A term derived probably via German Schamane, from Russian sha'man, from Tungus saman, which is perhaps from Chinese sha men "Buddhist monk," from Prakrit samaya-, from Sanskrit sramana, "Buddhist ascetic". In general, people nowadays use the term shaman to refer to a magician who works with plants and animals, yet the term really just refers to any priest, whether upright or degenerated.

"Religion is as inherent to life as humidity is to water. The great cosmic universal religion becomes modified into thousands of religious forms. Thus, the priests from all religious forms are completely identifiable with one another through the fundamental principles of the great cosmic universal religion. Therefore, a basic difference between the Mohammedan priest and the Jewish priest, or between the Pagan priest and the legitimate Christian one, does not exist. Religion is one. Religion is unique and absolutely universal. The ceremonies of the Shinto priest of Japan or of the Mongol Lamas are similar to those ceremonies of the shamans and sorcerers from Africa and Oceania. When a religious form degenerates, it disappears; yet, the universal life creates new religious forms in order to replace it." - Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony

"What the common people know of the reality of shamanism is very little, and even this very little has been adulterated, the same adulteration that has occurred in the rest of the non-Christian religions. Shamanism used to be called, without any right, the “Paganism of Mongolia,” since it is one of the most ancient religions of India. It refers to the cult of the Spirit, the belief in the immortality of souls , and that these, beyond death, keep presenting the same characteristics of the human beings whom they were animating here on the earth. This occurred even when their bodies had lost their objective form, when the human being substituted its physical form for the spiritual one because of death. In its present form, such a belief is a sprout from the primitive theurgy, and a practical fusion of the visible world with the invisible one. When a foreign person who is naturalized in this country wishes to enter into communication with his invisible brothers, he has to assimilate their nature, that is, he must find these beings by walking half of the way that separates him from them. Then, enriched with an abundant provision of spiritual essence given by them, he then endows them in return with a part of his physical nature, in order to place them, through this action, in the condition of being able to sometimes show themselves in their semi-objective form, a form that they ordinarily lack. Such a process is a temporal change of nature, which is commonly called theurgy. Shamans are called sorcerers by vulgar people, because it is said that they invoke the spirits of the dead with the goal of exercising necromancy. But true shamanism cannot be judged based on its degenerated ramifications in Siberia, in the same way that the religion of Gautama Buddha cannot be confused with the fetishism of some people in Siam and Burma who call themselves its followers." - Samael Aun Weor, The Three Mountains

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