Today, practicing shamanism doesn't mean you have to live in a rain forest or a desert. Thanks to a modern renaissance of shamanic spirituality, practitioners from all walks of life now use powerful indigenous techniques for healing, insight, and spiritual growth. With Awakening to the Spirit World, teachers Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman bring together a circle of renowned Western shamanic elders to present a comprehensive manual for making these practices accessible and available in our daily lives, including:
. How the original practice of shamanism shaped the world's spiritual traditions and why it is still relevant today
. The art of the shamanic journey--a time-tested meditative method for experiencing important spiritual lessons and truths
. Guidance for avoiding common pitfalls of shamanic practice
. Instruction for working with your dreams, connecting to your spirit guides, healing yourself and your environment
The core of shamanism is the experience of direct revelation-- to communicate firsthand with your spiritual allies and discover your own power. Awakening to the Spirit World takes you through each step of developing a personal connection with your helping spirits to receive wisdom, insight, and healing energy. From an overview of shamanism, to your first journeys and encounters with your power animals, to expanding your skills and insight through long-term practice, here is an in-depth resource for the shamanic arts that includes:
. Creating rituals and ceremonies for healing and transformation
. Reconnecting with nature to heal ourselves and the planet
. Working with your dreams, songs, and artistic vision to strengthen your practice
. Traditional wisdom for children-- healthy rites of passage for each phase of a child's journey to adulthood
. Honoring the cycle of life and death-- shamanic practices to prepare for and celebrate our final transition in this life
Table of Contents
1 What is Shamanism?
2 The Shamanic Journey
3 Reconnecting with Nature
4 Visionary Work with Weather and Environmental Changes
5 The Power of Ceremony and Ritual
7 Creative Art as a Bridge
8 Working with Sound and Light
9 Death As a Rite of Passage
10 Experiential Work with Death and Dying
11 All Changes Involve Death
12 Our Children Are Our Future
13 Working in Community
14 The Transformational Community
15 The Return of the Shaman
Shamanism is the most ancient spiritual practice known to humankind and is the "ancestor" of all our modern religions. As a method, it is a form of meditation combined with a focused intention to accomplish various things, as well become apparent in this book. As a spiritual practice, shamanism can become a way of life that may utterly transform the one who practices it.
The word "shaman" comes from the language of the Evenki peoples, a Tungusic tribe in Siberia. This is a word whose meaning has to do with esoteric knowledge and extraordinary spiritual abilities and as such a shaman is often defined as an intermediary between the human and spirit worlds. In shamanic cultures, the word "shaman" has come to mean "the one who sees in the dark" or "the one who knows."
There are certain commonalities in a shaman's worldview and practice across the world that allow us to make certain broad generalizations about shamanism. In the majority of indigenous cultures, the universe is viewed as being made up of two distinct realms: a world of things seen and a world of things hidden, yet that these two worlds present themselves together as two halves of a whole. The shaman is the inspired visionary, a man or a woman who learns through practice how to enter into this "world of things hidden," and once there, he or she typically encounters extra-mundane personalities or archetypal forces that the indigenous peoples refer to as spirits, ancestors, or even gods.