Shamanism is an extremely rich tradition and subculture of spiritual practice that can be traced back as far as the Paleolithic era, and that continues to exist in various forms today.
Because it’s so rich and multi-faceted, there are many different books on shamanism you can read.
Here’s a list of what we believe are the best books on shamanism available today!
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By Katie Weatherup
Practical Shamanism: A Guide for Walking in Both Worlds by Katie Weatherup — A common thread in shamanic practices is journeying between worlds. Weatherup shares her journey from her Western upbringing to her experience of shamanic training and teachings from a traditional Amazonian healer. She weaves together narratives from her life as she discusses what shamans believe, how they learn their skills, and how you can apply shamanic wisdom in your own life.
If you’re just starting out with shamanism or want a helpful resource for learning more about one aspect of it, Practical Shamanism is a great choice. However, if you’re looking for instructions on building an entire worldview based around shamanic practices, Weatherup’s book will disappoint. Read More
By Paul Francis
The Shamanic Journey: A Practical Guide to Therapeutic Shamanism by Paul Francis — This is one of my favorite books. It’s a thorough introduction to shamanic practice, and there’s no better book for people who are new to shamanism but want to learn more about it. This is a great resource for those who want to start doing healing work with others. The Shamanic Journey is also an excellent resource for readers interested in exploring how these ancient practices might intersect with their personal practice, or their own health issues. I highly recommend it! Read More
3. Journeying Between the Worlds: Walking with the Sacred Spirits Through Native American Shamanic Teachings & Practices
By Eagle Skyfire
Journeying Between the Worlds: Walking with the Sacred Spirits Through Native American Shamanic Teachings & Practices by Eagle Skyfire — If you’re interested in expanding your spiritual journey beyond traditional western shamanic practices, Eagle Skyfire is an excellent author to start with. Journeying Between The Worlds offers a range of shamanic techniques that can be used by anyone, regardless of where they come from or what their spiritual belief system is.
This book is ideal for beginners because it makes a great introduction to practices and beliefs common in Native American shamanism without becoming too complicated or scary. It includes stories and lessons from a wide variety of sources, making it simple but not overly simplistic—it really highlights some unique aspects of Native American culture that might otherwise go unnoticed by modern practitioners. Read More
By Sandra Ingerman, Hank Wesselman
Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation by Sandra Ingerman, Hank Wesselman — Dr. Sandra Ingerman, who is a well-known healer and author, is an expert in shamanic practices who trained with indigenous shamans all over North and South America, Africa, Australia, and Asia. This book was written by her along with another author named Hank Wesselman.
The two authors describe their journey from disbelief to belief in what they call real magic, which is simply defined as helping others through healing techniques that are rooted in ancient spiritual wisdom. As such, awakening to the spirit world takes readers on a journey that exposes them not only to theory but also practical application. Read More
5. Celestial Shamanism: Using Interstellar Light Codes to Find Your Authentic Path in a Shifting Human Paradigm
By Yvonne Perry
Celestial Shamanism: Using Interstellar Light Codes to Find Your Authentic Path in a Shifting Human Paradigm by Yvonne Perry — If you’re looking for a safe, reliable method of connecting with your higher purpose, Perry’s book is an excellent way to do it. This guidebook discusses techniques for shamanic journeying and lucid dreaming in detail—and introduces many different techniques for accessing divine cosmic energy from various other dimensions.
The language can be quite heavy at times, but some readers will appreciate that level of detail; others may find it overwhelming. Regardless, Celestial Shamanism is a great resource for anyone interested in pursuing meditation as a spiritual tool. You should read if: You don’t have prior experience with shamanic practices but would like a guidebook on getting started exploring alternative realities through dreaming and hypnagogia methods such as astral projection and lucid dreaming. Read More
By José Luis Stevens
Encounters with Power: Adventures and Misadventures on the Shamanic Path of Healing by José Luis Stevens — Encounters with Power documents José Luis Stevens’ year-long exploration into shamanic practices in Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. It tells a story that often brought me to tears, then laughter. Stevens is a true master storyteller who conveys his stories with vivid details while connecting them through insights that took me into my own encounters with power.
A powerful journey filled with life lessons and wise advice, Encounters with Power is one of those books I keep close at hand so I can read a passage here or there when I need it most. For anyone interested in learning about shamanism, Encounters with Power is an essential read. Read More
By Donald F. Sandner, Steven H. Wong
The Sacred Heritage: The Influence of Shamanism on Analytical Psychology by Donald F. Sandner, Steven H. Wong — This book is one of two that is essential reading for anyone interested in psychology and shamanism. Focusing on how Carl Jung’s own research was informed by traditional tribal shamans, Sandner explores just how much influence shamanism has had historically—and continues to have today—on Western culture and practices. He also does a masterful job at showing how all human beings are guided by archetypes, whether they are aware of it or not.
