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Shamanism is a religious act that requires the presence of an agent who has the power to alter consciousness in a trance situation to speak to the spirits (Matthews 98). The shaman is the person entrusted with the duty of accessing the mind. This ritual tradition takes place in a special way that includes "divination, animism, necromancy and black magic" (Ma, et al. 132). The shaman can want to consult the spiritual world either for positive or bad deeds that specifically impact the literal term. Beliefs have it that shamanism intervention assists individuals who have faced different problems receive spiritual solutions through supernatural activities and attain peaceful existence (Insoll 56). Shamanism practice is universal, and the believers argue that the world sphere (cosmos) is divided into three portions namely; “lower, middle and upper axes.” The part of the earth is interconnected by Mundi axis (Gerdner and Xiong 83). Similarly, these world structures have many traditions that a different number of gods and goddess, for instance, monotheistic (one god) and polytheistic groups with several gods. What is more, this essay will describe how shamanism beliefs blend with various religious organizations such as Christianity, Buddhism, Atheism, Paganism and other groups.
Shamanism and Christianity
Ideally, it is clear that Christians and Shamanism beliefs have been at loggerheads for a long time. The church believers call shamans sorcerers and witches that resulted to destruction killing and burn of shamans and their properties. In case you support that the two paths do not meet, then you are up to date with history and religion. First, the clash between the two believers rooted from power centralization and tyranny of numbers (Ma, et al. 78). Traditionally, the Christ followers are widely spread whereas the shamans’ consolidation and unity would enable them take control of the spiritual existence of community members.
Secondly, the differences between Christ teachings and shamans beliefs fall under us. The shamans move downward into the earth to seek divine intervention regarding it as beautiful and peaceful while Christians believe that hell is below the world. Geographically, the place is where the earth is, therefore, it is probably hot suggesting hell (Gerdner and Xiong 82).
Despite the differences, the two beliefs agreed that there is both good and evil. Besides, there is the notion that only one God and Jesus who saves from the tribulations does not vary with shamans’ perceptions and beliefs. Christians, Protestants, and Lutherans have some shamanism values included in their teachings (Ma, et al. 45). The tradition of exorcism and dispossessions by spirits forms common ground followed by both faiths.
Shamanism and Buddhism Religion
Both hold the belief that the world is interconnected with a common axis. They form independent eco-spiritual existences, which does not need the intervention of God. The Buddhists concentrate on the operations of the individual mind to generate thoughts, information, and attachments. However, shamans see ideas as outcomes of the world while accessories produced during energy movement in the world’s sphere (Insoll 57). Nonetheless, both agree on the dissolution of the ego, which blocks the healing.
Shamanism and Atheism
Atheists are people who do not believe in God. Their views contradict the existence of the creator claiming that man evolved from different stages. The Darwian story of evolution takes center stage in explaining the presence of mankind. However, their arguments do not hold water as they could not relate why natural spirits influence human beings. On the contrary, shamans believe in the power of spirits for daily deities. Both the parties do not seek beliefs in carrying out their deities. However, they need the spirits in their souls for the exposition of hidden facts about energy movements, healing, and causes of illness. Furth more, the practices have a code of conduct to adhere to in case of uncertain happenings of the world (Insoll 55).
Shamanism and other Religious Groups
The practices of shamanism and pagans are inseparable since both arose at same hunter-gatherers period (Gerdner and Xiong 83). Instead, pagans can be classified as undecided groups without certain values and beliefs. Even though, this is not enough elaboration of the relationship between shamanism and religions, but the arguments suggests that shamanism is a wide topic that blends in different faiths. The differences in beliefs leads to diverse effects such as deaths of believers while similarities brings peaceful co-existence among traditions.
Ultimately, in the discussion of how shamanism relates with religious groups, it is a fact that every denomination has an intermediary who intervenes on behalf of the entire congregation just as shamans. Whereas, the shamans mediate between humans and supernatural spirits, the other groups believe that Christ died as their savior. Similarly, both agree that spirits are responsible for good and bad occasions in human beings’ life. Disobedient to spirits may lead to death, while obedience brings peace and harmony in the community.
Gerdner, Linda and Shoua V. Xiong. Demystifying Hmong Shamanism: Practice and Use by Hmong Americans across the Lifespan. Bauu Institute, 2015.
Ma, Xisha, Huiying Meng, Zhen Chi, and Thomas D. DuBois. Popular Religion and Shamanism. Boston: Brill, 2011.
Insoll, Timothy. The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Matthews, John. The Shamanism Bible: The Definitive Guide to Shamanic Thought and Practice. London : Hamlyn, 2014.
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