Shamanism has entranced people from all cultures and walks of life for centuries. Despite its intricate and fascinating qualities, there are still many who do not entirely understand what shamanism involves, let alone the differences between traditional shamanism and Western New Age Shamanism. This article seeks to clarify the disparities between the two, analyzing their spiritual and practical differences and discussing the impact these disparities have on both indigenous communities and the world at large. By exploring the origins, cultural differences, spiritual differences, and practical differences of these belief systems, readers can gain a more in-depth understanding of the diversity within the realm of shamanism.
Definition of Shamanism
Shamanism is a spiritual practice that involves connecting to a spirit world for guidance, healing, and knowledge. It is believed to be one of the oldest religions in the world, with history dating back over 30,000 years. The term “shaman” comes from the Tungus people of Siberia and originally referred to a specialized type of healer in that culture. Today, the term has been adopted to describe a wide range of spiritual practices from around the world.
While there is no one true definition of shamanism, there are certain commonalities that most shamanic practices share. These include belief in a spirit world that is accessible through meditation, trance, or the use of psychoactive substances. Shamans also typically act as intermediaries between the spirit world and the physical world, using their abilities to facilitate healing, divination, and other spiritual practices.
It’s important to note that not all shamanic practices are the same. There are many different variations of shamanism, both traditional and modern. Some of the key differences between these practices will be explored further in this article. But first, let’s take a closer look at the origins of traditional shamanism and western new age shamanism.
Origins of Traditional Shamanism
The origins of Traditional Shamanism can be traced back to the Indigenous cultures of various regions around the world. Shamanism is an ancient spiritual practice that involves connecting with the spirit world, including ancestors, animal spirits, and nature spirits. Shamans act as intermediaries between the physical and spiritual worlds, using their abilities to communicate with these spirits to bring about healing, guidance, and protection.
Traditional Shamanism has been practiced for thousands of years and is deeply rooted in the cultural and spiritual traditions of Indigenous communities. In many cultures, Shamans are viewed as powerful spiritual leaders, revered for their ability to heal the sick, commune with the spirits, and provide guidance and wisdom to their communities.
One of the key features of Traditional Shamanism is its close connection to the natural world. Shamans believe that the natural world is filled with spirits that can guide and assist them in their work. They also believe that human beings have a responsibility to maintain a respectful and harmonious relationship with the natural world.
However, the practice of Traditional Shamanism has been threatened by colonization and forced assimilation. Many Indigenous communities have been forced to abandon their traditional practices and adopt the religions and cultural practices of their colonizers. This has led to a loss of cultural knowledge and practices, including Traditional Shamanism.
To counteract this loss, there has been a movement to revive and preserve traditional spiritual practices, including Traditional Shamanism. This movement has become an important part of many Indigenous communities and has helped to keep their cultural and spiritual traditions alive.
Internal link: Understanding Shamanism Today
Origins of Western New Age Shamanism
Western New Age Shamanism is a modern-day adaptation of traditional Shamanistic practices. It originated in the West during the 1960s and 1970s and was heavily influenced by the counterculture movement of that time. The movement was led by individuals who were exploring alternative forms of spirituality, seeking a connection to nature and looking for ways to heal emotional and spiritual wounds.
During this time, several individuals began incorporating Shamanistic practices into their spiritual beliefs. Some of these individuals travelled to different parts of the world to learn from traditional Shamans, while others were self-taught. Western New Age Shamanism combined elements of various spiritual traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Native American spirituality, and African spirituality.
Western New Age Shamanism places emphasis on personal transformation and self-discovery. It also explores the concept of a universal consciousness and interconnectedness of all things. The use of mind-altering substances such as psychedelic mushrooms and ayahuasca is also common in this practice.
It is important to note that some critics have raised concerns about the validity of Western New Age Shamanism as it is often seen as a commodification and appropriation of traditional Shamanistic practices. They argue that it strips the cultural and spiritual significance of Shamanism and often fails to give proper credit and respect to the cultures that originally practiced it.
