Shamanism and Culture

Many forms of shamanic practice today are "living traditions"; that is, they have been practiced in a relatively unchanging manner for millennia by indigenous cultures. Even among peoples who have interacted with Western/European culture -- and survived the experience -- shamans continue in much the same way as they did long ago. In some cultures, the shaman is easily recognized primarily as a medicine man or women, a person whose role is clearly that of a spirtually-aided healer. In other cultures, the shaman’s ceremonial functions may be more apparent and significant, so that the shaman is as much a priest as a healer.

Shamanism in Western Europe

Many of the shamanic practices of pre-Christian Europe have not come down to us intact, but were absorbed into or displaced by the patriarchal religions of Greece and Rome, including Christianity. The most developed forms of European shamanic practiced today are the Celtic and Norse. Modern forms of some shamanic traditions (Celtic, for instance) have been reconstructed from that culture’s myths & stories, as these reveal much about how those people viewed the Natural and spirit worlds and their relationships to each.

Shamanism in the World

There are many "living" shamanic traditions today. By selecting the links in the menu in the upper right of this page, you can explore five of them: Inuit, Native American, Oceanic, Celtic and Nepalese.



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