Shamanism is a word which describes a practise and way of life where our ancestors engaged consciously with the earth, each other and with ‘non-ordinary’ reality. There is evidence of its existence dating back thirty thousand years ago, and speculation that it was practised as far back as one hundred thousand years ago. Our ancestors understood the interconnectivity of life. The Shaman divined methods of journeying to the other dimensions and consciousness to bring back information for problem solving, healing for themselves and the community. They accessed ‘non ordinary’ reality through various methods including; sonic driving with monotonous use of the drum; yoga, dance, breathwork, plant medicine, silence and solitude. Through consciousness exploration and engaging with these energies (spirit guides and power animals), they understood that we are all part of the same consciousness and treated the earth with reverence and respect. It is a practise and wisdom that is ever evolving as is the nature of consciousness.
The word Shaman has different interpretations, one from the Siberian language Tungus is ‘he or she who see’s’. The Shamans understand that all life is intertwined and connected, they view nature as a living conscious entity and know that ultimately we are all part of this consciousness and web of life.
All global practises and religions have their roots in Shamanism. What is very interesting is that all over the globe, at times when travel and communication was not possible, there are very similar themes in the Shamanic practises and methods used. Many people associate Shamanism with Mongolia, or South America or Africa and indigenous communities that still exist. In-fact the practises were occurring all across the planet – from Russia to Ireland, Australia to Mexico or Scandanavia. In Ireland we have our Druids, we are surrounded by a very rich ancestry and wisdom here on this land. So the common theme’s occurred because ‘Shamans’ were all accessing that same source of truth and wisdom directly.
When understood appropriately, Shamanic practises bridge a very important gap in peoples’ lives. Society has only started to acknowledge and understand the importance of the mind-body connection. Science didn’t have a framework to explain the web of life, however there has been a historic turning point over the last thirty years and a new mathematical framework known as complexity theory allows scientists for the first time to handle the enormous complexity of living systems. Science is in its’ infancy, and starting to catch up with what the mystics knew. “ Mystics do not need the physicists and physicists do not need the mystics, but humanity needs both”. Fritjof Capra.
In western medicine, and sadly generally in society, the soul is disregarded. Shamanism is soul work.
Safe Haven Transpersonal Centre uses Core Shamanism methods and incorporates Celtic Shamanic practises. Core Shamanism was developed by anthropologist Michael Harner who through years of living with and studying indigenous people he saw the value and need to retain this wisdom and practise. He developed Core Shamanism that focused on the method rather than the specifics or a ceremony or ritual which did not always translate to the psyche of modern western society. He recognised the collective soul loss of humanity and the need for common principles of Shamanism, which were practised for millennia. He brought Shamanism back to the western world in a tangible way.