By Christina Pratt
Shamanism could be outlined because the perform of initiated shamans who're distinctive via their mastery of various altered states of cognizance. Shamanism arises from the activities the shaman takes in non-ordinary fact and the result of these activities in traditional truth. it's not a faith, but it calls for religious self-discipline and private sacrifice from the mature shaman who seeks the top levels of mystical improvement
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Additional resources for An Encyclopedia of Shamanism, vol. 1
As with singing, dancing, and painting, trance work is an expressive art. We are all able to sing, dance, and enter trance. However, some of us are gifted. Some gifts can be transformed through training and experience to mastery. Shamans are masters of the ancient arts, the techniques of ecstasy used to induce and utilize the shamanic altered states. The essential characteristics of shamanic altered states are voluntary control of entrance and duration of altered state, the ability to communicate with others during the altered state, and memory of the altered state experience after returning to ordinary consciousness.
In contrast, contemporary Western cultures recognize only three states: consciousness, sleeping, and dreaming. In cultures with an awareness of consciousness, it is believed that adults must cultivate the ability to enter specific altered states in order to maintain mental health. In contemporary Western cultures, the ability to enter altered states is believed to be a symptom of mental illness. Meditation and yoga are examples of traditional disciplines designed to produce specific altered states of consciousness.
The same is true for the shaman and the spirits. It is a working relationship of communication and mutual respect in which each party does its unique part to get the overall job done. Shamans are in relationship with the spirits in a very deep, at times complex, and always very real way. The relationship is always experiential; it is not faith based. Shamans do not believe in spirits; they experience them. Shamans work with the power that flows to them while in relationship with spirit. This power is complex to define.
An Encyclopedia of Shamanism, vol. 1 by Christina Pratt