What do you think of when you hear the word Shamanism? For many it conjures images of ancient, indigenous people drumming, dancing and drinking herbal brews. In this post I am going to share with you my reality of being a Shamanic Practitioner in the 21st Century.
Firstly, what is Shamanism and Shamanic Practice?
Shamanism is perhaps the oldest system with which man has sought connection with creation, yet it has no scriptures or dogma. It doesn’t tell you to worship one god, or to associate only with those who hold the same beliefs. Shamanic Practice is concerned with what goes on beneath the surface of things – why certain situations occur in our lives and why we act as we do. It is concerned with the nature of our creation – why and how we came to be. There is no middle man in Shamanism. It is a path of direct revelation which means YOU directly experience the non-ordinary realms and YOU work with the spirit allies as your teachers.
Shamanism takes nature as its teacher. It is concerned with the natural flow of life and with showing respect to our fellow creatures and to one another. Shamanism gives you a profound connection to nature and helps us remember who we are and why we are here. It is not just a practice that you do as and when you feel like it. It becomes a way of life.
Shamanism is, in a nutshell, the art of connecting deeply to nature. As a human being you are not separate from nature – you are an intrinsic part of nature. This is something that modern man has forgotten. We often see ourselves as separate from the natural world. We do not recognise that we are deeply connected and form part of this world. When we learn to connect with the earth and nature, we learn to connect to ourselves. We learn to recognise that when we harm the earth, we harm ourselves.
Think about this, there was such an out-pouring of grief, anger and angst about the fires in the Amazon – the lungs of our planet. Such grief about the loss of life in the Australian bush fires – the suffocating smoke, the damage to our planet’s lungs … and now we face a global pandemic – a virus that attacks our human lungs. This is not a coincidence.
The reality of this practice is that it informs everything I do in my life. I am now keenly aware of the spirit of all things. This helps me understand that how I conduct myself has an impact on everything around me. I don’t “look” like a typical Shaman, after all, I am not a Shaman. I am a person who practises Shamanism. In our society it is respectful to say we are Shamanic Practitioners. To be a Shaman is to undergo lengthy study with indigenous peoples. The title “Shaman” is bestowed by Spirit, not man.
I have a dedicated mesa, my altar space, where I work with my spirit allies. I journey (think deep meditation) and I seek guidance from my teachers in Spirit. Over the years I have learned to discern their teachings from my own mind. In other words, I know when I am receiving guidance and I know when I am making it up!
I use tools such as rattles, drums and sage to focus my attention and cleanse my space. For me, the reality of being a Shamanic Practitioner is choosing to live mindfully. Choose to be aware of the energy around you and within you. Walk lightly on the Earth. Respect your fellow man. Honour your ancestors, for they have a wealth of knowledge to give to you. Care for the plants and animals. Recognise the living spirit in all things.
This is the reality of Shamanism. It is not just about walking between the worlds and communing with Spirit. It is a deeply powerful healing practice that shapes your life.
Want to learn more?
Why not join me for an introductory morning workshop on 19th September 2020? You can find out more about the event and other workshops here. Not local but want to learn more? Then visit my online introductory course which ran live earlier in the year. The 6 module course takes you through the basics with recordings of our classes and printable materials.