April 01, 2016
The Modern Shaman
Some people believe calling yourself a shaman is akin to saying “I am God.” A Shaman, they say, is a trickster who takes many magical forms, transcending space and time. Only others, they say, may call you one!
If we look at the word “shaman,” we find it is simply the (Siberian) Tungus tribe’s word for “medicine person.” Every indigenous tribe, from the beginning of time, has had a person, or two, whose role it has been to connect with the Creative Force on behalf of the tribe, to ensure their survival. They were everyday people with emotions, egos and even relationship problems to work through, but they were sensitive to energy. Their sensitivities helped them to heal the sick and help track down animals for food. They could see the dead and they could hear the spirits of Nature. Their job was to be an intermediary between the seen and unseen. When their skill sets were first recognized as children, they were pulled aside and trained to be of service to the tribe. There have always been these people, every culture, ours included, has relied upon them.
The Shaman archetype, however, is much different than the job of the shaman or the sensitive who does it. The archetype is that mercurial state the shaman works within, that interface between energy and matter. It is not anything one can own, or claim to be. It can only be embodied, temporarily, and then it must be let go. The energy sensitive person steps in, engages the Shaman archetype, does their work, and then returns back to their “normal” human self.
Many people dabble in the shamanic arts because they want to feel the powers attributed to this archetype. One may catch a glimpse of what it is in a weekend workshop, by doing plant medicine ceremonies, reading books on the subject or even by sitting in extended periods of meditation. While all of these offer insight, it requires a lifetime of self mastery to embrace the archetypal energy of the Shaman and use it effectively.
Master shamans spend years honing their craft. They learn to align with the forces of nature, using that energy for transformation and manifestation, while receiving initiations and protections. It requires developing incredible ethics as well. Part of the shaman’s training is to maintain unwavering integrity. This means deep personal work, with a mentor, to unearth our unconscious agendas and negative programming. Personal agendas interfere with our ability to be congruent with the Creative Force. One must let go of the wounded self, for example, the one that wants to prove its value, worth and power. The power of the shaman is surrender, not the power to control. We must be able to completely drop who we think we are, and ask our personalities to step aside, if we want to truly embody the power of the Shaman archetype effectively.
Finally, the job of the modern shamans is to find their own truths from within their own culture, not to emulate the medicine people of another. Most of us will never be Lakota or Q’ero, but we all have indigenous roots. We are a rainbow of people with many forgotten skills. The modern shaman turns to these elders, with deep respect, and asks them to remind us of the magic we, ourselves, have forgotten. In a world filled with technology, and misleading authorities, the indigenous teach us to maintain our connection to Nature, connect to Source directly, and to take responsibility for the worlds we are creating. By integrating ancient indigenous teachings with our own current forms of wisdom, we can bring balance and harmony back into our modern tribes. It does not matter what we call the people who facilitate this, it matters that they do this work!
Christina Allen’s work as an Intuitive, Healer, Teacher and Founder and Director of the Austin Shamanic Center, combines a strong science background (BA Physics, MS Neuroscience) with decades of applied ancient spiritual wisdom (Master Yogi, Reiki Master, and profound Shamanic Healing based on Q’ero Indian traditions of Peru). Learn more about making private appointments, and upcoming classes, at www.AustinShamanicCenter.com or (512) 391 9829.
© Austin All Natural, April, 2016