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 Post subject: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 4:42 pm 
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I am fairly new to the shamanic path, just scraping the surface and preparing to dive in whole heartedly. I'd first like to thank you all for providing such insight in your posts. Even through disagreements, there is love and acceptance.

Something that has stood out to me more than once is someone saying, "I practice Shamanism, but I'd NEVER call myself a Shaman."
"Others call me Shaman, although I'd NEVER refer to myself as such."

Why is this? It seems to me that if the community you serve calls you a Shaman, and you know you've been on the long and dedicated path of Shamanic practice, you wouldn't be opposed to referring to yourself as a Shaman. Is this simply a fear that one would seem egotistical if one accepted the label? Or is it considered distasteful to call oneself a Shaman, and instead to let those you work with decide if they will refer to you that way?

Or is it something else entirely?

Thanks again for all your wisdom and unconditional support. <3


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 6:54 pm 
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Thinking a bit further on this, I understand that some may want to refrain from labelling themselves as anything but a "person." ie. I am me, you are you, we are beings experiencing this existence together.

However, Shamans provide an essential service to their community, so is it really that strange to refer to yourself as such? I imagine it along the lines of saying I'm a doctor. I am a healer. I'm a musician. I am a female. Not making more of yourself by putting labels on it, but more just letting people be aware of a part of you?


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:01 am 
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My ideas on this question are a bit long, but here they are -

Traditionally a shaman was an important and integral part of a community and was a person who held power in that community. Shaman were recognised by the community instinctively and according to the traditions of that community. They therefore had no need to adopt a name or title. People in the community knew who they were and what they did. Their titles would usually be ones of respect rather than identity. And given their personal power and their position of power in the community it was also important that they display modesty and humility.

I am part of a 21st century western culture that has no cultural or social place for shaman, energy healers, intuitive healers or the like. In fact a significant part of my life’s journey has been a quest for identity in that I knew instinctively who I was and what I could do, but I had absolutely no reference point to identify myself with and no recognition of who I was. Over time I began to see that what I did and how I worked with spirit had many parallels with how others, who called themselves shaman, also worked. And so partly for reasons of personal identity, and partly to give myself a “tag” that others might relate to, I call myself a shaman.

In our society this is not taboo and is in fact culturally appropriate. In our society calling myself a shaman in fact exposes me to being ignored, dismissed or ridiculed by other members of society, and so it is not an assertion of power at all or an abuse of power. The irony is that I was a lawyer and when I asserted myself in this capacity I was granted the respect and a measure of authority that might be granted to a shaman by a society with a shamanic tradition. The other irony is, of course, that as all shaman know, what we call ourselves and how others perceive us are just to satisfy the thinking mind and, if done with good intention, have no relevance to the healing work that we actually do.

I think the important thing here is that we recognise who we are and what we do and that no name or title will alter that. If we seek to gain anything by calling ourselves a shaman other than fulfilling a calling to spirit then we are on the wrong track.

My preference would by far be that I did not have to identify myself at all and that I would simply be recognised and used by those who seek healing. However that is unrealistic in my society and to make myself available I have adopted our social conventions for naming and labelling, rather than trying to transpose the traditions of an entirely different culture and society into my own.


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 2:04 pm 
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Location: NW UK
The bigger question, for me, is why does anyone feel the need for the title of Shaman? Certainly, right now it is very trendy to be 'into' shamanism or learning about shamanism and there are lots of people who need a title to define them. Once you've got over that, there really isn't much need for labels but others may wish to use such a term to describe what you do because it makes it simpler than going through a lengthy description.


