Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition and moreover, a way of life. It is a way to connect with nature and all of creation. For many, when they hear the word ‘shaman’, they envision a masked tribal person dancing around a fire in the dark of night, involved in some sort of ritual. All true shamans are able to achieve expanded states of awareness in which they can direct the focus of their consciousness away from our everyday physical reality and into the inner worlds of the dreamtime while very much awake.
Over the past few decades the term “shamanism” has been popularized throughout the western world, especially in new-age circles. Today, it can be difficult to distinguish between traditional forms of shamanism and modernized, often esoteric practices that utilize the term. There are many books written on Shamanism; each is a portal into a world that can radically change your life. Here are a few from Inner Traditions.
The Norse Shaman
Shamanism is humanity’s oldest spiritual tradition. In much of the Western world, the indigenous pre-Christian spiritual practices have been lost. Yet at the northern fringes of Europe, Christianity did not displace the original shamanic practices until the end of the Viking age. Remnants of Norse shamanic spirituality have survived in myths, folk traditions, and written records from Iceland, providing many clues about the ancient European shaman’s world, especially when examined in conjunction with other shamanic cultures in northern Eurasia, such as the Sami and the tribes of Siberia.
Reconstructing the shamanic practices of the hunter-gatherers of Scandinavia, Evelyn Rysdyk explores the evolution of Norse shamanism from its earliest female roots to the pre-Christian Viking Age. She explains how to enter Yggdrasil, the World Tree, to travel to other realms and provides shamanic journeys to connect with the ancestral shamans of your family tree, including the Norse goddess Freyja, the very first shaman. She offers exercises to connect with the ancient goddesses of fate, the Norns, and introduces the overnight wilderness quest of útiseta for reconnecting with the powers of nature. She explains the key concepts of Ørlög and Wyrd–the two most powerful forces that shape human lives–and provides exercises for letting go of harmful behavior patterns and transforming simple knowledge into profound wisdom by connecting with Óðinn.
Thoroughly examining the shamanic rituals of seiðr, the oracular magic of the Nordic cultures, the author provides step-by-step instructions to prepare for and conduct a seiðr ceremony, including creating your own seiðr staff and hood, and explores the ancestral use of shamanic songs or varðlokur to accompany the ceremony. Woven throughout these exercises, Rysdyk provides archaeological evidence from Neolithic sites supporting the long tradition of venerating wise women, grandmothers, and mothers in ancient cultures and the important role of female shamans at the heart of northern European shamanism. Providing an accessible guide for anyone trying to fulfill their shamanic callings, these powerful rituals can provide personal healing and a clear path for finding our way into a harmonious relationship with the natural world.
Power Animal Meditations
What can the hawk teach you about your life purpose? What does the salmon know of fertile dreams, goal setting, and self actualization? Calling upon the magical wisdom of nature, Nicki Scully guides us into the spirit world of sacred totems, oracles, and animal teachings from many cultures, including Africa, Egypt, and North America. Encounter the archetypal wisdom teachings of Cobra, Eagle, Dolphin, Lioness, White Buffalo, Coyote, Cedar Tree, and many others. Each totem is exquisitely illustrated by Angela Werneke, the award-winning illustrator of Medicine Cards.