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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:07 am 
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Location: Durango / Ignacio, Colorado
teopiltzin wrote:
My question is simple. When do you know that you're a shaman. According to Michael Harner, <snip>


As I know it, you are shaman if your elders say you are. Basically, you have survived your initiation and returned with gifts and knowledge to utilize on behalf of the people.

I am not sure an anthro is the person to say unless he was there during your initiation.

Blessings,
~Nick


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:30 pm 
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It's up to the community. Seems like there's a lot of pretentiousness in the use of the term, one where there is little depth of understanding of the origins of the term and what it can mean for today's world. I don't mind at all the term "shamanic practitioner." Others can call me a shaman if they choose. No big deal. Just a term, but has taken on a certain meaning. Appeals to the ego, that's for sure!

If you have demonstrated spiritual healing abilities that have the roots in shamanism, there's no need to have a label other than healer. Really.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:11 am 
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When the headline "How do you know when you've become a Shaman", in the monthly newsletter came across my computer screen it stopped me in my tracks...! I signed up for Shaman Portal just so I could reply to the question/discussion.

In short only a simple answer is possible for such a BIG question. When the community you serve calls you a "Shaman" because your work is getting them results, its only then I might think I have become a "Shaman", however would never call myself or make reference to be one.

Some food for thought, I believe Jesus Christ was the most amazing shaman that ever walked the earth, if the stories that surround him are true.

Walk in Beauty,

Karyn


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:52 am 
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harmonicvisions wrote:
I believe Jesus Christ was the most amazing shaman that ever walked the earth


Thanks for your posting, Karyn.

Shamanic traditions are of course found all over the world and the Middle-Eastern shamanic tradition is sadly quite neglected. Yeshua [the original Aramaic name that became anglicised into "Jesus"] was indeed a shaman - expelling demons to cure sickness, shape-shifting ["The Transfiguration"], undertaking a Vision Quest in the wilderness and demonstrating great feats of magic [water into wine etc].

Unfortunately his teachings [an entirely oral tradition in Aramaic] suffered from translation errors during their much later translation into Greek then Latin and eventually [16th century] English plus they often were distorted for the political ends of various people [especially the Roman Empire in the 4th century BCE].

Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz has done a lot in recent years to re-interpret the Aramaic version of the Yeshua wisdom teachings [within the context of Judean culture at that time] and has created some inspired meditations and movement-rituals to bring them alive for us today. See for example:
www.lovehealth.org/books/genesis.htm

I incorporate a range of these Aramaic-chanting, healing-circle rituals into my Shamanic healing workshops...
www.sunflower-health.com/resources/recordings.htm [a 3rd Beatitude MP3 clip plus introduction is here]
...partly because Aramaic has great healing power - being one of the world's oldest languages, it has the onomatopoeic quality of chakra-resonance. Partly also because of the huge wisdom that underlies the pithy teaching of Yeshua e.g. the 4th Beatitude in Aramaic.

Aramaic = Tubwayhun layleyn d’kaphneen watzheyn l’khenuta d’hinnon nisbhun

King James Bible translation was: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they shall be filled"

Klotz translation: "Integrated, resisting delusion are those who long clearly for a foundation of peace between the warring parts of themselves; they shall find all around them the materials to build it"

Dr. Klotz points out...

"In the Aramaic version, this Beatitude [= blessing] is almost the center point of the healing process that Jesus [Yeshua] is presenting to his listeners. It is about welcoming home the exiled parts of our inner being and inviting them to return to healing ripeness with the other inner selves. It calls forth the image of Hokhmah/Sophia/Holy Wisdom [from a pre-Jesus Goddess religion of the Jews] preparing a table with food and drink, then gathering various different selves around the table to sit together and to freely and equally partake of the nourishment.

"This food and drink is not just on a physical level but on all levels – emotional, psychic and spiritual levels are included. The point here is to offer these various inner selves what they’ve been starved and most longing for while in their state of exile – all that’s needed for each of them to continue growing and becoming the true selves they were meant to be but have not been able to become because something was lacking - until now.

"The Aramaic word “khenuta” is a key to the meaning of this Beatitude. It is usually translated [by Christians] as “righteousness.” In Aramaic it refers to a sense of inner justice. Everyone receives on an equal basis. The same attention is given to all regarding each being listened to even though individually each self may require very different specific nourishment.

