The shamanic way of pregnancy and birthing is the union of ecstatic and sacred birth. Labor is an altered state of consciousness facilitated by the ecstatic hormones of birth. The arts of midwifery and shamanism have long been intertwined to assist the physical and spiritual birthing of new consciousness on Earth. Article by KaRa Maria Ananda, http://www.birthemissary.com
"To wit, the indigenous belief in a spiritual realm and spiritual entities is no more 'mystical' than the belief that the typical modern educated individual has in quarks and other subatomic particles. In fact, it may be less so. The typical modern person’s belief in subatomic particles is based on hearsay and authority, not on direct experience. To get anything like a direct experience of subatomic particles, you have to go through a certain procedure."
"Indigenous cultures use drumming as a way to enter the realm of the sacred through altering the state of consciousness. Drummers experience a rush of energy from the vibrations, with physical stimulation producing emotional release. These response can cause changes in mood, arousal, and attention. Further, clinical research has demonstrated improved immunological parameters induced through drumming."
"Although the use of hallucinogenic drugs such as ayahuasca is common, many cultures use a strong repetitive rhythm or beat to create that state; the Native American Ojibwa wanbeno, for instance, use drumming, rattling, chanting, naked dancing, and handling of live coals.7 Drumming is particularly effective in producing a highly concentrated focus; a number of studies have shown that listening to the beat of a drum causes the brain to slow down into a trancelike state.8 As Native Americans discovered, even intense heat, as in a sweat lodge, can transport individuals to an altered state."
"Shamans have been confused with Medicine Men, witch doctors, sorcerers and healers who work in trance states. The shaman is distinguished by his or her ability to utilize a particular trance state in which the shaman's soul leaves the physical world and travels into the invisible world to make an experiential connection with spirit. Once that connection is established, the energies of the spirit world aid the shaman in diagnosing what needs to be done and help in doing it, often right there in the invisible world."