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Jonothon

How to discover if I'm a shaman?

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Hi,

For about 3 years I have had strong suspicions (but kept putting them to the back of my head) that I have been called to Shamanic work. There's too much info for me to delve into on here on how my suspicions have built; but I have always had a strong spiritual streak in myself (I was not brought up religiously or came from any form of religious background) and I have reserached and practiced extensively in Wicca/witchcraft/Paganism/Budhhism and Taoism, I did consider Judaism one; but I beleive this was more of a fascination with the language than with the actual religion.

But when I came across Shamanism by accident, it had resonated with me in a way the others did not, like a strong bond. Although I feel this way I have never sought out to journey or to contact spirits as growing up I've always held a custom that if the spirits need me, then they'll come to me. Through working with spirit/animal guides and working with psychic energy, I have no idea whether I could have been communing with spirits or not; as I've never really had a teacher or elder in my life to guide me through these things. I had once attended open circles at spiritualist church where we went through a group meditation process to recieve messages to spirit. They described the spiritual energy to be flowing and psychic energy to be limited; but in regards to shamanism I would be at a loss.

I have had strong urges to just pick up a drum and bang it to see what happens but I'm also aware of how dangerous that is considering I'm not well practiced! I would love nothing more for someone to tell me in person whether I am a sham or not; but here in Plymouth, U.K it's difficult to find the correct type of advisor.

I'm also aware that there is a branch of shamanism that does not involve itself with being called or chosen or having a family lineage in order to be a practising shaman; but I respectfully do not feel that this is correct for me personally; which is why I need to try and find the confirmation but I'm unsure how.

Can anyone suggest on what I can do to solve this? I'm at the point where I don't know what to believe anymore or even how to take myself seriously.

 

Many thanks for any help given!

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Jonothon,

there's nothing to 'solve'. intend to see your path with clarity. keep your mind out of it. also: ask yourself why you want to be a shaman, and answer yourself honestly with that one. my introduction to the shamanic was one into which i was swayed by romanticism. it gave me a lot of escapism and it's been important to stay aware of that. i'm also grateful for what becoming conscious of romanticizing the shamanic has done for me. it helped me to be aware of certain privileges i have that those who've walked the path before me or in other parts of the world have not. i think that kind of realism is important to appreciate once you begin stepping inside.

S.

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Thanks for your reply Peastacey,

In honesty I would not prefer to live a shamanic life; so I can guarantee there's no romanticism involved here; but my spirituality constantly pushes me into this direction. I could easily turn a blind eye to this path and try to do something else which is what I have done. However I'm always pushed back towards Shamanism. 

In the past I've always been known to work on a psychic level. There are instances where spirit have been involved; but this is a handful of times. I've tried asking my spirit/animal guides about this issue and they only ever say: "Do a journey and find out!" but I'm very apprehensive about just doing a journey.

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sorry jonothon, i didn't mean to come across as judging. my statement wasn't specific to you. paying respects to those who've been persecuted and recognizing personal privileges are points i like to put out there for people expressing interest. i'm one of those

what exactly are your apprehensions- what do you expect would happen if you 'journeyed'? if you're talking about what's referred to as 'harner style' journeying, it's a practice whose roots are in the shamanic, but not something only shamans do.

perhaps my colleagues and teachers here could elaborate one what the effects of journeying are, how safe it is or isn't.

 

s.

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Don't worry, I know you wern't passing judgement.

My view of a shaman is that it is a powerful responsibility to adhere for the living and the dead; by helping all life on earth as well as in the other planes of existance. I feel a strong sense of duty to help heal people and to keep the world in balance by using the abilities I have. At the same time it's not just a religion or a world view as it would become my life. It could not be something to just do on the weekends or in my spare time or when spiritual holidays come and go, it's 24/7 awake and dreaming with no rest. There's also the social side of things, well, not so much social as I've always felt set apart from everyone in my life; but to take this path would almost obliterate any chance of an average social, family and work life. I don't mean to make this sound negative in general as I know the positives are much more powerful than the negatives - maybe I'm just holding onto the material world and by doing that it's torturing me? I don't know.

Without going into too much detail, I believe I did unknowingly journey a few times as a child in my dreams; but due to my background it was blocked out and put to the deepest parts of my mind as the material world took other. This would explain my research into different spiritual paths from a teenager to present because, from every spiritual path I managed to take something from it that was shamanic in nature. For instance I take my ethics from Buddhism, my skills from spiritualism (in terms of working on a psychic level.) In Paganism I took Yggdrassil from Norse Mythology, akin to the world tree in shamanic cosmology and learning how energy works through practicing witchcraft.

But I do feel that if I journey, the mediumistic abilities I had as a child will be reinstated into my adult self and could be very intense to deal with by opening this world up again, that's if I was correct about journying as a child. Everyone has free will, one could choose to be Christian then change their view through Hinduism, or Buddhism or Paganism; but I don't believe this is something I could just stop or turn my back on if I journeyed now.

Edited by Jonothon

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I'll just drop this here since you are creating some nasty intents for yourself that you'll have to spend a lot of energy to fix up later. It's a post by Gary/Niteshad the one who brought the maker tradition online. Pay close attention to the title.

