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Shamanism is considered to be an ancient form of religion. Almost every culture is known to have medicine men or women. A shaman is believed to have powers that bring individual healing, tranquility, and wholeness.
Western society is becoming increasingly interested in Shamanism. Many now want to know how to become a shaman. This article will succinctly define and show you how to become a Shaman.
Who is a Shaman?
The term shaman comes from the Manchu-Tungus word šaman. Sa means “to know.” Therefore, a shaman is the “one who knows.”
“Because it is not an organized religion as such, but rather a spiritual practice, Shamanism cuts across all faiths and creeds, reaching deep levels of ancestral memory. As a primal belief system that precedes established religion, it has its symbolism and cosmology, inhabited by beings, gods, and totems with similar characteristics. However, they appear in various forms, depending upon their places of origin.”
~John Matthews, The Celtic Shaman
The term shaman describes indigenous people who don various roles: healer, teacher, religious leader, spiritual guide, or counselor.
A shaman is capable of making contact with the other world, known as the spirit world. They do so through trance or other specific rituals.
The journey into the spiritual realm and what it entails makes Shamanism a mysterious yet captivating subject.
Who can be shamans?
A shaman can be a woman, a man, or an individual from adolescence onwards. On the surface, Shamanism is for anyone interested in spiritual matters. Anyone can choose this path, but only some have the tenacity, enthusiasm, or courage to pursue and practice it.
Apart from spiritual and psychic abilities, other deeper character traits are necessary to be one. A shaman needs to be:
- Generous in spirit
- Open minded
- Willing to learn
- Devoid of pride
- True to self. It means admitting that you are wrong sometimes.
Listening to the call
For most people, becoming a Shaman is a calling. This summoning may be predestined. They “know” or feel “different” from others.
But others may be drawn to this path after a life-altering experience, like a strange illness that may not have the typical western-defined symptoms, trauma/s, or experiencing trance states like seeing “spirits” or communicating with the departed souls.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you still have doubts about your calling:
- Are you drawn to mysterious things?
- Have you had an out-of-body experience (OBE) in your waking or sleep state?
- Do you feel like you’ve been through many births/deaths?
- Are you always chosen to be the confidante?
- Do you empathize and always feel the pain, emotions, and joy of others?
- Do you love disappearing into nature and feel deeply comforted by it?
- Do you have any memories of being a healer/seer from your past life?
- Do you like to find or come up with creative solutions that may go unnoticed by others?
- Do you see spirits, talk to plants or animals, or think you can control things around you?
- Do you believe you have Spiritual and Psychic abilities?
Finding a mentor
Finding a teacher may be the most natural way to become a shaman. Many teachers are out there, but finding the right one can be challenging.
You can find respectable teachers online or via referrals. You may even be directed to them in your dreams. As the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.
Follow your intuition. You should seek a teacher willing to share his knowledge and insights without holding back. But practice discretion; not all shamans adhere to the same standards of integrity.
You may have to travel far, spend more or live in conditions far from comfortable. But by seeking the right mentor, you will gain the expertise necessary to be on the path to becoming a Shaman. The course can be arduous and long, but the payoff at the end of it will be worth it.
To become a Shaman, you have to familiarize yourself with concepts of guardian angels, reincarnation, spirit guides, power animals, dualism (humans are made up of a physical body and immortal soul), and so on.
Initiation into Shamanism requires relentless training in psychology, like healing a person physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Interpreting their barriers, performing rituals, calling upon higher guidance, or steering them back to harmony with their soul.
A Shaman is like a guardian to this world. A shaman must possess a clear mind and a pure heart. That means you must exude love for every being on this planet. Your honesty, intention, and integrity will be tested, and the title may be stripped completely.
Your gifts are not yours alone. They simply flow through you so that they can help achieve the greater good. Therefore they must be held in high esteem.
The journey along this sacred path requires great courage. Here are some of the lessons one must learn to become a shaman and master the invisible realm:
- Respect – A Shaman must also remain centered and forge a deep connection with nature and the Earth
- Relationship – Shamans derive their power to heal through their ties with spirits – plants, animals, ancestors, Gods, and Goddesses. They are the sources of the unseen healing energy. They are the sacred life force in all things. And therefore, a Shaman must honor the spirits with humility.
- Journey – All of us travel during our sleep. But only shamans can be present and aware while having an out-of-body experience and can gain wisdom that can heal people.
- Commitment – As a shaman, you must be committed to yourself. For a Shaman, it is a balancing act of being humble while wielding power.
Do shamans have to be certified?
Training in Shamanism involves learning to alter the states of consciousness. It can be achieved through non-drug, traditional shamanic techniques involving repetitive drumming. These rituals will reveal your hidden spiritual resources. It can help you transform your life and those who seek your help.
Shamans are summoned to their practices through spiritual initiation. As a result, there is no hard-core certification body to register practitioners. But the Foundation for Shamanic Studies posts a list of authorized Shamanic practitioners who have completed the training program in Core Shamanism via the foundation.
For indigenous people, shamanic practitioners are readily available. Shamanic practitioners are unknown to the majority of contemporary westerners.
Samasati also offers participants its Inner Flight Retreat, healing, centering, and nourishing journey. As the demand for Shamans grows in western cultures, you will find online courses on Shamanism.
There are various books available on Shamanism as well. Training to be a Shaman is like any other form of education. Real learning happens once you finish your formal training.
Training as a shaman can be a life-changing experience. The feeling of being empowered in one’s abilities
How much do Shamans make?
Money and fame aren’t strictly associated with Shamanism. Not surprisingly, the information on salary here depends on an individual and their experience. While as a beginner, you may have to work outside of Shamanism to make ends meet.
The average charges per individual session can go up to $200 or $100 for a monthly subscription or weekly group calls.
There are people like this 33-year-old who was able to pivot her business during the pandemic and now makes an annual revenue of over $950,000.
Evidence on shamanic healing
The Shamanic healing experience is unique to each individual because the conditions or illnesses are different. Conventional research and data are not readily applicable to this field. Research on these practices has also received little interest or funding.
Shamanism wouldn’t have survived all these years had it not been of value to those who use them. For thousands of years, people have used shamanic approaches to heal.
Most research and findings in this area have emerged due to studies conducted by medical anthropologists. This field is slowly attracting an increasing amount of academic research.
In earlier cultures, using medicinal plants and herbs with healing properties came through the practice of Shamanism. This knowledge is still used today. Even modern-day psychotherapeutic interventions like hypnosis, behavior modification, and cognitive restructuring have shamanic roots.
Can Shamanism benefit your health and well-being?
Yes. Your benefits include better focus, clarity of mind, a sense of purpose, and fulfillment in your life. These can deepen as you practice and help to serve others.
Modern shamans exist; in its history, Samasati has trained and mentored several leaders. While the subject of Shamanism may be open to interpretation, its approach to the soundness of mind, body, and soul is extraordinary.
Shamanism deepens your self-awareness by offering an impactful experience. It restores your inner harmony and facilitates recovery from all ailments, regardless of origin.