What is a Shaman?

The Shamanism of the East and West

When you begin to delve more deeply into the shamanic paths of various native traditions, you begin to realize that each represents a focused area of a much larger picture that overlaps the traditions of yoga, eastern and western mysticism and spiritual traditions.

That larger picture is who we are as energetic beings, as beings of spirit.

If you speak to native elders and healers, they are likely to resent the word shaman, because the word largely misrepresents what it purports to mean.

Our culture's early interaction with shamans historically associates them with particular healing traditions such as those found in Siberia and Mongolia. And so shaman is and has been associated with nature spirits and with channeling these kinds of forces on the one hand, and on the other hand, through ignorance it has been relegated to a kind of stagecraft, as a means of intercession with illness.

What is missing in this picture is the inner state of the practitioner. As a culture, we over focus on the outer clothes, and ignore the person inside. What is missing with this picture is the understanding of what the shaman really is.

One working definition of the shaman is one who acts out of their deep connection to spirit, their own inner knowing, their own deep stance in what is, and what is perceived by being in the moment, rather than what one has been taught to believe and see.

It is the ability to be in the present moment, and thus more connected to spirit, that is the real tool of the shaman. That tool has been honed through the shaman's own healing and reestablishment in that inner connection. And it is in the present moment, in reconnection to spirit that true healing takes place. This is the secret behind fire ceremonies, rites and rituals that bring us closer to that state.

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Energy Healing Miami - What is a Shaman? Copyright Roman Oleh Yaworksy 2011

The art and practice of a shaman extends from being grounded in spirit.

For a shaman, all paths lead from spirit; all of the outer forms are expressions from within.

It is also the place of true healing.

Roman Oleh Yaworsky






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