The word Shaman finds its way onto our English tongues and into our Western ears via Hollander, E. Ysbrants Ides and Adam Brand, who from 1692 through to 1695 accompanied a Russian Embassy sent by Peter the Great into China. They were Anthropologists.
The word ‘Shaman’ has its origin within the Tungusian languages, where the word is known as ‘Saman’ amongst several other variations.
It may well have influence from the Chinese/Sanskrit ‘Sa-Men’ which is a term relating to a ‘Buddhist monk or ascetic’. There is a distinction made however between this Sanskrit Buddhist ‘Sa-Man’ and the Manchu ‘Saman’.
The actual ‘Saman’ and our derivative ‘Shaman’ certainly originates from the Eastern part of Siberia and in Manchuria. This is to say North Eastern Asia.
So it is then that the word directs us to a place/culture where the terms ‘Shaman/Saman’ may have been coined, yet it does not expose the value or composition of that coin.
Only a Shaman knows truly the value, and so it is that those who study Shamanism, such as Anthropologists, may catalogue and categorize but unfortunately miss the experience traditionally. It is akin to the pressure of learning the alphabet, whereby the majesty of the words formed is obscured. Let us begin to answer the question fully then…
The word ‘Saman’ originates from the location mentioned and it labels the behaviour of a particular individual, who is a Shaman.
An artist is artistic and a shaman is shamanic.
An artist is not an artist unless they are being artistic, as a Shaman is not shamanic unless they practice Shamanism.
The comparison is evidenced here in order to expose the real question, which is whether shamanism is something we may do or whether a person is ‘A Shaman’ or simply ‘Shaman’?
In answering this question there are two routes exposed in so far as how a person becomes a Shaman...
1. They make a conscious choice to undergo a course of study, with the intention of learning the skills and practices of a Shaman, and hope to become a Shaman.
2. They have no conscious choice in the decision and rather than choose they are chosen.
There is a dramatic difference here in the methods and experiences necessary to become a Shaman, although each route may lead one to the same end. This is considering oneself to be A Shaman, and the subsequent acceptance of others that they are in fact a Shaman.
So in order to understand what a Shaman is let us explore the routes toward being A Shaman, and so we may reveal what it takes to become A Shaman and thus what A Shaman actually is…
Route one involves a conscious choice to explore Shamanism, interact with Shamans and then undertake a course of study in Shamanism, facilitated by A Shaman. We shall deem this ‘will-to-power’ in so far as the individual has the will and seeks out the power.
Route two is the exact opposite in so far as the individual often has the power but is deficient in will. This is the ‘Power-to-will’ procedure and this individual is schooled in the art of controlling their power, whereas the other is schooled in the art of discovering their power.
It may be understood as the ‘Talented’ singer who may learn to control their pre-existent ‘gift’, and the individual who learns to sing at all. Either way each may well become a ‘good’ singer although they arrived there across different paths.
It is within the experiences of these methods/routes that we may explore the commonalities which are The Shamanic practices. A definite and necessary ability present, if one is to be deemed A Shaman, is the capacity to travel outside of ordinary consciousness.
The Shaman MUST be able to enter into an alternative level of consciousness to the ordinary, and be able to exist/interact within the alternate realities experienced. The reason A Shaman must be able to do this is because it is the absolute foundation of their undertakings.
This very principle is the exact phenomenon that separates The Shaman from the ordinary Man/Woman. When an ordinary person falls asleep for example they lose their consciousness, whereas The Shaman transfers their consciousness, and so remains conscious.
This is nothing less than the ability to function as pure ‘Mind’ detached from the ‘Body’.
This is Astral Travel, The Witches Broom, Lucid Dreaming, Shamanic Ecstasy or whatever term you prefer…
The ordinary person is locked into the experience of their body, and as such their consciousness is imprisoned within it. The Shaman simply is not this way inclined, and as such is able to enter and exit the body as and when it is necessary, for whatever reason.
The individual who is ‘will-to-power’ shall slowly and securely learn this skill through practice and repeated effort. The Shaman who is ‘power-to-will’ shall slowly and dangerously learn to control this skill, through trial and error. See the difference in that one says ‘I will learn to venture outside of my body’ and the other ‘I will manage this experience of being outside of my body’.
Either way each is outside of their body and learning to be effective in this regard. Neither has control nor quantified skill yet both has the potential to become skilled, as one must learn to do it and the other must learn to control it!
What must be understood then, is that A Shaman is not limited to the physical body, and as such is not limited to the environment of the physical body.
This physical body environment is the place known as ‘reality’, and is three dimensional spaces, restricted and defined by the experience of linear time.
The Shaman is not limited by time or space, as these limits apply ONLY to the physical reality.
When A Shaman expands their awareness beyond the physical reality, they also forsake the comfort and sanity of linear time. This is the ecstatic experience and the cause of this experience is the breaking out of linear time, and three dimensional spaces.
The methods employed, regardless of type, are designed to illicit ‘Trance’ whereby A Shaman may ‘break-out’ of time and space. Some utilize psychoactive drugs and some use hypnotic beats, whereas others utilize both. Either way the process is the same.
