Who is a shaman? And what is shamanism? These two questions are both very difficult and very easy questions to answer.
As a purist, I tend to keep things simple, so the criteria for me lies in one’s responses to three questions. IMHO, and IME, these 3 questions, stripped as they are of any expectation and culturalism, reduce the perception of shamanism down to its crux ...
1. Can you access NOR* (I don’t care the method)? 2. Can you retrieve from NOR and bring back to OR* information useful to either yourself or to another? 3. Have you witnessed fruits of such information manifest enough to impact OR?
The more ‘yes’ answers, the stronger the likelihood that you might have shamanic tendencies, which you may or may not want to develop.
Remember: all are capable – not all are called...
*NOR – non ordinary reality OR – ordinary reality -
(and for those who just said, what resources? you may have homework before you post...)
In an effort to establish some standard of authenticity, and thereby cut down on the firestorms, here are some suggestions with regards to choosing and citing resources...
Wikipedia –everybody’s favourite ... a great starting point from which to begin a research –... but unfortunately not so good on documentation - personally, though, if Wikipedia’s description intrigues me, I will search it out further via established sources to find a documented resource – I rarely reference Wikipedia
Snopes – please validate those cyber-rumours before you pass them on
Any of the known encyclopediac names such as Britannica, Encarta, World Book, etc. – are valid resources ...
Additionally, it is always wise to check out a site’s validity – just because it’s a website doesn’t mean that information contained therein is accurate ... Practice impeccability in checking your resources...
Here’s how... first find the ‘about us’ tab ... if there is none, I am suspicious right away. But I will continue to explore the site to see if I recognize any names of people or organizations which I know are honourable ... If I then still see nothing which meets my criteria, and if I still really want to reference their material, I will run a google search on them – but if I do, I scrutinize heavily at this point. I don’t often take a search to that end.
To me if honourability is so hard to find, then something’s not right and I will move on rather than risk medicine contamination – this applies to both cyberspace and RL
Another thing to remember is that a link provides access to an entire site ... so before you link, be sure it’s a site you really want to share.
Last, but definitely not least, should you choose to align yourself with established traditions and cultures, please prepare to be asked about your right to do so ... this is not a challenge, but an screening process to weed out wannabes ...
Thank you for your understanding and for your cooperation. And if you’ve read this far...again, Welcome!
I operate in two roles on this board – my official role is as ‘host’ or ‘moderator’ but I am also a longtime contributing member of Beliefnet, and a practicing medicine person who not only moderates but also participates in this forum.
To differentiate the tone in any of my posts --
If the word ‘host’ does not appear after my signature, then the post comes from NHT of the private sector.
If the word ‘host’ does appear with my signature then the post was written from NHT, the host, as a representative of Beliefnet’s Rules of Conduct.
Shamanism is not a religion. Neither is it, in the common understanding of the term, a belief system It isn’t limited to, nor is it defined by, a single culture or tradition. And it’s not to be confused or considered synonymous with the First Nations’ religion or culture.
Shamanism is, however, as varied as there are human beings on the planet, and it is singularly relative and relevant to the practitioner and his community. Because it is borne of a people’s symbology and mythology, it speaks to the heart regardless of language ...
I believe that humankind has been producing shamans since time immemorial – I believe in the beginning there were more of us practicing – many more of us. I believe that we are so long from our origins that many have forgotten. I believe it is the purpose of humankind to remember.
Shamanism is a form of remembering.
Personally, shamanism is not a term I use for myself – I have always only ever claimed to be walking a medicine path.
But be that as it may, historically, a shaman, or a medicine person, works for his/her intimate community – And here now, in today’s world? The community has become global on our watch, and apparently, is in a bit of peril if any of the prophecies are to be believed.
Now, I believe, if you are reading this, then you have been called to demolish the barriers that isolate those of our kind, that this global community might find its way to safety ... the first hurdle is language... to understand each other we need to ask questions of each other in order to find commonalities – not to spar about differences -
But can questions be asked and answered without being regarded as challenges? And, those who question, will you discern: how deep is enough? Is it necessary to understand all ins and outs of this person’s practice? What do this person’s actions in the forum show me as well?
With these awarenesses in place, I believe that we can then begin to forge an understanding of each other, and by procession, a respect for each other's skills and accomplishments.
I submit to all who have come together at this time in this place – that if we rule out the dismissal of coincidence, then there must be a reason ... At the very least it is the gathering energy of a beginning point. What we do with it is up to us...
That said, I believe that the purpose of this forum isn’t about strutting our stuff to each other, but about exploring how we can learn from each other, to make what we do count for the population in general.
Such as it is, this is my mission statement as host of the shamanism forums