Shamanism is one of the worlds oldest (if not the oldest) religions and it’s been around about the same time as us humans. There are many cultural differences in shamanism, but the main things such as honoring the nature and working with it, spiritual work and healing are the same in all the cultures.
Even in these days the shamans are seers, healers, sages and spirit work specialists among their community. If a community has more than one shaman, they usually have their own assets; one is a healer, the other is a sage, third is a specialist in the spiritual work and so on. Todays shamans may not have as large communities as in the old days because of the structure of the world that we live in nowadays. The shamans today live among their family and friends and are as much respected by them as in the good old days.
You just don’t decide to be a shaman. Becoming a shaman needs a calling, it can advance in blood heritage or come in your sleep or in the middle of major change in life. In the old days those who had the calling, usually became the apperentises of the old shamans and this relation lasted till the day the old shaman past away. Todays shamans aren’t usually in this kind of relation anymore as they are autodidact as shamans.
Spiritual work is a big part of shamanism, working between two worlds; the world of living and the world of the dead. Shamans are believed to travel between these two worlds in trance or sleep like state of mind. In the world of the dead the shamans work on behalf of the world of the living and on behalf on the living people.
It’s also believed that shamans can shapeshift in to an animal, a plant or even an inanimate object and therefore they can influence everything. Shamans don’t use their talent in vain, they use their gift only when it’s necessary; in the old days this kind of necessity was to make sure the big hunting would go well.
Most important utensils of shamans are sprite guides, the drum and different kinds of herbs and potions.