Last time we started talking about Shamanism. We learned that shamanism has been practiced around the world by different indigenous peoples in different countries for around 20,000 years.

While experts disagree on exactly what Shamanism is and even on the origin of the word “shaman,” there is agreement that most indigenous cultures have someone playing the role of shaman or medicine man/woman or healer. (In North America, the only reference to “shaman” is when we impose that label on the healer.)

And we also suggested that the shaman is able to travel back and forth between the spirit world and real world in order to do good or ill, heal, and help solve problems facing the group.

So how do you become a shaman?

There is great variation across different cultures in how people become shamans.

  1. Sometimes there are signs or omens that signify that someone is destined to become a shaman such as being born in the caul.
  2. Sometimes people are descended from shamans. This doesn’t eliminate or negate the need for proper shamanistic training.
  3. Some people have some kind of sign around adolescence. The sign might be a dream of entering and returning from the spirit world, or it could be a near-death experience, as recovering from severe illness, for example. The person may also experience hallucinations.

however, a person is selected or determined to be a shaman, there is usually years of training under the tutelage of a more senior shaman and with the help of some of the local entheogens. Altering one’s state of consciousness almost always plays a role in the training and development of a shaman.

It’s worth noting that some of the signs of a future shaman could also—in a different culture—be signs of impending mental illness. Visual and aural hallucinations are in the modern world typical signs of schizophrenia.

Shamanism is a vast topic, a thorough exploration of which is beyond the scope of this article. Take comfort in knowing that our shamans are very experienced and thoroughly trained in the traditional shamanism of our area and are experts in Ayahuasca preparation.

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