The word shaman comes from the Tungus language, an old Siberian language, and nowadays, it’s used for any healing tradition that fits into this picture. But it was only the term used in Siberia. We find shamans worldwide, but they are not called shamans. They have different names in different places.
For example, here in Central Europe, we had the Celtic tribes, and there the shamans were called druids. But that doesn’t matter; it’s just a label you put onto them. Important is what they do. Shamans are men and women who communicate with the spirit world, with the spirits. That sounds very vast, and it is. So let’s look deeper into this.
What does a Shaman do?
I want to tell you a few things which the shaman might do. Again, this depends on where the shaman lives, which tradition they were brought up and what their community wants. One big task of a shaman is storytelling. They keep the stories of the tribe alive; they tell the stories to the next generation. And stories are not just stories to entertain the kids. Stories always have a deep meaning, a message, and a lesson. So they teach the young generation so that the values of the tribe are brought into the next generation.
Same with ancient wisdom. Shamans are the wisdom keepers of the tribe. They knew all the secrets, and they preserved them. They only shared it with people where they thought, okay, they can handle that or value this knowledge. And they also made sure it was not forgotten. For example, in South America, this was an essential part because when the Inquisition started, everyone who had a different belief than Christianity was persecuted or murdered. So they had to keep it secret. Their own belief, knowledge, and wisdom, and only once it was safe again, that’s not that long ago, they started opening up about this knowledge again.
Make actual change possible.
Another vital role of a shaman is to conduct ceremonies rites of passage. This is a minor problem nowadays in our society. We get married on paper, but we don’t get married energetically, and then the bond is not very strong. So for this, we have rites of passage. In many cultures, we can see the right of passage when you become a man or a woman. When we look into Africa, for example, there are some challenges you have to go through. Sometimes it’s terrifying challenges, but it marks this passing from a boy to a man or a girl to a woman. There are also rights of passage when we die. So we die consciously. This is a critical task of a shaman. They guide the community through rites of passage to make a transition possible. We get married only on a piece of paper; we know then that we are married now, but it is not on the soul level, and this is where fundamental transformation happens.
How does a Shaman heal?
Simply said, a shaman doesn’t heal you. If someone promises to heal you, you should be very careful. No one can heal you. And a shaman also doesn’t heal you. There are three big tasks a shaman does with healing.
Sacred Space for Healing
So the first thing is that a shaman opens up a sacred space where healing can happen. He doesn’t heal you. He creates this bubble of timelessness where he lifts you for a few seconds, minutes, maybe an hour. And this is where healing can happen. This is where your ancestors come, and they help you, where you can go into this deep transformational process. But the shaman itself doesn’t do all this. He opens up this sacred space so healing can happen.
Select a new destiny for yourself
The second essential thing is that the shaman can travel into the future. You can imagine our past like a solid chord, really hard, and we cannot change the past. We can look at it, and we can see what happened. But our future is not a solid string. Our future is millions of tiny lines. And we can choose which one to go to. You have the option to select one of these million strings, but if you don’t do transformational work, you will choose an obvious path, which is very probable. You will not select any of the stings that lie outside what you can see.
For example, I might get diagnosed with cancer. And when I choose one of the probable futures, I have options like death and sickness. But there are other possible futures for me. A shaman can help me to find one. They can go and select a different destiny for me. And like this, my future self informs my present self, and true healing can happen. It’s like your future self reaches back to your present self and informs us and tells us, you have to do this, and you will go in this direction. So the shaman can see these alternate destinies and help select one for you and bring you onto the right path. And this is one of the essential things of the healing work of the shaman. He gives you the options. There are countless options. You can do anything and everything, but he makes it possible for you to see the possibilities outside the probable and select a different destiny for yourself.
Ceremonies for true transformation
The third task is ceremonies. A Ceremony is not just for celebration or for spending time together. Ceremonies start a transformation of the level of the soul.
For example, I break my arm. Then I will fix it on the physical body. If I want to change my belief structure, I work with my mind. But we have two more levels on top of this. We have the physical level, the mental level, then comes the level of the soul and the spirit level. The difference between soul and spirit is that soul is our individual soul. Spirit is where we are all connected again. This Godly quality, what we call God, Allah, the mighty power. There are so many names for this power.
So, if I have a physical problem, I should always look deeper. I should also look deeper into the soul level when I have a mental problem. And if I change something on the soul level, it will inform the mind and the body. If I have a physical problem, I can treat the symptoms, but that will not change much. That will not change the root cause. For that, I have to go to the soul level. This level will then inform the mind, telling the body. True healing can only happen if we change something on the soul level.
And this happens through the ceremony. It doesn’t happen through putting a plaster or through affirmations or anything; it happens through the ceremony. This is how our soul works. Our soul understands transformation when we have a ceremony.
And this is a massive part of what shamans do: conduct ceremonies to change things on the soul level. So we transform as well on the mind and the body.
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