If we take a closer look at the world religions, we will notice a lot in common with shamanism: The Lower and Upper worlds, represented in the form of Hell and Paradise, prayers to deities by analogy with communication with spirits, trance states in meditations and astral soul journeys...
Is it because the traditions and worldviews of modern religions have their roots in shamanism?
Shamanism is practical, because it was created for the most effective survival on earth. All it’s practices are aimed at specific goals that are effective in everyday life.
However, it may seem that shamanism doesn’t provide for spiritual growth. Many supporters of paganism and polytheism are trying to prove that shamanism contributes to the degradation of the soul... But this is not entirely true. Shamanism really doesn’t preach the principles of forgiveness and peacemaking. But the wisdom of the shaman lies in the ability to live in harmony with the world, without harming nature, without disturbing the balance.
The battle with terrible spirits is the same struggle with vices and fears, but in their astral form. And fighting enemies is only self–defense. If shamanism were in fact a terrible, militant and destructive religious teaching, as it is portrayed by some, it is unlikely that so few of its followers would remain on Earth.
When it comes to spiritual growth, shamanism doesn’t offer specific spiritual practices aimed at uniting with the divine mind and renouncing all material things. But, in shamanism, there is a way of the spirit that is not intended for everyone. The people that the shaman serves do not need supernatural knowledge – they are only interested in the practically applicable part, what can be used in everyday life.
At the same time, the shaman himself reaches unprecedented heights in his “travels”. He discovers more and more worlds, interacts with a large number of spiritual entities, reaches the limits of the universe, and thereby expands his perception. The shaman learns the basics of the universe, reveals himself to the world and learns to accept it in its entirety. He expands his worldview and his capabilities. This is spiritual growth in shamanism!
The external form of shamanism is simple – it is the presence of a shaman, a person performing rituals, healing, helping and protecting. He doesn’t need a huge number of priests, large temples and loud public services, where everything happens according to a schedule and has clear regulations. A shaman can only have disciples. The shaman is treated with reverence, but he is not perceived as a miracle or a saint. He just fulfills his purpose.
To become a shaman, you need to have a special sign that indicates the purpose. Different nationalities recognized this sign in different ways. The future shaman is characterized by strange and vivid dreams, or various visions. His behavior is different from the behavior of others. He may have physical features, such as forked fingers or unusual spots on the skin. But the main condition is the choice of spirits. They could appear to the future shaman, communicate with him, send him signs. After realizing his destiny, the future shaman became a disciple of the senior shaman. Ahead of him were trials from the spirits themselves. After passing them, he began to communicate with spirits openly, since he belonged to both the world of people and the world of spirits. He was a kind of messenger on earth, a guide between these two worlds.
The basis of the shamanic ritual campaign is a trance state, which allows the shaman to perform incredible actions. Trance itself is no different from deep hypnosis, the only difference is in the linguistic aspect. What the shaman suggests to himself through chanting or cultural symbols is perceived by the psyche and translated into reality during the trance state. Being in it, shamans are able to walk on burning coals, immerse their hands in boiling water and be invulnerable to pain.
When the spirit of an animal enters their consciousness, they transfer its movements and behavior. If the spirit represents a pregnant woman, their stomach also swells. If the spirit is an omniscient god, the shaman himself becomes omniscient. If it’s a violent deity, the shaman also becomes violent. When shamans from other tribes enter him, he begins to speak their languages.
The possibilities of suggestion are unlimited and they affect all spheres of life, all aspects of spiritual essence and all forms of behavior. Trance enhances natural powers and abilities, opening up hidden possibilities. Thus, it becomes possible to awaken forgotten memories, increase cognitive abilities in the field of language and creativity, as well as increase the strength of a boxer's punch and the dexterity of a swordsman. Trance also allows you to open access to an area of consciousness that is outside of three-dimensional space, in some kind of super-space, and gain access to other realities.