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Shamanism For exploration of the techniques and insights of various forms of shamanism

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Old 06-30-11   #11
RoseRed
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Default Re: 11 Commonalities of Shamanism

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Given the fact that these groups have already been almost physically wiped out, I am not going to be an accessory to the confiscation of whatever little they have left.
but the term wasn't theirs to begin with.
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Old 03-26-13   #12
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The word "shamanism" is NOT native american, therefore Native American do not own the word or have the monopoly over it. The word comes from Siberia in Russia and it was applied by some guy (don't remember the name) who did research all over the word and found similar practices and beliefs everywhere in the world, from Europe to Africa, Australia to America, and decided to use the word "shamanism" for these similarities. Considering how much was lost when Christianity took over, one cannot say Europeans did not have these practices and beliefs as well, since shamanism has been present everywhere in the word for millenniums. One could say per example that the The Voyage of Bran could be shamanic.
Your absolutely correct, Indians call such practitioners by names and titles like Quiokosuk in the language of my wife's people. Many other names used by just as many tribes and bands.

Now a term used to generalize and label it all, shamanism is animism in practice.

Animism, the original spirituality of humankind.

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Old 03-26-13   #13
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Default Re: 11 Commonalities of Shamanism

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Animism, the original spirituality of humankind.

Indeed, and still I think, the most relevant.
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Old 03-27-13   #14
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The word "shamanism" is NOT native american, therefore Native American do not own the word or have the monopoly over it.
And the same for the most part holds true with 'Great Spirit'

Before European colonization and the introduction of Christianity most native tribes were more keenly aware of the many spirits that affected human lives. Of these spirits some are known to be helpful, some harmful while others tend to be both or neither. Some were local and shared locations with humans and others remained and moved with a tribe or band where ever they went. Some were more powerful than others and highly regarded, but all kept everything in balance. It wasn't until European Christians began spending a little time amongst the natives did the erroneous notice come about that all the different tribes and bands worship a supreme male deity known as the great spirit. This erroneous assumption was conceived no doubt by the Europeanís zealotry and lack of understanding of native culture and spiritual beliefs. What little could be translated due to vast differences in language was often misinterpreted. This concept of a supreme great spirit was utilized by missionaries in the conversion of native people into their monotheistic religion. This produced mixed results as many natives were completely converted to Christianity. Many others blended Christianity into their old beliefs and rituals, some even today convinced this great spirit and the Christian god are the same. Others who resisted conversion early on during colonial times were usually deemed hostile devil worshipers and then set upon by the European Christians. Many today still holding on to traditional beliefs are still deemed hostile devil worshipers by others.

Small wonder NDNS as well as other traditional indigenous people are suspicious of anyone suggesting they blend in foreign beliefs with those they have for so long held on to.
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Old 03-27-13   #15
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Originally Posted by Atehequa View Post
And the same for the most part holds true with 'Great Spirit'. ..
Great Spirit seems to be one of those words that was lifted from the borrowing from the Lakota / Dakota / Uglala peoples, I think Teton also goes into that group. As such, especially in modern paganism - new age aspects it has assumed a belief to be a universal truth for all the Nations. Of course that also ties into the notion of a universal Native American pantheon of gods / goddesses which does not exist.

I know I use it occasionally to represent the "Great Unknowable" but try to avoid it due to the other "Great God" aspect that has become tied to it. More often than not i'll use Gitchi Manitou or Manitou though even those I know I use wrongly as I see one as great Spirit or unknowable and one as little or minor spirits.

The bad part in my opinion though is that the use of certain words such as Shaman to describe certain things in a universal meaning was prevalent in early sociology. Today however in most academic circles it is frowned upon. Yet in the modern pagan movements its some what ignored in favor of buzz words vice actual word usage and meaning.

Have to admit though that some words I've been told it's better to use a misconception vice giving power to the actual word. One of those words is Skin-Walker vice what ever each nation used for those dark practitioners that are generally indicated by the word.
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Old 03-27-13   #16
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Default Re: 11 Commonalities of Shamanism

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Originally Posted by MonSno_LeeDra View Post
Great Spirit seems to be one of those words that was lifted from the borrowing from the Lakota / Dakota / Uglala peoples, I think Teton also goes into that group.
Greetings MonSno_LeeDra

If I'm not mistaken early American writers like James Fenimore Cooper was using the name 'Great Spirit' in his Leather Stocking Tales written in the early to mid 1820s a time when very little was known or written of the Dakota-Lakota-Nakota people.
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Old 03-27-13   #17
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Originally Posted by Atehequa View Post
Greetings MonSno_LeeDra

If I'm not mistaken early American writers like James Fenimore Cooper was using the name 'Great Spirit' in his Leather Stocking Tales written in the early to mid 1820s a time when very little was known or written of the Dakota-Lakota-Nakota people.
I know he used it in The Deerslayer but it's been so long since I read those that I had to do a quick check. Yet for the pagan and new age movements it seems to be originated to the Plains Nations, especially the Sioux. When you start digging into customs and meanings it seems the Lakota (all of the Sioux nations but especially the Lakota) and the Tsalagi (Cherokee) are the two that have been exploited the most.

I do find it interesting that some of the terminology has passed into regional usage in many parts of the Appalachain mountain chain and other back areas. It's sort of like the usage of "Old Man ______" to describe a mountain or river or even a generic usage to speak to an unknown that was used in the Blue Ridge. Yet some equate that to the Blackfoot nation from what I understand.

