1 – What is shamanism?
The word shaman comes from Siberia, and means “ to dance, to leap, to move, to stir “. But depending on the culture, shamans may have different names. In Africa for example, they are called herbalists . “In remote tribes, they are considered medicine men. They heal with the means at hand, with plants, for example, ”explains Jean-Jacques Baudry, from the Circle of Wisdom, an association created to bring together shamans in France. Farmers consult them to make it rain when the land is dry, families before an unborn baby.
Living as ascetics, in symbiosis with nature, away from villages, sometimes even hidden in caves, they pass on their ancestral knowledge orally and choose their successors themselves . Shamans are ecologists before ecology and consider that man is part of nature, just like trees or water. And of course, all have a spirit .
“If he is in relation with the four elements, and with nature, the shaman cannot be on the side of evil, or black magic”
If the phenomenon may seem strange, the president of the Circle of Wisdom specifies that the shaman is “never a guru , and that it is not a sectarian phenomenon. On the contrary, since they live as recluses from society and are very independent”. On the other hand, their practices have a part of magic . “They can relate to the invisible world, and communicate with spirits. They also use magical practices. But not witchcraft. “If he is in relation with the four elements, and with nature, the shaman cannot be on the side of evil, or black magic. In Africa, for example, the people consult an herbalist (a shaman) to heal themselves, and a marabout to take revenge . Everyone has their role. »
But beyond the supernatural, Jean-Jacques Baudry notes that shamanic practices have similarities with other personal development techniques. For example with hypnosis.
2 – A growing craze
How is the current enthusiasm for the phenomenon explained? “The 21st century will be a little more spiritual than the others,” replies Jean-Jacques Baudry. A quest for meaning, of course, but also a return to ecological practices and natural medicines echo it.
But there is another, more strategic reason for the president of the Circle of Wisdom: in some countries, such as Africa or the Amazon, medicine men have been attacked by Western civilizations who want to recover sacred lands. “This is the reason why these shamans, who for a long time did not need to come forward, have needed to express themselves in the media over the past thirty years to explain their situation. So they came to the Western peoples. »
And this is how the French began to discover them. “The festival was launched, in this spirit, 12 years ago, to bring together shamans from different cultures and countries, and listen to their words. Like the Papuan leader, Mundiya Kepanga, who takes his pilgrim’s staff to warn that “humanity is running to its doom”. A environmental alarm call which can only be taken seriously.
3 – Consultations by shamans?
There is no degree or school of shamanism. Yet in France, more and more shamans open consultations . Like Sandra Noirtin, author of a testimonial book (1). The Parisian converted after a series of trips and meetings. Today, she offers consultations, drum treatments with absorption of sacred cocoa, retreats in the Brocéliandre forest.
Without going so far as to comb the feathers, others will prefer to draw tools to apply on a daily basis. For example, the use of white sage, an herb central to many rituals. “It can also contribute to purify a house, or a person, in fumigation. » The shamans reach as far as the thalasso: in the Serge Blanco establishments, janzu sessions in sea water are offered to spa guests, a relaxing therapy from shamanism .
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