Your Questions revealed
Shamanism itself has many varieties and branches, Therefore a definition of shamanism is not easily constructed. The specific manifestations of shamanic techniques are always in relation to the natural environmental and cultural values surrounding the community in which the shamanism is practiced. There is not one kind of shamanism even though it is a global phenomenon. Its practices have manifested in infinite ways and have survived in many cultures like Russia and South America. Christine’s direct experience is from a type of shamanism that descended from the Qero people, mountain shamanic practitioners who base their work on prayer, ritual and communication with pachama (Mother Earth) and the mountain spirits of the Andes of Peru.
Shamanism is one of humankind’s most ancient traditions, spanning tens of thousands of years. The pursuit lies in the heart of shamanism.This is indicated by indigenous terms for shamans from cultures all over the globe. The term shaman itself comes from the Evenki language of Siberia and means ‘the one who knows’ (Scott, 2002). Christine’s contemporary definition of a shaman derived from her studies with Peruvian shamanic teacher Jose Luis Herrara and her self-exploration on the topic claims that a shaman is a person of power and a technician of the soul. Herrara (personal communication, October 9, 2009) explains a shaman to his students as “a person who sources from direct experience, you and the Mystery, there is no theology as a validation mechanism, as a mechanism of truth.”
Don Manuel Quiespe’s definition:
Shamans are medicine people who are stewards of the process of the land, the active curators of guiding mythologies of the land. The practices of shamanism are active when an individual inspires the village, moves energy in the village, to breathe life again so the land and community are fertile, Destiny drives the shaman.
An important aspect to consider when defining shamanism is that it is only a method, not a religion with a fixed set of dogmas (Harner, 1990). Also, a shaman can take on the role and titles of a vast array of things such as artist, prophet, healer, poet, ceremonialist, sacred politician, singer, dancer, dramatist, psycho pomp, mystic and medicine person. The shaman is said to have supernatural powers that are used to serve the greater collective or community. The shaman engages in the active pursuit of knowledge to see clearly in both this world and the spirit realm. This knowing of the spirit realm engages at symbolic, literal, mythic and essential levels of understanding. This seeing of what is undisclosed to the untrained eye embraces the Evenki term ‘shaman’ which translates as ‘the one who knows’ (Scott, 2002)
The Medicine Wheel teaches the ancient ways of the Q’ero Medicine People of Peru, South America. The Medicine Wheel is a process that Shamans have passed on orally since the beginning of time. Informing and enriching, the Medicine Wheel guides participants on their personal healing journeys, re-connects them with nature. Experience a ceremonial fire, journey to meet power animals, learn Incan healing techniques and shamanic breathing. Receive ancient Rites of Passage. Develop a Mesa, the Shaman’s Altar, a personal power bundle and a medicine bag of healing stones. Work extensively with nature, and invite a dialogue with her. Classes are located in the stunning Squamish valley in British Columbia with a view of the Stawamus Chief and rivers. Surrounded by eagles in the fall and winter. Participants will gather for three-day periods, four times throughout a one-year cycle to complete the four directions of the Medicine Wheel.
Join in a Medicine Wheel in Squamish or Victoria here
The Medicine Wheel is a healing journey for the soul. It awakens people to the spirit realm that assist us on letting go of the past and turning a page to live life joyously. We all have the potential to heal ourselves as well as others. We must first heal ourselves to help humanity in our global community.
Shamanism fulfils a spiritual longing. This is the process Walsh (2007) describes as ‘detribalization’ by which an individual dis-identifies from certain cultural assumptions.
Christine’s definition found in her thesis on
Angakut: Seeing with closed eyes
Expressive Arts Shamanism
“Through the shamanic experience I am able to look at these cultural assumptions rather than look through them and can then work on them to transform them and the culture. This is an important goal of a spiritual practice that shamanism offers, to foster this kind of liberation from cultural illusions. We cannot assume that spiritual practices alone could reveal and liberate all cultural conditioning. Shamanic experiences may reshape and enrich this cosmology. By this I mean the sources for innovations that become available when a need arises. Innovative, provocative, inspiring thoughts do arise with one or two spiritually advanced individuals. These individuals shift attention and overcome stereotypes, bring problems to the surface to be dealt with, and they translate ineffable messages of the sacred into secular language. Such individuals are considered to be ‘shamans’ all over the world (Hienze, 1991).
Through 3 day workshops that meet 4 times a year expect to learn to:
Engage spirit through fire ceremonies
Receive and give healing transmissions
Learn Shamanism through oral traditions
Connect with your group in talking circles
Construct sand paintings, soul dolls and art modalities
Gather together and build a tribe
Journalling & meditation
Nature walks to reconnect with Mother Earth
Shamanic yoga and pranayama (breathing techniques)
Build a Mesa (medicine bundle)
Individual journeys and self work
Connect with ancestors & power animals
Connect with the cosmos
Learn traditional ways that has been around for tens of thousands of years
And much more