Episode 8: The Role of the Shaman

What this is – Hello and welcome to the “The Shaman Podcast”

Speaker –        Mark A. Ashford

                        I am a Usui Tibetan Reiki Master and Teacher for IARP

                        I am a Registered Teacher and Practitioner for Canadian Reiki Association

                        Tibetan Shaman

Some of the other sources are:

So, let’s get to the subject of this Podcast…. Role of the Shaman

As Healer and Guide

The shaman is a healer. This is their principal role. 

They have access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits. To reach out to these spirits, they undertake a Soul Journey during which they are in an Altered State of Consciousness or trance. The trance is induced during a healing ritual that seeks to divine and understand the cause of a person’s illness and gather information from the spirits to allow the Shaman to heal the recipient.

Mongol shamanism had ninety-nine deities:

  1. Fifty-five of these deities were White, i.e. Beneficent for mankind. 
  2. Forty-four were Black, i.e. Terribles to all the evildoers of mankind and to the enemies of the Mongol Nation. 

In total they are the national gods of Mongol Shamanism. They were the Spirits of Ancestors of every clan, the souls of dead chieftains, shamans and shamanesses who during their life had devoted themselves to satisfying the requirements of the members of their clans and who in the World of Spirits should solve the difficulties in the life of the current members of their clans, commoners and nobles and even serfs.[1]

Black shamanism is a kind of shamanism practiced in Mongolia and Siberia. It is specifically opposed to yellow shamanism, which incorporates rituals and traditions from Buddhism. Black Shamans are usually perceived as working with evil spirits of the lower and Underworld, while white Shamans work benevolent spirits of the upper world.

The banners of both white and black shaman flew in Mongol tribal camps and were each guarded by white and black Lord Spirits of the Clan. Nobles of the clan would escort the banners during ceremonies and feasts.

As Oracle

Shaman were astrologers and Oracles. Everyone, especially tribal leaders wanted to know what the future would bring. Will it bring war, will they be successful in the struggle? Will crops and animal husbandry be successful. Will the tribe merge with another though marriage?

The history of the shaman in this role goes back into the very remote past long before the advent of Buddhism in Tibet in the 7th century. 

Historically, Oracles, divination and Astrology were a feature of Bon religion the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet.

Bon held the spirit or soul of the individual was a world or realm of energy which humans are able to contact. For example, humans are able to connect with physical things such as food, a chair, and other people. On the spiritual level they are able to connect at the psychic level with other spirits and those on the different levels of existence.

When the Buddhist Dharma appeared in Tibet, they were able to include the Bon world view into their own. The Buddhist world exists in three parts: one solid, one psychic and one mental. 

The change happened when the famous tantric master Guru Padmasambhava came to Tibet and tamed the subtle world – the deities of the Bonpos – and bound them under oath to obey and defend Buddhist teaching. These deities became protectors of the Buddhist faith and of Buddhist practitioners. They became Cho sung, protectors of the Dharma. According to Tibetan tradition, he tamed these beings through powerful mantras and spells which bound them to obey those who held the power of the spells.[2]

The deities are sentient beings. They are beings, just like people or animals and anyone else, but without a body. They also have a mind or spirit, and, a voice. Without a body they cannot communicate with those who communicate on a bodily level. So, they are samsaric beings. 

Samsara is the term for the everlasting cycle of being. It is the cycle of becoming and passing away, or the cycle of rebirths in the Indian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

As such, they are not higher gods, as we would understand the great gods of India or Tibet. They are gods linked to the land, mountains, lakes and to the geographical features. We could in a way say that mountains and lakes are their bodily aspect. They are the subtle aspect: the speech and mind aspect of mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes, especially mountains and lakes.

Providing Continuity

They provided continuity to the tribe and a reliable connection to the spirit world. In this way they were a communicator from the human physical world to the spirit world and back again.

They were an educator of people about the spirit world as well as about medicines and herbs and natural healing solutions. They kept the tribal stories, myths and essential tribal wisdom that made the tribe they belonged to different from another. 

They understood and passed down information about their trance states, how to induce them and how to control them. Their clothing, symbolic regalia and objects were passed down to enrich subsequent generations of shaman.

They are the keepers of tradition, ancient texts, books, and scripts as well as way things should be done. Songs, dances, music, and observance are also carried forward from shaman to shaman within the tribe. 

Shamans usually have expert knowledge of medicinal plants native to their area and often prescribed a herbal treatment. It is believed shamans learn directly from the plants, harnessing their effects and healing properties, after obtaining permission from the indwelling or patron spirits.[3]

The chieftains and nobles may change, but the shaman remains.

