Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Being A Shaman

QUESTION: How do you know if you are a shaman?

ANSWER: That's like asking "How do you know if you are an athlete?" If you think the way an athlete thinks and do what an athlete does, you can be called an athlete. The same is true of a shaman. It is a vocation, not a state of being. If you think the way a shaman thinks and do what a shaman does, you can be called a shaman. In a particular culture, there might be an initiation to recognize your status in the community, but it is your demonstrated ability that makes you a shaman, not the initiation. And, since "shaman" is only a borrowed word to describe someone who engages in certain kinds of activities and views the world in a certain way, the precise definition of a shaman can vary from culture to culture and place to place. Of course, if you don't know how a shaman thinks or what a shaman does, then the question itself is irrelevant.