Shamanic Drumming Blog

Sunday, September 11, 2016

What is a 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. Read more.


  1. Dear Michael

    between this blog and the associated music and the watching of EMBRACING THE SERPENT I am getting a real sense of shamanism which I had not done in many years...