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One variety of Shamanism - Essay Example

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One variety of Shamanism

These are the needs, which paved the way for Shamans and Shamanism.
Since the earliest Homo sapiens, hundreds of cultures around the world have developed different varieties of Shamanistic traditions which have fascinated generations of scholars and researchers. The traces of shamanism can be found in every continent. Some of the varieties of Shamanism are the Celtic Shamanism, Vedic Shamanism, Siberian Shamanism, Mongolian Shamanism, Tibetan Shamanism, Chinese Shamanism etc. what is common to all these manifestations of Shamanism is the healing of the body, mind and soul - a kind of purification. The study of these aboriginal traditions broadens our understanding of Shamanism as a whole.
The evidence of the fact that Shamanism is an age-old tradition can be found in ancient literary texts such as The Rig Vedas. Vedic Shamanism, which flourished in the East and Central Asia is very similar to the other Shamanistic traditions, and believed in an animating principle that permeates through all things and all beings. That unseen essence of being is called the soul. The Shamans used roots and barks and produced a rattle sound while healing. It is believed that the Shamans made the rock paintings of Bhimbetaka in India. The meditative tradition in Asia that advocates Yoga is an offshoot of the Vedic Shamanism.

Yoga attempts to set the mind in a thoughtless zone. This meditative tradition explores the ancient wisdom that an unseen energy flows through all beings and is connected directly to the quality of life. By trapping that life force, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being can be ensured. Although the process is spiritual in nature, it is not confined to any religion. The Yoga masters suggest that it is necessary to have a clear perception of the Self. Unless one recognizes the inherent energy, the pilgrim's progress towards eternity will be obstructed.

How does one come to become a Shaman
According to Robert M. Huff, a Shaman "may have received" his "calling to become a shaman as a result of a near-death experience in which" he was "carried into the spirit world and met teachers who helped them to learn healing songs, medicines, and revelations about the future. A shaman may also be born into the role, or be trained for it after demonstrating some special aptitude for healing." Every generation expects someone to take on the role of the shaman.

The Roles of a Shaman:
Michael Harner tells us that 'Shaman' is a Tungis word which originated in Siberia. It means one who can see with eyes closed or in the dark. The Shaman can be either a man or a woman. The chief role that the Shaman plays is that of a healer, as he knows the pragmatic techniques of diagnosis. Another important role of the Shaman is dealing with the spirits, because he is the one who can retrieve lost souls and banish the intruding souls. Davidson, in his book Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, writes, "The shaman acts as intermediary between the world of men and the gods, and has the power to descend into the realms of the dead. His spirit is believed to journey forth from his body, which remains in a state of trance. Sometime the long journey which it takes is described by him in a chant." (118). A significant role of the shaman, according to ...Show more


Our earliest ancestors' attempts to make sense of the various phenomena of nature and there effects on them gave rise to numerous faiths, rituals and practices many of which have survived the test of time. During those days ailments used to be more common and fatal and it was believed that the gods who were angry with the sinful people were responsible for the sufferings…
Author : amonahan
One variety of Shamanism essay example
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