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Gleb
25 Aug 2014, 11:39
Hi everybody!
So I've recently thought about it and decided to post the question here: What is the difference between a Shaman and a Druid?
What does each focus on? What is the purpose of each?

Rae'ya
02 Sep 2014, 03:50
There's a very large difference. As in... they are not even really in the same sort of equatable category of practitioner. Some aspects of Druidry MIGHT be considered shamanic in some circles, but that's debatable.

I don't really have the brain cells for a more in depth answer than that right now... and honestly I don't really know enough about Druidry to answer about what their focus and purpose is. My experience and knowledge lies more towards shamanism.

thalassa
02 Sep 2014, 04:14
Druidry (or Druidism) is a subset of Celtic (and sometimes Celtic-ish) Paganism. What Druidry is/is not really depends on the group practicing it (more info can be found here (http://www.paganforum.com/showthread.php?77-A-perspective-on-Druidry-and-Druidism)). It may or may not include Shamanic techniques, and someone that is a Druid may or may not also identify as a practitioner of Shamanism.

Gleb
02 Sep 2014, 07:17
Thanks very much to you both! The links was very useful, Thal! :)

Ticklebits
19 Sep 2014, 23:32
Hahaha I cant believe there's actually a thread here. I have this argument all the time with my boyfriend. He thinks there's some difference (thanks world of warcraft) and then theres me going "omg babe, druids are just celtic shamans!" But thats what I find attractive about shamanism, its a simple, foundational term that explains a core element of some spiritual practice. The word itself came from Siberia. If the word hadnt evolved into something more generalized we'd all be talking about russian shamanism (and I dont think that is the case).

Azvanna
20 Sep 2014, 01:01
I don't know a lot about shamanism (or druidry really).. but first impressions leads me to think that druidry/ism is more like a set of values/beliefs whereas shamanism is a practical technique.

Gleb
20 Sep 2014, 01:03
I don't know a lot about shamanism (or druidry really).. but first impressions leads me to think that druidry/ism is more like a set of values/beliefs whereas shamanism is a practical technique.
Yeah, I think so too.

Azvanna
20 Sep 2014, 01:27
You forgot to say, 'Thanks, Captain Obvious!" :)

Hagazusa
20 Sep 2014, 01:48
I don't know a lot about shamanism (or druidry really).. but first impressions leads me to think that druidry/ism is more like a set of values/beliefs whereas shamanism is a practical technique.

You're absolutely right, though. Druidry uses practices that are shamanic in nature, but the basic beliefs of those two paths are inherently different. A while ago I visited a site on druidry where the same question was asked, and there a druid stated that in itself there isn't a huge difference besides the basic beliefs. However, he also said that shamanic practices are far more primitive then druidic ones. Though IMHO that statement is very degrading towards the shamanic community.

- - - Updated - - -]


Well, I sound a lot like a college professor here, don't I? Sorry about that.

Azvanna
20 Sep 2014, 02:05
...However, he also said that shamanic practices are far more primitive then druidic ones. Though IMHO that statement is very degrading towards the shamanic community.







I wonder why that member said such a thing. It does sound degrading. Did he expand on that?

monsno_leedra
20 Sep 2014, 02:29
I'd say the key feature is that Druid is a caste within the Celtic culture. Seldom is it an individual but almost a priest like system with multiple individuals. In most Shamanic situations it is an individual that many times is selected by Spirit or an elder and is trained one on one. In a great many first nation or aboriginal systems there is only one practitioner per group and perhaps a student under study. In many instances located outside of the social order and functions as an extra guide / adviser between the group and the spirit world. A critical aspect being that the shaman functions within the spiritual / religious functionality of the people they serve and advise.

I'd think the manner of being selected is often quite different between those of a Druid and that of a Shaman. Figure Druidic wise one may be born into the caste of the Druid and be slated for that pathway or one may under neo-Druidism pursue entry into it. In most instances Shaman are not born into a shamanic lineage but most importantly have to experience a physical death, shamanic sickness / illness or some other extraordinary event. While Neo-shamanism allows for self selection and self identification it is the exception vice the rule found in first nation and aboriginal peoples.

There is some similarity in that the Druid and Shaman can be focused towards healing but does not have to be. Consider the warrior shaman who would go on raids or into battle with the warrior class overseeing the psychological aspects of preparation for battle and death. Then you had the shamanic individual that served in a fertility / fecundity aspect using their skills and gifts for the welfare of their own people but would employ them against another people to undermine or destroy the fertility / fecundity of an opponent. One also might discover the shaman whose sole purpose was to read and interact with the hidden spirit world and utilize that knowledge in guiding / advising why herds vanished, crops failed, why allies and such were causing illness / death but not being seen in a healer capacity.

