Welcome to Shaman Tracks ... Walking in the Footsteps of the Shaman!
We hope this site helps you to begin or continue your walk on the Path of the Shaman. It is in the pursuit of the worldview of the shaman, an understanding of the relatedness of all things, that we can transform our world and ourselves. We are blessed to be living in interesting times, and building new relationships with Power - energy + intelligence + love + ethics - can help us to navigate the turbulent seas.
Happy Trails, Dana & Shana Robinson
New Movie from the Foundation for Shamanic Studies!
The Way of the Shaman: The Work of Michael and Sandra Harner
What is a shaman?
The shaman is someone who, utilizing an altered state of consciousness often achieved through drumming, voyages spiritually into the realms of non-ordinary reality (the Lower, Middle and Upper Worlds) for various reasons such as healing or acquiring knowledge, and often gets dramatic results. The word shaman comes from the Tungus people and translated means he or she who knows.
In the past, the spiritual journey to the other realms has been the defining aspect of the shaman. However, there are many traditional practitioners who achieve results without using the journey to other realms to engage spiritual help. Sometimes, the "help" comes to them. Thus, Michael Harner has recently expanded his working definition of the shaman in his most recent book Cave and Cosmos. Presently, the shaman according to Harner is one who "engages in purposeful two-way interaction with spirits."
What is it that the shaman knows?
The shaman knows the way to these worlds, that the spirits are real, and that extra-ordinary help is readily available. The shaman knows the territories of death.
Why does the shaman voyage spiritually?
The shaman’s voyage is called a journey. The shaman journeys for many reasons such as meeting Power and bringing it back to ordinary reality in the form of knowledge and healing for him or herself and the community; retrieving the wandering soul of a patient; helping the suffering spirits of the dead; and exploring the infinite worlds of spirit.
What else does the shaman do?
A shaman understands that everything that is, is alive; that everything is imbued with consciousness and can communicate. And so, the shaman will talk to the plants, animals, rocks, clouds, to anything, really. The shaman reads the signs of nature and performs other various types of divination. In promoting healing, the shaman puts something into a patient, such as spiritual power, or takes something out of a person, such as a disharmonious spirit. The shaman may engage in depossession, locate lost objects, provide a voice for the spirits, or bring back the old ways from the ancestors. The shaman may help the spirit of a deceased human to leave this world-psychopomp work. In short, the shaman is the ultimate spirit worker.
How does one become a shaman?
One can embark on the unfolding path to becoming a shaman in many ways: inheritance, apprenticeship, a calling, an initiatory illness, appointment by the spirits. We know that through study and practice, modern people can employ the simple and time-tested techniques of the shaman to make a significant difference in the world.
Some would say that no one in their right mind would call themselves a shaman. Instead, they leave that naming to those they attempt to help. Grandfather Duvan, who was a 94-year old Ulchi shaman when I met him, said that he was not a shaman but only a man asking the spirits for help.
Why walk in the footsteps of the shaman?
Some have a spiritual hunger, others yearn to help, and others want to enhance their existent healing practices. As Joseph Campbell has said, “We are in a free fall into the future without any
guides.” When we practice shamanism, we connect with unlimited guidance.