WHAT IS SHAMANISM?
Some people are uncertain about Shamanism, so let me share with you some of the facts about Shamanism. Wikipedia cites, "The term "shaman" originally referred to the traditional healers of Turkic-Mongol areas such as Northern Asia (Siberia) and Mongolia; shaman being the Turkic-Tungus word for such a practitioner and meaning "he or she who knows." Other scholars assert that the word comes directly from the Manchu language, and indeed is "the only commonly used English word that is a loan from this language."" Some of this information was taken from the book "The Sacred Ways of Knowledge, Sources of Life", by Peggy V. Beck and Anna L. Walters, 1977. (This is probably the first book written by Native Americans teaching about Native American culture.) It gives the Native American view on Shamanism.
Shamanism is a belief in or knowledge of unseen powers, knowledge that all things in the universe are dependent on each other. Shamanism has slight variations depending on one's culture, but all Shamans share the same basic traits. A Shaman can be of any gender, any color, most any age, any ethnic background, and in any country. Most communities and tribes recognize individuals who are responsible for specialized and sometimes secret knowledge. These individuals help pass on knowledge and sacred practices from generation to generation, storing what they know in their memories. Persons who are responsible for specialized knowledge are most often individuals who live to understand the sacred. Their life and their vocation is devoted to learning about the mysteries of the world and knowing and handling (working with, using) the relationships by which the world operates.
These individuals are born with or develop a special sensitivity to and interest in the elements that make up the sacred. Often, these persons are exposed to greater hardships than most people; personal injury, fright, anxiety, and loneliness. If they succeed in their journey or quest for knowledge and in their work as sacred practitioners, they then have greater responsibilities than most people and are respected for this.