This is something that we’ve explored in previous posts about psychology and religion: everything from religious practice to modern advertising relies on some form of archetypal influence. If you’re interested in learning more about why people believe what they do or you’re looking for insights into your own psychological processes, The Sacred Heritage will be indispensable reading. Read More
By Christa Mackinnon
Shamanism Made Easy: Awaken and Develop the Shamanic Force Within by Christa Mackinnon — If you’re looking for a good place to start with your study of shamanism, look no further than Christa Mackinnon’s Shamanism Made Easy. In her book, Mackinnon uses short, easy-to-understand chapters and stories about shamanic practices from cultures around the world to introduce readers to techniques for opening their own personal connection with spirit helpers and exploring their dreams.
If you’re an absolute beginner who wants to explore shamanism in general before specializing in a particular school or culture, read Shamanism Made Easy first. You’ll have a solid foundation from which you can build further knowledge later. Read More
By Alberto Villoldo
Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas by Alberto Villoldo — Villoldo studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a master’s degree in anthropology. His training and experience have allowed him to explore energy medicine techniques that can help one understand and heal physical ailments, mental conditions, emotional issues and spiritual illnesses.
With Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with Energy Medicine of the Americas , Villoldo introduces readers to shamanic healing methods used for centuries by indigenous Americans. He explains how these practices can be used as forms of therapy or self-help options that address body, mind and spirit simultaneously. The book is filled with case studies from his practice and from those who have worked with him as patients; its accompanying CDs provide exercises that teach readers how they can learn these practices themselves. Read More
By Zinovya Dushkova
The Book of Secret Wisdom: The Prophetic Record of Human Destiny and Evolution by Zinovya Dushkova — If you’re looking for a deep dive into shamanic healing, The Book of Secret Wisdom is a terrific book. It’s an easy read with simple language and plenty of stories, while being steeped in pre-Christian traditions.
As a Book, it doesn’t follow your typical format, but uses a format more similar to an anthology. I recommend reading it slowly, as there are many lessons that are lost if you just rush through it. If you want something well written, with heart and soul, then get your hands on The Book of Secret Wisdom. This is one epic journey into self-discovery…and possibly finding some self-help in there along the way! Read More
By Don Jose Ruiz
The Medicine Bag: Shamanic Rituals & Ceremonies for Personal Transformation by Don Jose Ruiz — If you are looking for ways to expand your consciousness and become more attuned with natural energies, The Medicine Bag is a must-read. Ruiz explores ancient ceremonies such as shamanic initiation rituals, rain making ceremonies, and much more in great detail. He also offers practical tools and exercises so that anyone can make use of these powerful rituals in their everyday life. This book will help you realize your full potential by offering you new perspectives on healing and spirituality. Read More
By Terence Mckenna
The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History by Terence Mckenna — In fact, Terence Mckenna may be one of my most favorite people in history. In The Archaic Revival, he gives his unique perspective and insight into many topics that range from psychedelic mushrooms and shamanism to evolution, UFOs, virtual reality and much more.
I was blown away by how intelligent yet fun he was. This book is a great read for anyone who loves books about psychedelics or looking for alternative ways of thinking and life. Read More
By Don Jose Ruiz
The Wisdom of the Shamans: What the Ancient Masters Can Teach Us About Love and Life by Don Jose Ruiz — A New York Times bestseller, The Wisdom of the Shamans offers a fascinating guide into shamanic practices, traditions and rituals. A true visionary and a spiritual teacher, Ruiz talks about how we can use shamanic teachings in our everyday lives and help us evolve into loving human beings.
When we are born, we are shamans but through education and other cultural influences, most people lose touch with their instincts. This book helps us understand how to return to that original state so that our lives can become more fulfilling. The author believes that by following these shamanic practices throughout life, we would be able to follow the path of happiness. A great read for anyone interested in learning about other cultures and for those who want guidance towards spiritual enlightenment. Read More
By Michael Harner
The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner — This book is a classic and Harner is an integral part of shamanism’s history. He was one of (if not) THE first person(s) outside indigenous groups who began teaching shamanic techniques. If you’re interested in learning about shamanism from its origins, or if you’re just curious about it and want a great foundational text, The Way of the Shaman is for you.
