The way of the Shaman is a natural form of living and working in a very connected way to all living things. The word Shaman comes from the Tungus people of Siberia and means one who knows. The Shaman is one who seeks to connect to all things, often called the walker between worlds or the Spiritwalker. Someone who seeks harmony in both the physical and the spiritual. In this system, which is a very loose free form set of beliefs and practices, there are no rules or rote laws to learn. Techniques can be taught, but these do vary from person to person. In Shamanism it is viewed that all things are alive and are connected together. Animals, trees, plants, rocks, stones, fish, insects, people, Spirits and the very land itself are alive. None is more important than the other and all have their place within the overall harmony of the web of life. As a Shamanic practitioner I respect all life forms and species, regardless of whether they have a physical body or not.
In our fast paced modern society, there is hunger for the next great thing and an urge to have it yesterday, if not faster. Since Michael Harnerís book The way of the Shaman was published, a huge amount of self styled Shamanic practitioners have sprung up across the world. Sadly a large amount of these people are of the Shamanic school I call ĎBang the drum and light the fireí. These people are not Shamanís in any way shape or form. Before they discover Shamanism, they might be dabblers in Witchcraft/Wicca or Spiritualism, or Psychic development. One week itís Angels, the next High Magick. You canít attend a Shamanic workshop and become a Shaman, it doesnít work that way. The real genuine essence of Shamanism are to be found only in the Spirit realms and that is where the real teachers can be found as well.
A genuine Shaman is born a Shaman and then they grow into the role and this is a painful process. There is no degree or diploma, no such thing as a certified Shaman. More times than I can count, I have wanted to live a so called normal life and because of this, have walked away and turned my back on the spiritual work. Each time I have returned after a time, only to find my abilities to be stronger and my conviction truer.
Shamanism is not a job description, it is a calling. Spirit calls and the Shaman listens. This is not to say that workshops and books are not useful, because they are. But only as a jumping off point, not as a complete guide to practice. The difference really is that a person who attends a workshop or studies a book or audio course and then begins to apply the principles and techniques learned, is not a Shaman. They are a Shamanic Practitioner, someone who uses Shamanic principles. This not the same as being a Shaman.
It is important to understand the inner work involved and the dedication needed to forge relationships with Spirit. Anyone can bang a drum and light a fire. A Shaman can hear the drumbeat of the earth and move to her rhythms. A Shaman can kindle the fire of the heart and of the soul. I myself do not really like using the word Shaman, but am constantly searching for a word that people will understand in connection with the work I do. Healer is good, but not enough, Witch, good also, but not quite, Druid, good again, but there is more, Diviner, not nearly enough. When people use the term Shaman, they have a tendency to see all of these things and so I use this term.
People are to be found practicing Shamanic techniques the world over from Australia to Sweden and from England to Peru. Most countries have their own form of Shamanic belief. Many Shamans travel and because of this learn from others on their journeys. It is because of this reason that a great deal of Native American knowledge and wisdom is often found in many peopleís practice and technique. The Native American ways are very powerful in that they are virtually undiluted, as they have continued to be passed from Medicine person to Medicine person down the years. However to claim to practice Native American spirituality is not a thing to do lightly, for you must also understand the culture, society and history. Shamanism has existed in one form or another for as long as a hundred thousand years or more.
Why Urban Shaman? Well the answer is very simple. In ancient times the Shaman would not only be of the land, but would also live on the land and with the land. Times have changed and most of us in this modern age live within cities and large towns. So it is only natural that where you find the people you should also find the Shaman serving the people as has always been the way.
Being a modern Shaman I make use of modern tools just as readily as ancient ones. I am well versed in psychotherapeutic techniques, hypnotherapy and NLP. I see myself very like a Master Chef, taking the finest of ingredients from around the globe and utilising recipes both old and new in order to be able to offer the finest to those whom I serve.