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Shamanism

Shamanism (pronounced SHAH-mahn-ism) describes the diverse practices of many earth-based traditions that have existed throughout the world since prehistoric times. Shamanism is a cross-cultural practice of living in spiritual connection with the natural world.

Anthropologically, Shamanism refers to the traditional healing and religious practices of northern Asia (e.g. Siberia, Mongolia, etc.). Its usage has grown to include similar experiences and practices in cultures outside of the original Siberian cultures from which the term shaman originated.

Living close to the earth, indigenous peoples' survival depended upon their harmony with the earth, and their ability to align with nature. Through their intimacy with grandmother earth, they gained insights that enhanced their health and created balance in heart, mind, body, spirit and soul. Perhaps the modern resurgence of Shamanism is prompted by the desire to restore the intimacy with nature that our ancestors had since always.

The word Shaman literally means he (or she) who knows. It originated among the Tungus, a nomadic indigenous people of Siberia, Russia. You might say that Shaman has replaced "witch doctor," an expression that unites two aspects of the shaman: the knowledge of magical and other realms, and the ability to cure a person and mend a situation. Throughout many cultures, shamans are known by various names: the Kahuna in the Hawaiian Islands, the Medicine Man or Woman in the Americas, the Buddhist Lama in Tibet, to name a few. A true shaman walks in the natural world and connects with the spiritual world to discover the natural self, and then uses this knowledge for the good of humankind.