I felt it as a student, I see it with colleagues, and I hold it as a teacher - there is a new aspect to the modern teacher/student dynamic that was unheard of in times of yesteryear.
The traditional way of a medicine person, shaman, bean feasa, etc etc was to study with one teacher for a number of years, become an apprentice, endure their and Spirit's sometimes harsh teachings, wait your turn, and integrate the medicines learned over time. Always showing utmost respect, learning as ready to, and mastering one's craft after much diligence.
Today those who seek to dive deeper into their spiritual practice have wave upon wave of seductive workshops, a plethora of fantastic books, online focus groups and videos abound. We live in an excellent time of sharing and availability. It's accessible. Great event coordination can happen. One can pick and choose who we like best, and who to give our precious time to. If we don't like what we hear, well, there is a book at the local occult shop we might like better.
The trouble is this, this sense of urgency. With so much in our western modern world being instant gratification and with great selection, we can easily lose respect for a Teacher and hurry our learning along - because frankly, most of us are starving for something deep, soulful, purposeful and personal. And then we want to share it and "become" useful.
This is how it seems to look...
In traditional settings, an apprentice would never think to go to the next village over and ask a different medicine person if they didn't like their teacher's answer. To do so would end the student/teacher relationship and potentially kibosh any future relationships with other teachers. There was a trust in right timing, that things weren't withheld as a power play but for safety.
As a teacher, there may be many reasons why a question is not directly answered, or skipping ahead would be discouraged.
Yep, I could have asked another teacher what they thought about it and searched for confirmations. I could have trusted the book instead. I could have trusted what my guides were showing me at the time - and likely would have had a rockier road to getting where I am today. This path is not known for its "smooth sailing" after all.
As a teacher, these situations call for delicacy as well as trust. Trust in our work, in the student, trust in right-timing and the ability of both participants. Trust that our ego isn't driving the boat in deciding what should or should not be for another. Trust in the student as a creative, resourceful and whole person. Trust in the balance between holding and guiding a being of free will, or being too controlling or nonchalant about it. And the delicacy to be able to sometimes say No without tearing away at that trust.
A most important cue for both sides - is a sense of urgency. When either participant is acting on feelings of urgency, that is a big cue to step back.
Whether a student or teacher, I wish you blessings on your slow cooked processes.
The Shamanic Living Immersion
The Shamanic Living Immersion is designed to meet you where you are at, from novice to seasoned shamanist, as a guide to take your personal practice as deep as you are willing to go.
- take a year walking the medicine wheel
- step into practices of your cultural heritage
- learn to journey & establish your shamanic cosmology
- develop ways of divination and reading omens
- deepen your relationship with the earth
- cultivate tools to transform challenges into medicines
- receive one-on-one healing sessions
- attend fire ceremonies
Registration opens June 1st each year with only 10 spaces available. We start each October.
In-Person in Squamish or Online Long Distance.
Details are at www.ShamanicLiving.ca
How to keep ourselves protected spiritually and energetically was one of the questions that came in to me and is a very important area to focus on. Here I share a few tips to help all of us with a good energetic hygiene practice to help keep us protected.
For practitioners, here are a couple additional suggestions:
- Spend a good amount of time to set sacred space before work
- Be sure to "arrive" mentally and energetically before each client
- Resist temptation to work when tired, sick, or emotionally charged
- Focus on closing sacred space, thanking guides, and stepping out of work just as much as stepping into it
- Ritual bathing/washing before and/or after sessions, gatherings, or ceremony
- Be clear with boundaries, what is yours/theirs, and be discerning with client/practitioner incompatibilities. Know who you should not work with
- Keep within your skill level. Reach out to or refer to mentors or colleagues if dealing with something out of your league
Bringing our gifts out into our communities in healthy ethical ways is part of the Medicine Ways program that follows the Shamanic Living Immersion. If you are keen to work together in this way, you are welcome to find more details on the www.ShamanicLiving.ca website
Many of us are grief-stricken and over-burdened by the atrocities of the world, especially these days. Here is 1 change I made that was essential for me to do the work I came here to do, perhaps it is a key to protect your heart too. It's simple. Some say it's radical. You might find resistance. But once it's done, you may find the freedom you've been seeking and the ability to do what you came to do.
If you have a Power Animal and are looking for ways to work with them, here are a few suggestions. This is a topic that can be taken much deeper, but these are great methods to establish a working relationship and get you started.
You are most welcome to join us each October for the Introduction to Shamanism & Journeying that I offer, and of course the monthly Journey Circles and year long Shamanic Living Immersion program are experiential opportunities to really dive in.
I was surprised and blessed to be asked by Sibella Publications to write a column for 1 year in their new magazine, Luminous Wisdom: Sophia. Deepen Your Personal Practice is where I share methods to engage and enliven your spiritual practice in interactive ways. Here is the first of the series...
A bean feasa of Gaelic heritage shares stories & insights from her animist and 'shamanic' practice on the West Coast of Canada.