The World of the Shaman is Changing

Norman W Wilson, PhD

Briefly, a shaman is one who engages in altered states of consciousness to access the spirit world. Generally, this engagement is for healing purposes. However, sometimes the engagement is not for benevolent reasons but rather, for malevolent considerations.  Whatever the intent, shamans believe they are a direct intermediary between the human world and the spirit world. This notion embraces the shamanic acceptance of unseen spirits permeating the world. Furthermore, they believe these spirits directly influence human life and destiny.

The word “shaman” originates from the Evenk language (Tungusic) of North Asia and arrived in the west during the 16th Century.  Public image of the shaman has been of an aboriginal person dressed in animal skins and other regalia. That is not necessarily true today.  Blue jeans may very well be the attire of choice.  Clothing is not the only change evolving around shaman and shamanic practices today.

In spite of efforts to bring shamanism into the 21st Century, the traditionalists are experiencing a worldwide revival.  Areas such as Mongolia, Central Asia, Siberia, Europe and the United States are enjoying this revival. Shamanic centers have sprung up in England and the United States.

Shamans generally work as singles; however, one of the significant changes in the shaman’s world is the increase in organizations. These ‘unions’ have established working conditions and fees paid for services.  One such organization, The Golomt Center for Shamanic Studies, (Ulaanbaatar) boosts a membership of over ten thousand. Another organization, the Society for Shamanic Practitioners is located in Colorado.

One shamanic aspect remains steadfast. Shamans strongly feel they exist to serve the community and because they believe the cosmos is a unified whole and that all things are connected, that community may be worldwide.

Certainly, one of the more significant changes is the adaption of the Internet, the creation of websites, and blogs. When combined with advertisements in newspapers, magazines and journals, shamanism emerges as a growing source for spiritual, psychological, and physiological healing.  A source, citing links to shaman in many of the states is


Dr. Wilson is the author of Shamanism What It’s All About, The Shaman’s Quest, The Shaman’s Transformation, The Shaman’s War, The Shaman’s Genesis, and The Shaman’s Revelations.

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