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 Post subject: How do you honor cultural differences in your shamanic work?
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:59 pm
Posts: 38
Location: NC
Greetings All!

I am putting together a list of questions as a hand out to my shamanic students, for them to as fully as possible understand what cultural appropriation is, how to manage a shamanic path that honors diverse cultures, and how to appropriately (if that is possible) incorporate cultural approaches that are not native to the shaman into practice with self and others. What questions do you ask yourself, along those lines? What are your answers? How do you work with and honor cultural practices that are not native to you? How do you deal with cultural reaction to that?

I appreciate your input and thoughts, and thank you for helping me pull these thoughts together.

Be well!


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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:09 pm 
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This is a very good question Skelleyh. In my practice I have incorporated various aspects of South American Shamanism, Native American Shamanism and even some elements from European Shamanism. The proper way to accomplish this sort of "melding" or borrowing so to speak, is to realize which rites are a cultures own property. For example, I would not take a cultures initiation practices, sacred ancestral ceremonies nor their Deities. If I choose to take a practice from another culture, it would be something universal, a general understanding. An example would be the four powers of Native American Shamanism. Native Americans are not the only culture who recognizes the four powers therefore they do not own the rites, as such...this can be borrowed. I have many different elements of several cultures incorporated into my practice as well as my own techniques. I have never completely carbon copied an entire cultures practices that are not my own, this in my opinion would be an act of desecration. In my practice I have been accepted into certain rites of South American Shamanism by a fifth generation South American Shaman...I have been given certain rites by someone in their culture held in high esteem. In other words...I have been given permission to practice some rites of theirs normally only given to those born into the culture.
I'm sure you get the picture...Let your heart guide you, spirit always has the answers you are seeking.

Peace, walkthepath


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 Post subject: Re: How do you honor cultural differences in your shamanic w
 Post Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:25 pm
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One of the best pieces of advice is to seek out methods from your guides. My teacher teaches techniques based less on cultures and more on instruction from the guides.

Just as the world is changing, spirit and shamanism are changing too. Spirits from the higher realms are picking up and moving to middle or lower worlds, add vice-verse. Shamans, while they still journey, are able to retrieve soul arts almost instantaneously, depending on who it is.

There is no real need to borrow anything from others when spirits can give you even more customized tools.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you honor cultural differences in your shamanic w
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:54 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:35 pm
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Location: Finland
resonantD wrote:
One of the best pieces of advice is to seek out methods from your guides. My teacher teaches techniques based less on cultures and more on instruction from the guides.

There is no real need to borrow anything from others when spirits can give you even more customized tools.


I fully agree with this one. I do not loan anything at all anymore, but search for local methods or the methods spirits give me. Nomore workshops, but just gathering people together and celebrating, connecting with our ancestors.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you honor cultural differences in your shamanic w
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:06 pm
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Location: Canada
I study many different beliefs. When you journey for others of different beliefs, you may find a symbol which makes perfect sense to them but you may miss it if you don't understand their belief system.

Blessings, Small Elk


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 Post subject: Re: How do you honor cultural differences in your shamanic w
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:16 pm
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Location: NW UK
If we are asking about the use of whole sections (ceremonies or language) from a foreign culture to that which we were brought up in, then personally I have to say that I don't do that. When I learn from 1st Nation people, I try to understand the reasons why certain things are done that way, the wisdom behind the actions and translate that to how my own culture and community think. Our histories are very different as are our mythological metaphors so many things simply don't translate literally.

If, however, we are talking about how to get over cultural difficulties such as whether women can drum or white people can be shamans then it is a case, for me, of researching and finding the evidence that all things have been done somewhere at some time.

Should we take a Huichol fire ceremony or a Lakota Ghost Dance to Europe and simply transplant them into our own practice? Personally I feel that this misses the point. It is interesting to see, to understand the history and the mythology behind but how does a Jesa ceremony help an English woman in Watford (UK) to heal or grow at a more profound level? What do her ancestors and spirits need or recognise in these specific food offerings or practices?

Many 1st Nations openned up their teachings and offered their oral traditions to outsiders in order to help and heal; they did this from the heart and from a commitment to the direction of their spirits. From their own culture it is understood that only those (chosen) with the wisdom to understand the deeper meanings of the metaphors will learn how to translate this into their own practice. In reality, what has happened is that many white westerners have missed the point, appropriated whole swathes of a culture innapropriately and effectively stolen what was offered. It is no wonder that so many 1st Nation people are offended when they see their ceremonies re-enacted out of place and culture by those who really don't 'get' the deeper meanings or have the spiritual connection to their ancestor spirits to make the ceremony effective. It cheapens it and makes a mockery of their teachings.

Though it is much harder, we must try to step back and work with our spirits, do the research, learn and deepen our wisdom (not just knowledge) so that we can bring together meaningful ceremony or practices which are pertinent to our community and culture rather than merely take someone elses practices.

Can another culture's practices help us to rediscover our own? YES! That is, for me, where the true teaching lies.


Last edited by Forest Child on Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you honor cultural differences in your shamanic w
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:06 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:59 pm
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Location: NC
Thanks for your responses, all.

Very well said Forest Child. I have a growing concern through the current trend of spiritual seeker looking outside his/her own culture, in that we honor indigenous wisdom, but we don't seem to honor indigenous people.

Be well!


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 Post subject: Re: How do you honor cultural differences in your shamanic w
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:35 pm 
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Hi.
Hello,your welcome thank you also for information.
God bless.
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