In my experience the only people who claim them to be the same or closely similar are those who compare the neo aspects of Shamanism and Druidry. Usually at the expense of ignoring the cultural, social, functional and spiritual roles each played and how they were fitted into the social fabric. Especially the aspect of their being a unified druidic notion and authority listed in many older texts and stories that is never found in shamanic references and records. One of the reasons I suppose so many say it was such an easy task for the Druids to be incorporated into the Celtic Church when you look to Ireland for instance or some Britanic references, perhaps even some Welsh stories.

Hagazusa
20 Sep 2014, 03:14
I wonder why that member said such a thing. It does sound degrading. Did he expand on that?
Nope. Not at all. Must've been an elitist who didn't like being compared to those "barbaric" shamans.

- - - Updated - - -


I'd say the key feature is that Druid is a caste within the Celtic culture. Seldom is it an individual but almost a priest like system with multiple individuals. In most Shamanic situations it is an individual that many times is selected by Spirit or an elder and is trained one on one. In a great many first nation or aboriginal systems there is only one practitioner per group and perhaps a student under study. In many instances located outside of the social order and functions as an extra guide / adviser between the group and the spirit world. A critical aspect being that the shaman functions within the spiritual / religious functionality of the people they serve and advise.

I'd think the manner of being selected is often quite different between those of a Druid and that of a Shaman. Figure Druidic wise one may be born into the caste of the Druid and be slated for that pathway or one may under neo-Druidism pursue entry into it. In most instances Shaman are not born into a shamanic lineage but most importantly have to experience a physical death, shamanic sickness / illness or some other extraordinary event. While Neo-shamanism allows for self selection and self identification it is the exception vice the rule found in first nation and aboriginal peoples.

There is some similarity in that the Druid and Shaman can be focused towards healing but does not have to be. Consider the warrior shaman who would go on raids or into battle with the warrior class overseeing the psychological aspects of preparation for battle and death. Then you had the shamanic individual that served in a fertility / fecundity aspect using their skills and gifts for the welfare of their own people but would employ them against another people to undermine or destroy the fertility / fecundity of an opponent. One also might discover the shaman whose sole purpose was to read and interact with the hidden spirit world and utilize that knowledge in guiding / advising why herds vanished, crops failed, why allies and such were causing illness / death but not being seen in a healer capacity.

In my experience the only people who claim them to be the same or closely similar are those who compare the neo aspects of Shamanism and Druidry. Usually at the expense of ignoring the cultural, social, functional and spiritual roles each played and how they were fitted into the social fabric. Especially the aspect of their being a unified druidic notion and authority listed in many older texts and stories that is never found in shamanic references and records. One of the reasons I suppose so many say it was such an easy task for the Druids to be incorporated into the Celtic Church when you look to Ireland for instance or some Britanic references, perhaps even some Welsh stories.

Thank you.

thalassa
20 Sep 2014, 04:45
I wonder why that member said such a thing. It does sound degrading. Did he expand on that?


I can't say in this instance, without knowing the context of the statement, or more about the person in general...but primitive isn't always an insult.



And with that being said...


Hahaha I cant believe there's actually a thread here. I have this argument all the time with my boyfriend. He thinks there's some difference (thanks world of warcraft) and then theres me going "omg babe, druids are just celtic shamans!" But thats what I find attractive about shamanism, its a simple, foundational term that explains a core element of some spiritual practice. The word itself came from Siberia. If the word hadnt evolved into something more generalized we'd all be talking about russian shamanism (and I dont think that is the case).


Druids are no more "just Celtic shaman" than a priest of ancient Rome or Greece would be a Roman or Greek shaman.

Certainly, there is now a strong vein of Celtic (usually core) shamanism in modern Druidry, but not every Druid incorporates shamanic practices in their practice, and its a long way (IMO) between adopting shamanic practices and legitimately calling oneself a shaman.

The ancient Druids were a priesthood (and here I'll totally disagree with Monsno)--there is not enough enough actual archaeological evidence to say whether or not that priesthood was a priestly caste or a priestly order (or a mix of the two, in which one could be called in, or called out of service). Further more, we don't know enough about Druid practices to say whether or not they were shamanic in nature or not, whether in total or in part. This is no different than, say...the priestly caste/culture of the Mississippan culture in the Americas. We have ideas, we have suppositions, we have tons of wishful thinking (on both ends of the stick), and we have very little evidence that clearly supports any one line of thinking.


