The Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange explains: “Shaman is a word derived from the Tungus word “saman” (one who sees in the dark), the German word “schamane,” and the Russian word“ šamán” (traditional healer). There may also be ties to the Chinese word “shamén” (Buddhist monk) and sanskrit word “srama,” (ascetic, monk, devotee.) The word “shaman” has become a blanket word referring to Indiginous ceremonial leaders, medicine people, and healers. Shamanic belief systems are characterized by common attributes, such as the recognition that all things are connected, and that people can use non-ordinary consciousness to “travel” or commune with the unseen aspects of reality or spirit world in order to gain knowledge, wisdom, and power. In this way, shamanism dates back at least 40,000 years with each Indigenous culture or tribe expressing its own unique and individual cosmology and epistemology.”

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