The rise of Neo-Shamanism and its impact on the perception and practice of Shamanism shows how Western New Age Shamanism is altering the perception and practice of Shamanism. However, we must also consider the ethical concerns around cultural appropriation and appreciation.
Traditional shamanism and western new age shamanism have striking cultural differences, which are mainly due to the different cultural backgrounds upon which these spiritual practices were developed. These differences can, unfortunately, lead to cultural appropriation concerns and disputes.
One of the most significant ethical concerns surrounding new age shamanism is the issue of cultural appropriation. This practice refers to the adoption of traditional cultural elements from a minority culture by members of another culture without proper acknowledgement or understanding. Western new age shamans often borrow elements from different native cultures without recognizing or understanding the cultural significance and context of those elements. On the other hand, traditional shamans strongly believe in preserving their cultural heritage and consider cultural appropriation a disrespectful act that disregards their deep cultural roots.
Spiritual Beliefs and Practices
The most apparent cultural differences between traditional and new age shamanism revolve around spirituality. While traditional shamanic practices mirror the community’s lifestyle and are rooted in natural and cultural patterns, new age shamanism borrows beliefs and practices from a wide array of cultures and traditions. Traditional shamanism strongly emphasizes the interconnectedness of humanity and nature, while western new age shamanism emphasizes personal growth. Traditional shamanism maintains spiritual practices centered on ancestors and spirits, while new age shamanism primarily focuses on self-empowerment, meditation, and crystal healing.
It is essential to note that while western new age shamanism is often viewed as a modernized or commercialized version of traditional shamanism, some argue that these two practices share common ground, particularly in their focus on personal healing. The benefit and risk of this hybridization are still widely debated by practitioners and scholars alike.
The ethical concerns related to neo-shamanism and cultural appropriation surrounding western new age shamanism are critical issues that must be addressed and discussed to foster respect and understanding among different cultures. Traditional shamanism plays a vital role in preserving indigenous cultures- learn more about it .
is a major issue in shamanism, particularly in the case of Western New Age Shamanism. The appropriation of traditional indigenous shamanic practices by non-indigenous people has caused controversy and offense in many indigenous communities. Indigenous people see their practices as sacred and the act of outsiders using these practices inappropriately as disrespectful. The issue is further complicated by the fact that some outsiders may use shamanic rituals in a commercial sense, turning a sacred practice into a commodity.
Many traditional shamans believe that the use of their practices by non-indigenous people is disrespectful and leads to a diluted and inaccurate representation of their culture. They believe that outsiders should respect the sacredness of the practice and not use it for personal gain or financial profit. Indigenous communities are also concerned about the safety of their practices being used by outsiders who may not have the cultural sensitivity or understanding of the spiritual significance of shamanic practices, which could be dangerous to those who participate in these practices.
There are ethical concerns surrounding the use of shamanic practices by non-indigenous people, and many believe that cultural appreciation rather than cultural appropriation is a better approach. Some believe that the best way to prevent cultural appropriation in shamanism is to educate people about the cultural context and significance of the practices. Non-indigenous people who wish to engage in shamanic practices should take the time to learn about the culture it originates from, and seek permission and guidance from traditional practitioners.
It’s important to acknowledge and respect the history and cultural context of shamanic practices and the impact appropriation can have on indigenous communities. Cultural appropriation should not be used as a way for non-indigenous people to gain a sense of spirituality or cultural identity. Only by approaching shamanic practices with respect and appreciation can the true benefits of these practices be experienced by all involved.
For more information on the topic of neo-Shamanism, its risks, benefits and ethical concerns you can visit an article with a detailed description of these issues.
Spiritual Beliefs and Practices
Traditional shamanism and western new age shamanism differ in their spiritual beliefs and practices. Here are some of the prominent variations in their beliefs and practices:
- Emphasizes the interconnectedness of all beings and entities in the natural world.
- Believes in animism – the concept that every living thing has a soul or spirit.
- Believes in the existence of interdimensional beings like spirits, deities, and ancestors.
- Views the shaman as the mediator between the human world and the spirit world.
- Uses divination tools like drums and rattles to communicate with spirits and receive guidance.
- Employs a variety of healing techniques like soul retrieval, extraction, and ancestral healing.
