I typically love your blogs and find them quite insightful. Got to say though that there is some hate in there for New Agers and Core Shamans. What gives?
You do make a point that I am well aware of. I do not have any issues with individual New Agers and/or Core Shaman(s). Generally I think that people are where they need to be on their path, and I know that people as individuals are really struggling and doing the best they can in this world. So I do have a lot of compassion and even love for pretty much everyone, and can see where they are coming from and why they need to believe what they believe.
I also try my best to make it a practice to not call out any specific individual. Even the perpetrators of the worst sort of cultural appropriation and/or creators of “spiritual systems” who create their system out of random bits of knowledge from varying cultures smushed together to sell to archetypally upper-middle class menopausal white women who don’t have a background or question the mythology and practices (and if their “rites”, techniques, and practices are actually real practices of actual Shamans) I generally believe that they think that they are doing good in this world, even if I disagree with them and their products and organizations.
I also do not have an issue with core shamans or new-agers. I have some that I consider friends, and many friends and acquaintances who have gone through the programs and have the belief systems from them. Although I may make fun of them for saying “Aho” when they have no idea what they are saying, and would not choose to go to the workshops that they go to or study from the teachers that they do, I know that they are seeking… looking for deeper answers and a deeper truth than is currently in their lives. And I generally respect them for that.
What I will say though is that most of these workshops, these seekings, these truths are really still on the surface of understanding. Core Shamanism is basic self-help. It is intended to help people who are not called to be Shamans feel a bit better about themselves and look at their lives from a different vantage point. This is wonderful… but my opinion is that it shouldn’t be called Shamanism, and that simply because someone has taken a few workshops doesn’t make them a Shaman, and it certainly shouldn’t allow for them to see clients.
So my general point is that I have no issue with Core Shamans, or New Agers. They are trying, and this work can certainly help people improve themselves and their lives. But most of the New-age movement, the Core/Neo- Shaman movement is all just another illusion. It is a spiritual system, a series of techniques, and it lacks any sort of real power. There are deeper currents, deeper understandings, and actual Shamans and Spiritual workers being called who find themselves in these workshops frequently get angry because everyone else is putting on a play and doing self-help techniques while they are having dreams about being torn limb from limb and having real spiritual experiences and do not know what to do about them, and find themselves in a situation where their teacher, who is not a Shaman, and was not called to be one, has no idea what to do with said student. I know, I was one of these people… until I realized how illusory these experiences and workshops were and found real spiritual teachers who could help me. But in general if someone wants to improve their lives through Core Shamanism, I am all for it. Anyone who wants to look at their lives from a deeper level helps all of humanity and our collective shadow, and is improving the world. It is wonderful, really.
My difficulty as an actual Spiritual Worker (most of the people in these workshops do not become practitioners, but a few do) is that every week I get lots and lots of emails from people who have gone to Core/Neo- Shamans and had really bad work done or paid a lot of money and received little to no help. Most of Core/Neo-Shamanism works with currents of the mind– meaning psychological and self-help mechanisms. This can of course affect the spirit. And can be very helpful to both client and practitioner. But there are deeper layers— layers of spirit, and most “core” or workshop shamans cannot access these because they are not Shamans, and they lack the reflective ability (and possibly integrity) to turn away clients that are in need of serious spiritual help. They are unable to see anything or work with anything outside of themselves. They think they are calling on spiritual forces but they are really working with disassociated aspects of themselves. And the client spends lots and lots of money on something that a real Spiritual Worker would be able to take care of fairly easily.
The other aspect of this is that, like I said, there are a lot of practitioners out there who have learned a few techniques. Enough to be dangerous. I have now worked with over a hundred or so clients who have gone to get a “Soul Retrieval” and the practitioner brought back something that was not theirs. The “Shaman” just had no real ability to see what they were doing and typically blames the client or tells the client that they need more work in order to deflect that they did something wrong. Most of the time the practitioner lacks any sort of sight or tracking ability to know that they in fact did do something wrong. We are talking about results from simply being cloudy and feeling off to being locked up in a psychiatric unit for over a year as a result of “healing” sessions. I enjoy doing “fixing” work, but it would be a lot easier if the client did not need it, did not have to suffer consequences as a result of it, and simply came to an actual Spiritual Worker in the first place rather than someone who had simply taken a few workshops.
There is also the issue of there being much, much deeper layers and levels than most Spiritual Workers/Neo-Shamans/Core Shamans work at. Most of the work being done, the books written, the blogs, the gurus are for the 90 percent of beginners out there. I have no issue with that. We all were beginners at some point. There is some very good work being done at this level, and it is necessary work. But I, like so many others, have found themselves transcending or going beyond this point of being a beginner and there is a sense of frustration and isolation that comes with most of the spiritual information, teachers, gurus, workshops, books, etc about Shamanism, Spiritual Work, the Occult, Magic(k), Witchcraft, Folk practices, etc. being for and by beginners.
Where does someone who wishes to go beyond or is ready to go beyond the illusions provided by the spiritual systems of the beginner level (or finds themselves there without any sort of wish, want, or need to be there) go? Where is the information for them? Where are the practitioners who can do this type of work? Out of the population of Spiritual Workers there are probably 1-2 percent of them that I have run across that are the combination of gifted, called, and have worked really hard to understand their craft in their daily lives enough (and are still constantly learning on a daily basis as is necessary in this work) to be a truly powerful practitioner. They all talk about how isolating it is to walk through certain doors of perception and understanding because you cannot go back, and most people are not ready to hear about them or go through them. So at this point I consider (part of) my calling to help people ready to transcend this beginner level learn how to develop power, how to become a Spiritual Worker, how to become an effective psychic or work through their Spiritual Awakenings so they can be of service to this world. This goes beyond the beginner information, and I actually work with a huge amount of former (or current) Core/Neo-Shamans in my practice who are ready to move forward and beyond those understandings.
So I know I tend to ramble, but in summary: I have no issue with Core Shamans. Many of them are quite lovely in fact. I do wish some of them with practices would be more reflective on how much they are actually capable of so they don’t royally screw up other peoples’ lives. I kind of wish there was another name for Core Shamanism that didn’t use the word “Shaman” so that actual Spiritual Workers who are called could be differentiated a bit more. But mainly I wish to present the fact that there are much deeper layers, more doors to go through than what is popularly presented by this movement. I will try to do it in a less grouchy fashion though. I am not perfect, and sometimes I write while grouchy 🙂
If you are ready to go beyond what you have been taught, what you currently know, and go beyond the surface layers of shamanic/spiritual work, you are welcome to contact me. I offer programs that take people as far as they are ready and willing to go down the proverbial rabbit hole. I will also be catching up on my Spiritual Advice column in the next few weeks, so if you have a question contact me with the heading “Spiritual Advice” and I will answer if I feel that I can and that it would make for a good blog.