It’s written for anyone, too – it doesn’t matter if you have no experience with shamanic practices or even spirituality in general. As long as you are open-minded, Harner will teach you everything he knows. Read More
By Ralph Metzner
The Ayahuasca Experience: A Sourcebook on the Sacred Vine of Spirits by Ralph Metzner — If you’re interested in learning more about shamanic plant medicines like ayahuasca, The Ayahuasca Experience is an excellent starting point. Part spiritual guidebook and part ethnobotanical manual, The Ayahuasca Experience covers all manner of topics related to ritual plant use. While exploring ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru with his wife, Ralph Metzner had a profound psychedelic experience that launched him into a lifetime of studying mind-altering substances.
The book is co-authored by Michael Smith (not to be confused with Michael Sierks). The book has received enthusiastic reviews from many of those within and without academia, who praise it for being evenhanded and comprehensive. Read More
By Lori Morrison
The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals by Lori Morrison — This book will help you deepen your personal relationship with animals and nature. You’ll also learn how your animal spirit guide can show you how to live in better harmony with yourself, other people, and our environment. Most of all, you’ll learn how to use animals as a resource for personal growth and healing. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to connect more deeply with their spirituality. Highly recommended. Read More
By Bobby Lake-Thom
Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies by Bobby Lake-Thom — Everything you need to know about nature, nature spirits, and animal totems is right here in Spirits of the Earth. It’s one thing to know what a shamanic journey is; it’s another entirely to live it. Bobby Lake-Thom shows you how by using stories and symbols from American Indian culture.
Whether you practice modern shamanism or just have an interest in Native American culture, picking up Spirits of Earth is a fantastic choice for your education and exploration. You don’t have to be a shamanic practitioner yourself or even believe in spirituality for these words to strike a chord within you—these stories are truly about everything that lives around us and inside us. Read More
By don Jose Ruiz
Shamanic Power Animals: Embracing the Teachings of Our Non-Human Friends by don Jose Ruiz — This book is for anyone who’s interested in delving into shamanic practices and seeing how they can help change our life. Don Jose offers a number of stories that discuss his own experience with power animals and how important it is for us to be open to their messages.
Through these stories, we’re able to better understand ourselves and overcome our fear so that we can live a richer life. This book makes an excellent introduction into shamanic practices and should be used as a springboard into exploring more advanced techniques with more experienced shamans later on. A must-read for anyone who wants more out of life than day-to-day living! Read More
By Sandra Ingerman
Walking in Light: The Everyday Empowerment of a Shamanic Life by Sandra Ingerman — Every once in a while, you pick up a book that changes your life. The shamanic path is one that can be walked by anyone, even if they don’t think they are shamanic material. In Walking in Light: The Everyday Empowerment of a Shamanic Life, Sandra Ingerman presents us with a beautiful example of what daily practices look like for someone who truly embodies shamanic wisdom in her day-to-day life.
You’ll learn valuable lessons about dealing with your own challenges and how you can make every day better for yourself and those around you. Read More
By Sandra Ingerman
Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide by Sandra Ingerman — If you’re looking for a book on shamanic journeying that doesn’t get bogged down in a lot of spiritual theory, but instead takes you by hand and leads you step-by-step through its practices, then Sandra Ingerman’s Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide is an excellent choice.
It starts with a thorough description of what shamanic journeying is and how shamans typically go about it. It gives clear instructions and descriptions, especially helpful for beginners who are less experienced at getting into altered states and can often find themselves completely lost or unable to return from their journeys once they get there. Read More
By Thomas Dale Cowan, Tom Cowan
Shamanism As a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life by Thomas Dale Cowan, Tom Cowan — The practice of shamanism can be a part of anyone’s life, and it needn’t be limited to a retreat or outside location. This book provides all you need to know about shamans, their history, and how you can incorporate shamanic healing into your own spiritual practice.
There are exercises at each chapter’s end that help you hone your skills, as well as teach you how to ground yourself before using them for spellwork or other purposes. This is a helpful manual for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. Read More
By Jaime Meyer
Healing with Shamanism: Practices and Traditions to Restore and Balance the Self by Jaime Meyer — Jaime Meyer has spent more than 30 years in his quest for a holistic life and career. In Healing with Shamanism, he writes about experiences as an apprentice shaman in South America, where he witnessed heart-stopping ceremonies that are still practiced today.
