Part of my work as a shaman consists of guiding and mentoring people who are entering the field of healing modalities. They do not have to be training as a shaman per se, to be able to receive the mentoring. Most often, in fact, they are at a point where they are not quite sure how to define what they do when they arrive for their first session of mentoring. So part of it is the exploration of what they have learned and studied as well as where they would like to see themselves head towards in the future.
One of the things that often pops up in our discussions is the concept of a label or brand. There are a lot of hang ups that people can experience around that. I, for one, have had my own sets of hang ups about it when it came to finally settling on the brand of “shaman.” First off, I don’t really like labels because they can have connotations that people assume to be true when they are not. Secondly, people tend to pigeonhole others into definitions and then not be open to those others expanding out of or beyond those definitions.
As an example of this, I cannot even count how many times people have contacted me with the assumption that I have access to Ayahuasca and will take them on an Ayahuasca trip. That is not what I offer in my services. And although I have no problem with the use of Ayahuasca, I do have a problem with how people have begun using it completely recreationally as an escape route from their lives. I sometimes find myself directing the more persistent people to Peru. “You know where that is on the map, right? Go there. I am sure someone will offer that.”
I have also been asked (demanded is more like it) why I don’t offer sweat lodge ceremonies. There seems to be a concept that every shaman who practices also leads sweat lodge ceremonies. That is simply not true. The truth of the matter is that each shaman will have certain things that he or she will offer and certain things that he or she will not offer. So when asked if I will do an Ayahuasca or Sweat lodge ceremony, my answer is always, “That is not what I offer.” And if someone wants that then there are plenty of others who do offer that. Those people, however, will not likely offer what I do have to offer. That is okay. We all have our specialties. So although I don’t offer those ceremonies, what I do offer is energy healing, space clearings, soul retrievals and toxic tie severing rituals, to name just a few. I am comfortable with sticking to that type of thing. And I will never pressure myself to be something I am not. Nor should anyone else. We don’t have to have a vast list of services in order to make a living. It is wiser to be really good at a few things than to be mediocre at many.
So when figuring out what you have to offer, start with what you already know. As time goes on, you may want to explore other modalities and introduce those into what you have to offer. And you might not want to do that. The choice is yours and there is no right or wrong way to do it.