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Shamanism: Everything You Need to Know

Shamanism: Everything You Need to Know

Shamanism is a spiritual practice that dates back to the earliest chapters of humankind.

While shamanism ranges in practice across diverse cultures, the foundation persisted through time: the core concept is that a shaman is capable of accessing the spirit world.

Various rituals, ceremonies, and trancelike practices allow them to thin the veil and seek guidance in the spiritual realm. Every shaman creates a bridge between the two worlds.

There is a sea of consciousness that is universal, even though we each perceive it from our own shores, an awareness and a world that we all share, that can be experienced by every living being, yet is seldom seen by any.

– Alberto Villoldo

What are the roots of shamanism? How does it tie into today’s society?

Is it possible to become a shaman?

Here’s everything you need to know about shamanism – and much more.

The Origins of Shamanism

Shamanism began as a primal glimpse into the unknown – a doorway to the spiritual world, urging us to unravel the mysteries of our existence and seek continuous growth.

While shamanism took divergent paths of evolution in various cultures, the approaches to piercing the veil highlight humanity’s inherent yearning to connect with a higher power.

To list a few, here are some shamanic cultures worth delving into:

The term ‘shaman’ finds its roots in the Siberian Tungusic people, but similar practices and rituals can be found everywhere, no matter where you drop a pin on the world map.

In most cultures, a shaman was a spiritually enlightened leader and teacher.

Guiding their communities, they communed with higher powers, ancestral spirits, and otherworldly forces while offering healing for both physical and spiritual afflictions.

Every culture and its shamans demonstrated a unique, distinctive skill set.

However, at their core, their goal was to balance the two contrasting worlds.

Today, the world of shamanism is a spiritually rich and vast realm encompassing various practices. Like all things, it’s more modernized – but that doesn’t erase its timeless nature.

Nowadays, it’s more of a soul-enriching journey, a life path.

Anyone can become a shaman or enhance their awareness through shamanic rituals.

That brings us to the question: what is a shaman? And what does a shaman do?

What Is a Shaman, Exactly?

A shaman forges connections with the spiritual world and helps others access it for support, guidance, and spiritual enlightenment, fostering an environment for growth.

How does a shaman thin the veil and break through to the other side?

Shamans can enter altered states of consciousness through rituals, communing with spiritual entities – but the practices in which they achieve it vary from culture to culture.

What is the purpose, though? Why is it important to establish that connection?

When you glimpse into the spiritual world, there’s no going back. It’s the beginning of a lifelong, transformative journey. Today, more and more people are trying to break free.

We all seek to liberate ourselves from the modernized way of living.

While shamans create and cultivate that connection, they are not bound to it. A shaman’s role in a community encompasses much more than spirituality, highlighting their value.

For example, shamans are well-recognized for their healing abilities.

A shaman can heal physical ailments and clear emotional and spiritual blockades.

Beyond that, shamans often assume the role of knowledge-keepers, offering invaluable insight and guidance to those trying to navigate hardship and find clarity and direction.

Conversing with a shaman is always a stimulative experience, even if you’re a skeptic.

Maybe especially then.

What does a shaman do, though? What are some standard practices? Let’s list a few:

  1. Meditation
  2. Chanting
  3. Drumming
  4. Herbalism
  5. Divination

Shamans engage in various rituals and practices, from energy healing to dream interpretation. Each shaman and culture has a distinct approach to spirituality.

While the specifics of practices may vary, the overarching purpose remains the same: every shaman creates a direct connection between the spiritual and the material realm.

Although some shamans embrace the role of spiritual leadership – others are more inclined to pursue alternative medicine, acting as holistic healers in their community.

More specifically, they focus on the body-mind connection.

But the question still stands: how do you become a shaman?

Is it a path paved through rigorous training or a divine calling? Or both?

How Do You Become a Shaman?

While honorable, becoming a shaman is a path not to be taken lightly.

This transformative journey of self-discovery demands shedding the old and embracing the new, immersing yourself in spiritual waters. You dedicate your journey to teaching.

While anyone has the potential to become a shaman, the initial steps are not about shamanic stones or shaman symbols but about introspection and unraveling the soul.

The journey of a shaman revolves around self-discovery and spiritual awakening. With each forward strive, you reveal the inherent richness and open your eyes to bigger things.

The more you expand your self-knowledge, the more progress you make.

Many aspiring souls seek out spiritual masters, shamans who offer experienced mentorship within their community. For many, this path begins as an apprenticeship.

Under a skilled mentor’s guidance, you train, delving into the intricacies of rituals and practices. More importantly, you learn more about the shaman’s responsibilities.

If the idea just sounds cool to you, maybe it’s not aligned with your true interests.

Embodying the role of a shaman is something that you should consider thoroughly.

To walk the spiritual path is to continually step out into the unknown.

– Wallace Huey

Some shamans receive their calling in unusual ways, like dreams and visions.

But it’s still worth exploring, even if it’s just a passing notion.

Even if you choose not to go down this path – you’re still destined to grow spiritually.

In many cultures, shamans undergo what is known as an initiation ceremony.

