rock light_smallerThis page was started in order to write down some of the cultural names for shamanic or native healers.  Hopefully it will serve as a good starting point for your explorations of this topic.  Please use the comments section of this page to share what you know as well.

Keep in mind that some healers do not consider the labels shamanism or shamanic to be correct.  The word is a Tungus word from the Siberia.  In particular the word shaman tends to misapplied to Native American Healers, click for example. This topic is also closely related to issues of Cultural Appropriation.

So keeping relate issues in mind, use this list as a starting point in your exploration of spiritual healers within culture. You will also find there are certain meanings behind the names that are cultures often apply to their shamanic healers, such as words that mean “the dreamer”, “the traveler”, or “of the spirits.”

You may also find that some terms for healer were interpreted and defined as negative by formal religions in more recent times and may have been a positive name for healer in earlier societies.

These are in no particular order as they were added as they were found or contributed.  Some have links to sites which talk about that form of Shamanism:

Angakok – Inuit Shaman, I saw this referenced on a paper at Brandon University in Canada.
Fugara – The Bedouin form of Shamanism
Baksylyk – I saw a reference to a paper by Patrick Garrone called “Baksylyk: a Muslim Declination of Shamanism” (in ISIM NEWSLETTER, December 1999 (No.4)
Sahir-þairls – Shamans in Turkey the other words I saw in connection with this were Kyrgyz Kazakh baksýs, baksý, kam, ozan, Oguz, ozans
Kopuz – a musical instrument, somehow connected with shamanism

Dagara Tribe – West African Tribe with Shaman Healers
Kontomblé – West African word for helping spirits.
Txiv Neeb – Shaman of the Hmong, the shaman translates to “father/master of the spirits.”
Miko – Female Shaman, saw referenced in article in Asian Folklore Studies.

Mudang – Korean Shaman, most Korean Shamans are women
Nae-Rim-Kut – Korean Shamanic Initiation
Huna – Form of shamanism, inspired by Hawaiian.
Babalawo – shamans of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa meaning “Father of the Mysteries” or “Father of the Spirits” supplied by student of Babalawo/Shaman.
Wulla-mullung – Wiradjuri Tribe- Southeast Australia it seems that is the name their Shamans are called, and their helping spirits are called Budian.

Dukun – Shaman of Indonesia
Bomoh – Malay Shaman
Voelva/Volva/Vala/Seidhkona – Female Shaman of Norse Mythology
Seidhr – A shamanic ritual or staff in the Norse tradition. Male shamans of Norse tradition are sometimes referred to as Seidhr men.
Baal Shem – Translates in Hebrew as “Master of the Name” possibly a Jewish Shaman

Wakan Tanka – Term for Spirit that Resides in Everything in Lakota
Sheripiari – term of the Campa of eastern Perú
Znakharka – term for female shaman in the Ukraine, supplied by a Ukraine shaman.
Tang-ki – the Chinese name for a shaman (also fu-chi which seems to relate to a mediumship involving writing.)

P’aqo – The Andean word for shaman — it’s a Quecha word for shaman but they are mystics too (submitted to Shaman Links by one of our readers)
Mambo – One of our readers found that this “is the name for a high priestess in the voodoo tradition, especially one who keeps the songs and rituals and maintains the community’s relationship with the spirits…”
Yachak – One of our readers: “translated as Birdman a person who knows how to fly into the other worlds, to connect with spirits and bring messages.”

Quam – “The usual Turkish word for shaman.” A name meaning diviner.  From: Animal and Shaman: Ancient Religions of Central Asia By Julian Baldick (Also mentions ongon, Turkish word for totem or indicating a special animal.)
Baqshi – specialists of the Kazakhs, Bakshi among the Kirghiz and Uighur (from Malang, Sufis, and Mystics – An Ethnographic and Historical Study of Shamanism in Afghanistan by Muhammad Humayun Sidky)
Táltos – Hungarian Shaman (Specific Táltos from folktales: Göncöl and Kampó)

Sangoma – South African Shaman, a Zulu term
Inyanga – South African shaman concerned with medicine from plants and animals.
Boo – Male Mongolian Shaman
Udagan – Female Shaman Buryat (Siberian) (Various Siberian Names for a female Shaman derive from Etügen, the hearth goddess.)