As Protector

One of a shaman’s main functions is to protect individuals from hostile supernatural influences. 

The shaman may act as psychopomp conducting the spirits of individuals who have just died to the proper refuge for dead spirits.

Psychopomp literally means “guide of souls” there are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. 

They do not judge the deceased, simply to guide them. Appearing frequently on funerary art, psychopomps have been depicted at different times and in different cultures as anthropomorphic entities, horses, deer, dogs, whip-poor-wills, ravens, crows, vultures, owls, sparrows and cuckoos. When seen as birds, they are often seen in huge masses, waiting outside the home of the dying.[4]

What next?

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[1] Ibid.

[2] Dr Fabian Sanders, “Tibetan Oracles and Himalayan Shamans.”

[3] Wikipedia, “Shamanism.”

[4] “Psychopomp.”

The Practical Shaman the Realms of the Shaman

Shamanism predates current day organized religions by tens of thousands of years. European cave paintings and carvings showing shaman date from the Paleolithic era. Graves of shamans, 12,000-year-old and older have been discovered in Israel and the Czech Republic.

Shamanism is an ancient spiritual path for awakening, raising consciousness, healing, divination and, in many cases, peace-making. All major healing systems have shamanism at their root, as do some of the major religious traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism still contains key shamanic principles.[1]

Shaman has no dogmas; it is a spiritual path of awakening. The Shaman seeks and experiences his or her personal communion with the sacred without an intermediary. The word Shaman, originates from the Tungus people of Siberia, and has been translated as ‘the one who sees’, ‘the one who knows’ and ‘the one who sees in the dark’. So, it is important to recognize Shamanism is not a religion it’s a spiritual path.

The Shaman sees and knows the essential truth about the nature of reality and the place of the human within that reality.
 Another key element that characterizes a shaman is that she/ he works under direct and conscious guidance of spirit teachers and other helpers, and if that factor isn’t present, it’s not shamanism.[2]

In pop culture, shaman may be: Gandalf in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Professor Dumbledore in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda in George Lucas’s Star Wars, or the Arthurian Merlin in Hollywood productions. This list speaks of the return of the shaman. 

This book is part of The Practical Shaman series, which includes broad introductions to shamans and shamanism and concentrates on the Soul, and the Spirit, together with the beliefs and rituals that surround both and why they differ.

The Reiki, Shamanism and the essential loving mysticism is complementary to our: 

  1. YouTube video series, “Reiki and Shamanism”, 
  2. “The Shaman Podcast” on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Tunine, Deezer, Pandora, and more. 

Together, these expand on Reiki and Reiki Energy and what means to be a shaman. Visit and subscribe to all of these as well as our blog, www.thepracticalshaman.ca.

[1] https://northerndrum.com/files/Shamanism.pdf, “Shamanism.”

[2] Ibid.

How a Shaman can help you

Speaker –        Mark A. Ashford

                        Usui Tibetan Reiki Master and Teacher and

                        White Shaman

What this is – Hello and welcome to the “The Shaman Podcast”

In this Podcast we talk about – 

  • Shamanism
  • Reiki – Reiki energy healing, especially the lineage I follow originated in Tibet
  • And everything else that is related

Media – 

  • This Podcast is one of several media available to you to help you understand and develop your awareness of energy healing practices, history, and traditions. 

The other sources are:

  • YouTube videos – “Reiki with Candice, Mark, and Opame” 
  • Books – eBooks and Paperback books – in full color available on Amazon.ca 
  • Online courses at Teachable.com
  • A blog at ThePracticalShaman.ca

Today, we are talking about Shamans and how they can help you.

Shamanism, as we have learned before, has existed for many millennia before the current organized religions were formed. A shaman may be male or female, young or old and is part of the community. Being part of their community, they blend in. In dress and behaviour, they are indistinguishable from ordinary people.

In the Shaman’s world view, spirits and demons inhabit everything around us. Every part of the natural environment is alive with sentient forces, in the mountains, trees, rivers, lakes, rocks, fields, the sky and the earth, there exists spiritual energy.

Healing is the principal role of a Shaman. They may also be counsellors, confidents, tribal leaders, diviners of future events and spiritual protectors. Shaman have access to, and influence in the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits.

So how do Shamans journey to meet these spirits and energies?

Using rhythmic drumming, dance, meditation, and experience and familiarity with their Helping Spirits the Shaman triggers a self-induced ecstatic state or Altered State of Consciousness [ASC] where they visit the spirits and souls beneficial to the outcome they seek.

