Tag Archives: shaman

Where In The World Is Shamanism?

Bodø Norway harbor
The city and harbor of Stian Berg’s hometown, Bodø Norway.

This is a continuing story of a shaman friend from Norway, Stian Berg, who first appeared here back in December, 2016. His country was the first in the modern world to officially recognize shamanism as a bona-fide religion, and to devote public funding to sustain it. This extraordinary and unprecedented gesture is, I predict, only the beginning. And it reveals something bigger. So that is why I will enlarge upon Stian’s story and kindness in submitting additional photos of his beautiful country to include a larger overview of how the world is changing, coming into a new spring so to speak.

I can start by offering you a very short answer to that question in the headline, Where In The World Is Shamanism?

It’s everywhere. Always has been.

While Stian lives in a geographic stretch of the world where many researchers say shamanism was born, an assertion that certainly underlies the ease with which a modern day government in that region can openly underscore its importance, it is widely recognized that the practice of shamanism is at the base of mostly all of the world’s known civilizations throughout history and right up to today. It’s not always as easy to spot elsewhere as it may be in Norway, but you can find it if you want to.

Most holidays, days of the week (and being a maker of Lightning Drums, I most admire Thursday, named after the Norse God Thor, “Thunder”), place names, planetary designations, and countless cultural and mainstream religious practices and celebrations bring forward the expression of shamanic cultures. And even this though may affront some, there is certainly ample evidence that it was practiced in ancient Palestine by none other than Jesus. For the purposes of this short article, I should point out that I am using a broad personal definition of “shamanism” to collectively refer to nature/spirit-dependent healing practices based on altered state spirit journeying. In that regard, it is still in use today in any number of places and settings.

Norway's beautiful scenery
A scene of serene and stark beauty of Norway’s coastline, courtesy of Stian Berg.

Simply put, there is a rise in the practice of shamanism because there is a decline among believers in mainstream religions.

Founder of the Four Winds Society, Alberto Villoldo, PhD, recognizes the need for shaman storytellers and healers to bring forward an updated mythology to replace the outdated religious stories written when “the Earth was flat…and before the Hubble space telescope showed us that we are one of a billion galaxies in the sky. The old stories [written 2,000 years ago] have exhausted themselves.” (Excerpted from pg. 287, Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation, by Sandra Ingerman & Hank Wesselman, Sounds True, Inc., 2010)

Indeed, according to an influential book published in 2000, upwards of 140-million people in Europe and America, so-called “cultural creatives” are challenging long-held beliefs about religion and practically everything else that underpins Western civilization. (Wikipedia link.) For sure, a small percentage of them embrace shamanism, and a larger percentage honor the Earth and other shamanic concepts. It’s a tiny ripple now, but it nourishes the wave about to come. Just ask Stian Berg up there in Norway.

Spring returns to Norway 2017
Once in darkness, Norway has now seen the sun return in Spring. Photo, courtesy Stian Berg.

And with the return of Spring in the far north, we find that the light of shamanism spreads everywhere, even in the hearts of moderns who usher in a new dawn of a different sort.

Aho & Namaste,
Bob