Shamanism? Where can I find out more?

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I’ve always seen things others can’t – spirits, I suppose, although not the dead — more like living spirits. I feel a connection to them, can communicate with them, and have through necessity learned to help people whose spirit is fractured or who have some sort of a spiritual ailment, a spiritual parasite or negative entity. I’ve always been drawn to help people. I channel spirits (again, not the dead), and often, I leave this world for others. I’ve met others like me, but even though I definitely considered myself Pagan, I had a hard time fitting into Wicca – not because of its beliefs, but just because I didn’t quite fit. I had too many experiences that others were unbelieving of or couldn’t explain… I felt like I hadn’t quite found a match for who I am and what I believe, but recently out of curiosity, I started looking up some of the other branches of paganism to see if one of them “fit” better, and when I read about Shamanism, it sounded exactly like me. Like how I’ve always been.
What can I do to learn more about it? And what should be my next step??
Thanks for your help.

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Understand Shamanism is a generic term for thousands of indigenous religions. I say pick one for now, and then find some books on it. Like Native American spirituality, southern European religions, etc.


Michael Harner wrote a book on “core shamanism”
after his field work with the South American tribes.
He later started a non-profit teaching org to train
people in shamanic counseling utilizing the core
One of his staff (Sandra Ingerman) “rediscovered”
the methodology of soul retrieval and founded
her own network
Another good source of contemporary shamanism
is _Shaman’s Drum Magazine_.
Good luck on your research.

Nightwind: Mwa ha ha!

Shamanism is hard to study. As stated above, it’s not a single tradition. It’s also a *highly* experiential practice, as you yourself have described. There’s a lot of wannabe shamans out there who write books and hold seminars on how to become a shaman over a weekend, and its really quite insulting to legitimate shamanic practices. I bring this up not because I think you are looking for a quick answer (quite the opposite, you sound like you already have a good ceoncept of what shamanism is about) but just to warn you to be very scrutinizing of your sources, because there’s a lot of junk out there. (I’m not familiar with the sources recommended above, so I can’t comment on them)

Sirious Spaid

I can relate to your difficulties with feeling isolated in such experiences very well. I have tried to initiate and invite others to participate in conversation with me where we could share our experiences from the sublime to terrifying & even the ridiculous. (& I have had a few ridiculous experiences, which were actually quite laughably enjoyable! ; ) It has also been difficult for me to relate to others on such a level because it seems so many like us are very inhibited against any but the most cursory passing mention of general experience. For many like us, it is a very personal thing–not to be shared with anyone other than the most intimate acquaintances. For many, it may also be a mater of taboo regarding common/secular interaction and avoidance of denaturing the sacred experience by even so much as trying to characterize it in words or ‘graven’ images. (For the same reasons, people of many cultures refuse to have their physical image ‘captured’ by cameras.) There are so many reasons of practicality and conservation of the unexpressed ineffable metaphysical +/mystical experiences of ‘sendings’, ‘remote viewing’, astral-projection, ‘dreamtime’ and all other such visionary+extra-sensory experience.
I once had something of a dreamtime experience in the city where I lived, which was very helpful to me in my isolation and longing to connect with others, which I was spontaneously inspired to call forth, which I don’t at all mind sharing: walking alone at night, I stopped at one of my favorite places to linger in an urban park, and sought to visualize how many others such as me there were within the immediate vicinity of about a quarter mile or more (distance did not matter so much as opening my spatial {right-hemisphere} awareness of my neighborhood & it’s surrounding neighborhoods.) Because I’d had so much experience with just opening my senses and visualization for years, almost immediately I experienced the presence of about a dozen other like-wise/kindred spiritual ‘sensitives’ forming an outward-facing circle, including myself. It was a little hair-raising, but definitely exhilarating and I felt that we all were drawing energy together from each other in our commonality and awareness that we were not alone with our struggles and longing/striving for some communal connection and to impart our desire to be a preserving/constructive influence upon our respective cultures and the world. The feeling of solidarity was amazing and quite invigorating. & then we all strode off in our own directions–though our gathering lasted only less than 3 minutes, I have never forgotten the power and encouraging wonderment of that ‘sending’.
Now having shared that–which I hadn’t even intended to write here until I was just reminded of it–I would say also that it’s been my understanding that many people come to wicca and paganism in general hoping to learn ways of having such extra-sensory experience in the first place, which either they’ve never had (to their recollection) or to reconnect with such suppressed awareness from as far back as earliest childhood. Therefore not everyone–perhaps not even most–practicing such crafts has ever, nor may ever have the ammount of relatively ‘unbidden’ experience you already do! To others that can be either overwhelming or (I’m sorry to say) even a cause of great envy, mistrust and even fearfulness–even despite their intellectual/philosophical/faith-based beliefs. As we all know it’s one thing to imagine being able to ride a bicycle, but quite another to brave learning it–& likewise for many, the younger the ‘student’ the easier such learning practice is likely be. (But of course there are always exceptions. ; )
“Way of the Shaman” by Michael Harner
is one of the best recommendations for a book you could look for.
Widely considered to be THE prototype of quintessential reading on the subject of understanding what it is to be a shaman, generally outlining that path for 10’s of thousands–at very least. Of course over 25 years after it’s first publication, now there are probably a few hundred of similar approach to a wide variety of cultural approaches ranging from the speculative ancient to the highly generally cross-culturally modernized.
But if you want to understand more from a psychological and cross-culturally comparative approach?
I strongly recommend just checking out “The Power of Myth” video interview series with Dr. Joseph Campbell in conversation with Bill Moyers… & take an endlessly fascinating plunge into anything he’s taught and published on the subjects of function of mythology and ritual in terms of the evolution of human consciousness. & you will find even more amazingly specific works on these subjects just beyond Campbell’s scholarship from Dr. Carl Jung & Dr. Marie Louise-VonFranz whom
Campbell personally knew and based so much of his teachings upon. However, the Jungians tend to be dauntingly dense+abstruse at times–not t


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