One of the main differences between contemporary and traditional shamanism is that of the title of ‘healer’ which is often mentioned in the same breath when visiting or talking about a traditional shaman.
Those called ‘Shamans’ have the ability to see through into other worlds and pick up what is out of balance within you and with their healing ability and their wisdom assist in freeing you from it. In the traditional way a shaman would take on the energy of the wounded person and then transform it. They move into a state of trance to exorcise the imbalance and get the clarity they need to bring healing to the person in need. That may be by taking herbs, smoking the aura, doing rituals, rubbing the body with oils, instructing the person to do follow certain instructions etc.
Contemporary shamanism goal is not so different in that its aim in bringing healing to the imbalance is similar however the contemporary shamans main credo is to empower you to be your own healer by teaching you ways to free yourself from the challenges that hinder your life.
In time we will not be able go back to the small village where the local shaman does healing as they are all disappearing and the ones that are left are doing all they can to pass on the medicine they know so it does not die out in this ever-changing modern world.
Contemporary Shamanism can bridge the worlds of the traditional and the more modern by respecting the traditional ways and laws in how the medicine and teachings are used as well as create ways in which you can incorporate this medicine into your busy daily lives of modern living.
Shamanism is often referred to as a religion. I strongly disagree. If we look at the origins of the word religion we see that the word comes from old Latin: religio meaning “taboo and restraint” and even looking even deeper into the meaning we find the core: ‘return to bondage’.
Shamanism originated within the indigenous tribes throughout the world. A shaman is one who knows and see’s between the worlds and honors the laws of nature. The shaman is called on to assist people to be free of spiritual bondage.
The word religion comes from Roman times. From the view of the western-based religions they saw the shaman as the priest and with the rituals projected the label of religion onto this ancient practice. This image was also projected onto Buddhism, even though Buddha was very clear that the middle path was not based in religion, it was and is a way of life.
Shamanism and Buddhism are very close cousins as they both adhere to respecting the mother earth, the laws of nature and all that live upon her, being in total awareness of existence beyond the body and teaching ways to find balance.
So I prefer to work within the shamanic world without dogma and to be honest you don’t need it, it can trap you and keep you in ‘bondage’.
In traditional shamanism plant medicine was a very important path for moving beyond the fears to access the other worlds without limitations. Today the plant medicine like ‘Ayahuasca’ and others has become a very popular pathway to accessing other dimensions and healing. However if not done with wise and supportive boundaries it can be very difficult to integrate what has been experienced after coming back into ordinary reality. Some people who are drawn to it (often there is a deep hunger to leave this ordinary reality) unfortunately end up in psyche wards as the journey was too fragmenting for them. The plant path is not one to be taken lightly so be sure in your motivation of why you are doing it and it’s very important to take responsibility for your energy and wellness after the journey. Without integrating the medicine into your day-to-day life you have lost the lesson completely.
Within the path of contemporary shaman plant medicine is not needed, as it is not necessary. The alpha state of where a drum or plant can take you can be easily accessed by deep guided relaxation techniques and believe me you can access all worlds just as you would do with a plant if your guide contains and supports you well. The difference is that the plant isn’t the vehicle that you are riding in. You are totally conscious, and fully aware of what is happening moving at your pace within a safe space.
You still get to face all the fears, challenges, bliss moments but without ingesting the plant. Integration then is easier and more natural.
For acutely sensitive people going the plant way is NOT recommended and a traditional shaman who is in their integrity will tell you that also. It is not worth the risk. Acutely sensitive folk are fragmented already and having a plant blow you out is setting you up for time in the psychiatrists chair with psyche medication, which will not be what you are looking for!
Traditional shamanism offers great insights and ways of listening to the earth and the world beyond. The elders that are left must be listened to, respected and honored for the teachings they have brought forth.
In contemporary shamanism we respect the tools that have been offered from the original people and give thanks to the elders both in spirit and in form that have shared their teachings through the ages and dimensions.
We cannot go back in time to the old ways, and to be honest some of the old ways were very brutal, but we can take the gifts of the teachings with great respect to create a grounded recipe for each individual that works for them in this time of change.
This is not a watered down version of the path of the shaman, this is a grounded empowered recipe of the best of what shamanism has to offer in a safe and supportive manner. This is a path of medicine that you can learn to integrate into your own day-to-day lives at your own pace.
” The Guide To Contemporary Shamanism In Your Own Home”
Workbook. Avail now $30 Aus
Written by Odette Nightsky
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