What is a Shaman ?


What exactly is a shaman? The word shaman comes from the Siberian Tungus and is translated into English as “someone who knows.” A shaman is essentially a spiritual leader. He or she has a vast knowledge of the spirit and the human condition.  In its simplest definition, all Shamanism is, is a way of life devoted to connecting with nature and creation.

A shaman is capable of healing, is able to work with life energies, and has visions of the past and the future. Their purpose is to bridge the gap between the physical world and the spiritual world. Their knowledge of the plants is outstanding, and they are able to use plant medicines to treat a variety of illnesses. Shamans have a different cognition in how they see the world. As the average person has a cognition of the things in their physical forms, which are interpreted based on one’s perception, shamans have a cognition of energy that is not based on interpretation but on what it is exactly, and it can be seen no other way. This is why shamans are able to see things that ordinary people cannot see and are able to live in a completely different way.

If we go back in history and take a look at indigenous people we can find that the majority of tribes had someone who had supernatural capabilities. Whether they were called the shaman, medicine man, the healer or spiritual leader; there is no doubt that the history books claim that these people existed and that they were essential for the survival of a tribe. These indigenous people existed in all parts of the world from ancient Russia to South America. Not all shamans are the same; they differ radically based on culture, geographic location, and teachings from elders. Not all Shamans are good, disciplined, and impeccable. Some have bad habits and flaws, but this should not decrease the validity of the true shaman. It is similar to how all cops are not good cops, but the overall intention they have is to protect the people.

So where did they all go? With the increase of technology, specific religions wiped out shamanism, but not entirely. Shamanism exists today and some of the ancient teachings are still used. It can be seen that even recently in Canada the majority of Native American communities were wiped out and forced to assimilate into modern society causing ancient traditions and wisdom to be lost in history. If you research way back in history when religious movements were beginning, you will see that these religions use very similar practices of which shamans use today. 

What is interesting is that the majority of modern medicine and pharmacology originates from the knowledge that these shamans or spiritual leaders possessed. This and my experience with a shaman makes me wonder if all these supernatural characteristics are really true. I personally did 5 ayahuasca ceremonies with a renowned shaman in Peru named Richardo Amaringo. Shamans are known to work with ancient plant medicines to heal illness and disease. When I first saw him he just looked like an average dude. He did not have any piercings or tattoos or anything similar to that, which was the image I had in my head of what a shaman looked like before meeting Richardo.

During some of my ayahuasca ceremonies, I could feel this energy emanating from him. It was very odd and it is very difficult to explain with words but I definitely felt some kind of energy coming from him. During an ayahuasca ceremony, the shamans sing songs called the Icaros. The Icaros are said to evoke healing or benevolent spirits. I really doubted this before going to Peru and thought that the science could explain all the healing effects that people get after ayahuasca ceremonies but my perception completely shifted when I actually experienced an ayahuasca ceremony for myself. The things I saw, even now, I find hard to believe but there is no doubt that they happened. In some of my ceremonies, I was actually launched in this weird spiritual world. What is chilling to me is that this spiritual world felt as real as the physical world at the time. How I transformed after my trip to Peru and the positive changes I have made in my life were definitely real as well.

In the case of ayahuasca, I think the majority of the experience comes from who you are as a person and really has nothing to do with the shaman. The shaman is just someone who creates the ayahuasca, knows the correct set a setting for it, and knows how to provoke you to heal yourself. The more experienced the shaman is, the more you can get out of an ayahuasca ceremony. I am not one to say that all these supernatural things are real or that they are just made up. What I can say from my experience is that there is more to shamans than meets the eye.

Check out my book  “Trip to the Infinite – The Ayahuasca Experience” available on amazon.com to learn more about what ayahuasca is; how it affects your mind, body, and soul; my detailed ceremony reports explaining what exactly happened to me during each of my ceremonies and the ways in which I transformed afterward. I also included some ways to prepare if you are looking to have an ayahuasca experience of your own. 

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