What is a Shaman?
There is a lot of misconceptions about what a shaman is in today's world. Throughout history Shamans have been referred to as medicine men, wise-women, witches, therapists, intuitive healers, mid-wives, Earth medicine practitioners, spiritual leaders, herbalists, nutritionists, psycho-pomps, or tribal priests. They are the center of their community and the spiritual leaders of the tribe. Shamans have extensive knowledge of human psychology, physical anatomy, subtle body anatomy, plant medicine, natural cures, metaphysical realities, and holistic practices.
Today, Shamans are individuals who heal and expand consciousness. They work with plant medicine, Spirits, Guides, ancestors, and vibrational frequency to help realign people with their authentic spiritual identity. They assist people working through old patterns, old wounds, relationship issues, and earth bound conditioning to reveal the true essence of identity - Oneness. They work with the specific energy centers of the body (called chakras/aura) - aiming to unblock 'closed' or sluggish aspects of Being and raise individual frequency. They help people understand the connection between each other from a multi-dimensional level and accept themselves as a vital part of the web of life.
What is a Shamanic Practitioner?
A Shamanic practitioner/ healer is an intuitive individual who uses shamanic methods, such as physical medicine (plants) and spiritual medicines (like meditation, ceremony, or breathing techniques), to assist humanity in conscious Soulful evolution. They can bridge the space between ordinary and non-ordinary realities and help relieve symptoms of imbalance (on the physical, mental, or emotional layers). Through rigorous training and apprenticeship, practitioners learn how to achieve expanded states of awareness. There they can focus their vision past normal everyday physical existence and travel into the inner worlds and ‘see’ the subtle energetic body of an individual- known in shamanism as the lower, middle, and upper worlds. In this state of expansion, the practitioner may encounter many forms of energetic activity-- power totems, Spirit guides, elemental beings, departed loved ones, ancestors, high transpersonal forces, and archetypal energies – many of whom compassionately assist or serve humanity through consciousness evolution.
Some of tools of Shamanic practice include plant medicine, shamanic journey (drumming meditation with specific breath work), Hands on Healing, Vibrational Sound Healing, Vision Quest (isolated time in nature), Sweat Lodge, Archetypal Story Telling, and Meditative Counseling.
Walking the Shamanic Path
There are many ways up the mountain of consciousness and there are many ways to guide shamanic work. There are many different trance practices, plant medicines, and rituals that help us to reach an expanded level of consciousness. Therefore, shamanism is a very personal experience. To me shamanism is the umbrella, the totality of all esoteric practices. It is the direct experience of the GRAND SELF, the OVERSOUL, the ONENESS, the ETERNAL LOVE FREQUENCY, the TAO, the AWE! Shamanism is mysticism....and everyone's relationship with their own mystical experience is unique. This is why shamanism is so hard to teach or write down in limited human words. It is the experience of REMEMBERING!
First and foremost, when entering into Shamanic study, learning how to Ground Oneself is critical. You can only fly as high as your roots go deep, and there are many ways to fall into egotistical posturing of a sacred experience...this happens all the time in the fast paced world of spiritual materialism. Shamanism is not about ownership, or waiving feathers around, or getting ‘high,’ or about disengaging from the world. It’s about being hyper present in the world today and feeling the interconnectedness of all things. You are in this body for a reason, and expanding consciousness is not about escaping this reality, diminishing this reality, or living in a drama of past lives. It is about being Fully Present in the NOW and honoring the multi-dimensional nature of this existence. It is a daily practice, a daily honoring of Nature, both in the outer world…and inside the body that we get to inhabit. It is a practice of Respecting Life.
I have apprenticed and trained with many different indigenous healers and wisdom keepers over the years. I have participated and practiced many different shamanic techniques and felt the intense healing that comes with this work. That being said, I do not give myself the label of “Shaman.” That title is reserved for respected tribal elders who act as the center-piece, or “AXIS MUNDI” of their particular community. I do hold the label Shamanic Practitioner and feel deeply honored to carry on this work.