Definition varies widely. Your take? Refer to my last question Witch DOES NOT equal wicca.
A witch may not just wiccan -there are animist traditional witches. Shamans are traditional animist witches ‘that is all”.
To me, a shaman is more concerned with communication with the spirit realm and travelling in astral form to that spirit realm in order to deal with the entities that dwell there.
A witch deals with sympathetic magical correspondences in order to bring about change in the material and spiritual realms, but will not generally be engaged in negotiations with the entities that dwell there in the same way that a shaman would be.
I don’t know the exact definitions off-hand….. But to me a Shaman is someone who is practicing a specific belief that has been passed down from a culture. Whereas a witch is just a person who practices magick.
Generally the main difference is that Shamans use altered states of consciousness to go on journeys for power, knowledge or assistance from the spirit world. These alteres states are induced by either physical trials (sleep deprivation, starvation, dehydration or the use of halucinogenic substances). Witches practice what most of us in the West recognize asw witchcraft, the use of spells and incantations performed either individually or with a group and participate is rites and ceremonies. Shamans on the other hand tend to be solitary practitioners, usually only working with a single apprentice if anyone at all.
Also, shaman’s tend to be part of tribal cultures, and often times that culture does not even HAVE a word for shaman. Many times what we refer to as a Shaman is referred to by the particular culture as a witch or soceror or some other practitioner of magic.
When it comes to magic, think of it in levels of depth. A shaman is the base level with very little if any ceremonialism or ritual in his/her craft. They utilize plants and animals and the spirits of these to conduct their work. No doubt early in human history, there was very little difference between witches, shamen, and sorcerers.
However, as time progressed and man evolved and became more educated and enlightened (and wealthy), some found a place for ceremonialism, habit, and ritual.
This culminates with “high magic”, or ceremonial magic which utilize extremely in-depth rituals which can last up to a week. It involves the use of sigils, and elaborate rituals summoning demons or angels or other spirits.
The easiest way to think of it is a shaman uses very basic things for magic. Witches have more elaborate rituals and can draw from many sources. Then ceremonial magicians have extremly elaborate rituals (like the O.D.O.).
I have always thought that the main difference is, you can take the title witch for yourself, but shaman should be bestowed on you by others
I view a Shaman more as a Healer, a Prophet… Not necessarily one that casts spells (in the “traditional” sense)… but a Spiritual advisor. The word “shaman” means “Walker between the Worlds”
A Witch I view as one who uses all forms of magic(k) for different types of results. Witches normally rely on physical things for their focus, such as herbs, candles, crystals/gemstones, etc… to bring about a desired result. Whereas a Shaman doesn’t need to rely on those things with the exception of herbs for Healing, but not in spellwork.
Just my opinion….
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