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:20 am 
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Michael Harner recognized the difference between "shamanic practitioners" and Shamans. A 'true' shaman is Initiated, either by other 'true' shamans, or by the spirits. The depth and intensity of this experience cannot be matched by those who have not undergone Initiation, as the destruction and reassembly of the Shaman's energy bodies is so immense. It is not simply learning the very wonderful techniques of Harner's program, and/or passing some test or certification.
Personally, my Initiation came directly from the Spirits, after many years of work to transform my consciousness through a variety of paths. My Initiation took twenty years. I finally realized I had to change to my given Shaman name, Dagaji, when the effects of my transformed energies began to seriously alter the energy configurations of people who engaged with me without realizing my true identity.
I am only just now beginning to be able to bring this information to the public, and I can be reached at www.facebook.com/shamalandyoga. I'd be happy to chat with anyone interested in my work.
Namaste
Shaman Dagaji


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:17 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:47 am
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Geoff wrote:
My ideas on this question are a bit long, but here they are -

Traditionally a shaman was an important and integral part of a community and was a person who held power in that community. Shaman were recognised by the community instinctively and according to the traditions of that community. They therefore had no need to adopt a name or title. People in the community knew who they were and what they did. Their titles would usually be ones of respect rather than identity. And given their personal power and their position of power in the community it was also important that they display modesty and humility.

I am part of a 21st century western culture that has no cultural or social place for shaman, energy healers, intuitive healers or the like. In fact a significant part of my life’s journey has been a quest for identity in that I knew instinctively who I was and what I could do, but I had absolutely no reference point to identify myself with and no recognition of who I was. Over time I began to see that what I did and how I worked with spirit had many parallels with how others, who called themselves shaman, also worked. And so partly for reasons of personal identity, and partly to give myself a “tag” that others might relate to, I call myself a shaman.

In our society this is not taboo and is in fact culturally appropriate. In our society calling myself a shaman in fact exposes me to being ignored, dismissed or ridiculed by other members of society, and so it is not an assertion of power at all or an abuse of power. The irony is that I was a lawyer and when I asserted myself in this capacity I was granted the respect and a measure of authority that might be granted to a shaman by a society with a shamanic tradition. The other irony is, of course, that as all shaman know, what we call ourselves and how others perceive us are just to satisfy the thinking mind and, if done with good intention, have no relevance to the healing work that we actually do.

I think the important thing here is that we recognise who we are and what we do and that no name or title will alter that. If we seek to gain anything by calling ourselves a shaman other than fulfilling a calling to spirit then we are on the wrong track.

My preference would by far be that I did not have to identify myself at all and that I would simply be recognised and used by those who seek healing. However that is unrealistic in my society and to make myself available I have adopted our social conventions for naming and labelling, rather than trying to transpose the traditions of an entirely different culture and society into my own.



Actually, the fact that energy healers exist in our culture proves that there is a place for them in modern society.

They may dwell in the fringes of society but being fringe-sitters is what shamans and witchs are all about. :-)

Also I wish I could recommend to you a book called "A brief history of humanity" written be Dr Yuval Harari, but I can't as its written in Hebrew.

Anyway, he writes there about how lawyers are in some way modern shamans. I wish I could quote to you his explanations for this but its several pages of terminology I'll find hard to translate..

But I think you would find it very interesting. Maybe one day his book will be published in English...


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:49 pm 
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@Lifewiz - I find your comments interesting comments. Lawyers as Shaman? I am interested to know why this would be. I agreew with your comments about shaman as fringe sitters - I see that shaman can have a subversive role. By poking and proding at apparent reality assists the community to uncover the actual reality.


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:16 pm 
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I feel like it is disrespectful of what shaman's do by way of healing and helping the community to put them in the same category as lawyers.


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:14 am
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Location: UK
Well, I have no qualms about calling myself shaman . .because this is who I am, it is what I do, it is how I see

Do I sit on the fringes? ... maybe I do, but for good reason .. I do not wish to be associated with all this new age mumbo jumbo and charging huge amounts for healing, ceremony or teaching.

I am just as likely to heal someone for a reciproal gift of tobacco, a meal or a warm fire as I am anyone handing over bundles of cash or a cheque.

I am more likely to heal you with the truth no matter how much it hurts as to hide it under a band aid of dependancy

Was I initiated? .. if you have a few hours to spare and a pipe full of smoke, I'll tell you a story ..