This question is sort of like asking what's the difference between music and hockey.

monsno_leedra
20 Sep 2014, 04:52
.. The ancient Druids were a priesthood (and here I'll totally disagree with Monsno)--there is not enough enough actual archaeological evidence to say whether or not that priesthood was a priestly caste or a priestly order (or a mix of the two, in which one could be called in, or called out of service). Further more, we don't know enough about Druid practices to say whether or not they were shamanic in nature or not, whether in total or in part. This is no different than, say...the priestly caste/culture of the Mississippan culture in the Americas. We have ideas, we have suppositions, we have tons of wishful thinking (on both ends of the stick), and we have very little evidence that clearly supports any one line of thinking.


This question is sort of like asking what's the difference between music and hockey.

I can agree with and support that. It's all subjective I suppose with the limited info we actually have as to whether it was a cast, calling or society.

Gleb
20 Sep 2014, 05:28
I'd say the key feature is that Druid is a caste within the Celtic culture. Seldom is it an individual but almost a priest like system with multiple individuals. In most Shamanic situations it is an individual that many times is selected by Spirit or an elder and is trained one on one. In a great many first nation or aboriginal systems there is only one practitioner per group and perhaps a student under study. In many instances located outside of the social order and functions as an extra guide / adviser between the group and the spirit world. A critical aspect being that the shaman functions within the spiritual / religious functionality of the people they serve and advise.

I'd think the manner of being selected is often quite different between those of a Druid and that of a Shaman. Figure Druidic wise one may be born into the caste of the Druid and be slated for that pathway or one may under neo-Druidism pursue entry into it. In most instances Shaman are not born into a shamanic lineage but most importantly have to experience a physical death, shamanic sickness / illness or some other extraordinary event. While Neo-shamanism allows for self selection and self identification it is the exception vice the rule found in first nation and aboriginal peoples.

There is some similarity in that the Druid and Shaman can be focused towards healing but does not have to be. Consider the warrior shaman who would go on raids or into battle with the warrior class overseeing the psychological aspects of preparation for battle and death. Then you had the shamanic individual that served in a fertility / fecundity aspect using their skills and gifts for the welfare of their own people but would employ them against another people to undermine or destroy the fertility / fecundity of an opponent. One also might discover the shaman whose sole purpose was to read and interact with the hidden spirit world and utilize that knowledge in guiding / advising why herds vanished, crops failed, why allies and such were causing illness / death but not being seen in a healer capacity.

In my experience the only people who claim them to be the same or closely similar are those who compare the neo aspects of Shamanism and Druidry. Usually at the expense of ignoring the cultural, social, functional and spiritual roles each played and how they were fitted into the social fabric. Especially the aspect of their being a unified druidic notion and authority listed in many older texts and stories that is never found in shamanic references and records. One of the reasons I suppose so many say it was such an easy task for the Druids to be incorporated into the Celtic Church when you look to Ireland for instance or some Britanic references, perhaps even some Welsh stories.
Tanks for your input, Monsno_leedra! :)

Ticklebits
20 Sep 2014, 07:48
I'd say the key feature is that Druid is a caste within the Celtic culture. Seldom is it an individual but almost a priest like system with multiple individuals. In most Shamanic situations it is an individual that many times is selected by Spirit or an elder and is trained one on one. In a great many first nation or aboriginal systems there is only one practitioner per group and perhaps a student under study. In many instances located outside of the social order and functions as an extra guide / adviser between the group and the spirit world. A critical aspect being that the shaman functions within the spiritual / religious functionality of the people they serve and advise.

I'd think the manner of being selected is often quite different between those of a Druid and that of a Shaman. Figure Druidic wise one may be born into the caste of the Druid and be slated for that pathway or one may under neo-Druidism pursue entry into it. In most instances Shaman are not born into a shamanic lineage but most importantly have to experience a physical death, shamanic sickness / illness or some other extraordinary event. While Neo-shamanism allows for self selection and self identification it is the exception vice the rule found in first nation and aboriginal peoples.

