Modern Day Shamanism is often referred to as either modern or New Age Shamanism by more loosely informed people, while studiers of religion have begun to refer to this new age movement as Neo-Shamanism. This has become such a widely recognized term that encyclopedic references to Modern Shamanism are referred to as Neo-Shamanism.
Neo Shamanism has numerous defining points and basic philosophies coupled with several widely recognized practices and some more obscure ones. This article is going to discuss five Modern Day Shamanism philosophies in brief and discuss five New Age Shamanism practices.
Basic Aspects and Philosophies of New Age Shamanism
1. New Age Shamanism is just that, new. As In any religious group or belief system, there are members who practiced Shamanism before the Modern Day movement and who disregard much of the New Age.
2. Neo-Shamanism seeks to break back many ancient practices that were seemingly taken over by the Christian church. This aspect of Shamanism has a good bit of validity, as there are even sects of the Christian church that believe Easter, Christmas, and many other Christian holidays were takeovers of pagan festivals.
3. Modern Shamanism does not seek to intimidate followers as much as Old Shamanism. Many classic depictions and even historical fact denote the role of authority and fear the “Shaman” could carry and wield.
4. Differing states of reality and consciousness appear in New Age Shamanism and in esoteric or occult teachings. Some New Age Shamanists believe in reaching these heights independently while others seek assistance.
5. One of the best aspects of Modern Day Shamanism is a return to some of the basics of healing and holistic therapy. Shamanism is not the only religion to begin retreating to a more organic life, but it does so quite naturally and with less of a learning curve.
Five New Age or Modern Day Shamanism Practices
1. Some practitioners of New Age Shamanism employ the use of an entheogen as an aid in communing. The most easily recognized example of this in history is the Native American favorite, peyote. According to Wikipedia, entheogens are a psychoactive substance, and most do not cause drug dependency.
2. A return to ritual drumming and dance on stage has been reintroduced to Neo-Shamanism. This is somewhat to the consternation of more classic practitioners who fear this could anger the gods.
3. Ayahuasca has also been employed in recent years, and many people have actually gone on pilgrimages to obtain and consume it in the practice of Shamanism. Like entheogens, Wikipedia describes Ayahuasca has a psychoactive substance.
4. After Ayahuasca is consumed, there can be the addition of other rituals including abstinence from various pleasures and numerous foods.
5. Traveling to differing levels of consciousness is very important in Shamanism, and that is why the psychoactive substances are regularly employed. Using the mind in and of itself to traverse the levels is a part of Neo-Shamanism.
Modern Day Shamanism is core-Shamanism with variations that make it slightly more accessible to modern practitioners and incorporate these beliefs in with New Age practices that cover several religions.
http://www.moderndayshamanism.com/what_is.php#Shamanism_and_New_Age. 9 March 2010.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoshamanism. 9 March 2010.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entheogens#Classical_mythology_and_cults. 9 March 2010.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca. 9 March 2010.