- Performs ceremonies to connect with the natural world, honor ancestors, and request blessings and healing.
Western New Age Shamanism
- Emphasizes personal growth, self-healing, and self-discovery.
- Believes in the power of positive thinking, visualization, and manifestation.
- Adopts indigenous spiritual practices and rituals from different cultures.
- Uses psychoactive plants and substances for spiritual exploration and healing.
- Believes in the existence of spirit guides and power animals.
- Uses guided meditations, sound healing, and energy work for healing and spiritual growth.
- Performs ceremonies for celebrating nature, the seasons, and the cycles of life.
Traditional shamanism is more focused on healing the community and establishing harmony with nature through spiritual practices and beliefs, while western new age shamanism is more focused on individual and personal growth through eclectic spiritual practices and beliefs.
It’s important to note that while western new age shamanism may borrow from different cultures, it’s essential to practice cultural appreciation and respect for the traditions from which these practices originated. To learn more about shamanism and ethics related to cultural appreciation, check out this article.
Additionally, using psychoactive substances for spiritual exploration comes with its own set of benefits and risks. To learn more about these risks and benefits, check out this article.
Despite their differences, traditional shamanism and western new age shamanism have some common ground. To explore these commonalities, check out this article.
Connection to Nature
One of the key spiritual differences between traditional Shamanism and Western New Age Shamanism is their connection to nature. Traditional shamans believe that everything in the world is interconnected, and they place great value on their relationship with nature. They see themselves as part of the natural world, not above it, and they work closely with natural elements such as plants, animals, water, and the earth itself.
In contrast, Western New Age shamans often view nature as something to be conquered or manipulated. They may use artificial substances, such as crystals or other items sold in new-age stores, to make connections to the spiritual world. While they value the idea of interconnectedness, it may not have the same level of importance as it does to traditional shamans.
Use of Ceremonial Substances
Another spiritual difference between traditional Shamanism and Western New Age Shamanism is the use of ceremonial substances. In traditional forms of Shamanism, shamans may use natural substances such as tobacco, ayahuasca, or other plant medicines to connect with the spiritual realm. These substances are revered and treated with respect, as they are seen as a way of communicating with the spirits.
On the other hand, Western New Age shamans may use various substances to induce altered states of consciousness, such as hallucinogens or psychedelics. While these substances may have some spiritual benefits, they may not be treated with the same level of reverence as they are in traditional Shamanism.
Role of Ancestors and Spirits
In traditional Shamanism, ancestors and spirits play a significant role in the shaman’s spiritual practice. Shamans may communicate with their ancestors for guidance, or call upon the spirits of the natural world to aid in their work. They view these spirits as real entities with their own unique personalities and desires.
In contrast, Western New Age Shamanism may not place as much emphasis on communicating with spirits or ancestors. Their practices may be more focused on personal introspection and self-discovery rather than interacting with the spiritual world.
Both traditional Shamanism and Western New Age Shamanism place an emphasis on healing, but the techniques used can differ significantly. Traditional shamans may use techniques such as chanting, drumming, or dancing to induce a trance state and connect with the spiritual realm. They may also perform physical healing, such as herbal remedies or massage therapy.
In contrast, Western New Age Shamanism may use techniques such as Reiki, crystal therapy, or meditation to promote healing. While these techniques may have some spiritual benefits, they may not be grounded in the same cultural and historical context as traditional Shamanism.
Connection to Nature
One significant difference between traditional shamanism and western new age shamanism is the concept of connection to nature. Traditional shamans believe that all living organisms are interconnected and that the natural world is a living, breathing entity with which they can communicate and form relationships. They see plants, animals, rocks, and even the weather as allies who can be called upon for assistance in their spiritual work.
On the other hand, western new age shamans often focus more on the personal benefits of spending time in nature, such as stress relief or emotional healing. They may use nature as a backdrop for their spiritual practices, but do not necessarily view it as a conscious, interconnected entity.