You may undergo spiritual trials, face overwhelming odds and challenges, and toil night and day to achieve a deeper understanding of the spirit world – before the gate opens.

A shaman may advise reconnecting with nature as you heed your calling. Absorbing solitude amid lush greenery helps you sharpen your intuition and broaden your awareness.

You become closer to your inner self by observing the world around you.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves if you’re just starting.

Take it slow. Get to know yourself. Explore your body, mind, and soul.

Expand your self-knowledge and rise to a higher state of consciousness.

Meditate whenever you can. Prioritize establishing balance and harmony within.

The next step forward can only be taken once you are spiritually awakened.

What Abilities Do Shamans Have?

Shamans perfect their abilities, gifts, and talents through extensive practice.

However, the specific abilities vary from one shaman to the next. One thing remains true, though: they share the capability to tap into ancient, dormant powers and vibrations.

Over thousands of years, some shamanic abilities have been more prevalent, including:

  1. Altered states of consciousness
  2. Observing and manipulating energy
  3. Seeing into the future
  4. Communing with totem
  5. Interpreting dreams and visions

Many shamans possess methods for attaining a higher state of consciousness, achieved through rituals or alternative practices. Through this link, they connect to the spirit world.

A shaman perceives energy and manipulates it expertly, allowing it to heal and restore balance. With or without herbal remedies, they tap into the world’s natural healing energy.

Most shamans you meet are adept at divination, meaning they can foresee the future, unravel the present moment, and offer insight into the past when necessary for growth.

Skilled at interpreting patterns, studying the ebb and flow of energy, observing crystals, and seeking guidance from the other realm – they possess insights otherwise unobtainable.

And this is just scratching the surface.

Depending on the culture – but especially Indigenous people – some shamans can commune with totems, which involves establishing a connection with spirit animals.

There’s also the concept of soul retrieval that certain shamans can efficiently pull off.

Some shamans are also naturally adept at interpreting dreams and visions.

No matter a shaman’s skill set, their purpose in life remains the same: to help their community thrive and develop spiritually through different rituals and practices.

Nevertheless, this can sound overwhelming if you want to be a shaman.

But you don’t need to master every ability. A good shaman knows what they’re good at.

Harness your potential as you build upon your strengths, diving deeper into the soul.

If you’ve got a knack for divination – explore it. Explore abilities that resonate with you. Work gradually and patiently to expand your skillset as you walk the shamanic journey.

Remember: becoming a shaman is a personal and ever-evolving process.

What Equipment Should a Shaman Have?

One of the more traditional shamanic instruments is the drum, utilized to create a beat during various rituals and ceremonies. Still, other musical instruments can be used, too.

Some shamans hum gently to thin the veil between the two contrasting worlds.

Looking at old artworks shows shamans wearing specific garments or accessories with symbolic meaning. That said, wearing an outfit doesn’t make you a good shaman.

After all, shamans teach how to transcend the material realm. It’s not about how they look.

Nevertheless, they may use symbols, stones, and crystals for their spiritual practices.

Some shamans even use objects like feathers to gather their energetic properties. All shamans are attuned to nature, especially animals and plants with healing properties.

Now, depending on the shaman, the list goes on, but you may find that some don’t even use anything. That’s because you don’t need material things to transcend the physical.

The soul can open up and embrace the vastness through meditation alone.

Think of it this way. Do you need to give up your car and throw away your money to embrace a spiritual life? Of course not. You can keep your job and still pursue growth.

In today’s society, it’s more crucial than ever for spiritual leaders like shamans to pave the way to a moderate lifestyle, avoiding materialistic opulence and chasing materialism.

That’s why many new spiritually open-minded leaders are trying to set an example.

What Does It Mean to Be a Shaman?

Being a shaman isn’t a part-time job. It’s a life choice that demands one’s entire being.

The responsibilities of a shaman surpass the mere transcendence of the physical realm.

Think of it this way: a shaman is simultaneously a teacher, a leader, and a healer.

Let’s go through them one by one.

How does a shaman teach those who wish to embrace spirituality?

A shaman can tap into ancient knowledge and wisdom – but that’s not all there is. Shamans can impart teachings gathered through their awakening and enlightenment.

More importantly, they can teach others how to find knowledge themselves – and most of the time, it boils down to looking within, exploring their inner selves, and being persistent.

A shaman can also help induce a heightened consciousness as a teaching method, but exercising this demands a degree of caution and know-how that only true masters possess.

Every shaman must discern what rituals, practices, and methods to use, as relying on guesswork with an individual can not only hinder progress but lead to potential harm.

Shamans can show you the way forward, but it falls to you to embrace it.

But in what ways does a shaman lead and inspire others like a beacon of light?

Shamans aren’t leaders in the traditional sense; they lead spiritually.

So, if you’re seeking enlightenment – a shaman can take you there.

Living as a shaman will change your life and infuse it with balance and harmony. When you transcend to the other realm, you let go of stress and embrace an all-around peace.

You can unleash your true potential with their wisdom and guidance.

You feel safe in their aura, inspired by their all-seeing nature.

More importantly, being in the presence of a shaman makes you keenly aware of the oneness of the world, allowing you to tap into the interconnected nature of the universe.

