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In a nutshell...

Shamanism is the path of direct revelation and is the oldest spiritual practice in the world. In shamanism, a shaman enters a trance state with the help of a drum, rattle or song in order to access another state of consciousness where s/he will meet with "Helping Spirits" in order to bring back information, guidance and healing for the person requesting assistance. The role of the shaman is to restore balance to the spirit of a person or place. The work is done with compassion, kindness and non-judgment.

For a detailed explanation of what shamanism is, and isn't, an excellent resource is Sacred Hoop Magazine, published by Nicholas Breeze Wood. Special thanks to Nick who created this free issue for people to share worldwide. Here is the link: http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html