"Shamanism is often considered as something mythical and irrational because it is filled with mythological and symbolic figures: animals, but also monsters, strange beings and other figures of all kinds. In the end, people never understood that these figures are only symbolic representations of the dreamlike world of the human mind. It must therefore be understood that shamanic stories and myths do not try to portray the physico-material world but the dream-symbolic world of the human subconscious as shamans have understood that all repressed emotional pain is stored in the subconscious in dreamlike forms and that the only way to free oneself from these pain is through the dream-symbolic world which is essentially expressed through dreams."
- Hamawta Runa -
THE PRACTICE OF SHAMANISM WE OFFER IS A COMPLEMENT TO ANY OTHER FORM OF THERAPY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE ANY MEDICAL TREATMENT. NO DRUGS ARE USED TO OBTAIN ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
WHAT IS SHAMANISM?
Shamanism would be the oldest psychic, energetic and spiritual practice in human history. This practice is centered on mediation between the manifested and non-manifested worlds. This mediation is achieved by modified states of consciousness that allow the shaman to perceive and interact with the invisible in order to channel energies and make the link between the coarse (matter) and the subtle (spirit). According to anthropologists, shamanism goes back to the origins of man.
The original source of shamanism, its roots, is in Siberia, more precisely among the Toungous peoples. The origin of the words shaman and shamanism comes from an evenki word - language of the Evenks - one of the peoples of the Toungous group. This word of saman means: dancing, moving, agitating, but in a particular state of consciousness: the ecstatic state. Since the 20th century, the words shaman and shamanism have been generalized and they now designate any rituals practice used on all continents by medicine men, marabouts and other sorcerers. The original Siberian shamanism is very different from these other practices and in order to understand its roots and use, it is necessary to fully assimilate the environment and the extreme living conditions of these peoples of the heart of Siberia.
The Siberian shaman is an initiate who works between the visible world and the invisible worlds. He is its mediator and his work is put at the service of the balance and harmony of the community formed by men, animals, plants and Earth. In Siberia, a man/woman is born as a shaman, he/she does not become one by following theoretical classes. The shaman is in the image of these microscopic and macroscopic universes: in a total apparent chaos, they are nevertheless perfectly ordered. Colossal and subtle forces are constantly in action and reaction, giving rise to balance, stability and longevity. Every disturbance in the life of the community, of an individual, of an animal, of a place, is the manifestation of a disorder, of an imbalance. The shaman, by his function, then becomes the tool of interaction between disorder and order to regain and restore stability.
In Siberian shamanism, as well as in Mongolian shamanism, there are four shamanic specialties:
the white shaman has healing powers;
the black shaman, in addition to healing powers, has the power to free people from curses and evil spells and this also implies that he has the ability to create them himself;
the yellow shaman incorporates buddhist rituals and traditions into his practice;
the red shaman is the blacksmith, the one who crafts the objects and tools for other shamans.
The Siberian shaman does not use or need any hallucinogenic, psychotropic or other drugs to enter an ecstatic state and travel between the worlds. Even in the most intense ecstatic states he passes through, the shaman never loses awareness, he is never in the illusion often created by plants or other drugs and he remains always present, in the visible dimension, to the care or the fight that he leads. This is why, during his practice, he is always dressed in a unique and personal rituals costume and is always accompanied by a healing drum, also unique and personal. These objects being sacred, they cannot be touched by an outside person.
Apart from his practice, the shaman is an ordinary man or woman of the community, with his needs, his desires, his pleasures, his rhythm of life and his extra-shamanic activities. Then, when he wears his costume, he is no longer a man or a woman, but a Human Being, androgynous. By wearing his costume, he becomes the function. Wearing this androgynous function, he is the tool of action that can act. In the Siberian tradition, the shaman wears a mask hiding his face, but also obscuring the physical view he has of the assembly. He is no longer recognizable, his ego no longer has any reason to interact with the ritual. Unrecognizable, he protects the participants and protects himself.
Siberian shamanism is not a religion. While it has been fought by certain religions and political systems, it is interesting to note that when religious, doctors or politicians are powerless in the face of a situation, they demand the intervention of a Siberian shaman. This is why, being older than all the great religions, since always and still today, the Siberian shaman regularly intervenes in the shadows within the Hindu, Buddhist, Judaic, Christian and Muslim religions as a counsellor, medium, mediator, intercessor, caregiver. He is the one who crosses the shadow to reveal the light.
