First, ask if any symbols at all have any importance. It can very readily be seen that we interpret our world through symbols. Companies have logos and letterheads, traffic signs use symbols to let us know what we should or should not do, and even the words on this page are graphical symbols that explain or expound a thought, they aren’t the actual thoughts themselves.
Once we understand the importance of symbols in general, it becomes much easier to understand the importance of shamanic symbols.
The next question that should occur to you is, what are the shamanic symbols? These will differ from region to region, country to country, and tribe or village to tribe or village.
It is very important to understand that Shamanism is a way of life and a type of spirituality, not a religion. It might seem that this would make little difference in the symbolism, but it does. This is primarily due to what the symbols are used for.
For a shaman, the symbols are focus points, ways of focusing both mind and energy for a specific purpose. For instance, my staff signifies a journey. Having my staff lying across my lap allows me to focus on the reason and significance of the journey. Since my mind is then more focused, I am better and more easily able to do that which I seek to do.
Many shamans use symbols that I do not use. For instance, in Asia, it is common for a shaman to wear a hat whenever they journey. They may not use a staff at all. Still, the same symbolism remains and it allows the shaman to focus their mind on what needs to be done, and their hat is as powerful a symbol to them as my staff is to me.
Though Shamanism is not a religion, there is a parallel in religious groups. As an example, a Catholic may finger their rosary beads when praying to Mary or to God. This focuses their mind on what they are intending to do, to the point where after a long time of doing it, they may need do nothing more than pick up the beads to be in the right state of mind for their prayers.
So it is with a shaman. I need only pick up my staff, and I am ready to journey. I have been using the staff for so many decades that my mind automatically focuses when the staff is in my hand.
I also have a small figurine that represents, to me, my spirit guide. When I have it before me or I am holding it, I am more in tune and able to contact and converse with my spirit guide. The figurine is not the guide, and I know that, but holding or looking at it focuses my mind.
The symbols that a shaman uses are of extreme importance. I’ve only brushed the surface as to why, but even in that, it can be seen that the symbols can focus our thoughts, take us in the direction we want to go, and in some cases even give us strength to do what we need to do.
Anyone who doesn’t think that shamanic symbols have importance just needs to learn more about Shamanism, as they don’t yet comprehend the meaning behind the symbols. Once they do, they will then understand.