Native American and Celtic Shamanism
Written and researched by Margaret nee Knight Sypniewski, B.F.A.
Shaman is named from the Tungus tribes of Siberia, and it refers to a man or woman with a special spiritual power. Shamans were visionaries, 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:
- Animistic beliefs and practices.
- Respect for the land.
- 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.
- They had Six Celtic Nations:
- The Isles of Man
- Cornwall, England.
- They practiced Shamanism. They had Druids and priestesses, bards and poets, goddesses, Christian monks and saints, mystics, witches, and healers.
- They both used drums, rattles, chanting, and dancing as ritualist tools.
- They both believed in shapeshifting.
- They learned from and respected animals.
- They both have storytellers or memory keepers.
- 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.
- They both used mind-altering drugs to induce visions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Native Americans have their Sacred Places as did the Celts.
- 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
- Both cultures have the berdache tradition.
- 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.
The Bear Clan - Table of Contents
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