Why I’m Not a Shaman, and Neither Are You
Seven Questions for Would-Be Shamansby Jai Medina
Excerpt from the article…
Because there are increasing amounts of folks interested in learning to do shamanic work, or in receiving that work from others—and because there’s a lot of crap out there—I decided to develop a set of questions to help folks gauge the levels of authenticity, commitment, and potential cultural appropriation in would-be shamans, whether that’s yourself or someone else. Here we go…
- Are you indigenous, and/or are you in authentic relationship with indigenous people/s?
- Are you part of an intact tribe?
- Are you aware of cultural appropriation, and your privilege as a white person in benefiting from it?
- Are you a shaman or medicine person?
…So these are two additional reasons why the person you would most think of as a shaman would never use that word, and why when a white person does, it’s obvious they aren’t actually in authentic relationship with any living Native peoples.
- How do you honor your responsibility to be in right relationship with all beings?
- What medicines of the earth do you work with, and what shamanic techniques do you use?
- How were you called to shamanic work?
If you’re white, learn more about anti-racist work and white privilege and do your best to be an ally to marginalized peoples. Do some research into what indigenous tribes are (or were) in your area, and figure out how to connect with living representatives of them, and how to appropriately honor both the lives and the spirits of Native elders in your area. Do some research into your own ancestry and figure out how to begin connecting with those traditions. Above all, listen more than you speak. To spirits, as well as to living people. Do the work to come into right relationship, humbly. Perhaps then your path will truly begin.