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Shamanism is the name for a number of religious movements. Originally, it was used by Europeans to describe different religious and magical movements they could observe with certain indigenous people in Siberia, from about the 17th century. In the 20th century, the word was also used to describe other, similar movements worldwide.
Shamans play a central role in these movements, as they can be in both worlds, this one, and the world of spirits.
- Spirits exist. They have an important role, both for single people, and for society as a whole.
- Shamans can talk to spirits.
- There are good spirits, but there are also evil ones.
- The shaman can treat sickness, caused by evil spirits.
- Shaman can use special things and techniques to put themselves into a trance. Once in trance, they will get visions.
- The Shaman's spirit can leave their body and enter the spirit world to search for answers.
- Shamans can use animals to help them.
Shamanism is different from animism. Unlike this kind of religion, it is not an organised movement.