Next time you meet with your boss, be aware he or she might be returning from a different kind of meeting, with different kinds of, well, beings. As the burgeoning interest in urban shamanism forges deeper footholds in modern society, more and more “everyday” people are exploring what it means to tread the shamanic path.
In part due to the studies and workshops of anthropologist Michael Harner, and the writings of Carlos Castaneda, shamanism flooded into popular culture and consciousness in the late 20th century. Perhaps your boss participated in some workshops as a result of shamanism’s newfound exposure to the modern world.
This blog will focus on Core shamanism (developed by Michael Harner), which peels away unique cultural differences found in shamanic practices so that only essential (core) concepts remain. A practitioner learns to enter an altered state (through repetitive drumming sounds), and communicate with spirits in this alternate reality. To become an accomplished, effective shaman requires disciplined practice and focus.
Who Can Be A Shaman?
For many indigenous communities, the shaman is specifically “called” to the vocation by spirits, or through some intense experience which gives the shaman experiential authority to further pursue the path.
While they are holistic humans in the breadth of their capacities, the occupation of shaman within the indigenous community is to much extent, exclusive. So why might your boss be “called” and talking to spirits?
The Shaman Within Us All
Modern shamanic spirituality diverges greatly in regards to this idea of selective ability. Access to the spirit world, and the communication of knowledge and capacity for healing therein, is not limited to certain special community members.
The functional capacity for shamanic journeying in the modern world is essentially universal. You can be a shaman. So could your sibling. So could your boss. However, what “makes” one a shaman are the spirits one encounters while journeying. A shaman’s abilities are ultimately derived and sustained by these spirits.
A Core shamanic workshop facilitator is not a depository of spirit knowledge for you to use. Instead, one’s teachers are found only in the spirit world. It is through direct communication with these wise beings that the modern shamanic journeyer learns the depth of their own capacities for healing and wisdom.
From Rain Forest to Boardroom
What relevance does shamanic knowledge have then, in the life of your boss or for yourself? Put simply, a shaman uses knowledge gained in another reality to heal afflictions of this reality, either for another individual, a community, or the shaman his or herself.
Perhaps your boss was a hot-headed, wild leader when you were hired. Now, after much time and dedication, he or she is more grounded and clear-headed than you have ever seen. Before a business meeting he or she connects with those spirits, garnering strength for conflict-free, compassionate dialogue.
Outside the boardroom, perhaps you are struggling with a purposeful direction in your life. If you’ve been committed to learning and living the shamanic path, your spirits may have just the advice to guide you firmly in the course of your daily choices and future ambitions.
Expanding the Healing Horizon
With sustained healing intention for a vibrant global ecology and a peaceful social landscape, a shaman’s spirit guides can offer deep wisdom and enduring solutions to nurture the ordinary reality we all inhabit and must care for.
Across the world, environmental, social and spiritual strife continues to sever our sacred connections with Nature and each other. As more individuals rediscover their indigenous self through shamanic practices, an environmentally sustainable, socially just, spiritually fulfilled planet moves steadily from hopeful possibility to tangible reality.
- Sometimes spirits take the form of animals, discover what forms your spirit guides might take.
- Embark on a Pachamama Journey to reconnect with the indigenous part of yourself.
- Learn about the pressing issues facing the planet today, and what you can do about them.
- To explore Core shamanism further, visit the website of The Foundation For Shamanic Studies.
Opening Photo by Danny Beath