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Definitions and Meanings

 within Shamanism's Nomenclature

Definitions within Shamanism and shamanic practices are sometimes very different from the typically accepted Judaeo-Christian (or even Hollywood) concepts.  Please allow me to ask one thing of you, the reader?  Suspend any pre-conceived definitions for the moment, especially those based in religion’s dogma or popular definition. These religion based, definitions are not those of shamanism’s and I will be using these terms based upon their shamanic meanings.

The origin of the description or term, “shaman” is generally attributed to the Tungus tribes-people of what is now Siberia.  Shaman translates [arguably] as, “one who knows”.  In other traditional societies, ‘medicine man’, ‘spirit talker’, ‘clever fella’, ‘witchdoctor’ etc. are all terms that typically describe a set of skills commonly recognised or defined by industrialised society as that of a shaman. 

Anthropologists note evidence of shamanic practices in one form or another in virtually all non-industrialised human cultures from pre-history to today.  Independently developed shamanic practices have been using contextually similar terms to describe phenomena and observations for millennia, arguably far earlier & independent of any organised religion’s definitions. These terms continue to remain in use today despite a significant and confusing overlap with later but far more pervasive, modern religion based nomenclature or definition. 

Term Definition
Three Worlds The Middle, Upper and Lower worlds of the "Middle Kingdom".
Three Kingdoms The analogue non-linear energetic potential, the middle Kingdom of the above three worlds, and non-linear spirit & probability.
Journey A state of altered consciousness - the Shamanic State, where a practitioner may voyage with their mind beyond the physical & linear constraints of the corporeal experience.
Energy Potential which is yet to undergo the process of temporal distillation through Probability's process of resolution.
Spirit The persistent (timeless) energy of persistent observations.  Our thoughts are arguably fixed in non-linear probability to exist outside of linear time (think of Schrodinger's cat for the science folks here).  Think of spirit a little like Probability - the polar opposite of Potential.
Demon A semi-self perpetuating entity formed from spirit and intent.  Demons may be formed by recurrent thoughts (i.e. fear of cancer) or by shaman to aid in healing etc.  When created for healing, the demons are limited by design to fulfil only their intended functions and then dissolve.  Also used negatively by some practitioners (e.g. curses).
Entity A fully self-perpetuating energetic or spiritual entity.  A thought given enough energy and repetition may resolve into an autonomous, independent reality - an entity.
Soul The Energetic, Spiritual and Potential reality of a mind.  We may be talking of a person's individual soul or a wandering soul often thought of as a Poltergeist etc.
Temporal Distillation The process where Probability resolves the myriad possibilities of Potential into a singular time line, always seeking the most enduringly energetic outcome possible.
Elementals Embodiments of things to which personalities have been attributed over time.  Wind, Fire, Earth, Tree (forest), River are all things which have developed spirit over time, as have many others, and are considered elementals.
Gaia The Spirit of the Earth and Her children, the continents.  Energised by the same beliefs and attributions made by peoples present and past for as long as we have thought.



© Craig Berry - 1996 - 2010, All rights reserved - reproduction without written permission prohibited.