By Roel Crabbé
“There is only one medicine for all your ailments and that is you.” – Andy Baggot
There is no continent where shamanistic practices cannot be found. Initially, all nations lived in this connected way. They lived in connection with the spirits of the land, the sun, the water. They experienced the world as a holy place, filled with consciousness and power. And in every culture deeply connected to nature, the shaman played a central role.
The practices of shamanism can vary greatly in shape depending on the culture. Yet the basis of shamanism is the same: a shaman is a man or woman who contacts the spiritual world to ask for information, power, or healing. He stands with his feet in different realities and serves the community with the knowledge and strength at his disposal.
He was called by the spirit world, often during a moment of personal crisis. The shaman was taken into deeply transforming visions or dreams in which he was taught and learned to heal himself. In the experience of the shaman, this transformation is one of death and rebirth. He discards the old skin and wakes up in a new consciousness.
This experience marks the beginning of a new life in which, guided by the spirits he serves the community as a counselor, healer, priest, ritual leader, artist, or fortune teller. He has become a seer and is guided by inspiration that comes to him from the spiritual world in dreams, songs, the ‘reading’ of nature, and the trance journey.
The shaman has got to know the way, and walks it, as a ‘traveler between the worlds’. He has answered the call to grow this soul contact and experiences the world from an openness in which we, as a child, used to live more often. The shaman experiences creation as an animated, great mystery and lets his soul sing to serve the whole.
Shamanism can be found everywhere, even today. Also in Western culture, where traditions have changed radically and the connection with the earth and inspiration has faded into the background, there have always been dreamers and people who follow their inspirations. The ensouled world is always present everywhere.
The enormous diversity of the cultures on earth is inherently intertwined with their shamanic ancestors. Shamanism often expresses itself in the form, from the realization that everything is animated.
The shaman often is an artist. He gives form to the powers and visions with which he has contact. Through this tradition, which is ancient and present everywhere, we can see that the essence of our human existence is essentially the same everywhere.
When we look at the original nations we see that their life is based on the experience of Spirit. Their art expresses the holiness of life and how everything is intertwined. Their art speaks to us about the many faces of the inspired universe.
Regardless of many cultural differences, history shows us that the experience of the soul is the basis of shamanism. Worldwide.
© Roel Crabbé – 2008