Shaman’s World, by Paul Ayling

Welcome to the world of the shaman. A place for exploring how the world works and examining how we fit into it.

In indigenous cultures all around the world there has always been a Shaman or Medicine Person. Male or female, these are the people who are brave enough of indeed foolish enough to take on the mantle of healer and sage to the people of the village. A role that comes with its fair share of kudos all the time things are going well and it’s fair share of blame if they were not!

People would bring all of their problems to the Shaman in order to be healed. These could be physical injuries, illness, emotional or relationship troubles, worries or spiritual conundrums. There may even be curses or unwanted spirits to remove from people’s homes or person.

The Shaman was expected to be able to deal with all of these situations and offer advice and guidance to prevent future recurrences of any of the fore mentioned misfortunes. Talking of the future they were also expected to predict forthcoming events so that the village could be prepared for all eventualities. All the time this was going well the Shaman would be feted and well rewarded with gifts and payments that represented the gratitude of those he/she had helped. If things went wrong of course and a crop failed for example the Shaman would often be held accountable, which could lead to ostracisation or even premature death. Hence a path for the foolhardy some would say.

Believe it or not there is still a demand for such people in the modern world. More and more so in fact, with so many people feeling that life somehow is failing them and that surely there must be something more to all of this. Many people also suffer from illnesses and anxieties that modern science just can’t seem to explain or indeed fix. This is where the modern Shaman comes in.
Traditionally the Shaman is known as one who walks between worlds. Working with nature and spirit to find the solutions to the malaise of the twenty first century.

Nature has always been the great provider to indigenous cultures. Supplying food, shelter, clothing, tools and medicine in abundance to everyone. All they had to do in return is nurture and protect it in a reciprocal arrangement, never taking too much and always allowing what remains to flourish. By acting in this way the tribes were able to live in harmony with their surroundings, learning how each plant or animal thrives best, understanding what they need in order to prosper.  Each and every plant, animal, bird or fish becomes a valued friend, part of the greater family that was helped and encouraged to thrive so that the people too could benefit.

It is not possible to live this way without learning a great deal about your environment and having a considerable understanding of you’re place in it. This teaches us to value nature and value ourselves as part of nature. We begin to understand how valuable and important we are and ironically how insignificant we are. Over time comes a sense of contentment that we are what we are supposed to be!
I believe that by reconnecting with nature we can find true happiness again and help to bring about the necessary changes needed for mankind and this planet to prosper together once more.

There is still a place for the Shaman and still a place for the ancient beliefs of the people’s who once inhabited the various climates of this world and lived in harmony with each of them. I hope to explore them here over the coming weeks and months and to explain how the shamanic tradition can help us all come to terms with modern life and maybe even help us to take more pleasure from living it.

About the Author

Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son.