Being a shaman is hard to describe since it encompasses everything that people need and everything spiritual. It is not a religion but a practice. It is not a practice but a way of life. When I started learning shamanism under the traditions of the Mohawk tribe, I was lost and had nothing, which seems to be the usual state of mind before finding who you are. There was a shaman named Ron who was 100% mohawk, he and his council decided to teach outside of their people because he knew that this was for the world and not just for them. We unfortunately never got to meet Ron but heard enough stories to know he was a goofy gentle soul that had no problem being stern when the time was right. Basically like a father figure. He taught our teacher who we have since moved on from to create our own group but, I digress. This path is one of poverty, enlightenment, self-discovery, humility, and selflessness.
Let's start with poverty. The life of a shaman, at least in this tradition, does not allow for the charging of services. We may be able to accept gifts but we cannot accept any form of money. Gold would theoretically be different because it is the universe’s currency since it is a natural element we made to be worth it but, who is ready to hand out gold for a house cleansing? The life of poverty allows the budding shaman to become humble and understand the people whom they are helping. Within the selflessness, the budding shaman must remember to take care of themselves because if they are sick, who are their people going to turn to? There is a heavy responsibility to make sure one is as good as one can possibly be within their mind, body, and spirit at all times. This doesn’t mean it's going to be perfect, I personally always have at least one that is slightly or fully lacking but, that’s the nature of living both lives as a human and not just a spiritual being. Now for self-discovery and enlightenment, these go together with each other. You cannot have one without the other. When you start to become enlightened you start to discover who you really are as a person. There are spiritual shifts that occur when you are in this practice and when they do you will definitely know they are happening. The longest shift I have ever seen has lasted for 3 days and it's usually like you are micro-dosing shrooms. The colors in the world become brighter, sounds become clearer, and everything makes sense. Then it slowly dies down but you become stronger than you were at the end of it. This is a huge part of spirituality in general, not just shamanism.
The biggest shift I have ever had was after my first shamanic journey. This is essentially a super meditation and the budding shaman apprentice must undergo some tests. Such as meditating first and getting to at least a 15-minute mark of pure silence, astral projection, and the beginnings of the release of self-doubt. It doesn’t have to be a full release of self-doubt but, at least enough to get them by. These are important for the rituals themselves. Now because of these tests, I implore all of you not to go and try this but, this is merely an explanation of what we do because if one gets stuck their soul must be retrieved, and you need a true shaman to do it for you before you become ill. Now when the shaman apprentice has gotten through all of these tests they are ready to journey. They will be given three tasks; one is to get an all-natural blanket that a lot of you can fit on, then you must make an all-natural rattle, and the final task is to find a hole in the woods off-trail where no one can find it and you cannot see the bottom of it. Journeying is done by placing a candle in the east at your feet, laying on your blanket, and astral projecting to the hole you found. Once there you jump into the hole and if you see insects or sharp teeth, jump out of the hole and try it again. When you are through, it is hard to describe so I will leave that to the live show to describe. This is the place where we get medicine for people and ourselves, where we find our powerful animals and work with them, and where we go to relax and leave the mundane world. It becomes the hub of you and everything you are, now there are two other types of journeying besides this lower world journey but, I will leave that out for today.
On top of getting medicine for people, some shamans are great herbalists and create physical medicine as long as they find spiritual medicine for the people they heal. I personally am not the greatest herbalist but I utilize alchemy with cooking and moon water to help people. We also perform healing work which can seem like reiki but it is different since we don’t have the same exact rules or practices when it comes to the healing work. Our work involves our power animals in the healing and if one shaman is working on you, there are multiple working on you at the same time if they choose to invoke ancestors in your healing and if they choose to use their power animals there are now three facets of each shaman working on you at once. In our healing work, we use mainly Clear Quartz and Smoky Quartz. These crystals work perfectly during journeys or even our healing work where the smoky quartz brings out all the negativity and the clear quartz brings in the light to the body.
Some shamans work very well with nature and the trees, even though all of us are supposed to do that, we each have our main focuses. Some of us work with nature, some of us work with people, some of us focus on dreams, while some focus on time, etc. We all do everything but, our best minds work in their best areas. For myself, I work with the trees and animals. Nature is my calling but that follows suit to our personal practices outside of the shamanic practice. Wrapping things up, everything in this blog post has been purely educational and should not be done without shamanic supervision, at least to start. If you are ever curious about shamanism from any culture, I would find a shaman or whatever their culture’s name is for it and begin apprenticing under that shaman.