"As we begin to welcome, receive, listen to and attentively nourish these once exiled inner selves something else also happens. What is created through us is the power and the possibility that this rightness and ripeness will indeed happen – on an inner level, with the outer community and with the whole cosmos. “Khenuta” also symbolizes coming to a sense of agreement, a coming together of the parts of our being to form a new, more whole and complete sense of I am. This “rightness” and justice is based on the knowledge that nothing is ever really owned by any of the individual selves because everything ultimately belongs to the only One – the “I Am that I Am” [NOTE: In shamanism we would say "Great Spirit"]. All seemingly individual selves are included."



Mikhael


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:43 am 
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First, set semantics aside. This is spirituality, not an academic course. You are not passing courses to work toward a degree, at least not in native traditions. So lets consider the meme of the holy person, shaman, spiritual leader, clergy, or otherwise person called to serve in a spiritual context.

How do you know when you are this?
1) You will know when the time comes, and
2) When you have no need to refer to yourself with a title.

Naming this position of spiritual service is an act that objectifies the activity of service. The purity and sanctity can gradually be damaged when the act of service is objectified, named, and sooner or later valued by the individual holding the position or by others around them. Real potency of experience/healing is diminished. Humility is diminished. A lack of humility negates all training and experience, whether you've only done a single sweat lodge or are the seasoned elder of an ancient tribe. Spirit rewards humility.

One elder's answer to this question has been, "You are asking the wrong question."

"If you do things right, no one will be sure you've done anything at all." - God, from Futurama episode Godfellas


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:46 pm 
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Very well put Ora!
I would add also, if you know who you are, you are wise enough. Who needs anyone else telling what you are?!! Where is the common sense?

And like Ora put it, if you know who and what you are, then there is no point in this question. Meanwhile find the right question.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:30 pm 
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Well, Teopiltzin, your "simple question" has awakened many answers - and even a few non-answers!

Personally I find myself reminded of Plato's quotation of Socrates...

"The unexamined life is not worth living!"

and from the same source...

"In every one of us there are two ruling and directing principles... one being an innate desire of pleasure; the other, an acquired judgment which aspires after excellence!"

but this same source reminds us...

"The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways...Which is the better, only [our personal] God knows!"

<grin>

Mikhael


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:04 am 
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I strongly feel that it's not for an person to say he/ she is a shaman. That is something for the comunity to do.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:46 am 
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Location: NW UK
ora wrote:
First, set semantics aside. This is spirituality, not an academic course. You are not passing courses to work toward a degree, at least not in native traditions. So lets consider the meme of the holy person, shaman, spiritual leader, clergy, or otherwise person called to serve in a spiritual context.

How do you know when you are this?
1) You will know when the time comes, and
2) When you have no need to refer to yourself with a title.

Naming this position of spiritual service is an act that objectifies the activity of service. The purity and sanctity can gradually be damaged when the act of service is objectified, named, and sooner or later valued by the individual holding the position or by others around them. Real potency of experience/healing is diminished. Humility is diminished. A lack of humility negates all training and experience, whether you've only done a single sweat lodge or are the seasoned elder of an ancient tribe. Spirit rewards humility.

One elder's answer to this question has been, "You are asking the wrong question."

"If you do things right, no one will be sure you've done anything at all." - God, from Futurama episode Godfellas


Beautifully put.

Is it not better to have no title yet be able to help, assist, heal and bring balance? That way, nobody is turned away by their preconceptions or fears - all can come forward.

Relax, trust your Spirits who will bring what you need, when you need it.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:49 pm 
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Traditionally, it is not typical for someone to volunteer for the role of shaman or to self-identify as a shaman. Rather, someone is chosen by "the spirits" to become a shaman and to act in the service of his or her community. In shamanic cultures, it is actually considered bad luck to call yourself a shaman, because this is seen as bragging, and the shamanic view about power is that if you brag about having it, you will lose it. Instead, your community recognizes you as a shaman based on the successful results that you achieve for the benefit of your clients and the greater community.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:34 am 
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Desertbird >>"...Rather, someone is chosen by "the spirits"..."

