Shamanism, is by its very nature, a little on the dark side.
It’s practices, reaching back to Siberian antiquity, harken to a darker
nature underneath the surface of everything we see. A portend of
wars, famine, sickness and suffering, the role of the Shaman was
to watch out for pestilence and to remove it whenever possible.
To become a shaman was often pre-ordained by the manner of
a child’s birth, or one that was decided upon after certain omens
gave clues to the initiate’s knack or ability. The Shaman’s role
was one of prognosticator, healer, wise person and herbalist. One
who could deliver demons from the body as a midwife delivers a
The definition of shaman is literally the one who stands as a
bridge between two worlds – the seen and the unseen, the inner
and the outer realms, the light and the dark. To be able to stand
atop this shifting landscape of the visible and invisible realm took
dexterity, grace, shiftiness and cunning. To talk to demons without
losing your way, to whisper to flowers and trees, animals and
birds alike was a craft that was handed down via blood and
lineage for centuries.
Few were called to be Shaman, and certainly fewer still volunteered, for the sacrifice was great.
Traditionally, the practice of holding this role was defined by
certain hallmarks or characteristics of lifestyle that were
necessary to the station. The acquisition of the personal power
needed to perform this role often meant having no children or
partner of their own, because the cost of losing even one ounce of
coveted energetic power via the act of lovemaking, pregnancy
and child-rearing meant the loss of vitality available for healing
and vision work. These practices, especially in the days of our
ancestors, were serious work and required years of daily, devoted
discipline to master. To become the spiritual center for a tribe
required sacrifice of the personal, and yet its necessity as an
integral glue for this community was so important, that the
Shaman usually did not work in the traditional sense. They were
cared for by the community. Gifts of food or shelter were payment
to this central figure who counseled, as well as healed. They
could not work with most hunting or food gathering, as they
hunted in a different realm, keeping an ear to Great Spirit and an
eye on the ground, noticing the leaves shifting colors, or the scent
of change upon the wind.
Today, there are many who have adopted the self-described Shaman as their title. It’s become a sign of Ethno-Chic or of an Urban Sorcerer.
I know of those who dress in expensive finery and drive flashy cars with
Shaman as their call sign. Conversely, there are those who dress as if in a costume play
that requires them to wear a grungy type of energy that reeks of sacrifice,
sweat and palo santo. However, dressing the part gives no credibility from the Spirit World,
or from the human one, for that matter. As Don Juan would share, it is INTENT that is the key.
Intention is in fact, all there ever is. Intention is solidified by doing
various homework, including Recapitulation – a method of
energetic retrieval that causes us to go back to every single
interaction in our life, no matter how small, and consciously regain
our energy from it. This is so important, that it has become part of
my personal and professional healing practice in fact. There is
great rejuvenating power in returning to moments of trauma or
challenge, and retrieving not only the stuck energy that is kept in
that moment of the timeline, but to then recreate the scenario with
a new, mature awareness of alternate options that improves
behavior in this one. This act allows us to create a new timeline
from that moment of renewal to now that shifts my students into a
It is crucial to learn to repatriate our past, and thereby seal the cracks in the luminous egg (auric field) that surrounds our being.
This healing can be achieved by varying means. Yoga discipline
actually holds many such practices that are incredibly useful in
this regard. From Pranayama to Meditation, life force energy (or
prana), is rejuvenated. The luminous, energetic life-suit is
reflective of our emotional, mental and physical health and mirrors
our level of enlightenment. Its density and safety measures
diminish however, if our ego is grasping or weak.
Our field can become damaged in many ways, including emotional or physical trauma,
drug and alcohol abuse, hospitalization, EMFs or radiation, which causes our naturally
protective shield to become thin and porous. A thin auric field leads to illness,
and can become more easily infiltrated by lesser energetics, including nonphysical entities
or other people’s malicious intent (a curse, if you will). This weakened field causes you
to become a magnet to all sorts of misfortune, negative repetitious thoughts
(even some that are not your own), more abuse or “bad luck”, which is not luck at all,
but a misalignment with your own life force energy that causes your perceptions to
become skewed, your insecurities and anxieties to run high, and your intuition to become clouded.
A nonexistent auric field equals death.
