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What is a Shaman?

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Before we dive in, I want to take a moment to address what seems to be a controversial topic that white people shouldn't be calling themselves shamans. If someone takes that position they are simply either misguided or are not fully educated on what it is a shaman does.

Alyson Charles in her incredible book Animal Power says it best: "Having the divine call to become a shaman and take full responsibility for this specific way of living, embodying, and teaching is very different than feeling a tug to experience shamanic practices. Both pathway options - the path to exploring, learning, and experiencing shamanic ways and the path to answering a very specific, soul-activated, and true call to be a shaman - move beyond a person's ethnicity, age, or gender and have everything to do with one's soul, reverence, honor, truth, integrity, embodiment, and respect."

She goes on to say: "I have also had countless conversations with shamans all over the world about our practices and what shamanism is. In every one of those conversations, all of us shamans embraced, celebrated, and embodied the same sentiment that because shamanic practices are for the entire planet and infinite Universes, they are for everyone to have the opportunity to explore, learn, and hopefully evolve from."

If you say you’re a psychic most people know what that means, but when I tell people I’m a shaman the question I get a lot is, “what is that?” A shaman is a bridge between this world and the spirit world. A good way to understand it is that a shaman is a person that utilizes their psychic abilities to communicate with spirits, hopefully like myself, for the good and benefit of all those involved.

The term "shaman" has been adapted from the Tungus people of Siberia meaning "one who sees in the dark." Maybe you’ve heard the term Clairvoyance in relation to a psychic. “Clair” means clear and voyance means seeing. It is not just about “clear seeing” though. It’s about using the other psychic senses that one has developed. So, for me clairaudience (clear hearing), Clairsentience (clear feeling) and clairvoyance are the ways in which I communicate with spirits the most. By the way we all have psychic abilities. It's just a matter of if a person is in tune with them or not.

If someone knows what a shaman is, the other question I get a lot is “what medicine(s) do you serve?” When I say medicine, I’m referring to what is known as a “plant medicine.” For example, I serve ceremonial cacao which is known as a “plant medicine.” While serving plant medicine CAN be a part of being a shaman, what a lot of people don’t realize is that isn’t all there is to it and it doesn’t have to be. I personally know shamans that actually don’t serve any medicine. Herein lies the difference between a “medicine man, woman or person” and a shaman. A “medicine man, woman or person” will serve a medicine or facilitate a ceremony but that does not necessarily mean they are communicating directly with spirits.

Now you might be wondering…well if shaman doesn’t serve any medicine, does that mean they’re the same as a psychic? The answer is no. A psychic could tune into their psychic abilities to give advice or for any number of reasons but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are communicating directly with spirits which is what a shaman does.

What are these “spirits” I’m referencing to? Do you remember the famous Albert Einstein quote, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another?” We are made of energy. Our cells are made of atoms. An atom is made of a proton, neutron and an electron. This means we are literally made of energy.

Maybe you’ve heard the Pierre Teilhard de Chardin quote "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

When we die our soul and sprit that is having a human being experience, leaves the body and changes form from a human physical being into what is known as a spirit. So, a spirit could be a being that once lived on earth or it could have lived on other stars or planets. A shaman will work with these spirits.

In my case, I have many spirits on my team that do the work through me. They are the ones that bring the healing through me to the people I work on. I ask for them to use me as a hollow bone. There is a deep amount of reverence that I have for this work and it’s nothing to be played around with. I won’t go much more woo woo than that here but suffice to say there’s a lot more going on than we know about. I hope this helps you understand a little bit about what it is I do. Thank you for trusting your intuition (Clairsentience) and reading this post.

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