By Viola Woolcott
The title “Shaman” belongs to many cultures and has been for eons. It originated from the Tungas (extinct Ural-Altaic) language of Siberia where the term Shaman eventually came to be applied to all medicine men and women of indigenous cultures. It refers to a group of traditional beliefs and earth based practises, which have existed throughout the world since prehistoric times.
Shamans denote indigenous healers, divination, visionaries (one who sees‘), spiritual leaders, prophets, therapists and herbalists in tribal societies. They are people who set about to put things right.
Some religious scholars and even some anthropologists describe a Shaman as a “middle man” of the natural as well as the spiritual world we live in. Being able to travel to both the upper and the lower worlds, they travel these worlds when they are in a trance like state. Once they have crossed the bridge into the spirit world, they would interact with the spirits to find guidance. These traditions are said to date back to prehistoric times.
Shamans have also been believed to control the weather, interpret dreams and read astral projections. They have knowledge of other realms of being. They are masters of altered states of consciousness. The cosmology of those regions is the basis of the shamanic perspective and power.
Power is just power – an ability is just an ability. It is what we do with these that makes them good or evil.