Shamanism is an allied medical practice that involves a spiritual practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with what they believe to be a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world for healing, foretelling of past and future events, etc.

The term shaman today is a social construct that describes a person who attends to the psychological and spiritual needs of a community. The techniques that enable shamans of both genders to access information that is not ordinarily attainable are known as “shamanism” (Krippner, 2000). The Shaman is thus an indigenous/traditional practitioner conforming to the WHO's definition.

Over two decades and ago, Jane Monnig Atkinson (1992, Annual Review of Anthropology , 21, pp.307-30, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon)  expressed surprise and satisfaction at the reinvigorated research on shamanism that she noted in her review of the field. Scholars like Atkinson had breathed new life in an old term that many scholars had considered a relic of history. This introductory PanAm Course and others explore the intricacies, efficacies, and nuances of shamanic traditions. Today, at the outset of 2020, new trends Atkinson and others have noted have only continued grown in importance, with valuable research ongoing within a number of different theoretical frameworks and a marked increase in scholarly and popular publication venues, including new presses and journals and a blossoming internet presence for shamanic topics and modalities. 

Spiritism too, is an ancient set of practices founded in early religions, but was not codified until the 19th century by the French educator Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail, under the pen name Allan Kardec; it proposed the study of "the nature, origin, and destiny of spirits, and their relation with the corporeal world". Even Netflix now presents a docu-drama on the magnificent, real life of Léon Denizard Rivail, a true modern shaman. The evidence can no longer be ignored.

We are the only school presenting a comprehensive and historically valid theme and claim that the world has experienced three great medical traditions:

1. Shamanism

2. Humoral medicines

3. Atomic (Biochemic) Modern Medicine

Shamanism is a system of religious practice believed to be one of the oldest and earliest forms of religion and medicine in the world. There is no single agreed-upon definition for the word "shamanism" among anthropologists. The English historian Ronald Hutton noted that by the dawn of the 21st century, there were four separate definitions of the term which appeared to be in use.

1. The first of these uses the term to refer to "anybody who contacts a spirit world while in an altered state of consciousness."
2. The second definition limits the term to refer to those who contact a spirit world while in an altered state of consciousness at the behest of others.
3. The third definition attempts to distinguish shamans from other magico-religious specialists who are believed to contact spirits, such as "mediums", "witch doctors", "spiritual healers" or "prophets," by claiming that shamans undertake some particular technique not used by the others. Problematically, scholars advocating the third view have failed to agree on what the defining technique should be.
4. The fourth definition identified by Hutton uses "shamanism" to refer to the indigenous religions of Siberia and neighboring parts of Asia. According to the Golomt Center for Shamanic Studies, a Mongolian organisation of shamans, the Evenk word shaman would more accurately be translated as "priest".

Given the sometimes violent suppression of shamans in past colonial encounters, it is not surprising that indigenous communities today have sought to revive lapsed or moribund shamanic traditions. Indeed, now embedded in International Law, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples delineates and defines the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, including their ownership rights to cultural and ceremonial expression, identity, language, employment, health, medicines, education and other issues. It "emphasizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations".[3] It "prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples", and it "promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development".

Graduates of PanAm can seek licensure with our affiliate SACRED MEDICAL ORDER upon completion of relevant courses and qualifications.

  • Msgr. Prof. [Dr. of Med.] Charles McWilliams Msgr. Prof. [Dr. of Med.] Charles McWilliams: Allie Litterer