There is some similarity in that the Druid and Shaman can be focused towards healing but does not have to be. Consider the warrior shaman who would go on raids or into battle with the warrior class overseeing the psychological aspects of preparation for battle and death. Then you had the shamanic individual that served in a fertility / fecundity aspect using their skills and gifts for the welfare of their own people but would employ them against another people to undermine or destroy the fertility / fecundity of an opponent. One also might discover the shaman whose sole purpose was to read and interact with the hidden spirit world and utilize that knowledge in guiding / advising why herds vanished, crops failed, why allies and such were causing illness / death but not being seen in a healer capacity.

In my experience the only people who claim them to be the same or closely similar are those who compare the neo aspects of Shamanism and Druidry. Usually at the expense of ignoring the cultural, social, functional and spiritual roles each played and how they were fitted into the social fabric. Especially the aspect of their being a unified druidic notion and authority listed in many older texts and stories that is never found in shamanic references and records. One of the reasons I suppose so many say it was such an easy task for the Druids to be incorporated into the Celtic Church when you look to Ireland for instance or some Britanic references, perhaps even some Welsh stories.

The only comparison you made was manner of selection. That certainly doesn't constitute calling them completely different. The rest was all just random information that referred to both druidry and shamanism in a non-comparative fashion. Then you end your statement by theorizing that only neo-druidry/shamanism can be called similiar (despite having just used "similar" to describe an aspect of both druidry and shamanism in an above paragraph) without ever stating which incredibly specific version of either YOU were originally going on about. I, for one, would be enormously curious to hear how "shaman" is being defined in this context because the word itself was mostly invented to describe a method of practice and not a religion.

Fyi: All of this snobbery looks like nothing more than nonsense to anyone outside of your elite club.

monsno_leedra
20 Sep 2014, 07:55
The only comparison you made was manner of selection. That certainly doesn't constitute calling them completely different. The rest was all just random information that referred to both druidry and shamanism in a non-comparative fashion. Then you end your statement by theorizing that only neo-druidry/shamanism can be called similiar (despite having just used "similar" to describe an aspect of both druidry and shamanism in an above paragraph) without ever stating which incredibly specific version of either YOU were originally going on about. I, for one, would be enormously curious to hear how "shaman" is being defined in this context because the word itself was mostly invented to describe a method of practice and not a religion.

Fyi: All of this snobbery looks like nothing more than nonsense to anyone outside of your elite club.

Nope not snobbery at all. As to definition and usage here I use the generic common definition, with those who are actually shamanic in practice an nature I tend to use words specific to a given nation or practice. That your trying to make druidry shamanic or equal to it does nothing to change the fact they are vastly different in application, selection and utilization from the word go.

Sorry don't pull the pathetic 21 Lesson of Merlin crap on me as to it being shamanic regardless of which name you try apply to the practice and world view of those who practice it.

Ticklebits
20 Sep 2014, 09:13
Nope not snobbery at all. As to definition and usage here I use the generic common definition, with those who are actually shamanic in practice an nature I tend to use words specific to a given nation or practice. That your trying to make druidry shamanic or equal to it does nothing to change the fact they are vastly different in application, selection and utilization from the word go.

Sorry don't pull the pathetic 21 Lesson of Merlin crap on me as to it being shamanic regardless of which name you try apply to the practice and world view of those who practice it.

Yes and again a lot of words and not much said. Still no explanation or actual definition. Hard to refute nothing, or come to any understanding for that matter, which effectively renders my part in this little debate over.

anunitu
20 Sep 2014, 09:25
I really think the only real difference is concerning to the two groups. If you are druid,or shaman the difference is plain,if you do not belong to ether group then you have no real need to wonder.

monsno_leedra
20 Sep 2014, 10:19
Yes and again a lot of words and not much said. Still no explanation or actual definition. Hard to refute nothing, or come to any understanding for that matter, which effectively renders my part in this little debate over.

But to give you what your asking you first would have to undergo all the test and such. First you got to die. A physical death where you cross the veil between life and death, meet your ancestors and many times have to decide if your going to come back. May occur at any point but for many first nation and aboriginal peoples is occurs during youth and is a sign to the elders that you've been touched and selected by the spirits. Then you'll probably have the shamanic illness that goes with it though sometimes it occurs as part of the death aspect. usually an illness so severe you'll not be suspected of being able to survive it. After that you also get the shamanic death in the spirit world where you'll be ripped apart by your guides. A lovely process where you are torn asunder as the parts are torn out and reformed or replaced. Really a lovely experience as your body shows the physical welts, bands and such where you were torn apart, and lets not forget the fact you feel and suffer the pain of it even though it occurs in the spiritual world.

