Native American and Celtic Shamanism
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

Shaman is named fron the Tungus tribes of Siberia, and it refers to a man or woman with a special spiritual power. Shamans were vissionaries, healers, and spiritual consultants, who often worked in a trance state. Shamanism is a way of viewing reality, and a method or technique for functioning with the view of reality. The shaman sees the world differently from other men and women, and his/her personal experiences, in the universe, seem to transcend those of other people (Cowan, 3).

Celts were taller and fairer than those in southern Europe and often had blue eyes.

    Early Celts and Native Americans share the following similarities:

  1. Animistic beliefs and practices.

  2. Respect for the land.

  3. They both suffered the advance of other settlers.

    Dacians in the first century (Romanians) moved against the Celts from the East.
    In 58 B.C. Julius Caesar marched into Gaul, a Celtic Territory.
    In 84 A.D. the Roman armies marched all the way to northern Scotland.
    Today Celts are still struggling to save their language, literature, and folk customs, including older religious patterns.

  4. They had Six Celtic Nations:

    Ireland
    Scotland
    Wales
    Brittany
    The Isles of Man
    Cornwall, England.

  5. They practiced Shamanism. They had Druids and priestesses, bards and poets, goddesses, Christian monks and saints, mystics, witches, and healers.

  6. They both used drums, rattles, chanting, and dancing as ritualist tools.

  7. They both believed in shapeshifting.

  8. They learned from and respected animals.

  9. They both have storytellers or memory keepers.

  10. The Celts took their enemy's heads, and used them for sacred drinking vessels. The Native American cultures took heads and decorated them.

    The severed head stood for transformation in both cultures.

  11. They both used mind-altering drugs to induce visions.

  12. The Scythians, who lied beside the Celts on the Danube River, built sweat lodges like Native Americans. The Celts borrowed from the Siberians via the Scythians.

  13. They all had divine powers:

    Algonquins called them the Manitou.
    The Iroquois called them Orenda.
    The Celts had their magick or grace.
    The Christians have Jesus Christ.

  14. The Celts think that energy, or magic, lives in everything and that any object can be a protective spirit. Native Americans prayed for Bear or Deer to forgive them for taking their lives in order to eat and survive.

  15. Native Americans have their Sacred Places as did the Celts.

  16. Their feast days are based on nature (slanting cycles) and astrology (equinox-soltice).

    Celtic New Year (Samhaim "Sow-en")
    Halloween October 31st.
    Beltane (end of winter) - May 1

  17. Both cultures have the berdache tradition.

  18. Both culture have the concept of the World Tree.

Many historians think that the Celts and the Eastern Atlantic Native Americans may have traded, thus the blue-eyed Indians that lived in early colonial areas.

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