1 Beginning of Chapter one: – – – –
WHAT IS SHAMANISM?
Shamanism is the oldest way in which humanity has sought connection with Creation. The origins of shamanism go back at least 40,000 – 50,000 years to Stone Age times. All of us have evolved from shamanic cultures, shamanism is not imported, it is our roots wherever we live.
Anthropologists have studied shamanism in North, Central and South America, Africa, amongst the aboriginal people of Australasia, the Eskimo and Lapps of the far north, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Senegal, Patagonia, Siberia, Bali, Ancient Britain and across Europe, in Tibet where the path of Bon shamanism underlies Tibetan Buddhism – in places all over the world. I myself have learned from Inca and Shipibo of Peru, Lakota, Cherokee, Pueblo, Hopi and Ojibway of North America, and from apprentices of the Huichols of Mexico. All over the world there is evidence of shamanic practices from as far back as the palaeolithic period. From ancient cave drawings and similar records it seems that all indigenous peoples shared a similar cosmology, a similar understanding of how the Universe works. Today shamanism survives on all inhabited continents in less ‘developed’ regions in spite of the relentless onslaught of Western scientific materialism, the treatment of the Earth and nature as something to be dominated and exploited, and
dogmatic male-dominated religion. Now, as the unsustainable nature of Western civilization is becoming visible, more and more people of the industrial world are turning to the old cultures for help and guidance in finding a way back to a greater balance with nature, with Planet Earth, and with themselves.