Then that just gets you noticed it doesn't mean you'll be selected to be trained or will become a spirit walker / shaman / medicine person / hedge rider or a thousand other names for a similar type position in the society. Nor does it mean which aspect you'll be groomed for and the lovely tests and such that come with that. It's not like Odin on the tree sacrificing an eye to learn the runes. NO you get the mind crusher for instance where the worlds over lap and you walk in one, two some or all of them all at once. Where it truly is an example of is it real or is it fantasy. No drugs needed just friggin detached voices and faces and surreal landscapes that make up your everyday world. Almost lunatic in how it works.

Then if your real lucky you get a teacher / elder / mentor / etc to guide you through it all. To tell you that its more than just animism / anamatism at work and acting upon you. You get the lovely sensation of being alone even in a room full of people and knowing that all the people surrounding you are not living nor of this world. Then you get the lovely sense of shamanic time distortion where where your at is not always when your at. The mind screw where all are talking potentially to you but they fade in and out like some corrupt drug induced state, except again no drugs there just Spirit screwing with your mind and trying to see if you puke, toss in the towel and collapse under the mental strain.

And it still doesn't mean your selected for many are tested and few are chosen. So you go through the death misses, those events where your weighted and your life is left to the visions or presence of someone else. For me lovely things, my sister died I died shortly there after, My parents decide to go somewhere last second grandparents refuse to let me go my carseat is crushed beneath the passenger seat, a bullet flies through the air and passes next to me and an old black man stops my mother and me from entering a bank as the robbers come out in a hail of bullets, the list goes on and on or near misses or physical injury. Not counting dead relatives who appear and tell you not to go a certain way less you die only to discover the one who warned you died the day you were born. That also tends not to touch upon experiencing the death of another regardless of which of the peoples they happen to be.

People like to equate the notion of shape-shifting, shift-shaping with berserker or skin walker and claim a similarity there. Yet just because some practitioners wear a regalia to connect with their allies and guides its not the same. Especially in the sense of mentally or physically becoming that ally or guide and experiencing life through its senses, form, etc. Yep more than just putting a skin on and taking a drug to make you feel like that creature. Especially screwed up when your forms don't come back together just right and your an animal in a human body or a human in an animal form.

All of that before I turned 17. Every single bit i'd give up in a heart beat but not given the option. Yet punished to the extreme every time you try to ignore or refuse it.

Just because so many think they can select to become something from a book doesn't mean its true or real. Just because some one said hey these things have a lot of anamism / anamatism aspects that are similar they are the same and call it core shamanism doesn't make you a Spirit walker / hedge ridge / world traveler or any of the names used with it.

Druidry the same as shamanism in the first nation or aboriginal aspect not even close. But so many new agey authors love to compare and sort of contrast to make it seem they are the same while ignoring nearly every cultural, social, psychological and spiritual / religious aspect that drives them.

loststarshine
20 Sep 2014, 13:26
But to give you what your asking you first would have to undergo all the test and such. First you got to die. A physical death where you cross the veil between life and death, meet your ancestors and many times have to decide if your going to come back. May occur at any point but for many first nation and aboriginal peoples is occurs during youth and is a sign to the elders that you've been touched and selected by the spirits. Then you'll probably have the shamanic illness that goes with it though sometimes it occurs as part of the death aspect. usually an illness so severe you'll not be suspected of being able to survive it. After that you also get the shamanic death in the spirit world where you'll be ripped apart by your guides. A lovely process where you are torn asunder as the parts are torn out and reformed or replaced. Really a lovely experience as your body shows the physical welts, bands and such where you were torn apart, and lets not forget the fact you feel and suffer the pain of it even though it occurs in the spiritual world.

Then that just gets you noticed it doesn't mean you'll be selected to be trained or will become a spirit walker / shaman / medicine person / hedge rider or a thousand other names for a similar type position in the society. Nor does it mean which aspect you'll be groomed for and the lovely tests and such that come with that. It's not like Odin on the tree sacrificing an eye to learn the runes. NO you get the mind crusher for instance where the worlds over lap and you walk in one, two some or all of them all at once. Where it truly is an example of is it real or is it fantasy. No drugs needed just friggin detached voices and faces and surreal landscapes that make up your everyday world. Almost lunatic in how it works.

