Shamanism is a blanket term for a range of healing and divinatory practices in indigenous cultures throughout the world. Similarly, the tools of the shaman vary widely according to the tradition. Fasting, singing, dancing, drumming, ingesting hallucinogenic plants, entering a sweatlodges, and living in isolation, are some of the tools employed by the shaman to enter altered states of consciousness, in which she can perform healing and divinatory actions. Particularly, shamans in traditions throughout the world use song—both through the human voice and through instruments—to effect healing on their patients.
Our human world is one of an infinite number of realities available to the shaman for interaction and communication. In fact, the very basis of shamanism is to connect the spirit of the healer with spirits from other worlds—as well as plant and animal spirits—who are supplicated to intercede in our reality. The shaman acts only as a vessel for these entities to reach into our world. Particularly, the shaman cultivates relationships with good spirits in order to heal the patient.
Shamanism has the powerful ability to restore a connection to nature, which is particularly relevant for people in Western society. A shamanic retreat is a unique opportunity to participate in ancient practices, which can offer a unique type of healing which reaches a very deep level of our being.
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