(I recognized the word Shaman should be only used for the Shamanic Practitioners who come from or are still in the tradition or culture as our respect for their lineages. For the ease of the writing, in this article the word Shaman and Shamanic Practitioner are used interchangeably.)
I’ve been following the discussion of the debate that who can actually be the Shaman on the Shamanism Facebook group. It is very interesting to hear the aspects from different angles, cultures and experiences.
I personally think as human being we all have the right and power to connect with the higher power in the universe, no matter what you name it, in our own unique ways. Everyone can learn the Shamanic way to connect directly with the higher power. Even if we call it Shamanic way, it consists of thousands of methods to link to the higher power in the universe. There’s no right or wrong way as long as we can establish our route there.
I like to use the singing analogy for this because i love singing.
Everyone can sing. No matter how bad we sing, we can still sing. It’s like our birth right to bring the song in our life to express our emotions and thoughts of the moment.
But not everyone wants to be or can be a professional singer. Some are born natural singers as if bringing music to the world is their mission of life. They are built in with wonderful voice. Even so, it still takes a lot of skill-learning, practice, life experiences, opportunity and luck(support from the universe) to become a great singer.
Also, there are various genres of music. Can a rock singer accuse a Jazz singer to be a false one just because they use different skills or instruments to sing? Or an opera singer put down the pop song singers as fluffy and less classic?
They are still singing, bringing the gift of music from the other realm and presenting it in distinct ways that touch the souls of different people who find comfort and understanding in the provided music.
I think the same thing applies to Shamanism.
Everyone has the birth right to connect with the higher power in the universe. What people have to do is to open their heart to welcome the sacredness in daily life. By doing this alone, we live our secular life in a sacred and respectful way.
Some are born natural to be very tune-in to the higher power. They receive and perceive revelation well. They are built in with the innate quality of a healer, a diviner or a bridge between realms. With training, dedication of learning, practices, life experiences, opportunity and the support from the universe(helping spirits), they become the professional ones.
Like singers, some Shamans can be famous and make a fortune out of their talent. But fame is not the main element to define if we are a singer/Shaman or not. If a singer want to sing, she can always sing everywhere and find audiences to listen to her. If a Shaman wants to practice Shamanism, she can always open her heart to connect with the power and utilize the power whether for herself or people in need.
An Amazonian Shaman does not laugh at the Mongolian Shaman for the different ways of doing their work. An ancient traditional Shaman does not put down the future generations of Shaman for modifying the way of doing work to fit the current time and culture appropriation.
The way to connect with the higher power evolved through time and space.
We define ourselves as a singer/Shaman. But, we do not “market” ourselves as such title. People who like our singing recognize us as a competent singer. People who benefit from our healing work recognized us as a competent Shaman or Shamanic Practitioner.
We are only constantly doing this one thing–singing or connecting with the higher power in the universe. This act doesn’t require a name or a title for it. We just simply be and do what comes to us, to our heart and to our soul.
The title will always be in the debate because title is an ego matter whereas the action is only pure being. I trust that if we are connecting to the higher power in the universe, we will all be directed to the same path of enlightenment.