Many different forms of medicine are currently practiced in the world. In fact, as our text states, “in all cultures, some people have become recognized as having special abilities to treat and diagnose health problems.” (Miller 107) Without argument, phytomedicinal and supernatural healers are two forms of medical treatment that have been around for longer than any other, regardless of culture. It has been estimated that shamanism has been practiced for over ten thousand years (Tyson 3). Native American and Celtic healers are often known as shamans.
Shamanism has always been an interest of mine, mainly in the Native American and Celtic Irish forms of medicine. Native Americans as well as Celtics have always held a certain mystique that…show more content… For the purpose of this paper, we will examine the similarities and differences between Irish Celtic and Native American shamans and their position in their respective cultures.
For the Native American shaman the world of animals, the world of plants, the world of minerals, and the world of humans are all intertwined (Wolfe 3). Shamans in the Native American culture are viewed as a revered member of society, are often male, and are the sole healers of their people. While anyone can become a shaman in the Native American culture, the attainment of the status is an arduous process, and is considered a feat of great courage. The introduction of self to the spiritual world in such an intimate way has been considered dangerous because of the risk of insanity, as well as the risk of possession by angry spirits (Wolfe 237). From ancient times to modern times, shamans have been considered to be the link between the physical world and the spiritual world. (Wolfe 3). The Native American shamans utilize many sacred objects in their workings, which are considered sacred solely because they come from nature. These include talismans, spirit animals, totem helpers, ritual items, and spirit helpers (Wolfe, 9). Tobacco and other herbs, cornmeal, small shells, stones, and totems are important elements to their healing practices (Wolfe 20). Regardless of the methods that the shamans may use in healing, many Native American shamans believe that no one person heals