Meyer shows you how to unlock your full potential through a variety of techniques, from soul retrieval and cleansing ceremonies to using guided imagery and hallucinogens. (Shamanic practices are often misunderstood by those unfamiliar with them; here’s what happens during a ceremonial Ayahuasca session.) The author is able to teach not only by sharing his own personal story but also by citing experts in every field: mathematics, medicine, mysticism, psychology—even quantum physics. Read More
By Hank Wesselman
Medicinemaker: Mystic Encounters on the Shaman’s Path by Hank Wesselman — This book is essentially a memoir by an anthropologist who spent his career investigating shamanic practices. It’s part autobiography, part ethnography, and it reads like a novel. At times, it feels like you are right there with him experiencing shamanic rituals in places like Siberia, as he tries to make sense of these other cultures.
He writes about aspects of shamanism such as power animals and spirit helpers, takes you into his personal exploration of altered states through drumming, and provides wisdom for those wishing to take their shamanic journey back home. His writing is both academic, but also deeply personal and powerful. Read More
By Vera Lopez, Linda Star Wolf
Shamanic Mysteries of Peru: The Heart Wisdom of the High Andes by Vera Lopez, Linda Star Wolf — An interesting look at how ancient cultures incorporated wisdom from shamans and use of sacred plants in daily life. This book was originally written in 1983, but is currently out-of-print and hard to find, so it may be difficult for those who want a copy.
If you do manage to get a copy, you’ll see that Lopez draws upon her own experiences as well as those reported by others within her extensive travels across South America and Peru. Although many contemporary pagans have embraced ceremonial plant-based shamanic ritual, you don’t need that background or practice experience to enjoy reading about Lopez’s time with Peruvian shamans. Read More
By Marilyn Walker
Shamanism: An A-Z Reference Guide by Marilyn Walker — This is a great all-around primer to shamanism and a good place to start. It’s written from an anthropological perspective, but it still offers insightful information about how shamans go about their daily lives, including how they use spirits and soul retrieval in healing.
From there, you can learn more about specific topics you find interesting. For example, if you’re interested in becoming a shaman yourself or learning more about that path, pick up one of these books. Read More
By Nan Moss
Weather Shamanism: Harmonizing Our Connection with the Elements by Nan Moss — Anyone interested in working with natural healing and herbalism will be inspired by Weather Shamanism: Harmonizing Our Connection with the Elements. This book is a comprehensive guide on connecting with, harnessing, and manipulating the weather.
Not only does it explore rain-making practices from around the world, but it also includes practical exercises for reconnecting yourself with nature. It’s a great read if you’re looking for a unique perspective on weather work. Read More
What is Shamanism?
While each tribe has its own unique beliefs and traditions, there are some commonalities we can look at for shamanic practices. For example, all shamanic tribes practice a type of magic that makes use of trance states in order to commune with their spirit world and draw power from it. In fact, even if you aren’t sure what shamanism means exactly, you can probably conjure up some ideas about what a shaman looks like based on pop culture. Shamans often wear strange outfits or perform bizarre rituals that seem like something out of fantasy stories or fantasy-like cartoons.
Who follows Shamanism?
Most people don’t realize that shamanic practices are still widely practiced today. There are many indigenous tribes around the world who have followed shamanic traditions for centuries and continue to do so. The most famous example is probably that of Native Americans, especially those in North America, though there are also examples from Australia, South America, Africa, and Asia.
How does one become a Shaman?
Becoming a shaman is not easy—and it can be dangerous!—but it’s not impossible either. First off, you need to be born into a tribe that practices shamanism (or marry into one). Then you must go through a series of trials and tests as you get older until you finally come into your own as an adult and begin practicing magic yourself.
Who is the God of shamanism?
Most shamanic tribes believe in multiple gods and goddesses, though there is often one particular god who is highly revered above all others. For example, many Amazonian tribes practice shamanism while also worshipping a male deity they call Shaman. However, it’s worth noting that not all shamans are necessarily good or kind beings.
What are shamanism beliefs?
Like most ancient religions, shamanic beliefs are based in spirituality. In other words, a shaman isn’t just a magician who performs weird rituals; he or she is also a spiritual leader and counselor.
What is shamanism in simple terms?
Like we’ve already touched upon, shamanic practices are based in ancient traditions that were passed down from generation to generation. The tribal leader—or chief—is typically responsible for instructing his tribe’s shaman and guiding him or her through training and trials. When a person becomes a full-fledged shaman, he or she is held with high esteem by everyone in his tribe; they depend on him or her for protection, guidance, wisdom, and more.
What religion is shamanism associated with?