I do find it interesting that many will use Great Spirit but then ask what or who Wankan Tanka is.

I suppose what makes it so difficult is that literature has influenced many things but it also seems so generational. Word usage and cultural connections don't get passed down and when it is re-discovered it has changed. I once spoke to a person who was positive that Great Spirit was associated to the Plains Nations as Hollywood and the media in general portrayed that concept. Of course that same influence has painted a cultural image of what we expect a Native American to appear as with that image also being a very typical notion of a Plains Nation with loin cloths and such.

I knew a woman of Piute ancestry who attended a meeting and was very surprised when a few member's of some Eastern Nations where asked to leave because they wore their traditional dress which didn't match the "Expected" or assumed traditional dress.

I personally tend to think that disconnect between generations and the media / Hollywood influence is one of the major under-miners of how we define the terms "Shamanism", "Shaman" and "Shamanic" and try to fit things into them with the notion of them being similar. Well that and a poor equation of scholary methods and idea's from one generation to another without the influence of the changes in the academic world from which they are drawn.

Last edited by MonSno_LeeDra; 03-27-13 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 03-28-13   #18
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Default Re: 11 Commonalities of Shamanism

Back during earlier times and up into the now here on this continent those falling under the generic shaman title would be more versed in protection, healing and most definitely a clear understanding of and appreciated assistance so given by the spirits associated with not only spirits of the hunt, but of game animals as well. This cannot be possible without reverence and clarity as far as communications are concerned.

Through such a practitioner or by means of his own doings, a hunter should also make amends to all the souls of animals he has ever killed or unfortunately wounded.

I'm more familiar with the eastern Algonquian people, some further up north who were mostly hunter-gatherers and those south of them who hunted, gathered and relied also upon agriculture. Some of the most southeasterly where the growing season is longer having entire sacred villages inhabited by a primitive priesthoods like at Uttamussak beside the Pamunkey River. A rather warlike people living in several large villages with extensive agriculture, I guess one 'medicine man' was not enough for the Pamunkey people.
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Old 03-28-13   #19
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Default Re: 11 Commonalities of Shamanism

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Originally Posted by Atehequa View Post
Back during earlier times and up into the now here on this continent those falling under the generic shaman title would be more versed in protection, healing and most definitely a clear understanding of and appreciated assistance so given by the spirits associated with not only spirits of the hunt, but of game animals as well. This cannot be possible without reverence and clarity as far as communications are concerned.
I think that points out one factor which seems lost today, that being that shamanic practices are more than just healing in a human medical context. Yet also the fact that there where many "Others" in the various nation and tribes that where seen as "Medicine People" but they directed their abilities at other things though often working in conjunction with others.

It really does touch upon the notion that not all shamanic practitioners in a nation had the same capabilities. It's like ones allies might be animal for those who cared for the herds and the hunt, yet the allies of the healer might all be from the green people.

I know for myself i've sat and spoke to some people about things and they tell me I was not born for certain things so can't speak to them or hear them clearly. Then it's like I am listening to a story and can only understand a few words but the communication is there. Used to drive me nuts that I could see things or people and others couldn't but they saw things or heard things I didn't. Then trying to explain it to them was extremely difficult. Sorry off topic there.


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Through such a practitioner or by means of his own doings, a hunter should also make amends to all the souls of animals he has ever killed or unfortunately wounded.
It's perhaps incorrect on my part but I think this is also reflective of the loss of many male mysteries. Today many aspects are more feminized with the loss the the masculine aspects that balanced things in nature.

In a lot of ways we have become separated from nature in our connections to it. I know for myself what I saw in my elders and how they recognized and made amends is seen almost as wrong today. It's like hunting they didn't appologize by saying they were sorry or such but acknowledged the spirit and land for what it provided and thanked it via song, dance and re-enactment of the spirit of what they took and its place. Sorry sort of difficult to place into words


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I'm more familiar with the eastern Algonquian people, some further up north who were mostly hunter-gatherers and those south of them who hunted, gathered and relied also upon agriculture. Some of the most southeasterly where the growing season is longer having entire sacred villages inhabited by a primitive priesthoods like at Uttamussak beside the Pamunkey River. A rather warlike people living in several large villages with extensive agriculture, I guess one 'medicine man' was not enough for the Pamunkey people.
I truly wish I had better knowledge and connection unfortunately that was not to be. I've spoken to both my peers and some elders but it's difficult to gain both a sense of trust on their part and a sense of acceptance when your not able to become part of them. I suppose in many ways it's the fishbowl analogy where we look in but your never really part of the fishbowl so the subtle currents are missed or mistaken in what they are conveying.

I know that in a number of nations the "Medicine People" might actually be a sub set or clan within the grouping. So you could have a person who is primarily accountable for the crops and fertility and fecundity of the place plus overseeing the training of others in that craft. One that is responsible for educating and overseeing those who act as healers and the various levels of skill. Still another set that is part of the warrior clans or such that works strictly from that aspect of nation or tribal life. Then all of them part of the larger nation but placed within the smaller tribes or clans.

Sometimes the lines very strict between them, other times with a person holding multiple roles. None of that really touching upon the separation of roles between men and women and who does what.
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Old 07-25-14   #20
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Default Re: 11 Commonalities of Shamanism

Can't argue over words and their orgins. It is all the same world wide. On the internet use of common words are best, so people can understand you. When with your own people, use your own language and words, to say "Shaman".
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