Shamanism is a nature religion, perhaps the oldest religion on earth. Even today it plays an important role among nature peoples, but there is also a resurgence of interest in shamanism in the West. Many people feel they are missing something and seek connection with nature and other worlds. Shamanism can help with this, and possibly psychedelics can support this process.
Shamanism and shamans
You don’t become a shaman overnight. It is a vocation and you are chosen for it by another shaman, followed by rigorous training. The shaman is the spiritual leader of a tribe or people. These men and women are tasked with healing people and maintaining the connection with the spirits.
Shamanism is thousands of years old. It is also possibly the oldest spiritual movement, from which all other religions originated. It is found everywhere on earth, from South America to China. It is not called shamanism everywhere, which is just a term that encompasses all forms of this nature religion. What is striking is that no matter where in the world you study shamans, everywhere they use the same attributes and describe the same experiences.
Shamans also perform rituals. These can serve as celebrations, such as at the passing of the season (spring, summer, fall, winter) or at a death or birth. Rituals are very important; they mark changes in life and allow us to reflect on them consciously. Nature peoples, of course, live closer to nature anyway. However, the shaman’s task is to ensure that man lives in balance with nature and the Gods and Goddesses as much as possible. He is in close contact with them. He acts as a messenger, so to speak, between the worlds. He also tries to help and heal people.
The different worlds
Shamanism assumes that there is more than just this visible world. Apart from this world, there are the underworld, the middle world and the upper world. The underworld has nothing to do with hell. It is actually the world of pure nature, of our own pure life force and the primal forces of nature. Here you could meet your power animal and other helpers. The middle world is very similar to ours; in fact, it is the spiritual version of our reality. Then there is the upper world, which corresponds to how people would imagine heaven. There are angels, ancestors and other good beings who want to help us.
The shaman travels to these worlds to solve problems. The healer can travel in trance and work with energies there. A trance can be induced in several ways. Often psychedelics are also used in shamanism.
The magic of trance travel
The word trance already sounds magical. It is a state of consciousness where your rational mind is at a lower level, but where you still perceive what is happening. A trance can be induced by drumming or dancing. The constant rhythmic sound or movement causes you to enter a kind of dream state. But often psychedelics are also used. Consider magic mushrooms (containing psilocybin), mescaline cacti, ayahuasca and other natural trip aids.
Using psychedelics makes it even easier to contact the other world. Your mind is more open, rational thinking fades into the background and you can relax better. Traditionally, therefore, these remedies were used only by shamans and other spiritual leaders. They made it easier to get in touch with the gods.
In a trance, the shaman can travel to one of the worlds, where he or she can find answers to questions, effect healing or work with energy. The shaman often works with power animals, guides and other helpers. Even today, shamans believe that everything that exists on earth is alive and has a soul. So trees, plants, animals, as well as stones and other objects have souls. Everything deserves to be treated with respect and contact can be made.
There are all kinds of rituals you can perform, but one of the most intense is Shamanic Death. Everyone has habits or thought patterns that are actually not good for you. By performing a Shamanic Death ritual, you can release this piece of yourself. Through this ritual dying, you make room for something new, you are born again, so to speak.
If you are a little familiar with psychedelics, you can see similarities with ego death. At high doses of mushrooms, for example, this can happen to you. You then let go of everything you identify with, everything that constitutes your own self. This can be frightening, but also very liberating. Letting go is an art and shamanism can help you let go of those patterns that no longer help you.
Shamans liked to use the powers of psychedelics. A mind-altering drug helps you open your mind, making you more receptive to impressions. In that way, then, it can also help you on your shamanic path. Shamanism and psychedelics are a powerful combination that can boost your spiritual development. Do always treat the drug you are using with respect, whether it is magic mushrooms or truffles. Make sure you get experience with psychedelics first before taking higher doses and ask someone to be present as a trip sitter.