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Glossary

Here are my working definitions of some of the words and language used during courses. Note that you could find other definitions, but try to stick to the ones given while on these courses.

Be careful with definitions, use them to help with the work, but don’t be limited by them. Some words we use are impossible to define properly and it is better to ‘feel’ them rather than analyse them.

Adept

A person of great skill and proficiency.

Alchemy

A process of transformation.

Altar

An marked area where sacred items can be placed.

Archetype

Images, themes or figures from the ‘collective unconscious’.

Ceremony

A sacred activity with particular aims and intentions.

Cosmology

A person’s belief or understanding about how the World or Universe works.

Divine

Of the sacred. A ‘higher’ power.

Ego

The conscious part of a person. It uses logic, reasoning and rationality to create an image of the self and of the world.

Elementals

Beings of the realm of the elements, earth, air, water and fire.

Embodiment

The visible or tangible form of a divine or spiritual quality or characteristic.

Evocation

A call to spirits with the intention of affecting something outside of one’s self.

Impeccable Witness

The power of a witness is very strong. An impeccable witness observes without judgement.

Invocation

A call to spirits with the intention to affect one’s self.

Liminal

At a threshold or in a state of ‘in-between’.

Lower World

A place in Non-ordinary reality where spirits dwell. Most often, the spirits here present themselves in animal form.

Middle World

A place in both Ordinary and Non-ordinary reality. Corporeal life (physical beings) dwell here. Some spirits also dwell here.

Non-ordinary reality (NOR)

A reality outside of what we are usually familiar with.

Numinous

Mysterious. Of a divine nature.

Occult

Hidden, secret, concealed.

Ordinary reality (OR)

The reality that we are familiar with.

Paradox

A situation where two truths seem to be contradictory or in oppositions to each other. Two apparent opposites exist together and both are true.

Pilgrimage

A journey with the intention of gaining some spiritual benefit.

Possession

When a spirit that does not generally belong to a person has become attached to them.

Power animal

A culturally specific term describing a spirit in animal form that chooses to work with a shamanic practitioner.

Power Object

An object that has been awakened, empowered and fed. Often the intention is that the object helps the practitioner with healing work or to connect with Spirit.

Psychopomp

Means literally ‘conductor of souls’. A person, being or force that aids movement of spirits.

Psyche

Originally from Greek, meaning ‘soul’. These days ‘psyche’ is mainly used as though it means ‘mind’, but for our work we should try to bring the term back to its original spirit.

Ritual

An action or actions of devotion dedicated to a particular intention.

Sacred

That which is connected to a higher force and should not be violated. An essential job for the shaman is to understand, respect and honour the Sacred. How we treat the Sacred can be a good indicator about how we are progressing in our own soul-development.

Shaman

A person who has been recognized as working with spirits for the purposes of healing. The word originated in Siberia and the Tungus language, meaning something like ‘one who knows’, and is applied to both women and men.

Soul

A person’s own truth, their essence, their own piece of the great mystery. The ‘true self’. The Soul is said by many cultures to be eternal.

Sovereignty

Self-governance by an individual person.

Spirit

The word ‘Spirit’ is undefinable, but we can use a working model – The animating force and universal consciousness. Practitioners tend to ‘feel’ Spirit and the analytical mind cannot truly grasp it.

Spirit guide

A transcended spirit that is willing to offer help, support, guidance and teaching to the shamanic practitioner.

Taboo

An action or practice that is forbidden or highly restricted. For our work here, there is particular interest in what are personal taboos rather than social or cultural taboos.

Thought Form

A though that manifests into form. This may be in the form of an energetic or behavioural pattern, or even a physical object.

Upper World

A place in Non-ordinary reality where spirits dwell. Most often, the spirits here present themselves in humanoid form.