Kahuna – sometimes considered the Hawaiian word for Shaman
Molfar (Mol’Farka) – Folk Healers in the Ukraine
Szeptuchy (Szeptuchami) – Poland Healers
Miko – Female Shaman in Japan, also ichiko which means “shaman child” and reibai for a medium

Eem – Healers of Karuk Tribe of California  (Saw in Book – Historical Dictionary of Shamanism)
Alumbrada – Enlightened or Illuminated Healer in Spanish (called False Mystics during the inquisition.)
Yatiri – Healers of the Aymara of Bolivia, Subclass of Qulliri (term used for any traditional healer), yatari must be struck by lightening, comes from word yatiña which means “to know.”

External Link includes Names of Historical Global Women Healers

What about shamanic healing?

Click for a List of Books about Shamanism in Various Cultures

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Shaman Names — 25 Comments

  1. You might add to the Shaman’s names list: Bombo are Tamang shamans in Nepal
    Lhapa (male) and Lhamo (female) or Pau (male) Paumo (female) for Tibetan shamans.
    Mara’akame for Huichol Indian shamans of N. Mexico.

  2. Sahagun(Quetzalcoatls) were in charge of the major pilgrimage centers (Cholula and Tenochtitlan) as enjoying immense respect from all levels of Aztec society – akin to archbishops – and a level of authority that partly transcended national boundaries. Under these religious heads were many tiers of priests, priestesses, novices, ‘nuns’ and ‘monks’ (some part-time) who ran the cults of the various gods and goddesses. Sahagun reports that the priests had a very strict training, and had to live very austere and ethical lives involving prolonged vigils, fasts and penances. For instance, they often had to bleed themselves and undertake prescribed self-mortifications in the buildup to sacrificial rites.

    Additionally, Sahagun refers to classes of religious specialists not affiliated with the established priesthood. This included wandering curers, black magicians and other occultists (of which the Aztecs identified many types, most of which they feared) and hermits.

  3. A Lakota word for what we may call a shaman is Iyeska, which means “interpreter.”
    It’s what you’d call someone who could communicate with spirits and share those messages with the living.

    • My name is Sherry and I’m looking for traditional Native American shaman. I work with spirit guides and they are directing me to work with traditional Native American shaman. I’m looking for my Native American teacher in shamanism.

      • Sherry,

        There are quite a few Native American healers who do not call themselves shamans. Some are even highly insulted by this term. I would almost say that the majority do not like this term, but I hesitate about making any blanket statements about Native American tribes, which are unique and individual. They shouldn’t be lumped together as if they are all the same.

        The best way to find a Native American healer in your area, is to find out what tribes are located near you. Then you can communicate respectfully with that tribe and ask if they know of a good Medicine Person that can help you with your healing. However, learning how to become a healer from a tribe may require that you become a member of that community, which takes time and commitment. You might be able to find a Native American who is also a practitioner of shamanism, but you must take care to be respectful by first understanding the views of the tribe and the healer of that particular tribe.

        I understand that you are receiving advice that this is the best way forward for you. I’m not trying to counter that advice, but rather, let you know that it is important to show care and respect, by first looking to understand the values of any tribe you contact for more information. I wish you all the best in your search.

  4. You should add Pajé, brazilian “Shaman”

    My Grand Father was one of a tribe, I have a mix of blood from Native Brazilian(Índio), european (Italiano and Portuguese) and African

  5. Greetings, I am Tahirah AbuBakr, I completed a naming initiation or in dagara language is called “Beye” the I received is MaKepeme – mother who nurush the spirit and soul of other and etc. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  6. You can also add: “Lukomor” or “Lukomon” for the Etruskan Shamans, that could turn themselfes to storm and lightning, to fight the enemy. Also they could read the future from flying birds. (Etruskans lived in todays territory of Italy, before the first roman empire. And before Christ.)
    And add: “Wolchw(y)” russian Shamans, wise and connected to nature, gods, trees, animals and everything. Who teached the people how to live right, in peace with each other and nature.

  7. Someone said my guide was Hontas bit I cannot find anything out about her and person that told me my guides name has not answered any of my questions. So can soneibevtell me who Hontas is and where I can get more info on her ? Thank you.

    • Cindy, Thank you for reaching out. There are as many spirits as there are people. I have not heard of Hontas, but wish you good luck in your search to find out more. You may wish to learn shamanic journeying, and then you could go find out about this yourself.

  8. I wonder if Orisha initiates ate considered shamans? It is west African tradition dealing with and working with deities. It is the parallel path of Ifa (babalawo. Initiates can be possessed with their own spiritual guides and/or deities. They will speak through the possessed person and give messages to the people.

    • I’m not sure if the Orisha consider themselves shamans or not, I wouldn’t want to speak for their culture. There are similarities in the practice. I have heard a babalawo refer to himself as one during an interview, but I don’t know if that was to make things clear for the listeners.

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