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Wiki says.....(Your not a Shaman!)


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#1 Guest_mystic_*

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 11:10 AM

A little insight into what shamanism really consists of. I see a lot of people here and elsewhere have this wicked idea that because they feel they have talked to the creator while high they are now a shaman. This is not to be taken lightly. IMO.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamanism


Shamanism is a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world. A practitioner of shamanism is known as a shaman, pronounced /ˈʃɑːmən/, /ˈʃeɪmən/, (|ˈshämən; ˈshā-|) noun (pl. -man(s)).[1] There are many variations of shamanism throughout the world and several common beliefs are shared by all forms of shamanism. Shamans are intermediaries between the human and spirit worlds. They can treat illness and are capable of entering supernatural realms to provide answers for humans.[2]


Beliefs

There are many variations of shamanism throughout the world; and several common beliefs are shared by all forms of shamanism. Common beliefs, identified by Eliade (1964)[2] are the following:
  • Spirits exist and they play important roles both in individual lives and in human society.
  • The shaman can communicate with the spirit world.
  • Spirits can be good or evil.
  • The shaman can treat sickness caused by evil spirits.
  • The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy.
  • The shaman's spirit can leave the body to enter the supernatural world to search for answers.
  • The shaman evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message-bearers. Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits which affect the lives of the living.[6] In contrast to organized religions like animism or animatism which are led by priests and which all members of a society practice, shamanism requires individualized knowledge and special abilities. Shaman operate outside established religions, and, traditionally, they operate alone. Shaman can gather into associations, as Indian tantric practitioners have done.
  • Shamans perform a variety of functions depending upon their respective cultures:[7] healing;[8][9] leading a sacrifice;[10] preserving the tradition by storytelling and songs;[11] fortune-telling;[12] acting as a psychopomp (literal meaning, “guide of souls”).[13] In some cultures, a shaman may fulfill several functions in one person.[14]
    The necromancer in Greek mythology might be considered[citation needed] a shaman as the necromancer could rally spirits and raise the dead to utilize them as slaves, soldiers and tools for divination.
    Function

    The functions of a shaman may include either guiding to their proper abode the souls of the dead (which may be guided either one-at-a-time or in a cumulative group, depending on culture), and/or curing (healing) of ailments. The ailments may be either purely physical afflictions -- such as disease, which may be cured by flattering, threatening, or wrestling the disease-spirit (sometimes trying all these, sequentially), and which may be completed by displaying some supposedly extracted token of the disease-spirit (displaying this, even if "fraudulent", is supposed to impress the disease-spirit that it has been, or is in the process of being, defeated, so that it will retreat and stay out of the patient's body) --, or else mental (including psychosomatic) afflictions -- such as persistent terror (on account of some frightening experience), which may be likewise cured by similar methods. Usually in most languages a different term, other than the one translated "shaman", is applied to a religious official ("priest") leading sacrificial rites, or to a reconteur ("sage") of traditional lore; there may be more of an overlap in functions (with than of a shaman), however, in the case of an interpreter of omens or of dreams.
A very good read as it continues past what I have included here. :kiss:

#2 rocketman

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 02:33 PM

Great post, I think that some need to believe in something non mainstream and obscure, rather than a traditional doctor or clergy.

I am leary of anyone who claims to do all those things you listed. I can create an environment conducive to healing, and maybe guide the inexperienced through the gates, but the whole I can heal you thing is bullshit to me.


edited to say: I dont discount healing by anyone, because if you can make someone believe they are healed then the odds are they will respond, but its not magic or true wisdom as much as a stroke job.

#3 squizzlix

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 06:17 PM

i feel shamans play very important roles.
take a look at cultures who frown upon shamanism as
unproven magical crack pot con jobs.
these people collectively have a total disconnection
with nature. thus a disconnection with others and thus a disconnection with themselves.

where as people who have a shaman tend to see the big
picture collectively,
they respect nature,
they appear to have "community".

now whether or not the shaman actually does these magical
things,
well, i doubt those who need proof will ever know.
but the end result in believing in shamans seems to
be a good thing for the community.

the tribes shall inherit the earth.
once the machine falls apart.
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#4 hyphaenation

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 07:05 PM

A few interesting links about shamanism and related subjects:

The Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees.
http://www.sacred-te.../sfoc/index.htm

Fetichism in West Africa
http://www.sacred-te...index.htm<br />
Shamanism in Siberia
http://www.sacred-te...a/sis/index.htm

Shaman, Saiva and Sufi
http://www.sacred-te...a/sss/index.htm

A Journey in Southern Siberia
http://www.sacred-te...a/jss/index.htm

Animism
http://www.sacred-te.../anim/index.htm

Aino Folk-Tales
http://www.sacred-te...i/aft/index.htm
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#5 dpwishy

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 07:19 PM

A shaman to me is someone who can go to the other side and bring back that information for others who cant. That might be talking to the creator or millions of other things...

love, peace, compassion and respect
-wishy

#6 Shroomette

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 07:26 PM

Great read Mystic and find! but, I can't really say I believe that shaman preform magical acts as such. But, everyone has to have something to believe in. Also, Hyphaenation great links definitely interesting.