Shamans intensify their practices through that sense of community and togetherness.

But how does a shaman heal?

Some can channel shamanic healing energies through the body to address impurities and imbalances that might have occurred, helping resolve physical and emotional ailments.

Every shaman knows what rituals and practices to use to heal and soothe.

When needing guidance, they transcend the material world to reach divine wisdom.

And some use natural herbal remedies to help people get better.

A shaman can heal in many ways, but they can also teach how to heal – which is crucial.

Nevertheless, being a shaman isn’t easy. So, if you’re thinking about pursuing this path, take a moment to consider the responsibilities that come with being a spiritual leader.

Are Shamans Good or Bad?

Every shaman is a person. And people are complex. They’re not inherently good or bad – it’s almost always something in between. Still, shamans are considered a force of good.

Why wouldn’t they be? They help others evolve. They soothe wounds and provide healing and balance. And they strive to teach others how to find meaning and purpose in life.

For a shaman, their purpose lies in healing others, utilizing their knowledge of herbs and energy manipulation, and tapping into the unseen realm to provide support and guidance.

A  shaman doesn’t withhold their knowledge. They share it with the people around them, inspiring them by passing down wisdom, rituals, and shamanistic healing practices.

On another note, shamans are also community leaders – or at least an essential part of leadership. They promote harmony and foster a sense of community and togetherness.

Shamans address and resolve conflicts and show a path to peace when and if necessary.

Be cautious around people in power, even if they’re shamans.

Shamans can exploit their influence for personal gain and attempt to trick and manipulate you. Be mindful of shamans who misuse their spiritual knowledge and take advantage.

You’ll feel their heart is not in the right place. Trust your intuition on this one.

Shamans are rarely immoral. Their community selects them. But it’s still crucial to exercise care. You don’t want to be misguided or manipulated by harmful rituals.

Is Shamanism a Religion?


Although ancient in its roots, shamanism was never a religion. And it’s even less of a religion in the new age. It’s a practice rooted in various cultural and indigenous traditions.

Shamanism is cross-cultural, meaning it doesn’t have rigid structures or doctrines to follow. As the pages of history show us, it’s a diverse and adaptable spiritual practice.

And on top of that, shamanism is more tailored to direct personal experiences. In other words, it’s not the same for everyone. This is what spirituality teaches – to find our path.

Therefore, it’s impossible to categorize shamanism as a religion. It has no framework. But does that make it any less meaningful? Of course not. Shamanism has many benefits.

Although not a religion, shamanism can help you connect with nature, spirits, and the unseen world around you, expanding your perspective and deepening your awareness.

Even though there are many skeptics and non-believers in shamanism, it’s impossible to deny its significance in history, from the very first humans to the modern age of chaos.

Instead of a religion, many define shamanism as animistic. But what does that mean?

Simply put, it means recognizing the inherent energy in all things, from animals to plants and weather. It means finding hidden patterns and subtle vibrations in the world around us.

Of course, this isn’t easy to accomplish. That’s why many outright deny its credibility.

But the more you learn about shamanism, the more you enrich your mind and soul.

Religions are more focused on worship and doctrinal adherence. But shamanism? It’s about interacting with the spirit world, thinning the veil, and crossing to the other side.

Although you’re not crossing physically – it’s always an illuminating experience.

Does Shamanism Actually Work?


No one can tell you whether or not shamanism works because it’s yours to find out.

If you’re even the faintest bit of a skeptic, you won’t believe a word we, or anyone, for that matter, say. So, our best advice is to encourage self-exploration and self-discovery.

You don’t have to become a shaman to understand the positive outcomes of shamanism.

Take part in shamanic practices and healing rituals to see what it’s about. Do this alongside an open-minded individual who can guide and help you take it seriously.

Keep your heart and intention in the right place for spirituality to work. Otherwise, you won’t make progress. You have to believe that it works to open the gates of self-growth.

Even if you’re doubtful, reading about shamanism expands your knowledge.

It presents an opportunity to learn about cultural differences and shamanic traditions.

It never hurts to know more, even if it’s something that you don’t actively take part in.

Reading about shamanic rituals like drumming, chanting, and ceremonies may show you a way to an altered state of consciousness – an experience unlike anything you’ve known.

Keep an open mind as you dive into the world of shamanism.

But remember: the effectiveness of shamanic practices depends on the shaman’s skill and sincerity. However, it also depends on how open your heart, mind, and soul are to growth.

If you’re hard set on believing it doesn’t work – it doesn’t even have a chance to work.

To answer the question: shamanism does work, but not for everyone.

So, give it a shot if you’re curious because what you find might surprise you.

In Conclusion

Despite everything covered so far, shamanism is a vast realm to explore.

That’s why we endeavor to dive into different cultures and traditions, unraveling the historical and current-day richness of shamanism – and how it can help you awaken.

Even if you’re biased against it, learning more helps you expand your knowledge.

You enrich your mind with ancient wisdom and transcend the material world.

Now’s the time to break free from stress and anxiety and rise to a higher state of being.

In a world so obsessed with materialism, find your purpose and meaning in spirituality.