When I was in training to become a shaman all the stories, legends, practices and traditions were handed down to me orally. I was given many sacred opportunities to heal, learn and practice. I have handed down many of the teachings along the way, both on an individual basis and on a small group basis.
Years and years later I am now noticing a trend that is unsettling. Shamanic institutes are now formed for teaching masses of people. This then actually negates the quality of the teachings. When the teachings are done individually or in small groups the instructor is much better able to keep track of where each student is at on their healing journey. This results in optimal learning because personal life paths are able to be acknowledged and integrated into the teachings. Without that personal touch it becomes more theory than practice. All this only serves to “legitimize” the practice so that it will be acknowledged and integrated into the mainstream. It also means that those who can afford the tuitions are the ones accepted….with a few exceptions of course.
And another trend is that shamanism is becoming “organized”. This happens in an attempt to shift energies with the world enmass. Not only does this then cozy up to manipulative magical practices, but it also risks the possibility of moving from a spiritual practice to an organized religion…which is NOT a good thing at all. Original shamanism is NOT interested in having leaders and followers. It is focused on having a pure one on one connection with Spirit without any middle man interpretations. It focuses on empowering each individual…not motivating and moving the masses.
These trends sadden me because 50 years down the road there will be a much uglier face put onto shamanism. Once that happens it will be an even longer journey trying to get back to the original teachings.
This is why I work the way that I do. I work with individuals and very small groups. I work with families. I work with those interested in self-improvement, I work with those interested in their personal connections, not with the glory of being the great big kahuna. When I started out publicly hanging my shingle, which took YEARS to do (the why that took years is in a previous blog), I knew that I was a pioneer in the work of bringing shamanism to the consciousness of the people. Many of my teachers remained cautious of this, and none of them, because of hate crimes, wanted me to publicly name them as my teachers, which I never have. I just went about my business of doing the work and helping others to discover their own personal connections. Within 2 years there were “shamans” popping out of the woodwork all around. Now, a couple of those ones have lasted the test of time and are what I would call authentic. But the others were just pretenders who thought, “Well if DEERHORN can do this, then I CAN TOO.” They were so wrong because they were coming at it from the stance of “Shaman” being a status symbol. It has NEVER been a status symbol.
I also am the type who, when I teach someone something of a skill set or a philosophy or technique, will NEVER call them my “student”. This label puts someone forever on a lower status than that of the “teacher”. We are all equal. We may have differing skill sets, but even someone with NO knowledge whatsoever on shamanism is equal to someone with great skills and knowledge. This is also part of why I don’t like the institutionalized shamanic teachings. It automatically implies one over another.
My hope is, among many other things, to delay the process of shamanism becoming a religion or even an “industry” for institutions. I am not sure how to do that when there are so many who are blithely following the trend like sheep to slaughter. I don’t even necessarily want it to become “accepted” by modern medicine, because once it is, then the medical authorities will want to own it and will start charging those who practice it without a medical degree with “practicing medicine without a license”. Although modern medicine has its place, it has no place in shamanism. So no, I really don’t care to be acknowledged by medical practitioners. I just would prefer they keep their noses out of the work that I do.