#7 bmad

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 09:52 PM

thanks for posting that up mystic.. and thanks for the follow up links guys

#8 duaut

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 10:30 PM

Everybody and anybody can practice Shamanism, but the ONLY people who designates a person as a Shaman is the community they live within. A person can not claim the title of Shaman ever. It is earned through their acts towards and within the community they live, not because you imbibe in psychedelic drugs.

To become a true Shaman one must go through many years and decades of training by a true teacher, and not just having psychedelic mental fascinations(Hallucinations). One must learn to travel to the Lower Worlds first then travel the Upper Worlds, then learn to travel the Middle World, learn soul retrieval, and more.
Just because you eat a bunch of mushrooms, ayahuasca, or whatever and see what you think is the creator does not and will not make you a Shaman.

#9 sangraal

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 10:33 PM

Good post!

I can even be a bit more picky than wiki there. With what all is said, technically a shaman is one of such practices from North Asia, around Siberia. Being within the pagan community at large, I often run into someone who claims to be a shaman; I usually follow up the statement asking if they're Siberian or the like... Seriously, it drives me crazy as much for one to have picked up a book and a stick of sage at the local New Age store and proclaim to be a shaman as it does for one who has ingested a few grams of 'shrooms.

Someone of such practices in Latin and portions of S. America would be a curandero(a). Native Americans didn't have Shamans, and the term "medicine man" was hardly accepted by even much of the minority that propagated the term. I don't think the word "shaman" applies universally to those of every culture because there were/are different standards of achieving the information, belief structures and ritual practices. They were/are not uniform even amongst various tribes of the same region. I really think that specific terms best and most fairly represents the culture and the people of those practices.

#10 Mr. Natural #1.

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 06:20 AM

Perhaps we all are shamans in training but we do not know it!
Naturally yours
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#11 Hippie3

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 07:53 AM

a shaman is
a good bullshit artist
that often makes their living off
pretending to communicate with imaginary spirits
for a fee,
paid by their gullible victims.
:thumbdown:
no better than a priest, in my book.
just another variety of con man.

#12 rocketman

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 11:27 AM

I also should add the shamanic cultures left on this earth are generally uneducated and live in poverty. Take the Peruvian area where icarosdna is located. They either get money for selling logging rights or they make it from foriegn tourists. The tribes that take ayahuasca in that area are largely influenced by catholicism from way back when the missionaries accompanied the Spanish explorers there.

If I told you I see your light, would you believe me? What if I were a shaman and told you I spoke to god on your behalf. Would you believe it was god i talked to, and how would you know if the message was meant for you if you did.

The thing i do believe in is the wisdom of my elders.

#13 TVCasualty

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 01:45 PM

I think a big problem with the word "shaman" is the conflation of the New Age scene's idea of what shamanism is by those who "have picked up a book and a stick of sage at the local New Age store" (loved that one) and the realities experienced by the people still living within the old-school traditions now commonly referred to as 'shamanic.' Rocketman nicely summed up the concerns about the latter group: "I also should add the shamanic cultures left on this earth are generally uneducated and live in poverty."

To me, those are two entirely different subjects. The most important factors that helped give rise to the New Age movement (and continue to fuel it) IMO are psychedelic drugs, meditation & a few other practices cherry-picked from other cultures, and a unique blend of anthropomorphized quantum physics (much to the dismay of quantum physicists) and Back-to-Nature fantasies. Here in the forums of 'Topia we routinely give advice to newbies and experienced trippers alike (depending on the substance in question) that they have a trusted trip sitter or guide present. A lot of facets of what many people call 'shamanism' are just guidelines for safe tripping as taught by those with more experience than we have. In this context I see "shamans" as glorified trip sitters. Maybe they deserve a special title, maybe they don't; depends on how good a sitter they are, I suppose.

My point is, I see a legitimate need for the role the New Age community calls a "Shaman," but I think the meaning of the term should be brought back down closer to Earth and concern itself first with the practical considerations of helping others have powerful subjective experiences and not get hurt in the process. Or, we can come up with a new term and leave all the baggage of 'shaman' behind.

On the other end of the spectrum, the traditional cultures still practicing classical shamanism (I can't quite define it but I know it when I see it if you know what I mean) are either helped or harmed by those traditional practices, depending on the shaman. Many modern tribal shamans and probably all self-described shamans fall squarely into the category Hip just described so concisely. On the other hand, some of these tribes have maintained a cohesive culture across a vast span of years, up to 30,000 in the case of the Australian aborigines, and the person we would now call the shaman played a central role in their cultural longevity.

