Becoming A Shaman
To the beginner, it would seem that the
primary goal of everything one does is to "become" a shaman. It is a
common misconception that experiencing shamanic ecstasy or embarking on
that first Shamanic journey makes you a shaman. It is more complicated
Not everyone can become a shaman... It is a terrible experience to
survive a calling and thus one should not "wish" to be a shaman.
However, anyone may still benefit from the experience of practising
shamanic techniques and ecstasy without being a shaman!
A shaman is a master of the shamanic abilities, journeying, ecstasy,
even healing. A shaman is also one depended on by some form of a group
or community. While I believe one might be a shaman to their own
brotherhood or family, in most cases this is a village or some nation
of people. To these people, the shaman is their window between the
So to answer the question, there are three ways most shamanic
traditions agree one can become a shaman.
1: By birth into a Shamanic family one can receive the
hereditary right to be a shaman.
2: One might be called as a Shaman. Often a person will
become seriously ill (mentally or physically) during this calling. They
will then realise, or be informed of their calling. Once the person
begins their training and accepts their calling, they will be freed of
their illness. This calling is not a request, but rather a divine
command. One may be raised in a Christian family which rejects the path
of the shaman, but to ignore the call would not be acceptable. Most
Shamanic cultures believe that rejecting a call is a fatal mistake.
Surviving the call is what gives the shaman the experience needed to
begin healing others.
3: One may choose to become a Shaman. This involves an
intense, personal quest towards being a shaman, including the
traditional training and studying. According to "orthodox" beliefs, a
shaman who chooses his path is less powerful. Many cultures believe
there is no such thing as one who chooses to be a shaman and such a
person is either fake or simply unrespectable. Survival of the calling
is part of the experience and to choose this path is to surpass the
Regardless of the way one initiates the journey, it is a very tough and
devoted path to follow. A shaman must endure intense physical
discipline, days in sweat lodges seeking visions, long journeys between
the worlds and deep study of deities, myths, the secret language and
their heritage. This is why shamanism is not a religion, but a way of
life that becomes the nature of the individual.
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