Shamanism is not a religion, it is a practice that is used in different spiritual paths. When Michael Horner brought what he calls core shamanism back to the US he was surprised to find out how quickly Americans could pick up the practice; especially using the drums for the rhythms that helped them step into the otherworld. Maybe that’s why extreme conservatives are so suspicious of dance or rock music used in church services.
This is from an interview that is part of a collection from Shamanism compiles by Shirley Nicholson. In many ways shamanic practice can subvert organized religion. How can you enforce the rules from the top down when the individual can access the otherworld and who or whatever dwells there on their own?
Interviewer: “You mentioned earlier that every shaman is in effect his or her own prophet. Some people might consider this a rather dangerous idea.”
Michael Horner: “If a state political organization is founded in part upon a state religion with a dogma based on one or a few “official” prophets, then shamanism, where every shaman is his or her own prophet, is dangerous to the state. In my opinion, the real problem is not too many prophets, but too few.
Shamanism is, as I said, is not a religion. The spiritual experience usually becomes a religion after politics has entered into it…….We are restoring ancient methods to get our own direct revelations, without the need for ecclesiastical hierarchies and politically influenced dogma. We can find things out for ourselves.”