Like we’ve already touched upon, shamanic traditions are connected with a wide variety of different cultures. That said, one of these religious groups has captured most people’s attention: that is indigenous Amazonian tribes. If you’ve ever read about Brazil or watched an animated movie that takes place in that part of South America, you’re probably familiar with shamanic practices.
Where can shamans be found today?
Although most modern societies have moved away from shamanic traditions, shamans can still be found in certain indigenous cultures today. For example, a few ethnic groups in rural Siberia practice shamanic traditions and may even invite Westerners to apprentice with them.
Is shamanism still practiced?
Modern shamanism has grown and changed over time, but it still thrives in many cultures around the world.
Where does shamanism originate from?
The practice of shamanism originated in Siberia and Northern Asia, where shamans acted as intermediaries between human beings and spirits. In ancient times, they were believed to have healing powers and could remove evil spirits that had taken possession of humans. Today’s shamans no longer wield such powerful forces, but many continue to provide spiritual counseling for their communities. These are often groups or tribes with strong spiritual ties, including Native Americans, African tribes and indigenous peoples from South America.
How old is shamanism religion?
Shamanism is an ancient religion with many variations throughout history and across cultures. One might assume that such a widespread religion would have been around for centuries, but shamanism is not even 10,000 years old. In fact, it’s significantly younger than some major religions such as Judaism (6,000 years) and Christianity (2,000 years). It was likely born in Siberia and has since spread across Central Asia and North America.
How is shamanism connected to animism?
All shamans practice some form of animism. A shaman might interact with a being, such as an animal or a plant, and that interaction may be said to be spiritual. Because animistic beliefs include spirits which are not human (like plants), they can all properly be considered shamanic by Westerners.
Why do shamans wear masks?
Some people think that shamans wear masks to appear more fearsome. This is not true. The purpose of a shaman’s mask is entirely practical: It protects him or her from the spirits’ interference with his or her bodily senses, allowing them to see and speak with spirits without being distracted by physical surroundings. It also prevents bodily creatures from interfering with their spiritual sight.
What has shamanism for the new millennium?
There is a myriad of books that explore shamanism in great detail. If you have an interest in shamanism and are looking for an introduction, one book that comes highly recommended is Brad’s Shaman’s Doorway. This book combines stories with step-by-step instructions on how to practice basic shamanic techniques, such as drumming and journeying. Included are many personal stories from clients who have undergone successful transformation by utilizing shamanic practices.
Shamanism is characteristic of what kinds of societies?
Shamanism is often characteristic of hunter-gatherer societies, especially in Siberia. However, there are some exceptions. For example, although hunter-gatherers live in groups, they don’t necessarily engage in shamanic rituals. The Piraha people of Brazil and Mbuti Pygmies in Zaire both live as nomadic hunter-gatherers but lack a shamanic tradition.
Can shamanism heal?
Shamanism is well known as a spiritual practice, but is it also effective in healing physical ailments. According to some practitioners, shamanic healing can successfully treat a variety of physical issues, including headaches and PTSD.
What is the meaning of wasp according to shamanism?
Everyone who deals with spirituality has heard about wasp, but what does it mean? Wasps symbolize various things for many different cultures. In some cases, they are related to bad luck and may predict someone’s death. In other traditions, however, they are seen as a spiritual guide. People who travel in shamanic rituals usually see wasps when their journeys become intense and strong; wasps appear when human beings face the forces that control our lives.
What is the holy book of shamanism?
The most authoritative answer to that question is probably also one of the simplest: there isn’t one. While it would be great if we could ask all shamans what they read and go out and find that, we can’t. There are many books that claim to be the holy book of shamanism, but you don’t need a holy book in order to become a shaman. More importantly, though, not everyone will want or need a holy book.
When were the pagans practicing shamanism?
The word shaman derives from a word meaning he who knows, and refers to a spiritual practitioner who believes in magic and serves as an intermediary between humans and supernatural forces. Shamans practice shamanism—the ancient practice that aims to heal illnesses, alter consciousness and communicate with spirits. To achieve these goals, shamans conduct rituals often involving chanting, dancing or trances.
If you’re looking for more than just a good read, then these books have your name written all over them. Whether you are interested in shamanic teachings, history or its role in today’s culture and spirituality, then one of these titles will be sure to speak to you in one way or another.
Take time with each book and immerse yourself in its wisdom. Learn from it and grow from it.
You can learn a lot about Shamanism from ScienceDirect.
After all, that is what these masters of knowledge would want us to do; they wrote their books so that we might find something within them that would help us change our lives for the better—and perhaps even help others along their spiritual journey.