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Shamanic Traditions

The shaman, as the sole mediator between humanity and the universe
of spirits and omens, originated in the very early stages of human
cultural development. The hunter-gatherer stage of society endured
for hundreds of thousands of years. As societies began to move
towards settled agriculture (this being only about 10,000 years ago)
then the shamans began to differentiate into a developing priesthood.
The hunter-gatherer society is a closely-knit culture, geared towards
the least possible change both within and across generations. This
is a stark contrast to modern society, where the pace of social change

is seemingly outstripping our capacity to assimilate it. As Alvin
Toffler put it, many of us are suffering from future shock. This
naturally poses a problem for anyone seeking to emulate the shaman
in our society. All lines of tradition have been broken, and in the
West, we now have the ability to enter any world-view at will and
imprint its symbolism on our minds. If you work at it long enough,
then the deeper regions of the mind will ‘speak’ to you in terms of
a particular set of symbols. There is a wide range of belief systems
which we can adopt with varying degrees of success, and the criteria
seems to be that you adopt something that fires your imagination to
greater heights. Our idea of spiritual progress has become
synonymous with the idea that as we change ourselves, we change
our society as a whole. This idea is a direct antithesis to that of the
hunter-gatherer, where any changes which threaten the continuity
of tradition are viewed with great suspicion.

Categories:   Paganism and Witchcraft, Shamen and Shamanic Practices