To illustrate this difference, take a look at the following chart:
|Traditional Shamanism||Western New Age Shamanism|
|View of Nature||View of Nature|
|As a conscious, living entity with which to form relationships||As a beautiful backdrop for spiritual practices|
|Approach to Nature||Approach to Nature|
|With respect and understanding, seeking guidance and wisdom||As a place to escape from the stresses of modern life|
|Leaving offerings for plants and animals, communicating with spirits of the land and weather||Meditation, yoga, outdoor exercise|
In traditional shamanism, plants and animals are seen as teachers and helpers, and offerings are left to acknowledge their presence and ask for their assistance. In contrast, western new age shamanism may focus more on physical activities, such as hiking or yoga, as a way to connect with the natural world.
The difference in connection to nature highlights the contrasting views of spirituality between traditional shamanism and western new age shamanism. For traditional shamans, nature is not just a beautiful backdrop or a source of personal benefit, but a living, conscious entity that plays an integral part in their spiritual work.
Use of Ceremonial Substances
The use of ceremonial substances is a common practice in both Traditional Shamanism and Western New Age Shamanism. However, there are some significant differences in how these substances are used and perceived.
In Traditional Shamanism, the use of medicinal plants and hallucinogens such as Ayahuasca, San Pedro, and Peyote is an integral part of healing and spiritual practices. These substances are seen as tools for connecting with the spirit world and obtaining knowledge and guidance from spirits and ancestors. The use of these plants is often done under strict guidance and supervision of a trained shaman.
On the other hand, Western New Age Shamanism has a more relaxed approach to the use of ceremonial substances. Many practitioners use plant medicines and psychedelics as a means of achieving personal growth and spiritual experiences without proper training or guidance. This often results in spiritual bypassing and can lead to harmful experiences.
Another key difference is the cultural appropriation of the use of traditional plant medicines. Westerners may appropriate the use of Ayahuasca or other plant medicines without understanding their cultural significance or properly compensating the indigenous communities that hold the knowledge of their use.
The use of ceremonial substances is a complex topic in Shamanism. While both Traditional Shamanism and Western New Age Shamanism use these substances, the cultural and spiritual differences in their use and perception can have significant consequences. It is important to approach the use of these substances with respect, humility, and proper training.
Role of Ancestors and Spirits
The role of ancestors and spirits in traditional shamanism is central to the belief system. Shamans in indigenous communities believe that they are able to communicate and work with their ancestors and spirits to heal and solve problems. The ancestors are believed to possess great knowledge, having lived through similar experiences and challenges that are faced by their descendants.
Traditional shamans often engage in elaborate rituals to connect with their ancestors and spirits. These rituals may involve offering sacrifices, chanting, and dancing. The purpose of these rituals is to establish a profound connection between the shaman and the spirits, allowing the shaman to gain knowledge and guidance from the spiritual realm.
On the other hand, in western New Age shamanism, the role of ancestors and spirits is often downplayed. Many New Age shamans believe that they can communicate with higher spirits or angels and do not give as much importance to the ancestors. Instead, their focus is on individual spiritual growth and personal empowerment.
This difference in focus can be seen in the ceremonies and techniques used by New Age shamans. They may use crystals, tarot cards, and other divination tools to gain insight into their spiritual path. They may also engage in meditation and visualization techniques to connect with their higher selves or spiritual guides.
While there is no right or wrong way to practice shamanism, it is important to understand the cultural and spiritual differences between traditional shamanism and western New Age shamanism. Both approaches offer unique insights and perspectives on the spiritual realm, but they represent fundamentally different worldviews and cultural practices.
The healing techniques used in traditional shamanism and Western New Age shamanism differ significantly. Traditional shamanism primarily employs techniques such as soul retrieval, extraction, and power animal retrieval to heal individuals. These practices are rooted in the belief that illnesses are the result of a loss of power or soul fragmentation, and shamanic healers are skilled at identifying and retrieving the missing parts of the person’s soul or power to restore balance and health.
In contrast, Western New Age shamanism often incorporates a variety of healing techniques from different spiritual traditions, including energy healing, crystal therapy, and aura cleansing. While these techniques may still focus on restoring balance and healing, they do not necessarily involve soul retrieval or power animal retrieval as a primary aspect of the healing process.
