Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison
greensh

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A Shamanist or Something Else?

The shamanic path is a long one with a lot of depth. Practitioners are asked to do an incredible amount of work on themselves as they move forward in their abilities. However, the work is not only about technique. Fancy footwork does not make a person a shaman or shamanist. What does? These are my thoughts.

I consider myself a shamanist by intention and training. Is this enough? In the past I posted the following list as an estimation of what being a shamanist was about:
1. Have you energetically removed yourself from the restraints of the past?
2. Have you energetically faced death and are at ease with the reality of a world beyond the physical?
3. Have you learned the symbolic language of the mystical?
4. Can you achieve altered states of consciousness?
5. Do you travel between the spirit world and the physical world?
6. Do you use your skills in service to your community?
This seems solid to me. The feedback I received confirmed this list was a good start. While doing and living these traits does not make one a shamanist, they are strong indicators of someone walking a shamanic path.

Recently I began to read Mircea Eliade's book "Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy ". Eliade defined a shaman as follows:
"he is believed to cure, like all doctors, and to perform miracles of the fakir type, like all magicians [...] But beyond this, he is a psychopomp, and he may also be a priest, mystic, and poet".
A few days later I pulled another book from my shelf and read something similar. Serge Kahili King writes in his book "Urban Shaman":
A lot of people have different ideas of what a shaman is and does, but like Eliade, I tend toward a strict definition. Not every medicine man is a shaman, but a shaman might be a medicine man. Not every tribal priest is a shaman, but a shaman might be a tribal priest. Not every psychic healer is a shaman, but a shaman might be a psychic healer. For purposes of this book and my teachings, I define a shaman as a healer of relationships: between mind and body, between people, between people and circumstances, between humans and Nature, and between matter and spirit. In practicing his or her healing, the shaman has a view of reality very different from the one most the world uses, and it is this unique viewpoint which really sets the shaman apart from other healers.
These texts made me wonder if there was a black-and-white line between being a shamanist and being something else. The references were about full blown shaman. I am the first to acknowledge that shaman and the shamanist are not the same type of person. Still, I believe there is a loose linkage between the two as every shamanist is a shaman yet to be recognized. The shamanist has every potential to be a shaman. What then differentiates the shaman and the shamanist from other healers, priests and energy workers?

What are the special qualities or traits that separate these people from others of ability? Is statement of intention enough to be a member of the shamanic path? What is the difference? Your opinions please!
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