The Shaman shall alter their physiological state, enter a trance, leave the physical body and as such relinquish linear time and three dimensional spaces.
This is what defines a Shaman.
It is the singular commonality that exists across all cultural and historic contexts.
The story becomes far more interesting when one considers that which follows. A Shaman may be able to exist outside of time and space, but the question should be ‘What do they do with this skill?’
It is time for some real honesty that is not readily found in regard to the power of any Shaman.
Let us consider that the forces which influence an individual and their choices are a maximum 100%.
The average and ordinary individual may be aware of only 10% of that which influences them.
A White or Black Shaman may be aware of around 60% of the total.
A paradoxical Shaman may be aware of up to and including 95%.
It takes not genius to comprehend the power of those with the most information, for if a person is only aware of 10% and another is aware of 60%, then one has the capacity to influence the other as per their desire.
A real Shaman quite literally understands why people do things even when the person does not, they also know when they shall do it next, and what they shall do, including with whom…
This as you may imagine creates an interesting choice within the individual who has become A Shaman. ‘I can control and influence the majority of all I meet.
'What shall I do with this ability?’
This question MUST have been debated by anyone who is A Shaman, otherwise they simply have not actually moved into a position of influence. If they have not moved into a position of influence, which is a consequence of exiting the physical body, then they are having some interesting dreams at best, and are stupid at worse.
Some people think that being A Shaman is cool and facilitates their Egoic interactions, but the true Shaman knows it is a responsible and altogether difficult path. So here is exposed the dilemma and further definition of what a Shaman actually is.
The first step is controlling out of body experience, and the second step is realizing the power of this control in regard to other people. The third step is deciding what to do with this power and the capacity to influence that emerges from it. The third step marks out the different types of Shaman that may be encountered.
There are roughly three categories.
One is the Shaman who uses their power to manipulate others into a position that benefits both parties. Another is the Shaman who uses their power to subjugate others. The third category is The Shaman who does both when it suits them, and their own higher purpose.
Category one is the ‘White/Good’ Shaman.
Category two is the ‘Black/Bad’ Shaman.
Category three is the ‘Master/Chief’ Shaman.
The white Shaman shall be found healing others, curing their psychological limitations and generally being a positive influence upon all they encounter, as they facilitate growth and happiness.
The black Shaman shall be found in positions of influential power such as Government and organized religion, whereby they use ignorance as a weapon and perpetually prey upon those weaker than they.
The black Shamans of this world shall stop at nothing to feed the beast to which they are tethered, through greed, deceit and dirty handed tactics. They present a side which facilitates trust and then proceed to capitalize upon this trust, and it has been this way for millennia.
Our society is generally controlled and managed by black Shamans, who prey upon the ignorance of the weak, ignorant and insecure. Oh dear?
The master Shaman adheres to neither contrasting behaviour as every interaction furnishes choice. The white and black Shaman has no choice as they are contracted, either to fight for the whitelight or the darklight.
Here is exposed the ONLY difference between the power-to-will Shaman and the will-to-power Shaman.
The will-to-power Shaman is always taught by another physical Shaman and as such is instructed in the particular arts of their teacher, be it black or white. They have no choice and nor should they, for they have been recruited by the forces mentioned.
The power-to-will Shaman always has the choice because it is their innate ability to be ‘Shamanic’ and it is their choice what kind of Shaman they are to be. In this respect only the power-to-will Shaman may become the master or chief Shaman, as they alone have this choice.
The master Shaman may therefore be encountered within the deepest shadows, yet also within the brightest of lights.
The master Shaman may even surround other Shamans as each of the others lacks 30% of the total, and as such each has a vast ‘Blind-spot’.
The master Shaman may be found doing exactly what the black & White Shamans do at any moment, yet they shall be doing both in equal measures concurrently.
The master Shaman may wilfully stop the heart of a black Shaman from 1000 miles, yet use that death to preserve the life of a child in their company. A Chief Shaman may trap and imprison the spirit of a person using the blackest known methods, simply in order to teach them how to escape the trap at all.
The master Shaman are of course the most dangerous as they are the quintessential trickster, being perpetually aligned to coming out on top, whatever it takes.
They have allegiances in every reality even though their allegiances are sworn enemies.
In conclusion then A Shaman is an individual who is able to exist outside of time and space yet still be within it, regardless of how they get to this point.
Within this structure there are however three distinct types of Shaman. Those aligned with the forces of Evil, those aligned with the forces of Love and those aligned with both simultaneously.
It is easy to tell which type a Shaman is through studying them and their actions, except of course for the Master Shaman. The Master Shaman is a reflective entity and as such if you perceive this type of Shaman, you shall only see that which you are manipulated into, whether it is Black or White. And the individual next to you may also see something entirely different.
If you are wondering what type of Shaman wrote these words, then you should consider how one understands the Master Shaman at all…
If you are still unsure then maybe you would enjoy our story?
May duplicity be your light in the dark and your dark in the light ;)