Living the life of a sage, wiseman, and/or spiritual leader; they are closer to Nature, God and pure consciousness. The shaman lives the life away from the negative distractions, attachments and human desecration associated with cities, and institutionilized artificial constructs.
It is no coincidence that neither Christ nor Buddha, wrote anything down. Buddha was inspired at a tree, and Christ in the desert. Both studied in the Near East under indiginous spiritual practices before gaining a following of their own. The pose of Christ in the 'Sacred Heart' position is a copy of a Yogic Heart Chakra pose.
The focus of a shaman would be to live as a Christ or Buddha; rather than following the machinations of their followers.
GENERAL SHAMANIC TEST and EXERCISE
An excellant test for shamnic ability is done by lifting a person. I learned this by the age of 8.
Traditionally a person lied on only a blanket; in recent times they lie prone on their back on a flat board such as a door, or a piece of plywood.
The leader would have an exercise for the person to be lifted, to perform. There would be another meditation/exercise for those doing the lifting/levitating,
Then the leader would conduct the ceremony which would enjoin the energies of those on the sides of the person lying down, usually on a table.
Those with only partial ability would number four; two on a side, and place two fingers of each hand under the table, and on command lift the person up, usually efortlessly. This was done without muscle.
Those more advanced would require only one finger each, usually the index finger.
At the age of 8, I and one other person (2 people total for lifting, not the customery 4: lifted an adult using our fingers alone. Levitation proceeded from this level starting by maintaining the person above the table after the fingers were removed; which was done.
Datura, Jimson Weed, and the Native Tobacco all have been used by many cultures, and contain some of the same active ingredients.
European witches would use a salve suppository medium, with their broom sticks, as well as a seed tincture for drinking that could foretell the future.
Native Americans have smoked the leaves and the more powerful flowers
Some Middle Eastern sects use different parts.
One must be careful, since the dose for an effect, and fatality, is close: it is a poison. It has very bad side effects for an overdose.
I have used it successfully, in number of methods. One might see thefuture, but forget it; to have the memory triggered by something else. It is a good medium to be close to 'Death as a Teacher', prevalent in some Native American shamanic and warrior traditions.
One of the more colorful and fascinating aspects of Tlingit ceremonial history is shamanism. The Tlingit Indians believed in malevolent spirits that interfered with their lives. Only an individual who possessed certain knowledge, i.e. the shaman, could intercede and break their power. For example, the shaman could cure the sick by driving out evil spirits; he could guarantee large fish runs and good weather. Often his powers were called upon to assure success in battle or to combat witches. A famous Yakutat shaman is credited with preventing the great smallpox epidemic of 1836 from reaching his village.
A shaman had at his command a number of spiritual helpers called yeks through which he made contact with the supernatural world. Each yek was assigned a special name and song. Yeks could assume both animal and human form, and were the subject of shamanic art, especially carved masks. The success of the shaman, who incidentally was well paid in advance for his services, depended upon the number of yeks under his control, and his rapport with them . If the shaman's efforts met with failure, he usually had an explanation for the client such as interference by bad spirits. Another payment would then be required for further services.
The appearance of the shaman must have been impressive. His hair was never cut or combed, and formed a long mat down his back. His costume- typically a hide apron, shoulder robe and crown-could be decorated with animal claws and carved bones. During his wild contorted dance to conjure up the spirit world, he often donned the mask of the desired yek. While manipulating rattles, charms and batons, the shaman would chant, groan, hiss, cry, and so forth, until he worked himself into a trance-like state.
Shamanism as a vocation was not something everyone could aspire to. It was an inherited honor bestowed upon a son, grandson, or nephew. The would-be shaman was required to venture alone into the wilderness for a period of time determined by his success or failure in meeting up with spirits. His link to these spirits were the animals of the forest who, upon "offering" him their tongues, fell dead at his feet, and then transported him to his yeks. This "gift of the tongue" contained great power for the shaman, especially when given by the land otter, a most potent supernatural force.
In addition to his responsibilities as mentioned above, the shaman conducted important large public rituals each winter season. During these ceremonies the shaman appealed to his yeks to see to the well-being of his village. Belief in the power of the shaman did not begin to weaken until the late 1800's From: http://alaskan.com/docs/shamanism.html
Both Tlinget men and women were shaman. Most had died by the 1930s. At present, there are no publicly known shaman, Ix or medicine men publicly practicing in Alaska.
There are many who are now trying to regain the traditional ways, but none comparable to the shaman before the 1930s.
Before the 1970's and the hippies, is was not popular to be Native, and many tried to be white. Church missionaries equated everything non-Christian as the work of the devil. Many now claiming to be IX/shaman are former drunks, and people who did not claim Native heritage until it became popular. Most of these are media opportunists that have oriented their books, radio shows and movie appearance toward their predominately white, urban customers; they are Apples (red on the outside and white on the inside).
IX would have spirit guides. Many healed on the spirit level, and many would predict future events, and intantly know the happenings of distant places, without phones or radios.
Tlinget shamanism was recognized as being so strong, that many Alaskan tribes incorporated Tliget shamanism, whether they had shamanism developed or not.
A shaman that had lived correctly, became even stronger when they passed on. Most are buried in special, remote places.
Ther is atrue story about a Tlinget shaman who was beheaded, and who walked back with only his head, using his hair. This is documented in some books also.
The last person in Southeast to have shamanic training, received it from her grandmother. She has recently passed on, and was well know amoung the elders and Alaska Native Sisterhood. I had the honor of talking with her.
Her grandmother had seven spirit helpers, and a number of spirit allies.
The spirit quest was done deep in the woods, and one fasted by drinking Devil's Club alone.
Spirit helpers were essential to keep the threatening animals away, such as bear. The yek would also tend to the fire, shelter etc.; leaving the Ix (shaman) to concentrate on the quest.
Eagle feathers were not used in quite the same way in Alaska as they were in the Lower 48 states; they were used for healing primarily. One such treatment included putting Eagle down on a person's chest to draw out pneumonia.
The damn christian leaders were jealous of her power and influence; so they demand she give up some of her spirit allies, which she did reluctantly.