Shamanism is said by some to be the oldest religion, but it is more than that. Shamanism is a holistic way of looking at the Universe, both seen and unseen, that allows the practitioner to be aware of the patterns that exist between all things.
One finds shamanism in various forms across the globe. Practitioners can be healers, counselors, seers, spiritual advisors, leaders, historians, storytellers, and facilitators between the living and the dead. Their work will often include going into trance, which allows them to perceive more than the average person. Their healing work may also include herbalism, energy work and psychic surgery. They are often the keepers of the stories and wisdom of their community.
Some say it is the art of seeing the patterns between all things.
According to anthropologists and comparative religion, shamanism refers to a fairly specific set of ideas and practices that are found in many world cultures. Characteristically, the shaman is a healer, a psychopomp (ushers the souls of the dead home), and a mediator between the spirit world and the mundane world. In smaller-scale societies, shamans fulfill the role of doctor, priest, and therapist, and sometime artist and mystic as well. The defining characteristic of a shaman is the ability to enter into non-ordinary reality.