Learn all about the shaman archetype, including definition, characteristics, examples and how it relates to the Magician archetype.
What is the Shaman Archetype?
The shaman archetype is one of a person who has undergone a physical or metaphorical re-birth process in some way, giving them a sensitivity to both the earthly and spiritual realms.
This re-birth experience and the spiritual energy which they consequentially embody allows them to present a healing and soothing presence to those around them. As a healer the shaman is driven to both live a healthy life themselves and others do the same.
They believe that their powers of religious or spiritual connection and ability to access a high consciousness allow them to bring restoration of the body, mind and spirit.
The Shaman will also use experiences of religious ecstasy, such as speaking in tongues and encounters with the spirit world, to bring healing to others.
Shaman Archetype Characteristics & Traits
- The archetypal shaman sees themselves as a storyteller, a keeper of a sacred history to which only they and others like them are privileged to have access.
- They believe strongly in the importance of dreams in providing an insight into the workings of the mind and often practice the ‘reading’ of dreams as part of their healing process.
- They also see themselves as the guardian of souls, able to carry out spiritual retrievals of souls of those lost to the ‘underworld’ as though they are a midwife of sorts.
- The shaman is a creative and visionary, with an active and fertile imagination and vivid powers of storytelling.
- They are able to captivate an audience and enjoy the process of performing.
- They are likely to abstain from earthly pleasures such as alcohol and drugs, preferring to focus on eating natural and organic products.
- They also place value on the natural sciences and mathematics as a method of maintaining the balance of the planet.
Some believe they have psychic powers and are able to undertake acts such as speaking to the dead.
Shaman Archetype Examples
In some key aspects Jesus Christ fits the shaman archetype, with his use of religious experiences to heal other people and restore body, soul and mind.
He was also clearly a gifted storyteller who could command and inspire an audience, with a focus on healthy and clean living, all of which fit the archetype.
Further reading on the shaman archetype includes:
- Shamans and Analysts – by John Merchant
- The Magician Within: Accessing the Shaman in the Male Psyche – by Robert L. Moore and Douglas Gillette
- Change Your Story, Change Your Life: Using Shamanic and Jungian Tools to Achieve Personal Transformation – by Carl Greer
- The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner