What is a Shaman? What is a Shamanic Practitioner?

what is a shaman

In recent years, Western culture embraced ancient Eastern healing techniques with great warmth. Many westerners have made it a habit to practice at least one of the many Eastern culture healing practices. These include yoga, acupuncture, mindfulness, meditation, and now shamanism. 

While there aren’t as many Western shamans as there are in East Asia, more people are recognizing the importance of receiving these energy healing practices. In today’s article, we will focus on:

  • What is shamanism
  • What is a shamanic practitioner (or what is a shaman)
  • How you can become a shaman
  • How to benefit from a shamanic healing ceremony.

What is Shamanism


For so many, Shamanism is seen as the world’s oldest holistic healing practice. It has been practiced for centuries, and traces of its influence can be found throughout the world. These traces grow clearer when looking into ancient native tribes from the South American rainforests, the plains of North America, even reaching Mongolia’s rocky mountains!

Despite the fact that shamanism is currently practiced all across the world, many people credit Mongolia’s herding tribes as the originators of this ancient art. Some even point the origin of this practice to unknown ancient hunter-gatherer tribes.

Historians were able to trace down this practice to around 30,000 BCE, which is the Stone Age, more specifically the Upper Paleolithic Era!


Regardless of its actual origin or what is a Shaman in each culture, this holistic practice is now helping so many with their emotional, spiritual, and even physical illnesses. 

What is a Shaman

What is a Shaman/Shamanism: Origin of the Word

Specifically, the word Shaman means the “one who knows.” It was derived from the Tungusic verb ša or “to know”, whose noun is simply šaman. Women, men, and transgender people of all ages, from middle infancy onwards, have been documented as shamans in historical ethnographies.

Abilities of a Shaman

Before even asking what is a shamanic practitioner, it’s fundamental to understand the composition of our physical world in the eyes of holistic healers. Our physical world is intricate and highly connected, but there’s much more to it than what we live and experience empirically.

Our physical world is nothing more than a manifestation of the deeper energy realm behind it.

In spite of the clear distinction in our understanding of the physical and spiritual realm, both affect and interact with each other constantly. Many of our physical or emotional illnesses have deep roots into the energy realm. Or traumas in the mental blocks can be caused by an imbalance in our energy levels or a lower vibrational state.

While there is a connection between our physical world and this deeper and more abstract spiritual world, not anyone can delve in and out of both freely and that will. One must first transform into a state of abstract existence in order to enter the realm of energy. This takes a lot of deep knowledge of the actual composition of our existence and long years of experience. This is exactly where a shamanic practitioner comes into the picture.

Among the many abilities of a shaman, they have the deep ability to:

  • Transform their bodies on an abstract level into a fluid state of existence that can transition between both the physical and energy realms freely.
  • Delve into the realm of spirits and deep consciousness to find the roots of illnesses and tend to them.
  • Sense on a deeper level for illnesses and their roots. Without speaking a word, a shamanic practitioner can sense whether or not a soul needs help through the process of growth and healing.
  • Know which plants are helpful in promoting healing. They also have deep knowledge that was passed through generations of ancient shamans about the benefits of plants and how to use them efficiently through the process of healing.
  • Use the chants they have learned from their ancestors and grandparents for the benefit of their healing subjects. These chants and songs are called “icaros” and they are used during shamanic seances and shamanic journeying to purify one’s soul and to heal it from its many wounds.

What is a Shaman Capable of Accomplishing

Among the many things a Shaman can help you with both physically and spiritually, they can, through hosting Shamanic journeying:

  • Remove the darkness weighing you down. Our souls, just like our physical bodies, can get affected by illnesses and ailments. Among these ailments, they can be touched by the darkness! This unfortunate occurrence can anchor the person into the deep realms of darkness, which manifest in the physical world as dark feelings like envy, a limited perspective on life, a dissociation with the spiritual world, and so on. By removing this darkness, your horizon will be much clearer and peaceful to host and support your growth journey.
  • Cut energetic cords: Energetic cords are the holistic power that connect our different levels of existence. When these cords are cluttered or are depleting us emotionally and physically, they need some professional holistic trimming. 
    • The process of cutting energetic cords will bring you into a higher-vibrational state or spiritual existence. You’ll be able to transcend the dark anchoring lower-vibrational states.
    • Help you grow more efficiently by removing your negative emotional barriers and unhealthy attachments to relationships and emotional dynamics.
    • Cutting energetic cords will not affect positive attachments or feelings in your healthy relationships. It’ll only trim them and help them grow within a healthy and beneficial mold.
  • Relieve you from your mental blocks that result from emotional traumas and biases. These include biases like the conformity or Affinity bias, Anchoring bias, and the list goes on.

What is a Shamanic Practitioner’s Outfit

Mostly, Shamans make use of the animals they consume for their clothing. These consist of

  • Animal paws, hooves, or even claws for their footwear
  • Animal skin or fabrics that resemble animal skins to imitate them. The ones they usually choose are bears, deers, birds, and other wild animals
  • Some Shamans also have creative headpieces that they create from birds feathers or antlers

How Do You Benefit from Shamanic Healing

Signs of Soul Illnesses

There are many signs that signal whether or not your soul needs to go on a Shamanic journey:

  • Inability to make sound decisions
  • Chronic and continuous fatigue
  • Lack of mental abilities to withstand the easiest tasks or events
  • The loss of a loved one caused you a very long lasting grief
  • Lack of balance in your personal and professional life
  • Inability to follow your dreams with dedication

If you ever get the chance to attend to or take part in a Shamanic ceremony, we highly encourage you to do so! It’s a transformative experience that’ll allow you to heal your soul and reconnect with the deep spiritual realm.

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