What is Shamanism?


The word “shaman” comes from the Evinki people of Siberia and literally means “the one who knows.” It is used quite loosely in the New Age to describe any of a variety of spiritual beings with the ability to heal, work with energies and ‘see’ visions. However, in traditional terms, a shaman is defined by the way she or he works. That is, a shaman is a woman or man who changes his or her state of consciousness at will in order to contact and/or travel to another reality (Spirit World) to obtain power and knowledge. The shaman then journeys home to use this power and knowledge to help either himself or others.
In order to enter into the shamanic state of consciousness, the shaman must experience an ecstatic trance brought on by any of a variety of practices – psychedelic drugs, drumming, rattling, chanting, dancing, sweat baths, isolation, imagery among others. In the shamanic state, the shaman has various powers that he does not necessarily possess in ordinary reality. He can see spirits and souls, and communicate with them; make magical flights to the heavens where he serves as intermediary between the gods and his people; and descend to the underworld, the land of the dead. The shaman is lucid throughout the altered state, controls it and recalls afterward what transpired during it.
From the shaman’s point of view, the non ordinary reality of the spirit world exists parallel to the ordinary reality of our consciousness, and independent of our minds. The shaman, knowing that all things created have a soul, also knows that it is possible to communicate with these other spiritual essences by journeying to them, breaking through the boundaries of time and space. Thus, the power of the shamanic journey resides in the fact that it is a journey of the soul, and that the shaman’s soul returns incorporating the power of the universe.
The Spirit World or alternate universe, is divided into three main areas – the Upper World, the Middle World and the Lower World. The journey to the Lower World (also known as the underworld) is where shamans go to talk with ancestors, to find lost information or to find information about diseases and other things to do with the physical body. This journey is commenced by the shaman’s sending his own soul through an opening in the Earth – for example a cave, a spring, the hole at the base of a tree, a foxhole or even a man made hole such as a well or a mineshaft. The hole continues as a tunnel, further and further down and finally, the tunnel opens out in the landscape of the Lower World. Here the shaman meets his spirit helpers and it is the spirit helpers who give the power or knowledge the shaman must have to return to ordinary reality and address the situation which sent him on his journey in the first place.
The Middle World is the magical version of our reality. Shamans visit it to gain practical advice for solving everyday problems. The Upper World is a place of the future and creativity. It there the shaman looks for answers to the great or existential questions of life.
Recognizing that everything is alive is the foundation of shamanism. Not only is everything alive and connected in a mutually supportive way to everything else in the world, but all objects have “spirit.” It is the spirit that is the source of power – not power as might; rather, power as energy. This animistic belief allows for the Shaman to communicate with the spirit of both living and what most would consider non-living things and thus gain the power embodied in the practice of shamanism. The shaman knows that it is the spirits who do the real work. No spirits, no Shamanism, no power and as we will learn next month, “Soul-Loss” which can only be countered with “Soul Retrieval,” the most arcane of the magical, mystical occurrences.

About the Center for the New Age

Spirit guided us to this special place which centuries earlier was used by ancient people as a ceremonial site. We were guided by Spirit to open the Center at this place which is now the heart of spirituality in Sedona.
We’ve searched the globe and pulled the most accurate Psychics and Healers and amazing Massage-Therapists from all over the world who have come here to be part of this special community, whose energy makes them even more psychic. Their services are offered at the Center daily and by phone at (928) 282-2085.
Center for the New Age
341 State Route 179
across from Tlaquepaque
Sedona, AZ 86336-6111
888-881-6651 Free
928-282-2085 Main
928-282-7220 Concierge