What is a Shaman?

Shaman is the Siberian word for a person who travels to non ordinary reality to converse with spirits and brings back wisdom or healing for their community. The word Shaman was publicised by a group of anthropologists who visited the Siberian tribes to learn about their culture but it is only one of many names.


 All over the world there are people who do this work, naturally, they are given names by their people. In South America they are known as the PayeĆ© or people of spirit. In Hawaii they are known as Huna, the  Zulu people call them Sangoma . There are  many other names but the work is very similar.


How do Shamans work?

Shamans use a technique often known as journeying. This is a trance induced by a repetitive noise such as a rattle or a drum beat. (In some countries sacred plants are ingested or burned and inhaled to enhance the Shamans ability to focus their consciousness on other realties.) They send a part of their soul into non-ordinary reality where they are able to speak to the spirit aspect of both animate and inanimate things. The Shaman always travels with helper spirits to show the way. The helpers are usually (but not exclusively) in animal form and are known as power animals. The Australian Aborigines call this going in to the dream time. Other names for this are web walking or spirit walking.

Shamanic work includes; negotiating with spirits of places, psychopomping (guiding home) the spirits of the dead, locating and removing intrusions, (spirits who are in the wrong place and causing illness or upset) space clearing (removing emotional or spiritual debris.)

What is Core Shamanism?

Core Shamanism is a set of techniques brought to the west by a group of American anthropologists led by Michael Harner. They studied with the Shamans of Siberia and were allowed to try the techniques, to their surprise the techniques worked! After they returned home they set about teaching others to access the three realms of the Spirits. Core Shamanism allows people to access the spirit realms by simple methods which are  common to the many current shamanic cultures without changing personal beliefs and practices. So it possible to learn and use Core Shamanism whatever your personal religious ideas may be.

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