Defining Shamanism and my personal experience with this ancient holistic practice

Written By Kali Pappas, Nutritionist and Blogger at Holistic Chick


What is Shamanism?

First I’ll tell you what it is not! It is not an organized religion, it’s actually an ancient spiritual practice that is used to promote healing by connecting us to the spirit world, nature and all creation.

By definition this practice involves a practitioner, a shaman, who is believed to interact with a spirit world through altered states of consciousness, such as trance.

What does a Shaman do? They study and communicate with plants, animals, elements, and the spirit world.

The word “shaman” is actually derived from the Manchu-Tungus word šaman, meaning "one who knows." or Evenki word from Siberia meaning one who “sees.” However, shamans go by many names including medicine man, sorcerer, healer which are the most common known examples. 

How does a Shaman initiate healing? Healing first starts by interviewing the person to find out what their symptoms are and how long they have been experiencing them. The practitioner then sends spirits or spiritual energies into the physical world to help them see what is needed to heal. Once the information is received from the spirit world, the shaman will then take different approaches though use of proper shamanic tools in order to achieve this healing. 

Some of their techniques can include sound healing or use of feathers, tobacco, crystals and other tools to restore lost parts of oneself which help clear unwanted and resistant energy, increase circulation.  

According to The Power Path dating back to ancient times, kings, queens, and emperors were either trained shamans and if not personally trained employed shamans to advise them on matters throughout many parts of the world. 

Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible spirits which affect the lives of the living. Although the causes of disease lie in the spiritual realm, inspired by malicious spirits, both spiritual and physical methods are used to heal. 

The importance of shamanism is due to their ability to communicate with the spirit world, specifically malicious spirits which cause harm and disease in the human body. It is common that a shaman will induce healing by entering the body of their patient to confront the spiritual infirmity by banishing the infectious spirit. A good shaman will be able to balance all three healing points in the body: emotional, physical and of course, spiritual. 

In addition to their connection with the spirit world, nature and animals, shamans have extensive knowledge on medicinal plants and may also prescribe herbal treatments to enhance healing.  

Who can benefit from using a Shaman?

Anyone! Especially those who are dealing with the following:

  • Preventative care 
  • Unsolved trauma
  • Fighting off disease
  • Unresolved emotions 
  • Chronic stress/anxiety 

How do you find a Shaman you can trust?

Word of mouth is the best way to find a trustworthy practitioner in this particular field, but sometimes we may not know anyone who has either used one or has a good source. Fortunately, The Four Winds provides a reliable directory of vetted shamans based on location to help match you with the perfect healer. 

My personal journey with Shamanism: if you asked me three years ago about Shamanism, or what a Shaman does I would have no idea what you’re talking about. Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures (in my case), which is why I am now well versed in shamanic healing.

By that, I mean I had a family member who has fought for his life after developing an extremely rare disease. The doctor’s couldn’t offer much help besides trial treatment and medication (which didn’t sound promising) because this disease is so rare and they didn’t have enough studies, information or a successful way to treat the disease yet.

Now you can only imagine what would be going through this poor individual’s mind after being informed of this not-so positive news. As I was there throughout the entire process, I decided to take some things into my own hands and find a way to help him heal.

It started off with a BIG diet change, green juices every morning on an empty stomach, vegan diet, tons of natural supplements and herbs, acupuncture, exercise etc. throughout this journey I was eventually introduced to a renowned Shaman in my city, he was one of those guys you couldn’t just Google, because he was truly off the grid.

At first, I didn’t know what to think, but I also knew there was no harm in trying it out, since we were running out of options, so I scheduled a session with him and my relative. After meeting this Shaman I instantly felt at ease and hopeful, he was very sweet and I felt I could really trust him for some reason. After their first session, I already saw a difference in my family member’s mood, pain levels and sleeping pattern.

It was absolutely insane to me how after only ONE single session he was already showing some sign of healing by sleeping better, dealing with his pain better and in seemingly positive spirits since his diagnosis.

From there things only started improving in both his physical and mental health as time went on with his Shamanic healing, clean diet and exercise. Here we are a few years later, he is still on a positive and healthy path and keeps in touch with his Shaman regularly.

To sum it up, I was hesitant about the whole process and not a true believer until we hit a time of desperation, but that is exactly where not only my life, but the life of others significantly improved and changed overall for the better in many ways in addition to healing the body.



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