NEO SHAMANISM and CORE SHAMANISM
Neoshamanism refers to new forms of shamanism. It includes an eclectic range of beliefs and practices that involve attempts to reach altered states of consciousness and communicate with a spiritual world. In 1950, Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) published Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. In this text, he rehabilitates a form of shamanism and idealizes the new shaman by describing him as a mystic able of rising above his human condition. This book is at the origin of the New Age movement and neoshamanism. In the United States, Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998) followed the trend by adding the consumption of hallucinogens. In France, in the early 80’s, it was Mario Mercier who initiated the movement. Neoshamanism is a collective term lent to many philosophies and activities. Most neoshamans were not trained by a traditional shaman, but learned independently through books and other experiences. Many attend the New Age workshops and retreats, where they study a wide variety of ideas and techniques, blends of novelties and traditions often misinterpreted. While some abuses are real, they are not systematic and some practitioners are good therapists.
Core shamanism, which helped to form the foundations of contemporary neoshamanism, is a system of practices synthesized, invented and promoted by Michael Harner (1929-2018), based on his reading and study of anthropological texts on the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, mainly the Plains Indians. In the early 1980s, Harner created the Foundation for Shamanic Studies (F.S.S.) to spread his vision of a unique shamanism stripped of all original cultural content throughout the world. Between 1985 and 2010, he published a magazine Shaman’s drum: A Journal of Experiential Shamanism in which numerous advertisements gave pride of place to shamanic tourism. In 1991, the Harner Foundation even granted itself the right and the duty to relearn shamanism to the indigenous peoples of Siberia as well as to other people. Unfortunately, this type of shamanism is truncated from the specific and traditional cultures that make all its richness. The real connection to the invisible worlds is diminishing in favor of a mental projection of the unconscious desires of individuals. Core shamanism practice focuses primarily on altered states of consciousness. Access to these states is called shamanic journey. Long favorable to the psychotropic, Harner will end up warning against their use and he will then develop the journey to the sound of the drum.
There are fundamental differences between neoshamanism and ancestral shamanism. One of them is the role of the Shadow. While neoshamanism claims to be optimistic and focuses on positive polarity or Light, ancestral shamanism is fundamentally realistic, it recognizes and accepts that positive and negative polarities are inseparable and complementary.
THE SHAMANIC JOURNEY
The shamanic journey is an altered state of consciousness that is lived in many forms and is affordable by a large majority of people. It is in fact an exploration of the different levels of the subconscious. In this way, shamanic journey is a path of personal development to get to know oneself better, to progress in one's everyday life and to find in oneself the solutions to the problems we encounter. In traditional societies, this altered state of consciousness is called Magic Flight. The shamanic journey as taught by the Foundation for Shamanic Studies is practiced individually or in groups. The regular rhythm of the sounds produced by the drum brings relaxation and balance to the two cerebral hemispheres, thus opening access to the subconscious. If the practice of shamanic journey is simple and safe, it is however recommended to beginners to be accompanied by a competent and experienced practitioner or a shaman.
Ecstatic trance is another form of shamanic journey. It is practiced individually or in a group and is aimed at people who have already done real internal work, without making use of psychotropic drugs. It is the basis of a natural biological and psychological state. Unfortunately, millennia of beliefs have cut most men and women from these connections to different sources. By accessing the trance, the person enters into it and can interact directly with his subconscious and cross the different layers to access other dimensions. To experience the trance or to access it regularly does not make the person a shaman, because the true competence of the shaman lies in his ability to master this altered state of consciousness, to enter and leave it according to his will. The shaman knows how to explore his subconscious as well as that of another person or group. He then interacts with the participants and accompanies each one in his exploration. Beyond the participants in the trance, the shaman also manages the powerful energy manifestations (entities) coming from other dimensions.
Familiar with this state since my childhood, I invite you to discover the trance and support you safely. Because the Siberian shaman does not need to use plants or other substances to reach or make reach this state, your journey will be simple, even obvious for some or more arduous for others. But it doesn’t matter, because everything is right. Everyone is invited to accept, without judgment, the path that his soul has chosen to experience in this incarnation without allowing his ego to identify with one state or another. The trance can be light or hard depending on what each participant will have to live in the moment, but also depending on the egregore formed by the group.
RITES AND CARES
Rituals are based on three main axes: healing, purification and divination. Healing is linked to the elimination of the evil spirit, which causes illness. As all shamans do, I act in the name of Spirits. Care therefore consists in banishing the evil spirit so that the possessed soul can fully reintegrate its place in the sick body and then lead it to healing. Purification sometimes recalls what is called exorcism in the Christian tradition, while in other cases it is simply a blessing. Divination is the path by which a shaman can predict the future, diagnose diseases and find the cure. Divination shows the way to heal the patient. This is usually done by taking a shamanic journey to one of the other three worlds. The patient’s ancestors and other Spirits come to support and advise the shaman.
During my practice, I use various tools and interpret dreams. As a psycho-pump, I also assist and appease the person at the end of life so that he can make the dimensional transition in the best conditions as I help the living to overcome this trial and accept that what we call life continues in another immaterial dimension.
