Shamanism is an ancient method of healing and divination that is the oldest spiritual tradition on the planet. It is based on the practice of entering an altered state of consciousness in order to conduct personal explorations into spirit realms. These explorations, traditionally called “journeys,” are for the purpose of gathering information, gaining knowledge, and acquiring help and healing for oneself and others. An emphasis on direct personal experience differentiates shamanism from faith based practices. In core shamanism, as developed by Michael Harner and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, we teach methods of accessing the spirit realms of non-ordinary reality, not a set of beliefs about what you should find there, or interpretations of your journeys. In core shamanism, personal freedom to discover these things for yourself is of utmost importance.
Throughout history some form of shamanic practice has existed in every culture on the planet. The word “shaman” derives from the Tungus (Siberian) word, which refers to a person who travels in non-ordinary reality in an altered state of consciousness. Such people were often called “see-ers” or people who know, because they were able to access information that was vital to the survival of their people. Today, as shamanic practices are gradually being restored to people through the teachings of this ancient knowledge, we have a precious opportunity to heal ourselves and our planet.
An inspiring article about shamanism by Michael Harner, founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Shamanic Healing: We Are Not Alone