The Shamanic Worlds
Shamanism is one the rise in people's consciousness and is one of humankind's oldest and perhaps original form of spirituality. Early in human evolution, we began to look to the spirits of ancestors, animals, plants, elements and deities for help, guidance and sustenance. These compassionate beings assisted us by teaching humankind about how to live in the world and by offering inspiration and protection. The spirits taught ceremonies and rituals for hunting, agriculture, fertility and healing.
Connection with the helping spirits and beloved ancestorsprovided a framework and continuity that helped people to feel safer and to function well within their world. Spirituality, in a shamanistic sense, means having relationship with Spirit or spirits. It was observed that there were both compassionate and non-compassionate spirits in the world. Humankind sought the help of the compassionate spirits in order to shape their lives, their endeavors and their health with blessings and inspiration.
Certain people were observed to have strong affinities for communicating with these spirits and they became known as the shamans, the seers, healers, oracles and the mediators. The shamans served their community in many capacities. Some shamans were healers, seers or masters of ritual to ensure the success of various endeavors. Shamans were the ones whose job was to ensure that balance be kept between the seen and unseen worlds. Practitioners of shamanism offered healing for spiritual illness, possession and soul loss. These problems afflicted people in earlier times and are still afflicting people in these times. Shamanic practitioners today can offer soul retrieval, extraction, compassionate depossession and blessings.
Shamanism exists today as the substratum of most if not all cultures and it exists because the relationships between the helping and compassionate spirits and people continue to exist. All of us have some sensitivities, abilities and capacities that will allow us to approach life shamanistically. The reward for reaching for the compassionate spirits is that they reach back to us and help and enrich our lives.
Modern shamanism is alive and thriving. Ann Drucker in Boulder, Christina Pratt in Oregon, Sandra Ingerman in New Mexico and I in Seattle, are part of the current crop of shamanic practitioners who are blending the old with the new to practice and teach an updated form of shamanism that speaks and lives in congruence with the 21st century.
Many people are discovering that connecting to and relating with the Helping Spirits is not confined to shamans, but is available to all of us in varying degrees. There is a resurgence of interest in shamanism as well as a remarkable rise in classes on many different types and aspects of shamanic healing and practices. As one practitioner laughingly and lovingly said, "It is in our DNA!"
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for shamanic workshop opportunities.)