“A Shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.” ~ Wikipedia
Many of us who grow up in the West watch movies and TV shows filled with superheroes and magic. We see alternative worlds that seem to exist only inside of our imaginations and powers we can only wish we had.
While that’s not a bad thing – its a great thing to keep our minds open – I have found that many people fall into two different camps. Either they believe its only fantasy and could never happen or they believe its very possible and they start to seek out power through whatever means possible.
Often the closest people we can find to being anything like the superheroes and magicians we see on the screen are the spiritual healers, metaphysicians, shamen, medicine women – whatever you would like to call the people who change reality because they understand the Laws of the Universe and how to work with them.
From these people we sense an underlying power that others can only wish to have. We view them as being connected to a deeper wisdom and that the power they have cultivated is larger than themselves. We see their wisdom unfold with miracles and great transformations happening within their presence.
And we are drawn to that. Who doesn’t want to be like a superhero causing great change in the world, perhaps even saving the world? I know I sure do want to make a meaningful impact on the world!
The Depths of Soul
Over the last few years in the Spiritual or New Age communities I have noticed many people calling themselves shamen or other names of powerful healers yet not having the capacity to be that potent healer nor having the intense training that is required to deeply stand in the fullness of what it means to be one.
I myself have felt the draw to be a shaman or a medicine woman. At first I was drawn to the power and the coolness factors and then I began my studies. I did a lot of self-study and I began to realize that power was the wrong reason to enter into this work. I found myself being swallowed up with the focus of healing my own shadow and wounds when one day in meditation I realized a healer can only go as far as they have healed.
How far have you gone in your healing? How many times have you cycled through the dark night of the soul? Have you seen the true depth of your darkness? Have you seen who you become when you loose everything and there is no hope? Do you really know what you would do if your life or another’s was a choice you had to make? Do you know what your ancestors and what you have done in the past and thereby the stories and patterns you carry in this lifetime?
Most of us can’t answer to the affirmative to most of these questions. And most of us will never have to.
This is the reason why a shaman is chosen and not dictated by our desire to become one.
Status Is Given to Those who Die Over and Over
Shamen and medicine people and all of those who hold that status hold it because they have had to deal with darkness so dark it swallowed them whole, stomped all over them, stabbed them multiple times, and regurgitated them just to do it all over again. And again. And again.
There are very few who are willing to submit themselves fully to the process of becoming someone who can navigate between the worlds and who can see more than the average person. They have a greater depth of understanding about everything because they’ve had to face everything themselves they aid with.
That is why certain healers work with certain people: they specialize in the things they have undergone themselves because they can understand all levels of the healing process from start to finish. And that is why some healers are more generalized: they have lived many lives over in a single lifetime in order to heal many due to their capacity of depth.
These experiences of shadow work and going so deep into the darkness that they might never come out are hallmarks of great healers. This makes a great healer because they can hold space with a great many people. They are the healers who can go further into the depths than their clients because they’ve gone further than their clients themselves.
It is inside the depths of each person we find the answers which will bring true healing and transformation. Often these depths can only be experienced through highly transformational experiences like drinking aya or other plants of the sort, intense meditations or by visiting a healer who can see many depths further than ourselves.
These people who can do that see deeper inside of us than we can see because they have been us and transformed to someone else. They have lived lives instead of only one. They have seen worlds instead of just one world. They live in multiple realities instead of one. And they converse with beings we can only imagine to exist.
This depth allows them to hold space for us that can allow us the ability to go deeper than we ever thought we could go and release our fears. It allows them to effortlessly guide us to the precise thing we need even when we don’t know we need it. It allows them to be powerful catalysts for our growth.
These people are a requirement inside of society. They are the ones that walk between the world and help those who cannot find help anywhere else. They are those who facilitate experiences between Divinity and the physical.
They deserve our respect for all of the unseen work they do on behalf of the communities they live in. While most of it is unseen I believe they are noticed. I believe these people need to be honoured for all that they are and society must realize they deserve a respected place inside of our communities. Their work holds the fabric of the Divine inside of our lives and help us to see more than ourselves.
And that is needed, right now, more in the West than anywhere, where materialism runs rampant and there is the never ending forgetfulness of who we are and the Divine Abundance we are born to behold.
Let us not take on this title unless the community gives it to us or the Divine clearly denotes it as our path. Let us not make this path less than it is and realize whatever our own path, whether it be this one or not, is just as great and needed. We are all keys to the Great Mystery, and each key unlocks a door connected to the rest. None are more important than the other but all are important.
The path of a shaman is one of the greatest paths a human can journey on, one of the most desired but most challenging. The chosen are the ones who will complete it for they can never stop walking it.