Clear intent is harbored within an unshakeable character that reinforces will, balance and focus. This focus and clear-minded awareness does not become easily angered or ensnared in the silly machinations of daily drama. The discipline required by us to be on purpose with our words, actions, desires and emotions is a sincere one which requires daily maintenance. Otherwise, we cannot hold that thin, wavery line between reality and non-reality intact, and will fall into the abyss of madness or delusions, an unfortunate, but common side effect in humans.
I understand the appeal and the thrall of the veneer of power
that modern sham shamans and their students seek. This realm
of the occult is delicious in its secrecy and history, and reeks of
the cloak of spiritual mastery. In actuality, the local, modern-day
shaman likely is no more spiritual than you. They are still aligned
with the same superstitions and psychological triggers as you,
and in fact, many often carry even more as a result of the ego-based
illusions that they carry. They can harbor a different kind of
demon, one that seeks power at any measure and will lure people
into their web with a bright gleam of promise for earthly realm
enchantment. In fact, harnessing the earthly level energies of
plant and animal magic, souls of people not yet moved on, or
those that were never human which lurk about in the densest
layers of life, can result in manifestations of a sort. This is the “get
rich quick” level of manifestation and if toyed with, always extracts
a toll both on the Shaman and the receiver. It is the layer played
with in Ouija, and in the summoning of low-level energetic helpers
through some doorways of plant medicine, fire ceremony or ritual.
This is the layer of consuming, and it will require payment of some
kind in return for its darker service.
The desire of today’s apprentice to claim the role of Guru or
Shaman for themselves has increased as the ego of our time has
also inflated. As the surrendered support for the “good of all”,
makes way for the “desires of one”, some have pushed past the
boundaries of safety. Students who study under such tutelage
have suffered to the point that people die and are traumatized,
even victimized by the very teachers they sought for healing. I
know of some sham-shamans who would lie down to “breathe”
with their disciples, causing deep emotional feelings to come
tumbling out. Entanglement then occurs, creating lines of
attachment between teacher and student, causing the student feel
as if they were in love with their teacher, feeding ego with this
Other teachers I have knowledge of “clear the energy
centers” of their more acquiescent acolytes, and touch or stroke
their bodies in ways that school children are taught not to accept.
These self-proclaimed Shamans are not the Medicine carriers
of old, but are slippery, pseudo-spiritual opportunists seeking
entry into your soul by lowering the barriers of belief, and entering
into your realm while you sleep. They use their power to fondle
their trusting students neatly groggy with psychotropics meant to
enlighten, and coerce them to give over greater and greater soil of
self to the desires of the leader. In many ways cultish, the desires
of these types of teachers, intended to hold sacred medicine, turn
to betrayal and deceit to guard their sway over the un-initiated
and guileless. Students, beware.
The truth is, there is the ability to learn to use power to hold sway over others, if consent is given. You, who sign up to learn or practice under them, give this complicity to them to take you under their wing. You offer them your trust and reveal to them the best veins with which to extract your life force from you. They may well be psychic or create circumstances that appear to be miraculous. One who has learned how to manifest from this level of energetic entrainment does hold a measure of what appears to be wondrous power, but it is rooted in a darker exchange, and this teacher’s ability to heal or elevate is hampered by the very level from which their power originates.
When I was in my early 20’s, I began this journey myself.
It occurred around me, quite naturally, as I began my study of
Native American Spirituality and followed the roots of my lineage.
I found that this Animism and Earth Centric Philosophy suited me,
and fit my paradigm of belief more neatly than the deeply
Christian religions that I was indoctrinated into since birth. The
idea of Gaia as sentient, aware and awake felt aligned within me,
and I drank in this tradition by the bucket-full. My teachers were
old medicine men and women who were handed down power via
their traditions and lineage. They were unassuming people by and
large, who spoke softly and wielded giant sticks.
The ultimate goal of the Spiritual Warrior
is to become comfortable with death
that always rides at our shoulder,
so that we can cultivate the deep,
personal freedom to be alive.
My North American teachers made way for Central & South American
teachings to enter my realm. While the practices share the same
roots in many cases, the turns they have taken in the darker
jungle or harsh desert realms, has also influenced the magic they
create. Often too, religious dogma weaves its way into such
practices, as the cults of Jesus and Catholicism have melted into
the fabric of life for indigenous folk worldwide.
