I know in the end I must make this decision but I need everyone's advice on the whole school thing. First off, how did each of you develop your talent? Was it through books, seminars, a bolt of lightning (it happens), or did some of you just wake up and know what your path was? I will admit that I am chomping at the bit to get to work doing the healing thing and I was fortunate enough to perform one on my girlfriend the other day when she needed it most (she is an animal healer).
Well, I did not read through the whole thread - enocheyes flooding postings prevent this.
To give you an advice: on a school you can learn techniques. Talent cannot be taught - compare it with playing an instrument like the piano. Usually everyone can play this instrument to a certain level of mastery, but only a handful is talented enough to be a master. But both of them have to learn some technical stuff in order to play the instrument. Same as this in shamanism with one difference: the spirits select whome they bestow with their honorable partnership and they test their incarnated partners to the bone. This does not have much in common with talent but with the choice of the spirits - whose ideas of ideal partners of working differs largely, depending on what they think is appropriate for their stuff they want you to do.
So in a school you may learn techniques but they cannot teach you talent neither they can prescribe the spirits in what they have to think about you, i.e. cooperating with you.
Out there I meet many persons claiming being shaman or something like this. When it comes to manifesting their visions in the palpable reality (healing or anything else shamanic) they quickly fell off the line: most of them only have nice images and voices in their head with no result in the everydays world.
Get clear what you really want. I cannot understand people who eagerly want
to be a shaman. A healer is not necessarily a shaman, btw. Reducing shamanism to healing stuff is typical western prejudice.