Then if your real lucky you get a teacher / elder / mentor / etc to guide you through it all. To tell you that its more than just animism / anamatism at work and acting upon you. You get the lovely sensation of being alone even in a room full of people and knowing that all the people surrounding you are not living nor of this world. Then you get the lovely sense of shamanic time distortion where where your at is not always when your at. The mind screw where all are talking potentially to you but they fade in and out like some corrupt drug induced state, except again no drugs there just Spirit screwing with your mind and trying to see if you puke, toss in the towel and collapse under the mental strain.

And it still doesn't mean your selected for many are tested and few are chosen. So you go through the death misses, those events where your weighted and your life is left to the visions or presence of someone else. For me lovely things, my sister died I died shortly there after, My parents decide to go somewhere last second grandparents refuse to let me go my carseat is crushed beneath the passenger seat, a bullet flies through the air and passes next to me and an old black man stops my mother and me from entering a bank as the robbers come out in a hail of bullets, the list goes on and on or near misses or physical injury. Not counting dead relatives who appear and tell you not to go a certain way less you die only to discover the one who warned you died the day you were born. That also tends not to touch upon experiencing the death of another regardless of which of the peoples they happen to be.

People like to equate the notion of shape-shifting, shift-shaping with berserker or skin walker and claim a similarity there. Yet just because some practitioners wear a regalia to connect with their allies and guides its not the same. Especially in the sense of mentally or physically becoming that ally or guide and experiencing life through its senses, form, etc. Yep more than just putting a skin on and taking a drug to make you feel like that creature. Especially screwed up when your forms don't come back together just right and your an animal in a human body or a human in an animal form.

All of that before I turned 17. Every single bit i'd give up in a heart beat but not given the option. Yet punished to the extreme every time you try to ignore or refuse it.

Just because so many think they can select to become something from a book doesn't mean its true or real. Just because some one said hey these things have a lot of anamism / anamatism aspects that are similar they are the same and call it core shamanism doesn't make you a Spirit walker / hedge ridge / world traveler or any of the names used with it.

Druidry the same as shamanism in the first nation or aboriginal aspect not even close. But so many new agey authors love to compare and sort of contrast to make it seem they are the same while ignoring nearly every cultural, social, psychological and spiritual / religious aspect that drives them.

Very well said :)

callmeclemens
20 Sep 2014, 16:13
I was once told my and elder, as I consider my path to be somewhat druidic that. A Druid is one who unites the divide between Science and Spirituality.

Rae'ya
21 Sep 2014, 20:19
Hahaha I cant believe there's actually a thread here. I have this argument all the time with my boyfriend. He thinks there's some difference (thanks world of warcraft) and then theres me going "omg babe, druids are just celtic shamans!" But thats what I find attractive about shamanism, its a simple, foundational term that explains a core element of some spiritual practice. The word itself came from Siberia. If the word hadnt evolved into something more generalized we'd all be talking about russian shamanism (and I dont think that is the case).

This depends entirely on how you understand the term 'shaman' and 'shamanism'.

It is absolutely true that the words have evolved from the original Tungus words to mean something quite different. We can thank anthropologists for that little slice of cultural appropriation. But we can also thank the anthropologists for bringing the techniques employed by many indigenous shamans into the awareness of the general public. And we can thank Michael Harner for the invention of Core Shamanism, which has bought the techniques of indigenous shamans into paganism and the New Age movement, which has in turn bought to us the concepts of 'Celtic Shamanism' and the like. Suddenly, every practice and culture in the world is shamanic or does something that makes it like shamanism.

The part that is difficult for those of us within the non-core shamanic communities to make outsiders realise is that just because you practice some shamanic techniques does not make you a shaman. There is a VERY large difference between a shaman and a shamanist, or a shamanic practitioner. The statement that "druids are just celtic shamans" is incredibly flawed and fundamentally incorrect. On the other hand, Thalassa and I earlier both stated that some druids practice shamanic techniques... this is accurate.

Core shamanism is the camp that would have us believe in things like 'Celtic Shamanism' and 'Norse Shamanism' and whatever other religion they want to tack it onto. Because Core Shamanism maintains that there are certain core techniques practiced by native spirit workers that define 'shamanism'... some of which are practiced by pretty much anyone who communicates with spirits or believes in a world other than this one. Because of this, it's very easy to fall into the trap of believing that Druids are just Celtic Shamans, or that Seidhr workers are just Norse Shamans. It is true that there is a large enough number of neo pagans who believe this that Celtic Shamanism now exists, though I'd argue how much resemblance it has to traditional Druidry. Adding into that the fact that we have very little anthropological and archaeological evidence to tell us what Druidry was or wasn't, which means that at the end of the day, it's all speculation anyway

What that boils down to is that your boyfriend is right.