Individual care responds to a specific request or a broader scope of request/advice of any kind. Even if the shaman - able to care for animals, plants or places - perceives the problem or the expectations of the person before he expresses them, out of respect for the applicant’s approach, he treats only the explicit request(s). To do this, he uses different tools to accompany the person towards his objective and acting as much on the manifested as on the not manifested.
Individual care responds to a specific request from a person or to a broader scope of request/advice of any kind. Even if the shaman - able to care for animals, plants or places - perceives the problem or the expectations of the person before he expresses them, out of respect for the applicant’s approach, he only deals with the explicit request(s). To do this, he uses different "techniques" to accompany the person towards his goal by acting as much on the manifest as on the non manifested.
Collective care - or drumming healing - takes place in groups, indoors or outdoors. This session is organized around a particular Siberian drum and dedicated only for this use. The natural frequencies emitted scan a specifically defined spectral range. This drum is unique and has its own identity. With the shaman, they form a sacred and indivisible whole. The sessions are open to all, regardless of beliefs, religion, experiences, sufferings, fears or joys. The disease or accident is only the physical manifestation of an unconscious imbalance and an inner work to be done to transmute the affected matter. It is the same for all neurosis, anxieties, fears, addictions, euphoria and other psychologies which are also the manifestation of an imbalance. The rhythm of the drum and the faculties of liaison and interaction of the shaman will allow everyone to find the path of his healing whatever it is. As we are all different and depending on the degree of letting go, some may laugh, cry, sing, move, cough, tremble, sweat, freeze, or express other physical or psychic manifestations. Others may feel nothing special. Everything is right. It is useless and vain to bring upon oneself or upon another any judgment. It is only a matter of welcoming and receiving what is, in the moment. The healing drum frequencies will build up in the cells and continue to act well after the session.
The vision quest is part of all shamanic traditions. It is an initiatory rite - or rite of passage - which has several aspects, but whose practice always includes a period of isolation - a withdrawal from the world - and a fast. The approach of the vision quest is to distance oneself from the conditioning that makes our daily life. Therefore, this practice is not improvised lightly. Because I have myself practiced the vision quest on several occasions and it is customary for initiatic rites, I am empowered to accompany you individually in this process.
The sweat lodge is a rite that is also part of all the shamanic traditions even though it is better known in its Amerindian form. The sweat logde is practiced in a group and takes place in a kind of tent similar to a sauna - the spiritual dimension added. I have participated and conducted many rites using the sweat lodge, so I am fit to accompany you there.
The medicine wheel - or Circle of Life - is a typical symbol of Native American culture that was later widely taken up by core and neoshamanism. The medicine wheel is a cosmic symbol representing the order of the world: the rhythms of the seasons, the four cardinal points, the different ages of life, etc. The Amerindians attribute to it the power to restore physical, psycho-emotional and spiritual balance, they use it in both healing rites and teachings. Because the symbolism of the circle is universal, Aonghas and I have pooled our skills and experiences and we propose a new practice of the medicine wheel.
In addition to the costume, the headdress and the mask that underline the shaman’s load, the shaman surrounds himself with various objects whose function is to assist him in his practice. Each object is called power because it is the receptacle of one or more auxiliary Spirits. Each of these Spirits is specialized in a particular field: predicting the future, influencing randomness, casting out demons, etc. Even if the shaman does not need all these objects, the abundance and use of them underlines the shaman’s ability to adapt to all the situations he may encounter. The more adaptable the shaman is, the more he has power, because he will not be destabilized by new circumstances.
In ancestral Siberian shamanism, the most useful power object of the shaman is the drum. This is with his drum that the shaman enters into a trance and practices the Magic Flight. Other instruments can also be used such as bells, rattles, etc. In this case, the function of these objects is to attract beneficial spirits or to frighten the bad ones. For his practice of divination, the Siberian shaman mainly makes use of stones which he will have gleaned here and where or have inherited from another shaman. In other traditions, it may be sand, runes, or even – still today – the entrails of animals previously sacrificed. And for purification rites, the Siberian shaman often uses a whip, claws and feathers of raptor, incense and herb fumigations, etc. These lists of examples are obviously not exhaustive. However, always keep in mind that the shaman adapts to his environment and that therefore he may have to make use of everything that nature, or the society in which he evolves, puts at his disposal.
Art is never far from shamanism. To realize this, just look at the paintings discovered in the Paleolithic caves, but also the tradition of the Kachinas among the Hopi, the sand paintings of the Navajo, the sculptures of the Aborigines... Very often, shamans are artists, artisans, and it is not uncommon for them to offer or sell objects that they will have themselves made and carrying a Spirit therefore of a particular function. We are not talking about mass-produced objects, but about unique objects intended for a particular situation.
If you do not possess your own objects of power and if you wish to acquire them, know that I make amulets, talismans, familiars, runes, human representations... Find these creations and many other objects on WHERE THE SILENCE WHISPERS.