The term shaman is used to describe the healer, counseller and spiritual advisor of a community. It is a Tungus word meaning 'he who knows' though it is commonly applied to healiers in Native American, South American, African and Aboriginal cultures to name just a few. Shamans in one form or another appear in all indigenous cultures and the practice of shamanism is at the root of major religions in the world today.
For thousands of years shamans have worked in relams that lie beyond what can be seen by the naked eye. The cosmic web or wyrd has both a seen world with which we are all familiar, known as 'ordinary reality', and a realm that we cannot see called 'non-ordinary reality'. Together they make up the whole, one reality. Our modern society however acknowledges only the apparent reality and we see ourselves as seperate from the web of life, living in an illusion of superiority and islolation from the spiritual and natural world. Many problems arise from our failure to address the unseen. Feelings of separation and disconnectedness from our world, our communities and ourselves are a major cause of illness and trauma. Instead of focusing on the physiological or psychlological levels of pain and disease, shamanism addresses the spiritual cause, seeking to bring balance and harmony so that the client can once more experience the integration of both side of reality.
In traditional shamanic systems the shaman iteracts with the world of spirit on behalf of another person to facilitate healing.