Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. A practitioner of shamanism is known as a shaman ("SHAH-men"or "SHAY-men").
Shamanism encompasses the belief that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment.
The term "shaman" is a loan from the Turkic word šamán, the term for such a practitioner, which also gained currency in the wider Turko-Mongol and Tungusic people|Tungusic cultures in ancient Siberia. Shamanism played an important role in Altaic mythology. Tengriism which was the major belief of Xiongnu, Turkic, Hungarian and Bulgar peoples in ancient times incorporates elements of shamanism.
- This page was originally sourced from Wikipedia. Retrieved June 2010.