HOW NOT TO BE A SHAMAN

 

1.) Take miserable care of your body, your relationships, your finances and everything in your life. Avoid anything that would make you happy - shamans have to suffer.

 

2.) Understand that you can only possibly practice when your mind is relaxed and untroubled by other concerns. So if there's anything else at all you 'should' be doing, do it instead. For greatest efficiency, just thrash around and worry about what you should be doing instead of actually doing anything - that way you can endlessly reuse the same things.

 

3.) You know it's impossible to make a living as a shaman or healer, so have a day job you hate that leaves you mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. After work, you'll be in no shape to practice, so have some ice cream and watch TV. You deserve it.

 

4.) Invent endless constraints regarding under what circumstances you could get shamanic work done. You need a special sacred space, a special set of objects, absolute quiet, a certain kind of music. Spend more time complaining about the lack of these circumstances than actually working.

 

5.) You'll be able to get plenty of shamanic work done when you're independently wealthy and have lots of free time. Just wait till then.

 

6.) There are thousands of books on shamanism. Better read them all before you start, one of them must have the secret. (Be sure to skip all the exercises.)

 

7.) Let's face it, you don't know enough to be a shaman. You've never even read [insert famous literary work here]. Better get to it, or no one will take you seriously.

 

8.) Surround yourself with people who are jealous of your time, disrespect your practices and beliefs and undermine you at every turn. If possible, marry one and have kids.

 

9.) If you fail at all of the above, and actually do manage to practice, make sure each movement, each act, is perfect before you move on - compare it to your favorite shamanic writer's published works (you don't think people with talent have to practice, do you?) and attack it with all the viciousness of your cruelest and most bitter high school teachers.

 

10.) Give up as soon as it seems hard or you feel uninspired. After all, if it were really possible, it would flow smoothly and be easy.

 

11.) Whatever you do, don't actually finish anything. Just keep starting new practices. (Any work prior to your latest sucks anyway.) Or endlessly torture your existing practices until you drain them of any vitality they might once have had.

 

12.) If you do accomplish something, immediately share it with someone who can be counted on to tear it apart, tell you you're wasting your time, and imply you're an idiot for ever imagining you could be a shaman. Believe this person - s/he wouldn't say it if it weren't true.

 

13.) Be sure you never actually work out in the world with other people. Take the decision of whether what you do works out of their hands: reject it for them.

 

14.) If an intent or practice seems to fail, don't ever try it again - obviously it was no good. In all likelihood, you aren't either: be sure not to pass up the opportunity to consider giving it all up.

 

15.) If, in an extreme case of failing at the above, you've actually done something, know that it was just a fluke. Never ever believe in yourself.

 

Repeat as necessary.

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Hi Jonothon,

Certainly, the traditional view was that you would be called to it or born into a family tradition. Sometimes those callings could be dramatic, but they can just be something that you "need" to pursue, no matter what. If you feel in your heart that this is something you need to look into, then you should. You reach a point where it becomes about being true to yourself or not. I have seen people fight that need or calling, and it can be really tough to try and walk away from it if it's a deeply rooted thing.

In this modern age, I think it can manifest itself in a more subtle fashion. Our energy sometimes takes note of a bigger picture. Some people's energy, upon realizing there's a bigger "thing" out there, can't really let it go. It's like suddenly knowing there's a second room in a house where it always thought there was only one room. Then notice there's a third room.. a fourth - even another house! A lot of people out there, their selves just shrugs their shoulders and moves on, but in some people there's a seed planted that won't go away. I don't know if shamanism is the path for people like that, but, to me, that is what shamanism is about exploring: the unknown side of reality.

The only people I would tell that they should do shamanism are the ones where you can see that walking away from it would cause them harm. There are people like that, though not many. For almost everybody else, it's a personal decision you come to, maybe over many years, or maybe over a few days. I spent a lot of time looking for the path that "fit" me, but I found it - it happened to be shamanism, and specifically, a contemporary path. It's been the only thing i ever found that "fit" me.

-karl

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whoa, i had a really hard time reading that list.

Karl,

thank you for your insights as usual : ) we put our energy in different places on a collective level these days then i imagine we once did. I think the way the 'call' might show up in 'western' cultures is this feeling unable to be superficial, and feeling unable to not see through things- this being complementary to how we're taught to spread our energy out thin, here in the states anyway. idk how it is elsewhere but i imagine that it varies culturally.

Jonothon,

I just wanted to tell you to open your heart to clarity again. You have a heart, and that's ultimately where your strength is. It's not gonna go away tomorrow. So take pressure off yourself. These're big visions you have for yourself and you might want to get there one day but you have to build up to it. Look for the 'grey' area of things- hypothetically, if you found yourself embracing a shamanic path today, you wouldn't be able to shout from a soap-box: "i'm a shaman!" tomorrow. i have been self-healing for several months and i am no where near that entitlement. No matter what, though, it's never about the identity. It really helps to let go of it- ultimately who we believe we are is irrelevant.

Be good.

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