According to Dictionary.com Shaman is defined as “(especially among certain tribal peoples) a person who acts as intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, etc.” which I do agree with some of the definition but I would not say that they use “magic” to cure illness. In my opinion the word “magic” does not state exactly how illnesses are cured. I would have to say that because I grew up in a family where shamanism is a big part of our culture and my step mom is a shaman herself, “magic” is not used to cure illnesses but what I see from experience is spiritual calling. It is funny how I claim myself to be Shaman but when someone asks me what Shaman is, I always hesitate to explain. I can’t be a Shaman if I don’t know the deep meaning about it right? But I grew up participating in the rituals and my whole family is Shaman, so where do I stand?
Although I still have not truly understand the religion I grew up in, I am willing to explore and learn about other cultures, like Buddhism. After the monk chat, I have learned so much about what Buddhism is and how beautiful their belief is. There are just really three things that they focus on their life on and it is abstain from bad, do good, and cleaning the mind. They may seem so simple but they are hard to obtain without being a true believer in doing all those three things. I feel so connected to Buddhism in many ways and I loved how it presents itself throughout Chiang Mai.
A big part of me wanted to come to Thailand because there are many Hmong people here so they would be able to help me understand more about my culture… well at least that was what I thought. I was so surprised that Shamanism is not practiced as much as it used to be or as much as it is in America. But I also understand the fact that the Hmong people we visited needed to adapt to what will help them survive and in this case it is being Christian. Shaman may and will always be the root of my family culture but I can and will always explore my beliefs.