Shamanic Drumming Blog

Sunday, October 15, 2017

What is Shamanism?

 Oroqen Shaman
According to the Encyclopedia of Shamanism, a shaman is a practitioner who has developed the mastery of "accessing altered states of consciousness" and "mediating between the needs of the spirit world and those of the physical world in a way that can be understood by the community ...." Shamanism is the intentional effort to acquire and nurture ongoing relationships with personal helping spirits by journeying into realms where the spirits dwell. The reason for developing personal relationships with spirit helpers is to gain wisdom, healing techniques, and other vital information that can benefit the community. It is this intimate relationship with spirit and the use of trance states that distinguishes the shaman from other practitioners.

Shamanism represents a universal conceptual framework found among indigenous tribal humans. It includes the belief that the natural world has two aspects: ordinary everyday awareness, formed by our habitual behaviors, patterns of belief, social norms, and cultural conditioning, and a second non-ordinary awareness accessed through altered states, or trance, induced by shamanic practices such as repetitive drumming. This second-order awareness can be developed over time or appear all at once, but once it is discerned the world is never the same. According to shamanic theory, the ordinary and non-ordinary worlds interact continuously, and a shamanic practitioner can gain knowledge about how to alter ordinary reality by taking direct action in the non-ordinary aspect of the world.

Shamans employ methods for altering consciousness so that they can send their souls into the non-ordinary reality of the spirits who become their friends, guides, guardians, instructors, and allies. These helping spirits might be the spirits of nature, animals, plants, the elements, ancestors, gods, goddesses, or teachers from various religious traditions. The act of sending one's soul into the spirit world is called the soul flight or shamanic journey, and it allows the journeyer to view life and life's problems from a detached, spiritual perspective, not easily achieved in a state of ordinary consciousness.

The shaman's trance is an intentionally induced state of ecstasy. Shamanic trance is characterized by its flexibility, ranging from a light diagnostic state, to spirit flight, and to full embodiment by spirit. Shamans use intention and discipline to control the nature, depth, and qualities of their trance states. The shaman may progress through a range of trance states until they reach the level that is necessary for healing to occur.

The capacity to enter a range of trance states is a natural manifestation of human consciousness. The ability to enter trance states makes us a human - not a shaman. What makes shamans unique is their mastery over an otherwise normal human trait. It requires training, practice, and devotion to master any expressive art. Shamans master the art of ecstasy to see the true nature of the universe.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Raise Your Vibration Today

It isn't hard to see that even though we live on a planet that surrounds us with beauty, that there is a lot of darkness manifesting within humanity. Cruelty, violence and instability are on the rise. To raise the heavy vibration of fear that's enveloping the world, lift your own vibration. Do this with drumming, chanting and prayer. Drumming raises your vibration, opens the heart and connects you with a power greater than yourself. When we pray and drum with intent, the drum amplifies and carries our intentions to the Loom of Creation, thereby reweaving the pattern of existence in accordance with those prayers. Chanting has no limitations of time and space and can be done anytime or anywhere. Chants move us to a level of awareness beyond form, a place where we discover our own divinity. Regular prayer is a cornerstone of spiritual practice. Praying brings us Divine help, reduces our ego, grants us forgiveness of mistakes, and more. Repetitive drumming, chanting, and prayer will dissipate the veil of darkness that is enveloping our planet.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Plant Spirit Helpers

Aloe Vera
Plant spirits are one of the major allies of shamans for healing, seeing, dreaming, and empowerment. Shamans heal using their knowledge of plant spirits as well as the plant's medicinal properties. When the shaman does not know what plant medicine to use for a sick person, the spirit of the plant tells him. Plants, however, are more than their chemical components. They are intelligent beings that have the capacity to raise consciousness to a level where true healing can take place. Plants have always evolved before their animal counterparts and offer profound guidance regarding our own spiritual evolution.

For an in-depth look at the role of plant spirits in shamanic rituals, I highly recommend Plant Spirit Shamanism by Ross Heaven and Howard G. Charing. From their years of extensive shamanic work in the Amazon, Haiti, and Europe, Heaven and Charing present the core methods of plant shamanism used in healing rituals the world over: soul retrieval, spirit extraction, and sin eating. They explain the techniques shamans use to establish connections to plant spirits and provide practical exercises as well as a directory of traditional Amazonian and Caribbean healing plants and their common North American equivalents so readers can explore the world of plant spirits and make allies of their own.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Deer Medicine

Deer symbolizes gentleness, alertness, speed, adaptability, and the healing power of love and generosity. Deer is a magical creature that leads us into the transcendent realm of the collective unconscious, the infinite creative matrix of all that we are and have ever been. Deer hoof rattles are associated with thunder and the antlers of the buck represent antenna, which attune us to the spirit world and awaken new psychic gifts. In the physical realm, Deer reminds us to be alert and pay attention before we leap into action. Deer medicine instills an understanding of what's truly necessary for survival and what to sacrifice for the higher good. Deer teaches us to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds. We must be gentle with ourselves, in spite of our errors, and gentle with others who react from a place of fear or anger. Click here to view my video "Red Deer Shaman."