In many lineages, to be called a shaman isn’t done by oneself. It’s the tribe that recognises the abilities of the shaman over time and at some point they called him or her a shaman. With many who are studying shamanic practices, or with those who are newly qualified, the term ‘shamanic practitioner’ is used. In doing so, they honour the tradition of their lineage and path of allowing the tribe or an elder to bestow the title of shaman.
And yet, I heard a story where a student asking his indigenous shamanic teacher whether or not he should call himself a shaman. The teachers answer was, ‘why not? If you were a plumber, what would you call yourself? How would people know what you do?’ Indeed, many who have been long in the shamanic community stop beating around the bush. A spade is a spade after all, so by that logic if you are doing the practices of shamanism — then really, you are a practicing shaman. In short, you are a shaman.
So for the purposes of this article, I’ll refer to shamanic practitioners as shamans, because when it comes down to it, that’s the work they do.
Back to the question, what do shamans do?
In shamanism, one of the main practices is to connect to spiritual wisdom for the purpose of healing oneself and the community. Shamans can be seen as a bridge between worlds, between the physical and the spiritual. They communicate with the spirit world to help a client heal or to do psychopomp work, which is helping lost souls transition safely to the spirit realm.
Shamans are able to reach transcendental states to gain knowledge and shamanic medicine. So people often get help with soul retrieval. It is believed that when people experience trauma, grief, loss or illness, they loose parts or aspects of themselves. This is where the shaman can retrieve these lost parts from the higher realms during trance states. The shaman can integrate these parts and help heal the person to become whole and well again.
Often people seek shamans out when they experience mental or physical distress. Or are looking for life or spiritual advice, hands-on healing or communication with loved ones who have passed. In this way, the shaman is a conduit and a bridge to the spirit world.
It’s the shamans role to serve his or her community through the wisdom gained from the spirit world. They are often humble people who help relieve suffering and help heal humanity. Not always an easy path to walk and yet, it can be very fulfilling to be part of.
And so with much gratitude, I continue the healing work of my ancestors. To offer shamanic healing and to help people to empower themselves through coaching. If shamanic healing is calling you and you want to find out how Antoinette can assist you, feel free to send her a message on the contact page or to book a session.