Core Shamanism

Shamanism is an ancient practice, each and everyone of us have ancestors who at one point or another practiced or lived in this ancient practice. Shamanism is the practice by which practitioners are able to engage with the unseen worlds (or Spirit World) and commune with helping spirits. Contemporary shamanism is essentially modern forms of shamanism practiced in the Western world. There exists a great number of old and new practices but I personally practice core shamanism.

Core Shamanism was founded by Michael Harner, and it is to him many modern shamanic practitioners owe a great debt to as core shamanism is often the foundation for most contemporary and Neoshamanic practices today. Core Shamanism is essentially spiritual practices and methods which consists of the universal, or near-universal, features and practices of shamanism throughout the world. They are not taken from one given culture, instead in it’s creation Michael Harner looked for common elements or the universal (or near universal) features employed in shamanism and integrated these aspects into what we now refer to now as core shamanism. These features include aspects of journeying to the unseen world, the use of percussion instruments such as drumming and rattling, plant medicine and stone medicine, shamanic healing and so on.

Core Shamanism is not bound to any specific cultural group or perspective, but in my personal experience it is often framed through a Western lens and perspective. It discourages the practice of cultural appropriation and theft, as the practitioners of core shamanism do not seek to imitate a given culture. Thus, core shamanism does not teach content, it teaches methods. It is the responsibility of its practitioners to engage and utilize these methods to broaden and deepen their shamanism. This makes core shamanism a highly personal practice and system as well.

Much of the training of core shamanism revolves around teaching students to alter their consciousness through classical shamanic methods without the use of drugs (entheogens), accessing our hidden spiritual resources, transforming our lives and learning to help others.

What core shamanism does incredibly well is provide a skeleton by which we as shamanic practitioners are able to fill the bones with substance and meat. It is a highly individualistic path that requires hard work and dedication to truly reap the benefits.