Entering into the world of medicine, vision and journey work requires an
enormous amount of discipline, as was insisted upon by my teachers,
so that the abuse of power and the enlargements of the ego did not override the work.
Taking medicine was not done as a short cut to enlightenment, nor was it the point
in and of itself. It was simply one stop in the developmental journey potentially useful
in assisting the clearing of mental and emotional baggage. One’s own personal demons
and history must be reconciled and made clean before the next layer of awareness can begin.
Imbibing the flower or root, vine or tonic on an unclean soul is a recipe for disaster.
Led by a teacher who is themselves in thrall to the power of the drink,
students might miss the habits and inclinations of unfinished business
which become disguised under a pretense of completion, and thereby
sink deeper into the game of feeding ego food for manipulation later on.
Those who get a glimpse of fascinating realms beyond the
normal human perception, may discover a feeling of specialness
that they alone can hold. And although you may get a glimpse of
the realm of the Infinite along the journey with the medicine, this
does not mean that you have attained any mastery within it once
you return to the trials and tribulations of being human. Which is
why after any journey, a good teacher ushers in Reconciliation, a
time to allow what has been uncovered an opportunity to merge
into daily understanding, and encourages their student time to
grow with what was revealed. Moreover, taking medicine does not
need to continue once the affliction has been healed. More does
not equal better. Teachers who share medicine as their job are
missing the point of the work, as much as the doctor who relies
upon drugs to mask symptoms, rather than heal the underlying
An unclean teacher of any discipline always has hallmarks to be aware of:
- Your first clue, is how do you feel about them in the first second that you come across them?
What is your initial gut response? You may feel certain inherent anxieties and
un-comfortability present within you that caused you to seek help
in the first place, but if in the presence of this person they
escalate in any degree, trust your gut.
If you sense any signs of darkness, step back and move on.
- Unless there is danger of physical harm, no teacher should
ever touch you without permission, not when you are awake, or
dreaming or in altered state. Especially not in altered states. A
teacher who does so has their own interests in mind. And while
I’m sure it sounds amazing, the practitioners of Shamanic work
can learn to affect your psychic stability and infiltrate your non-conscious reality,
so be aware if you feel watched or have uncomfortable dreams that feel uber-real.
- In this same realm of infiltration, if you begin to feel “bad luck”
or some level of negative energetic attachment, take it seriously.
While healing unhealthy behaviors and relationships may actually
bring things to a head, this is done as a way to clear up a
situation, not to make matters worse. Loss of work, money, home
or health and well-being can be a manipulation tactic for those
who seek to diminish their students and cause them to believe
that they must rely upon the teacher to fix it for them. In fact, the
opposite is true.
- True Shamans teach that you are the one with the reins in your
hand. You are trained to harness the inherent power already alive
within you. This experience guides the energy of your life with
intention, compassion and a warrior’s strength to stay the course
throughout the shifts that occur as you evolve from anxiety into
wholeness, from suffering into grace. The ultimate goal of the
Spiritual Warrior is to become comfortable with death that always
rides at our shoulder, so that we can cultivate deep, personal
freedom to be alive. Imbued with a desire to serve others, the
great Shaman knows that the highest, greatest good of all is
expertly achieved by the enlightenment of the One.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
This was a very good and informative read. There is always a direct and compassionate tone to your communication–there is never “an angle” or an agenda other than the one stated. May Love/Spirit continue to speak to you and through you.
I loved this! This is such an important topic right now!
Amazing article! I totally agree and have experienced the shadow shaman. A dear friend was bewitched by one once and it caused a lot of suffering. I’ve heard it said that “everyone in New York has a therapist and everyone in LA has a shaman”. Jokes aside, it is shameful for those who claim power to exploit individuals seeking guidance. We must remember we all have the answers within, but when we need help…get references! Lol
Incredibly insightful and relevant during these exciting changes on the planet. Being in my 50’s I remember when everything was termed “the occult” vs. “new age”. Now, Spiritual communities and teachers are springing up everywhere especially on social media. Some with great intentions and some maybe not. There are a few things I look for. If a person’s “ego” seeks validation of their works and their importance they are a “self” proclaimed shaman. It lacks the profound energetic feeling or vibration of “Spirit” which doesn’t seek validation. It has nothing to prove. Using fear or division is another red flag I feel.