Shamanism predates current day organized religions by tens of thousands of years. European cave paintings and carvings showing shaman date from the Paleolithic era. Graves of shamans, 12,000-year-old and older have been discovered in Israel and the Czech Republic.
Shamanism is an ancient spiritual path for awakening, raising consciousness, healing, divination and, in many cases, peace-making. All major healing systems have shamanism at their root, as do some of the major religious traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism still contains key shamanic principles.
Shamanism has no dogmas; it is a spiritual path of awakening. The Shaman seeks and experiences his or her personal communion with the sacred without an intermediary. The word Shaman, originates from the Tungus people of Siberia, and has been translated as ‘the one who sees’, ‘the one who knows’ and ‘the one who sees in the dark’. So, it is important to recognize Shamanism is not a religion it’s a spiritual path.
The Shaman sees and knows the essential truth about the nature of reality and the place of the human within that reality. Another key element that characterizes a shaman is that she/ he works under direct and conscious guidance of spirit teachers and other helpers, and if that factor isn’t present, it’s not shamanism.
In pop culture, shaman may be: Gandalf in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Professor Dumbledore in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda in George Lucas’s Star Wars, or the Arthurian Merlin in Hollywood productions. This list speaks of the return of the shaman.
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