Interesting facts about shamanism from HubPages
1. Shamanism is the oldest and most widespread method of healing. There is archaeological evidence suggesting that the techniques of the shaman are at least 20,000 years old, with vivid evidence of their antiquity in the cave paintings in the south of France. In Les Trois Freres cave, there is a mysterious, partly carved, partly painted deerlike creature thought to represent a shaman.
Carvings on reindeer bones from the Paleolithic period showing the shaman garbed in an animal mask were found in Pin Hole Cave in England. Another reindeer bone carving of enormous interest shows — a pregnant woman lying underneath a deer, presumably to garner strength for her ordeal. (The highly prevalent deer motif as healing spirit will be discussed in other contexts in this chapter.)
2. The practices of shamans are remarkably similar in Asia, Australia, Africa, the Americas (South, Central, and North), and even in Europe. This is the case despite there being essentially cultural exchange across the oceans.
Why would these practices be passed down for 20,000 some odd years, when other aspects of the various social systems are in great contrast? Since the only consistency amongst these greatly varied social systems is the practice of Shamanism, it is evidence that shamanism works, and, through trial and error, the same techniques for healing were adopted by diverse populations. Cultural perspectives of the shaman need not be shared in order for shamanism to be effective.
Is it not possible that because shamanic practices involve a state of altered consciousness, this ancient way somehow was learned and communicated via the psychic, etheric realms? In other words, it can be argued that these practices are divinely inspired. As a result, many forms of alternative health, especially those involving energy healing, stem from shamanism.
3. Shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the natural world and spirit worlds. They treat ailments and illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul and spirit enables the physical body to undergo balance and wholeness. The creation of balance results in the elimination of the ailment, thus restored health for the human body
4. Shamans can be male or female.
5. In many cultures, heredity played little part in determining the shaman of the tribe. There were some, however, in the northeast part of the Maidu country (in California) all of a shaman’s children were obliged to take up his profession or the spirits would kill them.
6. There was a certain naturopathy philosophy when a shaman was called to help heal. The shaman may have had knowledge and function in several healing roles. It would be unthinkable, however, to go to a bone setter who was not also a shaman to ask how to live a life, or for an interpretation of the meaning of a disease in a cultural context. The distinction between mechanical, technological medicine and shamanic medicine seems to have been clear until recent times, with the former having always had a significant role in relieving the torment of physical suffering.