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Contemporary VS. Traditional Shamanism and the Maker tradition

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We get a lot of questions and confusion about what the Maker tradition is and how it fits in the grand scheme of shamanic traditions. I thought I would post a list of a few things of what it is and isn't that comes up a lot. This is not a criticism of other traditions/methods. We value and respect other methods but I would like to clarify some common misconceptions about the Makers..


  • It is considered contemporary shamanism, however:
  • It is NOT Neoshamanism - this is not an invented tradition, it's been around a very long time
  • It is NOT Core shamanism or anything related to Michael Harner's work
  • It does NOT use power animals - there are other methods used for the same purpose but they involve working with energy directly
  • It is NOT contemporary in the sense that is is new. It is very old but it did not stay stuck in one particular point of time/tradition. A lot of contemporary shamanism is really traditional shamanism at its roots.- it's really the same traditional practices with just a new new look/ use of materials to fit better with modern culture.
  • It IS contemporary in that it has evolved alongside western culture as the culture evolved. Since it has its roots in Western European culture, it has evolved along with western culture to fit the needs through different periods of time. This means that the practices are about working with the time and culture we currently live in and reflect that in the techniques.
  • It IS about working with energy in its most elemental state, which also sets it apart from other traditions.

I hope this helps clarify some things. All questions or comments are welcome. :)



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Here's a great description of the common aspects of all shamanism


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Facets of Shamanism


Shamanism is a dance across the unknown, a journey to test the limits of the human heart. Shamanism devolves you, rebuilding you on a different model of what a human can be. Whether good or bad, it is certainly different.

Shamanism is:

* Learning that time is not only not linear, but mostly irrelevant

* Learning that clarity involves more than just understanding concepts

* Learning that balance is an ongoing process of self adjustment and determination

* Learning that seeing anything, is only one way to see among thousands of ways which are available to human beings

* Learning that the paradoxes in shamanism (and most metaphysics) are not the end, they are only the means to create an opening through which one's consciousness can pass into a different realm of understanding

* Learning that healing is a process of self determination for human beings and that sometimes you really can't help

* Learning that stopping the world can happen in an instant, and in that instant, anything is possible

* Learning that truth and experience is often in the movement of your energy and not in the final destination

* Learning that being truly human is so much more than what we imagine and more than we choose to face

* Learning that fear is real and that it holds your life hostage in ways people can never comprehend who seek to hide their fear

* Learning that your own death is your true and only ally, that it puts all things in perspective and delivers you to clarity

* Learning that perception is only a tool which man has chosen to use in very limited ways for very selfish ends

* Learning that having compassion isn't the same as pity, even for yourself

* Learning that you can do very little for your fellow man, but what you can do is important and almost always goes unnoticed

* Learning to cry at your victories because you see the cost and laugh at your defeats for the same reason

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Thanks Beth. I've been looking around at other shamanism sites and there seems to be a lot of misinformation out there. There seems to be a general consensus that all shamanism involves, ritual, power objects, power animals/guides, drumming and soul retrieval and it's just not true. There are genuine shamanic traditions besides the Makers that don't use any of those methods. I can imagine how confusing it is for people trying to get a better understanding of what is shamanism in general.



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I've seen the same things you have. I belong to several Facebook shamanic groups so I can wwatch and see what's out there. Mostly misinformation and many, many lost souls. I've directed people to the cave several times, but a lot of people are really *wanting* the more metaphorical, power animalish, love and light kind of things. Not often the real deal, however.



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I have only vague notions of whats shamanism is...misinformation, mostly.


All I do know is what I am experiencing here..a whole new way of discovering who I am, whats Energy is...and getting results easily...Spirals1 has been an eye opener..


And yet I know very little indeed...am willing tho discover more..its like a whole new world, exhilarating...exciting and scary too...


And yet a feeling of having come home, safety...

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Hello, I am Tama,

I am so glad I have found Shamans Cave. I am happy to find others who see shaman practices and beleifs outside of the strict traditional methods. I look forward to learning more from you all.

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Welcome Tama!


Yes, I feel like people need to know that we are here and real and practicing. It seems like more and more people are deciding that shamanism is only about traditional methods and best taught by indigenous people. The truth is that there are and always have been shamans or similar types in every culture, including modern, western civilization. We are modern but we are not new, we've been around a long time.


I hope you find things that you connect with here. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.



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