How do you feel so comfortable calling yourself a ‘Shaman’?

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This is a question that was asked of me by someone from within my Ayllu. This has posed an interesting question for me. Why do I feel so comfortable using the term shaman, when describing myself?

Actually, the fact is, I am not comfortable using the term shaman for myself. When I label myself as a shaman, I am doing so as much to convince myself as anyone else. But the question, “Am I a shaman?” This is something I ask myself frequently. And it keeps coming to the same. Yes, I am a shaman.  Most of the time, I feel no need, at all, to explain myself to anyone.  But in this instance, I will do so, but I think that we need to talk a bit about the dynamics of an Allyu.  It is kind of like a wolf pack.  Within this pack, you honor each other, and recognize that there is no malicious intent. This question was honestly asked, and she wanted to know. After all, I have not even completed the shamanic training for the four directions…

The long and the short of it: before I met my mentor, over 2 years ago, I had been told that I am a shaman.

The ways that I know to gauge a shaman are as follows:

Someone labels you a shaman
You actively assist your community
You actively assist individuals within your community
You interact with the local deities
You have training by spirit or by a mentor

Well, here is the crux of it.  All of the above are true.  As mentioned before, even before I found my mentor, I was named a Shaman. For almost 2 years, I have been doing work to assist my local congregation grow forward under very difficult circumstances, and almost all of this work was done while maintaining good relationships with individuals within the congregation.  Individual healings, individual work, group work, group healings, and much work on behalf of the building and land around the building to ensure prosperity. I have done a fair amount work and learning from the local spirits/deities, and I have been working with my mentor and spirit, very seriously to learn all that I can about this path, my skill set, and the tools I have available to me.

But after all of that explanation, I don’t actually care if anyone agrees with me, or feels that it is a title I should have. I actually do not want the job of a Shaman.  But I have been chosen for this path, so I will make the best of it. There is a lot of work to do within this community, as well as the greater community that I can access from my computer. And while I see this work, and feel like I can do something about it, I will.  I would also note that the questions I have been asked, and asked of myself in regards to labels, and egos, all come to the same thing.  The term Shaman is not a badge that you earn, and wear for the rest of your life.  Shamanism is a job, and you are only a shaman, while you continue to do that job. No matter whether or not I am labeled a shaman properly in everyone’s eyes or no, I will continue working with spirit, and with my mentor, and I will continue to grow as far as I can within this lifetime.

This brings up a bigger question though. Why do I feel so confident in self-labeling, when there are two females within my Ayllu, with the same level of training, and different (yet equally as strong) gifts, do not? The member of my Allyu who asked, I could see in her eyes that she didn’t understand how I could call myself a shaman, with the circumstances from her own eyes.  Identifying the privilege I hold for being male. When you are a woman, that is to be heard, you rightfully feel as if your words would be questioned without all the documentation proving you are 100% valid.  (And often despite the documentation)  I, as a male, can walk with my head high, and go with the phrase of “fake it ‘til you make it.”  My confidence is all the documentation I need to illustrate my skills.  I bring this up because I feel that this talks to an extreme problem in our society.  We are still segregating in both bold and subtle ways.  It hurts my soul to watch such a gifted and intelligent woman, afraid to help the world with her gifts, due to a deep seeded acknowledgement that she will be challenged and possibly abused for offering to help.  That a strong woman is so threatening, that she cannot help the people around her without fear of reprisal.

Earlier, I mentioned that I don’t often explain myself, and I realized something.  Taking the time, to listen to the question that was truly asked, I realized that refusing to explain myself, would talk only to the disparity in the privilege I have here.  By opening my mouth and my mind, I can talk through the reasons that she too should be feeling confident in herself. And why she too, should be calling herself a shaman.

Am I a shaman?  It doesn’t actually matter, but I am going to keep doing the work.

6 Rabbits

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How do you know if something is a sign or when it is a coincidence? This is something that constantly challenges me.  I honestly feel that nothing is a coincidence, but then, how do you prevent yourself from reading into everything as dire?

I have 2 answers for this, depending on the situation.

  1. Spiritual Accounting: (This is something my mentor, Jim Stovall, is often talking about.) In the situation of an entity reaching out to you, you need to let them acquire some trust, before letting their advice jeopardize your life, livelihood, or family. This is easy enough. Take notes. If Spirit-Bob gives you advice about your 401k, and it pans out well, maybe he knows something about investment. Maybe finance is his forte, and you feel like you can trust him with that kind of advice.  But a truth here, does not means truth everywhere.  All entities are alike in that way.  I am great with math, but I am terrible at describing the contents of a news article I was just prompted to read.  Spirit-Bob may be a wiz in finance, but maybe a heart-sick fool when it comes to love.  Spirit-Bob should not automatically get the ‘cred’ on all things, because he proved good with finance… You might have to work with Spirit-Joanne on matters of the heart.  (Who is not at all trustworthy with matters at work).  It all comes down to keeping track of the advice each entity gives you and how it pans out, so you may build a history from which to offer trust.
  2. Consistency: (Here I would like to give some credit to my friend Laura with Wild Goose Guidance.) Let’s say you see a bunny cross your path… Don’t instantly go all, “What dreadful thing am I drawing towards me, by trying to avoid it?” (FYI: Laura was a bit more eloquent with that description.)  I feel that a single “sighting”, in passing, is not enough to start looking deep into this matter. However, while I was walking this morning, I had 6 rabbits run across my path.  Considering I might see 1 rabbit a week normally, this stood out as something to think about.  Not to mention, that if my eyes had been closed, I am sure I still would have encountered 5 of these 6 rabbits.

I would say that 6 times, is enough to get you thinking…

So… What dreadful thing am I drawing towards me, by trying to avoid it?


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Relationships are an aspect I have found to be within remarkable flux for me. In this path, I have learned that every aspect of my life worth having, is worth some solid review. Look long, deep, and hard at each relationship to determine if it really serves you. And this has caused me a fair amount of stress, anxiety, and sadness.

It has been a challenge for me, as I now know many more of my own truths with which to bring to my relationships. Several of the relationships I have created since I started on this path have proven their strength. But to be fair, there was no real change there. We started our interaction once I accepted that I was a Shaman, a Pagan, a Healer, and an Energy Worker. But I have friends that I have had for a long time, and although many of them are wonderful, loving, accepting people, the relationships have suffered.

Time and time again, I literally feel like the friends I have held for years have forgotten about me. This past year has been the hardest of my life, and I saw only that friends were drying up, and not responding. (This sounds like a depression rant, and that is not at all the goal here.)

I have been asked multiple times in the past few months about why I was being so quite. And it didn’t actually click for me until this past Sunday, at Michigan Paganfest, with my Allyu, as to why I had been so quite. In the past 6 months, there have been very few of my friends that actually keep in communication, and of those 3 or 5 people, I feel that discussing what is hard, would simply burden them unnecessarily. Sitting with my Allyu, and my mentor, I realized that there is no aspect of this struggle that I need to hide, as they have experienced it too. And it got me to start really thinking on the relationships I have again.

Even those with whom I would like to share my new truths, are truly remarkable individuals, who are so busy in their own lives, and in a way that has nothing to do with me, have no time available. But timing is interesting. In the past 6 months, I would say 75% of the people I consider close, simultaneously got too busy.

This is a hard lesson to learn. I find that I will continue to think, and try to connect, but I need to start acknowledging that these could dry up for good. A relationship cannot exist, without that sacred reciprocity. It must give in both directions.