I am shaman .. now what?


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:05 pm 
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Location: New Mexico, US
I refer to myself as both a shaman and a shamanic practitioner. Usually I'll say "shaman" when among those who aren't likely to know the difference. The term shaman refers to practitioners from a specific tradition, from the steppes, and has become the popularized term for those who journey between worlds and who speak and work with spirits.


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:34 am
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I think the reasoning behind a shaman not calling himself a shaman is that if you're a shaman you don't have to call yourself a shaman it's who you are. shamans that feel the need to label themselves as shamans are trying to describe to the world what it is they are doing in terms other people can understand. I have had the opportunity of meeting very highly advanced healers who didn't call themselves shamans or healers, I have also met healers who were some what moderate or mediocre who call themselves shamans and even had it in the title of their name. I think it goes back to the rule of if you are what you are you don't have to go around telling people that's what you are.


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:33 am
Posts: 15
Location: Finland
This is something I've been thinkng about from time to time. We don't live in small communities anymore, the whole world is our village. So, who is it that should give you the title of shaman? As someone wrote in this thread, todays people don't recognize shamans/witches/healers anymore.

Also remember that whatever anyone calls themself does not mean anything if they don't walk their talk, and do it good! Your titles and beliefs does not make you, your actions and attitude does.

I find it a bit hard to find a label for myself. The closest is "noita", a finnish word for... well a kind of "witch" who works with the spirits of nature and ancestors and journeys to other worlds, use drumming and spellsinging and the power of Word. They're usually healers and magis. This tradition was almost exctinct but is now being revived. So, I'm like a finnish shaman.
Usually I don't call myself anything. But if for some reason I'd want to tell someone what I "do", I might say I practise finnish shamanism. That's the easyest :)


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:33 am
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Location: Finland
Realised I forgot to mention one thing in my earlier post..

The title shaman is not the best to use, because it describes one particular poeples practise and beliefs as e all kno. Shamans are like their priests. I'm not part of that people so I don't like to call myself shaman. I am a noita. But I can speak of finnish shamanism because thats a consept most people will understand better (if I'm not in a more lengthy discussion when I can explain in more detail).


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:51 pm 
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After everything I've read about Shamanism, I'm inclined to agree with the accepted view that real Shamans don't call themselves Shaman. A Shaman is a Shaman because a community says so. I wonder also about people who call themselves Shaman, who feel the need to judge others in their approach to the tradition, admonish them because they don't conform to their own rigid ideas about how this tradition should be percieved by people who have an entirely different set of experiences and cirsumstances that neverthless pulls them in the direction of Shamanism. I shudder to think that politics rears its ugly head, even here, on these hallowed grounds.

I tend to stay clear of authoritarian, admonishing types. I find the truly gifted people tend to be truly humble and know how to make others feel comfortable and welcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Why don't you call yourself "Shaman?"
 Post Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:26 am 
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I don't and never will because first of all I am not. I been initiated by spirit so far and that is genuine however not a part of my culture.

meaning we do not that culture who accepts and uses shamans, so I can never be one.

also the word is actually just a single Sibirian area who uses the word and all other nations has other words for what they do that mean differents things even though its the same thing they do .

my country would maybe call me someone that works with spirits. or use our old name for witchcraft or similar tasks.

however if it makes it easier for people to understand what I am interested in , and know about to some extend in a discussion about a new age practice then I have to just call it core shamanism and not confuse the topic too much.

if my cultural background had certain ceremonies. and a need for a person who works with these things.

like they had in Greenland which is a part of my country . then I would have to get a training with one of these "shamans" and become a person the community trusts and use for this.

the word in Greenland language does not mean the same as the word Shaman does as far as I know even though its exactly the same thing they do,.

this is why I do not call myself something I am not. and can never be.

because its adding to further confusing of the title. and meaning of it. and would automatically suggest I have a personal need for some title to fill out some blanks in my identity and I do not know enough about it yet and place me in a category of people who uses the term but never really understood the meaning of it.


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