Shamans have existed throughout history of humanity. Artistic representations of the Upper Paleolithic, show us how there was always a curiosity about things that could not be explained. As a result, a new a class of people emerged, the shamans. Shamans were seen as wise people who had the knowledge to explain the natural phenomena and to have the answer about difficult topics like life after death. During Paleolithic there were spiritual ceremonies with participation of all members of the tribe, usually these ceremonies were conducted by shamans who told stories and worshipped their gods in front of the fires.
Shamans are people who have spiritual power to heal the sick and communicate with the afterlife. Its activity is based mainly on the mystical, magical and religious. Their task is to restore health, cleanse, purify, repair, improve the relations of the individual with his group and give meaning to what happens. Shamans explain the existence of another world, an invisible world that connects with ours and influences it. This is the spiritual world and only with the guidance of a shaman, one can enter to this place. The spiritual dimension is practically inaccessible, but some humans, through trance, can access it and contact with the beings that inhabit it.
The Incas were a very religious civilization and everything they did was related to their religious beliefs. In those days the shaman in charge of talking with the spirits was the “Altomisayoc”. This title was usually hereditary and it is said that the beginner of the linage was a person who had been struck by lighting and survived and from this way he received his powers. The Altomisayoc was the shaman that conducted the offering to Pachamama, one of the main gods of the Inca Empire. Pachamama was the mother earth and she was considered the goddess who protected all material goods and at the same time ruled over the spiritual universe. Among other rites there were those that attracted the rain when there was drought. This shows us how important was the Altomisayoc’s role.
Shamans and brews
Many shamans use some brews to communicate with the spirit world. This practice is worldwide performed through different cultures. In Peru, the most typical brews are Ayahuasca and San Pedro. Ayahuasca is a sacred brew from Amazon. It exists different ways of preparation and this can vary according to different cultures; even can vary between each tribe or each shaman. Likewise, shamans have been using San Pedro for divination in the Andes Mountains. Traditionally, it had an essential role in religious rituals between native Americans who believe that this substance has the ability to open the spirit.
The origin of all diseases is spiritual
Most shamans truly believe that the origin of all diseases is spiritual. This means, disease is not caused by physical processes but by social, psychological, emotional, and spiritual factors. So, the first step to cure the body is to cure the spirit. According to science, there is something true in these beliefs, because body and mind are closely connected. Many healing traditions around the world and throughout the ages embrace the holistic model of the interrelationship of the mind, spirit and the body. In short, we should take care of them to enhance our lives. There must be a great reason why shamans accompanied most of the cultures since the beginning of history.
“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”