The history of shamanism is rooted in the belief that everything in the universe, including humans, animals, and plants, has a spirit or energy that can be communicated with. Shamans are believed to have the ability to enter altered states of consciousness and communicate with these spirits in order to gain knowledge, healing, or guidance.
Shamanic practices vary from culture to culture, but they often involve the use of drumming, chanting, and dance to induce altered states of consciousness. Once in a trance-like state, the shaman may use various tools, such as rattles, feathers, and crystals, to communicate with the spirits and perform healing or divination.
Shamanism has had a significant influence on modern occultism, particularly in the development of neo-shamanism. Neo-shamanism is a modern interpretation of shamanic practices that combines elements of traditional shamanism with contemporary spirituality.
In the 20th century, a number of Westerners began to explore shamanic practices through anthropological research and personal experiences. This led to the development of neo-shamanism, which incorporates elements of indigenous shamanism with Western spiritual practices, such as meditation and yoga.
Neo-shamanism has become popular in Western culture and has influenced the development of modern occultism. Many practitioners of modern occultism, such as Wiccans, Pagans, and New Age spiritualists, incorporate shamanic practices into their rituals and belief systems.
For example, some modern Wiccan traditions incorporate the concept of the shamanic journey, where practitioners enter a trance-like state and communicate with spirit guides or totems for guidance and healing. Some New Age spiritualists use shamanic practices, such as smudging with sage or Palo Santo, to cleanse and purify their energy fields.
In conclusion, shamanism is an ancient spiritual practice that has had a profound influence on modern occultism. Its emphasis on the connection between humans, nature, and the spirit world has inspired many practitioners of contemporary spirituality to incorporate shamanic practices into their rituals and belief systems. While the specific practices and beliefs of shamanism may vary from culture to culture, the underlying principle of communicating with the spirit world for healing, guidance, and wisdom remains a fundamental aspect of this ancient practice.