--This is true in most cases... but not all. Remember, there are 2 kinds of Mudang in Korea, the chosen and the hereditary. Even the Siberian tribes (chuckchee etc...) acknowledge hereditary shaman among them. Elaide goes so far as to suggest that Eastern Shamanisms (by what ever name you want to use from Yamabushi to Orogen) are derived from the same root shamanism as that of Siberian traditions (which he suggested represented the older, purer form with fewer dilutions and inclusions from outside ideas). In that case, it would be fair to say that all shaman were originally female, and that this gender specific tradition changed at some point after diverging from Chinese and Korean systems as they retain the gender role dominance by tradition.

On the other hand, post-agrarian societies (farming and animal husbandry) could support the parasitic drain of full time priests, giving rise to the Aztec and Mayan Shaman Priests who focused more on prophesy and negotiating favorable attitudes from diefic entities (Still animist in nature) by means of sacrifices. In these instances, it is not necessarily true that the spirits needed to choose the priest (though we can argue the semantics and reality of charlatanry in another thread). In Yamabushi, the spirits chose the sage by his dedication to the dharma (so legend says), thus making himself acceptable to the spirits by his own actions and playing a self-determined role in gaining spirit allies with which to heal, cure, expel hostile spirits, receive warnings, and a host of things otherwise considered shamanic.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:47 pm 
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When I say "chosen by the spirits" I say it very loosely. I know that hereditary plays a role in some cultures, but they (or more or less their bloodline) are chosen.

I try to keep my answers here vague enough to not offend someone of a different background, so if I've offended you, I'm sorry.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:54 pm 
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Whether chosen by spirit or hereditary, I understood that Desertbird was making the distinction between someone who has been marked out (either by spirit contact or by being born into a family of shamans) rather than someone who is interested in shamanism and chooses to learn about it.

There may well be a solid distinction here since so many western seekers learn about shamanism and live a shamanic-styled life but do not go on to become healers and ceremonialists, recognised by their local communities as such.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:23 am 
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There is a definite distinction between the wo/man walking the forest path on their way to court or entertain when a bolt of lightning strikes from a clear sky and the 'victim' is suddenly ordered to accept that they must now take up "shamanizing" or (*cue dramatic 'god' voice*)... DIE!

And...

The Shinto priest who knowing and intentionally seeks to join the orders of priests, knowingly and willingly decides each and every day of their own will to accept the duty and obligation of self-discipline that is proven to lead to becoming acceptable to the spirits and thus gaining influence through earning spirit allies by respect...

So...

We do have those who choose it, and dedicate their lives to it. It is wrong to see Shamanic Animism as stuck in the Pre-cambrian nomadic hunter/gatherer communities where the part-time mystico-religious figure operated as charlatan, devil summoner, healer and psychologist, and deconstructionist in one with such limited and enviable duties as guiding his tribe through the hostile and alien world of malicious spirits by binding them together with the glue of shared beliefs and cultural taboos.

Shamanism moved into the priesthood phase later allowed by agrarian and farming communities with sedentary lifestyle, before unscrupulous rulers usurped the ideas of theology to legitimize their rule. It survived this corruption and still exists today in post-industrial societies where the roles have changed, sometimes dramatically, but still holds to the heart of the matter.

To see shamanism as a fixed system is therefore ludicrous.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you know when you've become a shaman?
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:26 pm 
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I guess it would depend on how we then define shamanism, wouldn't it? Just because a belief system stemmed from shamanic roots or still has some shamanic elements to their belief and ceremonies doesn't make them all shamanism.

Perhaps there are certain folk aspects of Shinto which are closer to shamanism but mainstream shrine Shinto is quite far removed from what I have observed.

European Witchcraft, likewise, has shamanic roots but has moved and grown becoming something distinct and often, latterly, quite dissimilar. Christianity built many of it's celebrations and ceremonial activities on earlier shamanic roots, it even had wonderful mystics and hermits who healed, had ecstatic trances and were able to astral travel but I couldn't accept Christianity as shamanic either. Buddhism again, has shamanic roots and many shamanic style ceremonies yet cannot qualify as a complete shamanic system.

Shamanism, from my own understanding, is defined by the fact that we work specifically with certain spirits rather than merely honouring them. The ability to access that communication with them and allow healing to come via that.

Far from being a fixed system, Shamanism is dynamic, crosses boundaries and touches many different belief systems. Though often culturally specific, it does have a few defining characteristics. Animistic belief and ceremony, however, are not enough.

It could be argued that anyone who comes to Shamanism and has a compelling urge to learn combined with a compassion for others IS a call from Spirit.


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