The Roots of Shamanism
Painting by Howard G Charing
Shamanism is a religious practice found in many parts of the world. It refers to various belief systems that involve communicating with the spirit world. In some anthropological and religious circles, Shamans are regarded as intermediaries between the natural world and spiritual realm. Although Shaman belief systems are found across the world, variations in practice are evident. However, some of the basic beliefs regarding Shamanism are that spirits may be good or bad and can play a significant role in human life; Shamans can liaise with spirits to bring good to the community; and Shamans have the power to heal the sick and also have magical and psychic powers.
Role of a Shaman
The role of a Shaman tends to vary from one culture to another. Typical Shaman roles include dream interpreter, herbalist, magician, mediator, medicine man, rainmaker, spiritual advisor and priest. A Shaman may be a man or woman. In most cases, Shamans command a great deal of respect in the community. Their powers are associated with the supernatural and may also be inherited. However, even those who take up the role as a result of heredity must undergo intensive training that leads to being initiated into the role.
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