A shaman is a person with the ability to access experiences, open consciousness, and extend beyond normally-perceived reality, to connect with other realms of consciousness. The shaman directs his or her intent (the basis of any transformation) to manifest change, empowerment and healing: physical, psychological, or emotional. The concept of shamanic consciousness consistently uses connections with the Earth, spirit animals, guides etc. Essentially all these manifestations are based on our long-forgotten connections with our planet and our ancestors, connections which are being recognized and strengthened once more by those practising shamanism in modern society today.
Shamanism is not a religion, in the orthodox sense of the word, but a spiritual practice. The word shaman is derived from the Tungus people of Siberia. A shaman was traditionally an individual trained in shamanic techniques offering healing, divination and spiritual guidance to their community. In many cultures initiates are chosen following near-death experiences, profound emotional states and, in some cases, physical abnormalities. Those people often possess, by the simple act of survival, the tools which are utilised in shamanic training. Accessing those tools, and learning techniques such as entering altered states of consciousness, divination, and connecting with spirit allies, expands the individual's perceptions, instincts and knowledge of the human condition. Thus the wounded not only heal themselves, but use those experiences to heal others.
What to Expect
Shamanic techniques offer a holistic approach, but deal with issues mainly on a spiritual level. Practices may include putting the individual into a deep meditation to work with the spiritual self, in a guided and safe way; working with the energies surrounding a person, or their environment; spirit-based counselling, divination; or hands on healing. Many shamanic practitioners also offer ‘teachings’ which involve assisting a person to make their own shamanic connections to spirit allies, the earth, and their inner wisdom.
Training & Colleges
Some practitioners have studied in orthodox psychology and counselling skills, and use this in conjunction with shamanic teachings. They often choose to study with people who are well-established in the field of contemporary shamanism, from various traditions, working with them in a modern context.
For more information, see the The Foundation for Shamanic Studies
The Raven Lodge of Shamanic and Personal Development
35 Wilson Avenue
The Sacred Trust
PO Box 603
Somerset BA1 2ZU