Another key difference in healing techniques is the role of psychedelic plants and plant medicine. Traditional shamanism often employs the use of specific plant medicines, such as ayahuasca or peyote, to facilitate healing and spiritual growth. These plants are seen as powerful allies in the healing process and are used to access altered states of consciousness in order to gain spiritual insights and guidance.
In contrast, Western New Age shamanism may also incorporate the use of psychedelic plants, but it is not considered a central part of the healing process. Instead, plant medicines may be used as one of many tools available to facilitate spiritual growth and personal transformation.
The healing techniques used in traditional shamanism and Western New Age shamanism reflect the cultural and spiritual differences between these two practices. While both are focused on promoting physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, the specific methods used to achieve these goals are often quite distinct.
When it comes to practical differences between traditional shamanism and Western new age shamanism, there are several areas to consider.
In traditional shamanism, a shaman often undergoes an extensive and rigorous apprenticeship process. This may involve spending years learning from a teacher or mentor, undergoing arduous physical and mental trials, and gaining an intimate understanding of the cultures and traditions that have shaped their craft.
In contrast, many Western new age shamans may attend workshops or training programs that offer a more condensed version of traditional shamanic practices. These programs often focus more on personal growth and spiritual exploration than on adhering to the strict traditions and protocols of traditional shamanism.
In traditional shamanism, a shaman may serve as a healer, a storyteller, a spiritual guide, and a mediator between the physical and spiritual worlds. Their work is often focused on serving their community, and they may work with a wide range of clients, including individuals, families, and even entire villages.
In comparison, Western new age shamans often focus more on providing individual services, such as personal healing or spiritual guidance. They may work with a more limited clientele and may offer a range of services, such as energy healing, psychic readings, or vision quests, that are tailored to the needs of individual clients.
Use of Technology
Another practical difference between traditional shamanism and Western new age shamanism is the use of technology in their practices. Traditional shamanism relies primarily on natural elements and tools, such as herbs, animal hides, and ritual drums, to facilitate their work.
In contrast, Western new age shamans may incorporate technology such as sound healing devices, electronic music, and virtual reality experiences into their practice. While these tools can be powerful in their own right, they may be seen as less authentic or less connected to traditional shamanic practices.
Training and Apprenticeship
Training and apprenticeship are crucial aspects of traditional shamanism. Typically, a shaman is trained and apprenticed by an experienced shaman for several years before they can work on their own. The training involves not only learning the rituals, ceremonies and techniques of shamanism, but also involves learning about the culture, language and customs of the community. It also focuses on developing a strong connection to nature and the spirit world.
On the other hand, Western new age shamans do not necessarily have a formal training or apprenticeship. Many attend workshops or training sessions conducted by recognized shamanic teachers or organizations. However, some may claim to have received their training and knowledge through personal visions or spiritual experiences.
The following table presents a comparison between the training and apprenticeship of traditional shamanism and Western new age shamanism:
|Traditional Shamanism||Western New Age Shamanism|
|Apprenticed by an experienced shaman for several years||Attend workshops or training sessions conducted by recognized shamanic teachers or organizations|
|Training focuses on learning the rituals, ceremonies, and techniques of shamanism, as well as the culture, language and customs of the community||Training focuses on learning shamanic journeying, animal totems, and power animals|
|Emphasis on developing a strong connection to nature and the spirit world||Emphasis on individual spirituality and personal discovery|
|Training involves a rigorous and holistic approach to spiritual and personal development||Training may use a more new age approach, such as affirmations, crystals, and other alternative practices|
It is worth noting that traditional shamanic training can be rigorous and intense, and aspiring shamans must be committed to the lifestyle and holistic approach to spiritual and personal development. On the other hand, Western new age shamans tend to place more emphasis on individual spirituality and personal discovery.
While traditional shamanic training and apprenticeship focus on honoring the practices and traditions of the community, Western new age shamanism places more emphasis on individual exploration and spirituality.
Clientele and Services Offered
The clientele and services offered by traditional shamans and Western new age shamans are vastly different. Traditional shamans mainly serve their own people or those who actively seek out their services, while Western new age shamans have a wider clientele base.
