The earliest known depiction of a Siberian shaman, drawn by the Dutch explorer Nicolaes Witsen, who wrote an account of his travels among Samoyedic- and Tungusic-speaking peoples in 1692.
Witsen labelled the illustration as a "Priest of the Devil," giving this figure clawed feet to express what he thought were demonic qualities.
A shaman is someone who is regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.
The word "shaman" probably originates from the Tungusic Evenki language of North Asia.
The fourth definition identified by Hutton uses "shamanism" to refer to the indigenous religions of Siberia and neighboring parts of Asia. Turner and colleagues mention a phenomenon called shamanistic initiatory crisis, a rite of passage for shamans-to-be, commonly involving physical illness and/or psychological crisis.
The significant role of initiatory illnesses in the calling of a shaman can be found in the detailed case history of Chuonnasuan, the last master shaman among the Tungus peoples in Northeast China.
The shaman heals within the spiritual dimension by returning 'lost' parts of the human soul from wherever they have gone.
The shaman also cleanses excess negative energies, which confuse or pollute the soul. The shaman communicates with the spirits on behalf of the community, including the spirits of the deceased.
The spirit guide energizes the shaman, enabling him/her to enter the spiritual dimension.21st-century anthropologist and archeologist Silvia Tomaskova argues that by the mid-1600s, many Europeans applied the Arabic term shaitan, meaning "devil," to the non-Christian practices and beliefs of indigenous peoples beyond the Ural Mountains.She suggests that shaman may have entered the various Tungus dialects as a corruption of this term, and then been told to Christian missionaries, explorers, soldiers and colonial administrators with whom the people had increasing contact for centuries.Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds.Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul.The term "shamanism" was first applied by Western anthropologists as outside observers of the ancient religion of the Turks and Mongols, as well as those of the neighbouring Tungusic and Samoyedic-speaking peoples.