A shaman is a sorcerer or sorcerer: a person who is supposed to have a supernatural power that allows him to contact spirits, cure diseases, predict the future or influence weather conditions, among other issues.
According to DigoPaul, shamans, therefore, can alter reality through mechanisms that do not respond to the logic of nature. Many aboriginal peoples, throughout history, relied on the figure of this type of sorcerer.
In Africa, Asia, Oceania and America this term is used to designate the person who possesses the aforementioned characteristics, especially in societies dedicated to hunting and gathering. It was also used in some prehistoric cultures on the European continent. With regard to hunting, in certain parts of the world it is believed that shamans can perceive the best place to get prey and even modify the factors of the climate to facilitate the task.
With regard to the etymology of the term “shaman” there is more than one interpretation. Some point out that it is a derivative of the noun shaman in the Siberian language called tungu, which can be translated as “he who knows “, and that it is related to the verb “to know”, which in this case would be sha.
However, other scholars believe that the meaning approximates to “work with fire and heat, burn or heat”; In this context, when used in reference to a person it can be understood as “someone capable of transforming energy”, and this leads us to what was expressed in the previous paragraphs. Those who support this interpretation of the word “shaman” believe that it should be translated as “person who knows ecstasy,” since these people are distinguished precisely by ecstatic experiences.
A subject becomes a shaman by inheritance, by divine choice, or through certain initiation rituals. To fulfill their functions in the community, shamans sometimes resort to the use of hallucinogenic substances that alter their state of consciousness.
The system of beliefs and practices linked to shamans is called shamanism. The scope of shamanism varies according to each culture.
Beyond the differences, it can be said that all shamans have the ability to interact with spirits, which can be evil or kind. In his communication and his dealings with these spirits, the shaman can heal those ills caused by evil spirits. The shaman, on the other hand, can go into a trance (by taking hallucinogens or another method) to have visions.
The role of shamans in the communities revolves around the possession of wisdom, a knowledge that transcends time and space and that, as can be deduced from what has been explained so far, is transmitted from generation to generation. In other words, the shaman has access to a plane in which experiences are shared in order to enrich the living with the knowledge acquired in the past, but also so that they can share it among themselves and rise spiritually.
Shamans can communicate with spirits for different purposes, one of which is to repair the mistakes made by members of the communities in which they share their abilities. In this way, they are able to regain harmony between the human being, the material world and their own spiritual world.
In the Western world, there are individuals who call themselves shamans and who carry out practices of shamanism. They present themselves as possessors of special knowledge and powers that allow them to help people. Many times these pseudo-shamans attend clinics and charge for their services as if they were doctors, psychologists or other professionals.