I don't know a lot about shamanism (or druidry really).. but first impressions leads me to think that druidry/ism is more like a set of values/beliefs whereas shamanism is a practical technique.

On the surface, absolutely!

But when you're involved in shamanism and the shamanic communities, the differences between classic, core and neo shamanism start to make things a great deal more complex. Just to confuse everyone. lol.


The only comparison you made was manner of selection. That certainly doesn't constitute calling them completely different. The rest was all just random information that referred to both druidry and shamanism in a non-comparative fashion. Then you end your statement by theorizing that only neo-druidry/shamanism can be called similiar (despite having just used "similar" to describe an aspect of both druidry and shamanism in an above paragraph) without ever stating which incredibly specific version of either YOU were originally going on about. I, for one, would be enormously curious to hear how "shaman" is being defined in this context because the word itself was mostly invented to describe a method of practice and not a religion.

The comparison of the manner of selection is fundamental to the difference between classic shamanism and core shamanism. The selection process, along with the illness and death-rebirth process, is essential to the definition of classic shamanism and a classic shaman. Without this selection process and initial stages, you aren't a shaman. There are a few things that define a classic shaman, and only classic shamans can use the term 'shaman' without backlash from the shamanic communities. Everyone else must use the terms 'shamanist' or 'shamanic practitioner'. To be a 'shaman' you must:

- hold that position with a society and culture that practices an indigenous or directly evolved faith incorporating the position of shaman (ie you must be a Buryat black or white shaman, or a Korean Shaman, or a Peruvian vegetalista, or any one of those practicing shamans within an extant traditional shamanic culture)
- serve your community in some selfless manner (ie as healer, medium, spirit worker etc). If you don't serve your community, you aren't a shaman, even if you were spirit chosen and have gone through a death-rebirth process
- be chosen by the spirits themselves or taught in a traditional, lineaged, inherited or otherwise succeeded path. You don't chose to be a shaman of your own back. It is appointed TO you, not BY you.
- 99% of the time you must go through either a shamanic illness, or a death-rebirth process, or both
- you must not be allowed to quit. Being a shaman is a lifelong (and sometimes beyond life) calling that was thrust upon you by the spirits... you don't get a choice in the matter. Even in those traditional faiths that have shamans who are appointed by the previous shaman, if you accept, there is no going back
- usually, it's your full time job
- you must communicate with spirits directly. To be a shaman is to be a spirit worker. No spirits, no shaman.

If Druidry does not tick every single one of these boxes, then Druids are NOT shamans. Period.

The reality is that there are very few classic shamans outside of native indigenous faiths... they make up a tiny proportion of the Western shamanic community, because the paths and faiths that were built around classic shamans are not practiced by pagans. They are practiced by indigenous peoples and by communities who can trace their shamanic practices back to the indigenous peoples before them.

Now some Druids may be shamanists... to be a shamanist the criteria is much, much more fluid. And therein lies the issue of Core Shamanism. I am actually not opposed to Core Shamanism at all... I think that it is a valuable personal practice that is incredibly empowering and growth-inducing. But I (and every other non-core-shamanist) am incredibly frustrated by the misinformation and misunderstanding that it has created within the general populace. A core shamanist is NOT a shaman.

Now you'll notice that in my classic shaman list above, I actually didn't say anything about journeying to Otherworlds. That's because not all shamans actually journey to Otherworlds... there is a fundamental belief in Otherworlds, but many traditional indigenous shamans actually interface with spirits here in Thisworld, not in the Otherworlds. Journeying is actually not a pre-requisite for classic shamans, but it is for neo-shamanism. Neo-shamanism or non-core shamanism is the term that is mostly (but not always) used to indicated a non-core shamanist who is not a shaman. We are kind of the midway point between the two extremes. It's a relatively new term that simply differentiates core from non-core. To be a neo-shamanist you must:

