Shamanism is an ancient spiritual belief of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples living in Siberia, Central Asia and in the far west part of the Easter Europe. In Mongolia and Siberia, this is also usually called “Tengerism” since it also means “honoring of spirits”.
The practice of shamanism is not a religion, it is actually a method. This practice coexists with a lot of established religions in various cultures. In Siberia, you will find shamanism that coexist with Lamaism and Buddhism, and in the country of Japan, it coexist with Buddhism.
It is true that many shamans are mostly in animistic cultures and animism means that individuals believe that spirits exist. It is also important to remember that Shamanism is neither an exclusionary nor a system of faith.
Shamanism was actually first recognized by the Western observers who are working among different herding societies in northern and central Asia and it’s from the language of one of such societies, Siberia’s Tungus-speaking peoples, where the term “shaman” was derived.
The word is “saman” in the Siberian Tungustic which means “one who is raised, excited and moved,” and it also refers to persons who, during their a state of trance, are visiting the realm of various mystical beings in order to communicate and interact with them, and during the process, obtain mystical power. So, in the original language of Tungus, shaman refers to an individual who is making a journey to the non-ordinary reality.
The primary functions of shaman who are practicing this method, or shamanism are assisting the dead towards the afterworld, who acts as medium between the dead and the living.
They are also determining from the right kind of medicine to heal their patients from those mystical beings. In some regions, Shamanism does not really involve a power to heal or cure a certain illness, but also determine the cause of the disease of malady.
Many people, especially in the present days do not really know what shamanism means. There are a lot of terms such as sorcerer, witch doctor, witch and even wizard that have their own ambiguities, preconceptions and connotations associated with them. Though the term shaman comes from Siberia, the method or the practice of Shamanism has started to exist in various inhabited continents.
Most of the time, Shamans are also referred as “people who know” or seers in their own tribal languages since they are involved in a particular system of knowledge that is based on firsthand experience. It is import ant to note that Shamanism is not really a belief system.