Shamanism is a way to connect with all of nature and beyond.
A Shaman is a person who is able to access the Spirit World for purposes of healing and divination, a ceremonial and spiritual leader among indigenous cultures worldwide, often referred to as a Medicine Man or Woman in Native American culture.
Shamans have dreams or visions that carry certain messages. Some shamans have spirit guides who direct the shaman in their journeys in the Spirit World. The spirit guides are always present within the shaman -- others may also encounter the spirit guide when the shaman is within a trance, which is energized by the spirit guide.
A shaman has the ability to cleanse negative energy that disrupts a soul. When within the Spirit World, a shaman may also retrieve lost portions of a human soul and return the lost parts to the human soul.
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According to the Navajo people of the American southwest, sometimes it becomes necessary to create a doorway between the two halves of the world -- the people of time (human beings on Earth) and the timeless people (spirits in another realm).
For the Navajo, this doorway is created by sand paintings -- the art of pouring colored sands or pigments onto a surface in order to create a "sand painted" design.
A traditional Navajo hogan is a circular, one-room dwelling. For a healing ceremony, to cure a physical or emotional illness, a small group will gather in a hogan, where a shaman (Medicine Man) will create an elaborate symbolic design by pouring the colored sands loosely upon the ground of the hogan. The symmetry (order) of the sand painting symbolizes the harmony that the ill patient desires to reestablish in their life.
There are up to 1,000 different traditional sand painting designs within the Navajo culture, with more than 30 different designs associated with a particular ceremony. These sand paintings are considered to be living spiritual beings, to be treated with great respect.
When the healing ceremony begins, the patient is directed to sit on the sand painting whereupon the shaman sings a long prayer. The sand painting is intended to act as a portal to attract the spirits, allowing the spirits to come and go into the patient as needed.
This healing ceremony traditionally continues from dusk to dawn for two consecutive nights. At the end of the ceremony, when the sand painting has served its purpose by absorbing the illness, the sand painting is destroyed.
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The Plains Indians, Lakota and Oglala Sioux, perform a ceremonial ritual when faced with the loss of a loved one. They traditionally create a medicine bundle that includes an item of the deceased person's clothing or some other special item they valued in life.
The soul of the deceased is then "invited" to reside in the medicine bundle. Thus, the grieving person is able to ritually care for the deceased by nourishing them their love. They will also sleep with the medicine bundle and ritually bathe them.
The bereaved cares for the medicine bundle for exactly one year. The following day, the medicine bundle will be opened, thereby releasing the soul of the loved one, and the grieving period will then cease. In this manner, the grief of the loss of the loved one will promptly end because the tribal shaman felt it would be detrimental to the entire community if the grieving continued too long.
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In Peru, the Shipibo Indians believe that illness is a breakdown of the body's energy system. The Shipido shaman embarks on a visionary journey into the Dreamtime to receive healing symbols from the spirits to restore harmony within an ill person.
When the shaman returns from the spiritual journey, they paint the symbols encountered in the journey onto the body of the ill patient, using a strong dye. These symbolic designs contain energetic patterns, embodying a spiritual power, that impose a strong intention within the subconscious body and soul of the patient, thereby enhancing the sufferer's own inner ability to become well again.
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The Kuna Indians of Panama create wooden medicine dolls used in rituals for ill patients. The medicine dolls are carved from a sacred tree and blessed by a shaman. The spirit of the tree, within the medicine doll, journeys into the spirit realm to locate and retrieve a lost soul part required for healing the patient.
To the Kuna people, the medicine dolls are alive and are to be honored with respect. The medicine dolls may also help to heal the Earth and send messages through a shaman about how to deal with various aspects affecting their lives.
In return for the medicine doll's assistance in their lives, the Kuna people consider the medicine dolls to be extended members of the family. The medicine dolls are ceremonially fed and bathed with the smoke of burning cacao beans.
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The shaman is a mediator for their community and culture. They enter the Spirit World on behalf of the community, including encountering the spirits of the deceased. By doing so, the shaman eases unrest and settles issues. In return, the shaman delivers gifts to the spirits.
Be silent and listen to the messages of your soul -- whatever happens to your body, your eternal soul will remain whole.
Quote for the Day -- "We hardly ever realize that we can cut anything out of our lives, anytime, in the blink of an eye." Carlos Castaneda
Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where the human body is a container for an eternal soul.