Traditional shamans serve mainly members of their own community. They provide services like spiritual guidance, divination, healing, and ceremonies for their community members. These services are deeply rooted in the shamanic traditions of their indigenous cultures and are designed to address the specific needs and challenges faced by their community members.
In contrast, Western new age shamans offer their services to a wider audience, often via the internet. They may offer services like aura readings, chakra balancing, past life regression, and psychic readings to anyone who is interested in their services. These services are generally not rooted in any specific cultural tradition and are not designed to address the specific needs of any one community.
The services offered by traditional shamans are often more hands-on and participatory than those offered by Western new age shamans. For example, a traditional shaman may perform a healing ceremony that involves drumming, chanting, and dancing, and may require the active participation of the person seeking healing. On the other hand, a Western new age shaman may offer a remote healing session that is conducted via phone or internet, and may not require any participation from the person seeking healing.
In terms of clientele, traditional shamans mainly serve their own people or those who actively seek out their services, while Western new age shamans have a more diverse clientele base. Traditional shamans may serve members of their own community who come to them seeking guidance or healing. They may also serve members of nearby communities who may seek out their services based on their reputation as a skilled shaman.
Western new age shamans may have clients from all over the world who are drawn to their services based on their marketing efforts and online presence. They may also serve individuals who are interested in exploring or experimenting with new spiritual practices or who are seeking answers to their spiritual questions. These clients may not have any specific cultural or spiritual background, and may not be seeking services that are deeply rooted in any specific spiritual tradition.
The clientele and services offered by traditional shamans and Western new age shamans are very different. Traditional shamans serve mainly their own community members and provide services that are deeply rooted in their cultural traditions, while Western new age shamans have a wider clientele base and offer services that are not necessarily connected to any specific cultural or spiritual tradition.
Effect on Indigenous Communities
The rise of Western New Age Shamanism has had a significant impact on indigenous communities, particularly those that practice traditional shamanism. Many indigenous people view this new form of shamanism as a form of cultural appropriation, where individuals from Western cultures are taking and profiting from their sacred traditions without truly understanding or respecting their cultural beliefs and practices.
The popularity of Western New Age Shamanism has led to an increase in the commercialization of indigenous spiritual practices, resulting in the exploitation of indigenous knowledge and traditions. For example, many spiritual retreats offer Ayahuasca ceremonies, a sacred indigenous tradition used for healing and spiritual awakening. However, these ceremonies are often led by non-indigenous individuals who lack the proper training and understanding of the ceremonial protocols and the plant medicine itself, resulting in dangerous situations and disrespectful behavior.
This exploitation of indigenous culture not only undermines their cultural heritage but also undermines their economic stability. Traditional shamans in indigenous communities depend on their spiritual practices to make a living, but the rise of Western New Age Shamanism has led to a decrease in the number of people seeking their services, as individuals turn to non-indigenous shamans and commercial retreats.
In response to the effects of Western New Age Shamanism, many indigenous communities are taking action to protect their cultural and spiritual practices. They are working to reclaim their traditions from those who seek to profit from them, including implementing stricter regulations around the use of plant medicine, requiring individuals to undergo proper training and apprenticeship, and engaging in legal battles to protect their intellectual property.
The rise of Western New Age Shamanism has had a detrimental effect on indigenous communities, both culturally and economically. It is essential for individuals to understand and respect the cultural beliefs and practices of indigenous communities before participating in their spiritual traditions. By doing so, we can help preserve their cultural heritage and support their economic stability.
After analyzing the differences between traditional shamanism and western new age shamanism, it becomes clear that cultural, spiritual, and practical discrepancies exist between the two belief systems. The decision of whether to follow traditional shamanism or western new age shamanism is ultimately up to the individual, but it is important to recognize the potential consequences and implications of these choices.
One of the main takeaways from this comparative analysis is that cultural appropriation is a significant issue in western new age shamanism. It is important for individuals to be respectful of indigenous cultures and not appropriate their beliefs and practices without proper understanding and permission. This can be achieved by seeking out training and apprenticeship under traditional shamans, rather than simply adopting the practices for personal gain.