- believe in physical external Otherworlds. The Otherworlds are NOT an internal landscape, they are literal spirit worlds apart from this one.
- journey to the Otherworlds (or Thisworld) in some form or another (usually via trance but not always). I personally include Thisworld in this point, because I know a number of (mostly bioregionalist) shamanists who don't journey into the Otherworlds but journey in Thisworld on a regular basis. To me, it counts, but not everyone feels this way.
- communicate and engage with spirits. This is still spirit work. No spirits, no neo-shamanist
- may or may not go through a death-rebirth or shamanic illness. Generally there is an astral death-rebirth as a part of initiation and re-wiring of your energy body to better be able to do the work you are doing. It's not an absolutely necessary part, but it's there 90% of the time
- it is possible to chose to do this yourself, but you must be spirit approved. If they don't approve you, you wont get very far and can be locked out of the Otherworlds
- you need a team of spirit helpers and allies to help you navigate the Otherworlds. It's VERY difficult to get around in there on your own, because you're a foreigner and an intruder. If you work for a deity it's easier to get around without a guide, but some helpers and allies are essential.
- practice shamanism as a fundamental part of your practice... this is not just a bit of drumming to meet your animal guide. This is your everyday practice.
- have a reason for doing it... you can't just wander around in the Otherworlds for no reason. You don't specifically need to serve a community, but you still need a reason. Most neo-shamanists are still healers, soul retrievers, mediums, spirit workers, diviners or something along those lines)
- have an integrated cultural context within which you practice. This is your life, your daily practice... and it's inextricably linked with your worldview and religion. Yes, shamanism is a set of techniques that can be theoretically harnessed by anyone, but when you LIVE it, it is fully integrated into your everyday life and religion. It's not separate to your religion, it's a part of it. Luckily, most religions have space for shamanism to be a key aspect so it's actually not that difficult to have a cultural context for what you do. But you can't just be a shamanist if you don't know what you believe in, don't believe in spirits or are generally directionless.

Everyone else who practices shamanic techniques is a core-shamanist. Internal landscapes, non-theistic shamanists, intermittant practices, no cultural context, guided meditations to the Underworld to recreate the Descent of the Goddess... all that is core shamanism. Which again, is not a negative thing. It's just different. And those of us in the neo and classic shamanist camps feel that it's a fundamentally important difference.

Druidry shares some techniques with core shamanism (but then, so does everything), but it certainly isn't the same as classic shamanism or even neo shamanism. Now, the elitist, snobby part comes when you decide which of the three shamanic paths has enough merit to be able to call what you do 'shamanism'. Within the shamanic community, core shamanism doesn't really count as an actual shamanic path. It's kind of like... the way that Seax Wicca doesn't really count as a Heathen path. Core shamanism is inspired by actual practicing shamanic paths, but that's about as far as it gets. A core shamanist isn't a shaman, isn't serving their community in the role of spirit worker, didn't go through a shamanic illness or death-and-rebirth, wasn't chosen by the spirits themselves, and isn't forced into continuing their path under threat of death or madness. Core shamanists aren't even neo-shamanists in the sense that there is usually not an integrated cultural context, they aren't journeying in external Otherworlds, they are often not communicating with external spirits other than their deity and an animal guide, they don't have teams of spirit allies (sorry, but having ten 'power animals' doesn't count), it's not a part of their everyday practice and their are usually serving themselves (personal growth and healing rather than healing others). Some Druids would potentially fall into the neo-shamanist category, but believing in Otherworlds and communicating with spirits is not enough on it's own to be able to call someone a neo-shamanist.


Fyi: All of this snobbery looks like nothing more than nonsense to anyone outside of your elite club.

This comment was unnecessary, and honestly shows more about your lack of understanding about shamanism than about our nonsensical elitist snobbery. Just because you don't understand something or don't agree with it doesn't mean that it's nonsense, snobbery OR elitist.

I will grant you that sometimes Monsno comes across as snobby, but it's because he actually knows what the f--- he's talking about. You'll probably think the same thing about me after this post. But you know what? We are both non-core shamanists, which means that we are qualified to answer questions like the one from Gleb and the one you are putting forth in an educated, experienced manner. If you don't like the answers then that's your problem, not ours. But please refrain from making insulting comments about our nonsensical elitist snobbery.... if you have issue what something that is said, address the point directly rather than making vague global statements.


Yes and again a lot of words and not much said. Still no explanation or actual definition. Hard to refute nothing, or come to any understanding for that matter, which effectively renders my part in this little debate over.

You haven't engaged in a debate yet, so how can it be over? Debate involves detailed discussion and rebuttal. If you wish to debate, I will happily debate with you. Particularly on a subject that I have experience and knowledge of. Shamanism is something that is an integral part of my practice and is a subject that I have studied and practiced for many years. So I'm up for a debate if you are.