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People who enter a trance state during a ritual, and practice divination and healing can be called shamans. Sometimes also known tribally as medicine man, kahuna or spirit healer.
The shaman is one who crosses between worlds. ‘Using rhythmic drumming, dance and song the shaman experiences a consciousness-shift which enables the soul journey to what is traditionally known as the Spirit World,’ says Shamanic teacher Jonathan Horwitz. He refers to shamans as ‘stone-age psychotherapists’, and healing, both physical and psychological, is the main intent of the shaman’s work.
One of the most prominent schools of shamanism is the Scandinavian Centre for Shamanic Studies in Denmark, founded by Horwitz in 1986, which holds courses throughout Europe. Its basic course is on ‘The Shaman’s Journey’, fundamental to the shaman’s work; it also teaches courses on Shamanic singing, healing, counselling and helping people who are close to death.
Within the core Shamanic framework song, dance art and craft have been some of the forms used to explore personal creativity, healing and personal development. Shamans also work with ceremony and ritual for both personal and community healing.
Jonathan Horwitz comments:
“As I see it, one of the greatest challenges to the new generation of shamans is to re-establish the contact between human beings and the other inhabitants of the Earth, to network nature, to stop the slaughter of the environment we share, to find out what can be done – spiritually, ritually, and practically with the damage which has already been done, and to learn once again that the Earth will nourish us physically and spiritually if we allow her to do it.”
medicine man
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