Furthermore, traditional shamanism places a strong emphasis on a deep connection to nature and the use of ceremonial substances to facilitate spiritual experiences and healing. In contrast, western new age shamanism often lacks this deep connection and utilizes a mix-and-match approach to spiritual practices and beliefs.
Traditional shamanism also places a strong emphasis on the role of ancestors and spirits in healing, whereas western new age shamanism often focuses on personal empowerment and individual healing. This can have implications on the effectiveness of the healing techniques used in each belief system.
In terms of practical differences, traditional shamanism involves a rigorous apprenticeship and training process, whereas western new age shamanism often lacks this formal training and may offer services without proper credentials. Additionally, the clientele and services offered in each belief system differ, with traditional shamanism often serving members of indigenous communities and western new age shamanism catering to a broader, more diverse clientele.
Overall, it is important to recognize the potential impact of following one belief system over another. While western new age shamanism may offer quick fixes and personal empowerment, it is crucial to consider the cultural, spiritual, and practical implications of these choices. The adoption of traditional shamanism should be done with respect and permission from the original indigenous communities, and with a commitment to the rigorous training and apprenticeship process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the definition of Shamanism?
Shamanism is a term used to describe a range of spiritual beliefs and practices that involve a practitioner interacting with an unseen world of spirits and energies. Shamans are typically believed to be able to access this world through trance states and other altered states of consciousness.
What are the origins of Traditional Shamanism?
Traditional Shamanism can be traced back to ancient tribal cultures in various parts of the world, including South America, Africa, and Asia. It is deeply rooted in indigenous spiritual beliefs, and has been passed down through generations of practitioners.
What are the origins of Western New Age Shamanism?
Western New Age Shamanism is a more recent phenomenon, inspired by traditional Shamanism but often mixed with other spiritual practices and beliefs. Its origins can be traced back to the 1960s and 70s, when interest in non-Western spiritual practices began to spread in the West.
What is cultural appropriation in Shamanism?
Cultural appropriation in Shamanism refers to the practice of non-indigenous shamanic practitioners borrowing or adopting aspects of traditional indigenous spirituality without proper understanding or respect for their origins and cultural significance. This can often lead to harmful exploitation of indigenous cultures.
How do spiritual beliefs and practices differ between Traditional Shamanism and Western New Age Shamanism?
Traditional Shamanism often places a stronger emphasis on living in harmony with nature, ancestral worship, and community spiritual practices such as song and dance. Western New Age Shamanism may incorporate elements of other spiritual traditions, such as astrology, magic, and crystal healing.
What is the role of ancestors and spirits in Shamanism?
Shamanism practitioners in both Traditional and Western New Age Shamanism believe in the existence of spirits and ancestors in the unseen world. Traditional Shamanism often emphasizes the importance of ancestral worship and the healing power of connecting with ancestral spirits, while Western New Age Shamanism may place a greater focus on personal spirit guides and angels.
What are some common ceremonial substances used in Shamanism?
Ceremonial substances used in Traditional Shamanism can include ayahuasca in South American practices, tobacco in North American practices, and iboga in African practices. Western New Age Shamanism may incorporate more modern substances such as marijuana, LSD, or MDMA.
How do training and apprenticeship differ between Traditional and Western New Age Shamanism?
Traditional Shamanism often requires years of apprenticeship with a respected shaman in the community, including initiation ceremonies and rigorous spiritual training. Western New Age Shamanism may offer more informal training through workshops, retreats, and online courses.
Who are the main clientele of Shamanic practitioners?
The clientele of Shamanic practitioners can vary greatly depending on their location and specific practices. Traditional Shamanic practitioners may primarily serve their local community, while Western New Age Shamanic practitioners may appeal to a wider audience including spiritual seekers and those looking for alternative healing methods.
What is the effect of Western New Age Shamanism on indigenous communities?
Western New Age Shamanism can have a negative effect on indigenous communities, as the appropriation and commercialization of spiritual practices can lead to cultural exploitation and disrespect. Shamanic tourism can also disrupt traditional spiritual practices and put sacred sites at risk.