I have noticed a rather disturbing trend of late. It is not disturbing in the sense that you might think, but possibly for completely different reasons. Many of my readers know well how much I struggle with technology. It seems like a “three steps forward, two steps back” relationship. But this is just about how I am SLOWLY getting to know how to function with technology. So please put that concept aside for a moment, because it has very little, if anything, to do with what disturbs me in this trend.
The trend is this. There is value in oral traditions and in interpersonal experiences. When we gather together we are actually creating a circle. Whether it is a ceremonial circle or simply a social circle, it is, nonetheless, a circle. We connect. We are able to touch one another’s lives in meaningful ways. But I have noticed, as have other practitioners of various modalities, that people are less likely now to attend a course that is being given. People want to be able to access pretty much everything online. This is NOT healthy and it certainly does not provide one with the quality of instruction or experiential learning that an in-person course does.
Imagine for a moment, if you will, going to a doctor and having the doctor examine you physically and tell you that you have a diagnosis that is quite dire. Imagine how you would respond if you found out that their medical degree was acquired entirely online. If you are like pretty much anyone else in the world, you would immediately be getting a second opinion on that diagnosis.
The same applies to any form of practitioner in any healing modality. I would certainly never dream of getting much quality of training as a shaman online. The quality that I had in person with other practitioners was absolutely stellar and beyond compare. Most of the information that I have looked at online in the area of shamanism or even magic practices has ended up being the “Reader’s Digest” version that nowhere near covers everything involved on the topic. There is always information lacking and there is too often the impression given that “this is everything you need to know…”, which is hogwash.
People often say ridiculous things to me like, “Oh, you’re a shaman! I know all about that. I read a book on it.” Pardon me while I roll my eyes so hard I almost induce a migraine. Try 50+ years of training and practice, you moron! How would they feel if I said to them, “Oh! You’re an Engineer! I know ALL ABOUT THAT BECAUSE I READ A BOOK ON IT”? How ridiculous.
For those of you who want to learn and who want to learn well, no matter what the modality is that you wish to explore, please, PLEASE attend the circle! When you attend, be it a week long course, or weekend segments or whatever, you will be learning not just any written material. You will be learning from the shared experiences of your fellow classmates as well as from the expertise of the instructor who is presenting. That stuff is GOLD! You cannot learn how to be an excellent cook simply with a recipe book. This too is something that is best learned along side an experienced cook or chef. The same applies for modalities. Learn along side others with expertise and others who are also on a healing path. Attend the Circle! You will never regret that decision. Also, do not let yourself think that in one weekend course you will immediately be a practicing “whatever”. It takes YEARS. Go for the long picture. Attend the circle and keep attending. You will not regret it.