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An explanation about Shamanism from my teachers Howard and Elsa Malpas from Warrior in the Heart in the UK:
The Shamanic tradition is one of the oldest spiritual practices. It can be traced back at least 50,000 years.
Rather than a belief system, it is an age-old way of gaining knowledge and integrating parts of our life force that we have lost touch with, allowing us to regain our natural power.
The word ‘Shaman’ comes from the Tungist tribe in Siberia and translates as ‘one who sees in the dark’ or ‘healer’.
What is remarkable about Shamanism is that although it was developed by many separate cultures – in Australia, Siberia, Europe, Africa and the Americas – a core practice exists which is common to all these traditions.
The core practice is the journey to non-ordinary realities, namely: The Lower World, which is usually a very verdant Garden of Eden type of place, where we can meet our Power Animal allies and find guidance and practical help. The Upper World is a place where we can meet our spirit guides and wise elders who often appear in human form. The Middle World is the parallel non-ordinary reality to our earthly world.
In ancient cultures the Shaman would journey to non-ordinary reality to seek guidance for the tribe The ability of the Shaman to bring back accurate information was essential as the information received often meant either life or death, if not given correctly. Shamans all had their allies, their wise ones often appearing to them in the form of animals or human spirit guides. They had learnt to trust implicitly guidance from their allies, going on their journeys into the non-ordinary reality as little children, open to being taught and inspired by Great Spirit.
Shamans were also the magic man/woman or the healer, driving out what were often seen as evil spirits, and journeying to retrieve lost soul parts, now know universally as soul retrieval. Getting information from the spirit of the plants to advise members of the tribe what they needed to eat or drink to keep themselves well and strong. In fact the Shaman was a central figure in the tribal world, it was their honour to serve the community.
At this time in the evolution of man/woman kind, the shamanic way can offer a way forward for us to be able to sit down together and listen to each other and try to understand differing cultures.
How many of us are re-incarnations of ancient ones who held the true knowledge? We have always felt that if anyone is drawn to the Shamanic way they have known that life before and it is not a case of learning, but a re-remembering.
Maybe we are the ones we have been waiting for!
Although we no longer live in Tribal communities the Shaman still has a place in society and maybe in some respects more so now than ever before. In the hustle bustle of modern life they can be reminders of the beauty that dwells in all. The Shamanic Way teaches that everything has its own spirit and that can surely be a way forward in these times of turmoil and distrust.
If we can see each other as spiritual beings, on this earth to learn about love, and in doing so having to see all sides of it including hatred, then we are all sitting in the same cauldron of chaos and change. It is no wonder we get confused and fearful. However, to remember we are all seeking the same thing gives us all a common goal.
The Shamanic Way is to tread lightly on the Earth and to honour and be grateful for everything around and within us. To help those who are lost in the confusion of their own shadow.
The Shamanic tools are beautifully simple in their power, but it is how they are used that is important. If we are not that hollow bone and full of integrity, but are still caught up in our own unresolved issues, we cannot be effective how ever long we have trained as a Shamanic Practitioner. We need to be always aware of where we sit and be sure to have constant healing for ourselves.
Let us be true Shamanic Warriors on the path to Peace and Harmony and not be “lukewarm shams” trying to be something that is of our own making , and carries very little of the real spiritual knowledge which is there for us all and is meant to be shared.
As teachers of the Shamanic Way we feel truly honoured.
The Shamanic Way has given us wise guidance and a passion for life.
Written by Howard and Elsa Malpas from their website: www.warriorintheheart.com