A shamanist is one who follows a shamanic path. A shamanist's life is enriched and healed by their walk with deity. The 'tribe' of the shamanist benefits from their association. There is no guarantee of recognition of priesthood, if the definition of priesthood is the attainment of the title Shaman. Traditionally, Shaman is a title of recognition bestowed by others upon an individual. The result is that there are many on the shamanic path and few who are Shamans. This does not lessen the shamanist's personal relationship with deity.
I am already a shamanist by self-initiation and intention. This can never be taken away from me. To step forward into the role of Shaman would mean that I be of service to a tribe. To be a Shaman would entail responsibilities above and beyond those I carry as a shamanist. A shamanist serves the world as a whole. Many/all people are in their charge. The diffusion of responsibility is, in some ways, a light one. Or is it? The shamanist is always "in training" to be a Shaman. The shamanist is called to live an impeccable life. The Toltec four agreements speak very clear to the charge of the global shamanist:
Be Impeccable With Your WordsThere is a fine line between the shamanist and the Shaman. The call of a tribe can come at anytime. The tribe can be a vast group of people or the tribe could be a single person. At any time the shamanist can transition into a Shaman. The call of a tribe can be brief, imparting only temporary recognition of Shaman status. It is to this possible duty that I dedicated myself to when I stated my shamanist intention.
Don't Take Anything Personally
Don't Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
"Permanent" recognition of a person as a Shaman is another thing. I will not "transition" into being a Shaman under the most excellent tutelage of my current teacher. The current core of my shamanic training is with a medicine man of American Native Indian origin. He is a recognized Shaman by his tribe. Here is the trick. I can never "graduate" to be a Shaman of his tribe. I do not have the qualifications of heritage. While my continued path with my teacher can lead me to be a capable shamanist, I will never be a Shaman of his tribe by this path. Instead, in time, I would have to seek others to serve. Only by their recognition could I properly embrace the title of Shaman.
What is entailed in being a full-time Shaman? I can only answer this by looking at those Shamans I know. They are very busy. For the most part, their lives are lived for others. There is much responsibility in regards to both self and others. Only those who are in this position can truly describe it. I cannot.
In contrasts, while shamanists are willing to serve those temporary tribes around them, some/many shamanists have little desire to attain the permanent title of Shaman. To them, being a shamanist is about having connection with the world, facilitating healing in themselves and others, and having a spiritual peace. There is no require for a shamanist to move to make the permanent move to Shaman. Indeed, many shamanist resist the application of the title 'Shaman'. The "crown" of recognition is heavy and not accepted lightly.
This is my question to my fellow shamanists. Putting aside my words, and looking into your heart, do you desire to become a full-time Shaman? Do you not? Why? My words are my own. They are colored by my experience. Please do share your own take on what it is to be a shamanist and what it is to be a Shaman.