Shamans were often expert herbalists, and herbal medicine can be truly effective for many illnesses, so the old-school shamans did in fact facilitate healing with actual medicines, but also by manipulation of peoples expectations of healing so as to cause it to happen (the "placebo effect" or "energy work," depending on how you choose to look at it). They were also often counselors, arbiters of disputes, and keepers of oral traditions, so really to dismiss their role as one of pure bullshit and call them con men is not valid IMO. Many no doubt were, and are, but there are always fakers and imitators hanging around every scene and the fakes do not diminish the accomplishments of the 'real' shamans. Nobody dismisses what Rev. Martin Luther King jr. did because of what Rev. Jim Jones did, or thinks that Jones' message invalidates King's message as delivered from their respective pulpits, so calling all who fill the role we call 'shaman' con men and bullshitters isn't exactly fair.

Regarding faith (or energy) healing, the placebo effect is well described now, but if a gifted individual intuited the workings of it on their own, they could use that knowledge to help people heal themselves and it would seem to be magic to those not conscious of such things. Combined with genuine medicinal herbs, the healing potential can be significant and quite real. Knowledge of psychedelic plants/fungi help too, since if I brew you some tea but unlike all the other tea you've had mine makes you see Visions, well you might just think I know some heavy shit and afford me some kind of neat title. Our modern doctors are very priest-like and rely on these same mechanisms to an extent, and let's not forget that modern drugs kill boatloads more people than herbal medicines, though I'd be curious to see an actual cured-vs-killed ratio comparison between modern drugs and herbalism. No shaman came up with something like Vioxx or Thalidomide, but no shaman ever completed a successful heart transplant either (just got halfway in some cases ;)).

A quote I read a long time ago (I think from Robert Anton Wilson) that stuck with me was "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." An alternative definition of 'shaman' I've read is "a master of the techniques of ecstasy." So, to me shamans don't do anything mystical though they tend to be mysterious, but that's just a function of keeping trade secrets I'd guess, and we all gotta make a living. They fill a necessary role and judging by the re-emergence of people's interest in that role, our culture still needs them.

Also, poverty and education are relative. If I live in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, would calculus be useful to me or would an intimate knowledge of the edible/medicinal flora of the area be better? Botanists with PhD's routinely follow jungle tribesmen and women around to learn about the local environment since indigenous people often have encyclopedic knowledge of it; I'd say they are very well educated, in their own way. They are also insulated from some types of poverty by that knowledge. The poorest people on Earth seem to be those that have lost their traditional knowledge but haven't yet become educated in the modern sense, so to me purely shamanic cultures appear better off in general than half-shamanic/half-modern ones.
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#14 eatyualive

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 02:25 PM

lol, that first intro sentence is awesome!:bow:

#15 Ras Asad

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:36 PM

DPwishy~ A shaman to me is someone who can go to the other side and bring back that information for others who cant. That might be talking to the creator or millions of other things...

love, peace, compassion and respect
-wishy


Mr. Natural~ Perhaps we all are shamans in training but we do not know it!
Naturally yours
M&N#1.


:love:

#16 Guest_floppypeter_*

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 05:54 PM

The poorest people on Earth seem to be those that have lost their traditional knowledge but haven't yet become educated in the modern sense, so to me purely shamanic cultures appear better off in general than half-shamanic/half-modern ones.


great point and important though imho !
:headbang:

#17 squizzlix

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 07:04 PM

yes,
it seems that cultures who practice shamanism
are better off spiritually.

and industrialized cultures are simply physically comfortable.

i can control the temperature in my house.
but can i take that with me?
nope.

#18 Hippie3

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 09:09 PM

it seems that cultures who practice shamanism
are better off spiritually.


name one such culture
and what makes it
'better off' ?

#19 LotRev

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 09:42 PM

How does it go...?

"What makes a doctor good is the ability to choose patients who are likely to get better."

I think that's a bit humorous, it is in reference to shamans, and the possibility
that maybe they are better tricksters than actual healers.

#20 Mr. Natural #1.

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 07:43 AM

As a member of one culture how can we impartially judge another culture to be spiritually better or worse? Every culture is ethnocentric and most members of a culture will believe that their culture has superior value to all others. Perhaps we are culturally biased against people who claim that they are holier or more in touch with what ever than we are. Our culture tells us to speak to what ever on our own behalf. Our culture does not seem to need priest, shamans, witches or wizards. It is OK if some self proclaimed shaman dances around a fire but if he starts to sacrifice anything someone will probably call the ASPCA. I do not see how a shaman can make me respect nature any more that realizing that I am just a small part of nature for a brief period of time. Although I would appreciate any healing prayers that anyone would make for me as I rush to the best hospital that I can find.
Naturally yours
M&N#1.





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