The world of shamanism is an ancient and powerful system of healing that is based in what many refer to as earth medicine. The word “shaman” itself is Tungusic in origin, harking from the ancient religious practices of the Mongols and the Turks in Northern Asia.
There are many who argue that because true shamanism originated in the forests of Siberia and Mongolia, only the native healers from these regions can be referred to as actual “shamans”. But many native healers from the Americas, Africa, and beyond who practice similar methods utilizing altered states of consciousness also refer to themselves as shamans, and we at The Sacred Science don’t mind that one bit.
Fussing over proper terminology when trying to describe something so universally relevant seems to miss the point and complicate what would otherwise be fairly straightforward communication. Words are very tricky things that have the power to either free or enslave the speaker, depending on how much weight is put into their value.
Our definition of “shaman” is as follows (and does not discriminate based on geographic location or tribal origin): A shaman is a benevolent individual who uses altered states of consciousness, whether induced by drum, sacred plant medicine, or any other environmental variable, to connect with the spirit world in order to heal the sick.
Many striking similarities can be found in the magico-religious practices of various native cultures across the 6 habitable continents of this earth. It boggles the mind that medicine men and women from tribes in different corners of the world could know the same healing rites and methods of tapping into the essence of who we truly are as human beings. How could this be?
It is often referred to as “a lineage of direct transmission”, because this school of knowledge is passed down word-of-mouth from generation to generation, without any written account. In their teaching, a shaman shows his or her apprentice not only the ceremonial practices and medicinal herbs, but also demonstrates through their actions how to be in this world.
Throughout the course of creating The Sacred Science film and also this blog community, we have grown to know and deeply respect these men and women. But they do not share their knowledge lightly. Centuries of oppression as well as the exploitation of their native traditions have all but wiped out many of these lineages. Most of the true wisdom keepers who remain have learned to keep their ancestral knowledge safe, sharing it only with a select few that they trust.