Some of the methods for affecting such trances:
·        Tobacco
·        Cedar
·        Sage
·        Dancing
·        Singing
·        Music
·        Fasting
·        Sweat Lodge
·        Vision Quest

Shamans gain knowledge and the power to heal by entering into the spiritual world or dimension. The shaman may have, or acquire many spirit guides in the spirit world, these often guide and direct the shaman in his/her travels. These spirit guides are always present within the shaman though others only encounter them when the shaman is in a trance. The spirit guide energizes the shaman, enabling him/her to enter the spiritual dimension. The shaman heals within the spiritual dimension by returning 'lost' parts of the human soul from wherever they have gone. The shaman also cleanses excess negative energies which confuse or pollute the soul.
Shamans act as "mediators" in their culture. The shaman communicates with the spirits on behalf of the community, including the spirits of the deceased. The shaman communicates with both living and dead to alleviate unrest, unsettled issues, and to deliver gifts to the spirits.

© A Wild Willow

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