The Traditional Shaman

Last updated Mar 18, 2021

Shaman from the Paleolithic of the Côa ValleyThe traditional or tribal shaman, I came to discern, acts as an intermediary between the human community and the larger ecological field, ensuring that there is an appropriate flow of nourishment, not just from the landscape to the human inhabitants, but from the human community back to the local earth. By his constant rituals, trances, ecstasies, and “journeys”, he ensures that the relation between human society and the larger society of beings is balanced and reciprocal, and that the village never takes more from the living land that it can returns to it – not just materially but with prayers, propitiations, and praise.

The scale of a harvest or the size of a hunt are always negotiated between the tribal community and the natural world that it inhabits. To some extent every adult in the community is engaged in this process of listening and attuning to the other presences that surround and influence daily life. But the shaman or sorcerer is the exemplary voyager in the intermediate realm between the human and the more-than-human worlds, the primary strategist and negotiator in any dealings with the Others.

Quote from The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram. This amazing book is part of my Resources list, which I regularly update with more interesting books, articles, videos, online courses and much more. Go take a look!)

PHOTO: This pic was taken at the Côa Museum, Portugal. This museum is specially dedicated to the amazing Rock Art of the Côa Valley, which is mostly of the Upper Paleolithic. The Côa Valley is the largest open-air rock art collection from the Paleolithic known today. This is a very special place ❤️

Hello there! My name is Ana Filipa Piedade and I am a portuguese hide tanner and ancestral skills student, practioner and teacher who finds a lot of joy in sharing about traditional living skills with others. I hope you enjoy this space!

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