Shamanism is a spiritual or mystical practice that is characterized by the use of altered states of consciousness and contact with other worlds and spirit beings, Gods and ancestors to gather information and/or bring about a result in our physical world.
The word Shamanism originates from the Northern Eurasian Tungusic language group (Siberia, Mongolia, China) and was appropriated by Anthropologists to describe religious practices around the world that are superficially similar to those practiced by the ethnic speakers of these languages.
These practices are characterized by the designation of an individual (the Shaman) to act as an intermediary between the spirit world and the world of humans who would enter a trance state to communicate with the spirits (Gods, ancestors, nature spirits, others) for the purposes of divination, healing or to gain their assistance in bringing harm to enemies. In some traditions, a Shaman can communicate with the spirit of a living, physical person directly in order to identify and heal the cause of an ailment.
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