- This article describes the Mwangi philosophy of shamanism. For the shaman hybrid class, please see shaman.
There are two very distinct belief systems which stem from the worship of nature; Druidism and Shamanism. While different in their effectuation, both belief systems share with each other their most basic concepts of animism, ancestor worship, and spirit guidance. Though both druidism and shamanism seem to be separated by a very fine line, the means by which they reach their ends can be classified in a fairly straightforward manner. Druids worship the spirits through plants, animals, and the fundamental spirit of the wilds. Conversely, shamans worship the spirits through the four fundamental elements of earth, fire, wind, and water.
This essential spark of life is looked upon as a divine force, one more fundamental than the Holy Light worshiped by the Humans. The Orcs, Tauren, Night Elves, Trolls, and Draenei commune with the spirit world in search of knowledge, guidance, and power. Though these races do not discount the humans' study and worship of the Light, they maintain the Light is merely the emergent characteristic of the interconnectivity of the spirit world, not a single person's connection with the universe. The belief that the paladin is a direct agent of the Light is a dismissal of the concept that each shaman is but a mere conduit through which the powers of the spirits flow. Truly, in their rush to embrace the Light, the humans missed the very point of its existence.
The druids live a very spiritual life: firstly acknowledging and honoring each spirit as an individual life; secondly honoring the goddess Elune (known to the Tauren as Mu'sha), the only true deity on Azeroth. The druids seek guidance — or interference — from the spirits, asking the small spirits for small tasks and entreating Elune or one of the other wise and powerful spirits of the forests for more significant tasks. They see their forests as havens for living spirits, and as such are bound to defend them. It has become the highest priority for the Druid's Cenarion Circle to heal the corruption of their precious forests caused by the demonic and undead invasion of the Third War. As the spirits have served them for thousands of years, the druids seek to give back to the spirits by healing the very living woods.
This close proximity to nature imbues the druid directly with the power of the spirits, allowing them to harness the power of nature, and assume the form of the animals they worship. Because of this direct power infusion, the druids can be seen as the purer parent of the humans' paladin. Unlike the traditional paladin, however, druids still view themselves as servants of the divine, rather than agents.
The shaman however, do not worship plant life and nature as the druids do. Instead, they honor the spirits of their own ancestors and the elemental forces. The shaman are not themselves imbued with the ascendency of the spirits, rather they harness it through ceremonial totems. They carve these totems to represent the spirits and animals from which they draw power, and it is within these totems that the true potency of a shaman lies.