Shaman do not use chemical or psychedelic drugs, or plant-based hallucinogens, or alcohol when initiating and entering an Altered State of Consciousness. To use drugs and stimulants would mean loss of control of the Journey. The Shaman is always free to start and stop the Altered State of Consciousness at their will. Shamans are not possessed.

Illness, pain and suffering frequently have a spiritual component. The Shaman seeks the spiritual connection to these afflictions in order to help bring the person they are working for, back into connection with the wholeness of the universe.

This may involve returning a soul or soul fragment to the person which has become separated due to some malevolent energy or some trauma the person has encountered or endured. They may also extract energies that do not belong. The Shaman is concerned with alleviating pain and suffering as well as reconnecting the person to their sources of spiritual power, the sun and moon, stones and streams, stars and trees.

The Shaman can help in other ways. Work and work environments, relationships, and the outcomes of new ventures. Untangling problems from past lives, and helping to make decisions. Providing meditations for relaxation and personal clearing or clearing unwanted energies from your energy field or home. Shamans remove curses, create powerful ceremonies, and bless events, marriages, and births. They assist the dead in crossing over to their next life and much more.

If you ever thought of traditional healers as involved with darkness because they do not fit in easily with modern medicine, think again.

Shaman’s do not diagnose or treat something such as a broken arm or something that needs surgery, these are best treated by a doctor and a Shaman will tell you so.

When we fall asleep at night it is restful and beneficial to us but it is a state of darkness we enter in order to receive these benefits. 

When we plant a seed in the ground, we cover it up with darkness and wait for it to sprout into a new plant. A baby is conceived in darkness and develops in darkness.

Creativity comes out of nowhere which is darkness and yet the result is bright and colourful.

What are you afraid of, why are we afraid of the dark, and who taught you to fear what is amazing.

You know what, Shamans are amazing to!

Mark is Registered Reiki Teacher and Practitioner

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Mark is a Reiki Master Teacher

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Mindfulness Meditation on YouTube

Mindfulness is an active state of mind and it is a personal state of mind, there is no one-size-fits-all definition, no single way of practicing. There are no exams to pass, there are no proficiency levels and nothing to buy. It is a way to enhance health and improve performance. It is a tool for self-exploration. Others see it as part of a spiritual journey, a way to develop insight into the human condition and freedom from suffering.

As we move through each day, we spend much of it on auto pilot, when we arrive somewhere or finish a task, we often wonder how we got there or how we managed to complete the task. Auto pilot thinking often includes thinking or “dreaming” about doing or being somewhere else and not where we are or what we are doing. It includes making judgment[s] on what we perceive to be important as compared to our current state or obligations and this is a powerful fuel for our unhappiness about where and what we are. 

Watch our YouTube video on Mindfulness Meditation


Merit is a fundamental notion in Buddhist ethics. It is a beneficial and protective force which accumulates because of good deeds, acts, or thoughts. Merit making is important to Buddhist practice: merit brings good and agreeable results, determines the quality of the next life and contributes to a person’s growth towards enlightenment. In addition, merit is also shared with a deceased loved one, to help the deceased in their new existence. 

Despite modernization, merit-making remains essential in traditional Buddhist countries and has had a significant impact on the rural economies in these countries. [2] The opposite of Merit is Demerit. Demerit brings retribution, and weakens the merit already accumulated. A mixture of the two generates mixed results in a person’s life.

In the world of a shamanism, the soul or spirit may not go immediately to the next physical form. They may linger for some reason in the current world as a non-physical essence and may attach themselves to a physical person and if malevolent, the soul may hurt or damage the physical person they have attached to. The soul damage manifests itself as illness, or even cause the physical person to do harm to others.

Mt. Kailash is sacred to other religions as well. The Jains call the mountain Astapada and believe it to be the place where Rishaba, the first of the twenty-four Tirthankaras attained liberation.

In hopes of gaining extra merit or psychic powers however, some pilgrims will vary the tempo of their movement. A hardy few, practicing a secret breathing technique known as Lung-gom, will power themselves around the mountain in only one day. Others will take two to three weeks for the Kora by making full body prostrations the entire way. It is believed that a pilgrim who completes 108 journeys around the mountain is assured enlightenment. Most pilgrims to Kailash will also take a short plunge in the nearby, highly sacred (and very cold) Lake Manosaravar. The word ‘manas’ means mind or consciousness; the name Manosaravar means Lake of Consciousness and Enlightenment. Adjacent to Manosaravar is Rakas Tal or Rakshas, the Lake of Demons. Pilgrimage to this great sacred mountain and these two magical lakes is a life changing experience and an opportunity to view some of the most magical scenery on the entire planet.

From: The Practical Shaman: