Who is a Shaman?

As the editor of this website and the events coordinator of the Traveling Shamans  I recognize the problems inherent in using the Mongolian word - Shaman - both in our title and on this website.

However, I submit that English is a living language, and as such, words will tend to enter the language when no Engllsh word works as well. I believe that Shaman is the best word to describe the humans who consistently journey between worlds searching for answers and experiences. Our use of this word does not indicate the specific techniques used by each practitioner. I also believe that the nature of shamanism is such that words in any language will be inadequate. Much is transmitted at a non-verbal level.

This page is a collection of links to articles that we hope will provide a cross section of thoughts on the use of the term Shaman from across the web and the world - although I posted these excerpts here, I am not the author.   When you click on READ MORE you will be taken to the original post.

I invite you to become informed about issues of cultural appropriation. At the same time I would ask that you recognize that shamanic experiences are universal to humans and across cultures. By limiting ourselves to the vocabulary of the dominant culture we limit how we are allowed to express our experiences to others. Keeping these pardoxes in mind I would invite your comments on the subject in the right-hand column. Warmly, Julia

All Posts (5)

Seven Questions for Would-Be Shamans

These days, the term “shaman” seems to be quite trendy, and I’m seeing more and more white, new-age folks calling themselves a “shaman” just because they use a drum sometimes, or they like crystals, or they went to a weekend class at a “shaman school”. I even had an acquaintance on Facebook recently post, “Do you think I’m a shaman?”, and wanted his friends to like and post their answers. Let me be clear: if any of this applies to you, you are definitely not a shaman.…

Read more…

“In the mythic tradition, both artists and shamans walk perilously close to the realm of madness; indeed, in some cases, their gifts specifically come from journeying into madness, or Faerie, or the Realm of the Gods and then back again.” 

Read More: The Artist as Shaman by Briana Saussy 


 As an artist, and shamanic practitioner, I have been interested in the healing powers of art for some time now. Growing up as an artist, I had no idea of the power of art, I just loved to create and replicate. As time has passed and I have grown older I have experienced art as a doorway to healing, and awakening consciousness. And as I stepped onto the shamanic pathway, I began to see how shamanic cultures throughout time have understood the deep healing power of art, and its capacity to express the wisdom of the soul, as well as bring healing to the mind, body and spirit.


The Role of Art in Shamanism By Visionary Artist and Shamanic Practitioner Katherine Skaggs


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