I Festival Of Shamanism & Ancestral Traditions
„Message From Mother Earth. From Ancient Wisdom To New Consciousness.”
On 2 – 7 July 2024
"Here And Now" Center Poland
Shamanism is one of the oldest spiritual and healing traditions of humanity that were present on Earth. Its roots go back to the beginnings of humanity and lie at the heart of every known culture. It is not philosophy or religion, but practical techniques, methods and beliefs, based on the ability to use the laws of Nature and Cosmos.
Shamanism itself occurred mainly in the tribal communities of Siberia and Central Asia, for which it was a fundamental factor of life. But elements of shamanism were and still are present on all continents of the world, as are the basic beliefs: the existence of two realities (visible earthly and invisible spiritual), similar cosmogony and belief in the Three Worlds: Lower, Middle – earthly and Upper, and the idea of the Cosmic Tree , which connects these three worlds.
The word shaman means “the one who knows”, comes from the root sa – “to know” and comes from the language of the East Siberian Evenki. But a shaman is also “the one who searches in the dark.” Shamans are healers, priests, visionaries in communication with the world of gods and spirits. These are the predecessors of modern doctors, psychotherapists, psychiatrists and ecologists.
Shamanic traditions share a belief in the existence of spirits and a spiritual world from which knowledge, power and healing come. And also the belief that everything that exists has a soul or spirit. The basic assumption of shamanism is the existence of the world of spirits, and a shaman is a person who can enter this world and cooperate with invisible powers. For centuries, shamans have been maintaining harmony between the real and the spiritual world, between man and nature, healing, reading the future, and mediating relationships between people and spirits. They are a bridge between the earthly world and the invisible world, they mediate between the world of spirits and the everyday life of ordinary people.
According to shamans, everything that exists in nature is animate and has a soul. Minerals, plants, animals, rivers and even the entire universe have their own spirit or soul. Everything that lives is filled with energy and is connected to each other. We are connected with energy to everything around us, not only with people, but also with all of Nature, which creates the Circle of Life. Shamanism teaches that everything is connected via an invisible energy network, everyone influences others, the surrounding world, other people, Nature and the Elements. No one is separated. We live in a network of energetic, spiritual, social and mystical connections. Our every smallest move, every thought and decision introduces vibrations into this network, a new vibration. The natural landscape is Mother Earth and the Nature is sacred. Shamans can perceive and use the energy of stones, plants, mountains, rivers and animals in their practice. They assume the constant presence of the spiritual world in all manifestations of Nature.
Shamanism is also the memory of our ancestors, roots, tradition and culture. Respect for the past and those who lived before us. Using the ancient wisdom, knowledge and rituals of our ancestors. Appreciation of indigenous tribal traditions and cultures, that has largely been lost.
Shamanism assumes that the universe consists of three cosmic spheres, connected by a central axis. There is a tripartite division of the world – into the Underworld, the Middle World and the Sky World, and the concept of axis mundi/world axis and the Tree of Life, which shamans climb and descend on their journeys into other dimensions. The concept of the four cardinal directions and the four elements is equally important.
The most important shamanic practice is the "shamanic magical journey" into the Spirit World, the passage from one cosmic region to another. During such a journey, the shaman can heal, summon the Power, search for lost or missing souls, and escort the souls of the deceased to their resting place.
Shamans travel to the Spiritual Worlds to ask for help and healing for people. They achieve this by entering altered states of consciousness, trance and ecstatic states.
The shaman enters a trance most often through rhythmic drumming (drums, rattles), monotonous singing and the consumption of "vision plants" / hallucinogenic plants.
During the ritual, the shaman partially loses consciousness, while his soul wanders freely in the Spirit World, using the help of a favourable Helper/Guardian Spirit. It can also be the spirit of an animal/ Power Animal, or the spirit of the sun, a tree, or a lake.
One of the most famous shamanic rituals involving the use of hallucinogenic substances is the ceremony of drinking a decoction called ayahuasca from South America. In other shamanic cultures, various plants or mushrooms containing psychoactive compounds are used, e.g. red-and-white spotted toadstool amanita muscaria among Siberian shamans; tobacco among North American Indians.
The shamanic drum is the primary tool of the shamanic journey and is often called the “shaman's boat” or “shaman's mount.” The shaman does not play the drum – the shaman awakens the spirit of the drum... Monotonous beating of the drum at a rhythm of about 200-220 beats per minute induces a deep meditative state, altered states of consciousness and trance.
SHAMAN AS A HEALER
A shaman is a healer of body and soul. For him, illness is a signal from the soul that an internal transformation is needed, that a person does not live in harmony with his or her desires, purpose and longing of the soul. It helps restore energy in the body and soul and directs its flow. It helps to rebuild balance and harmony in a person, a sense of deep connection with oneself, with the community and the visible and invisible world, as well as with spirituality. It also accompanies crossing the Transition Thresholds – i.e. the transition from one important life stage to the next (birth, maturation, initiations, death). The shaman can heal by removing inappropriate energies or by restoring energies that have been lost. Sometimes it helps restore lost parts of the soul (which is a condition that usually manifests itself in mental illness and depression).
SHAMANISM – CONNECTION WITH NATURE
Shamanism restores what is eternal, primal and natural. Because nowadays we have lost contact with Nature, the Elements and our Planet – shamanism restores our respect for Mother Earth. It restores our original connection with the forces of Nature, with the Elements: fire, water, earth, air/wind. It reminds us that it is time to return to our roots, to Nature, to the forest, to what civilization and cities have cut us off from.
Shamanism, through contact with nature, restores our deep connection with the cycles of Nature, the seasons, the eternal cycles of life and death. And by doing so, it restores our internal balance and harmony and helps us find our place in the Universe. It teaches presence, mindfulness, what is here and now – the breeze on your face, the sound of raindrops, the rustle of leaves, the warmth of a fire...
In all shamanic traditions, care for nature has always been a very important message. And the closest one that surrounds us, and the one understood very widely – as taking care of our entire Planet, Earth, Water, Air, Animals and Plants.