This purpose of this video is to help people recognise whether they are budding shamans. I felt compelled to make it because I’ve realised there’s not much out there to help the person on their way to becoming a shaman …to even know if they are on the right path, or just going completely crazy!
But if you prefer to read it as an article, just keep on reading.
Shamanism is not just something you practice, like you might practice a form of medicine. Shamanism is a state of being. And so there are some people that are born to be shamans. It’s just who they are. Not that they don’t need any training to become great shamans; they do. But it’s just that through their ancestral line they have a natural, innate ability for this kind of life.
It’s just in the same way that children can be gifted musicians, and are playing the violin at three years old. It’s as if they were born to play the violin. But they still need to go to music college to learn the language that music is written in, and to be taught some industry standards so that they can make their way in the world as a professional musician.
Of course, it’s the same for any profession … such as, if you want to be a lawyer, you need to go law school. But I think the musician analogy serves us better here, because there are similarities with the shaman in that gifted musicians are usually born into families of musicians, and so their DNA is their springboard which gives them a natural advantage to take to their vocation like a duck to water.
So just like the budding musician needs to be schooled, the budding shaman needs to be taught ways of empowering his or her inate abilities safely, and in line with the protocols. These were agreed between our ancestors and those gatekeepers of the portals to the Other Worlds, at a time long before anyone can remember.
In some indigenous tribes, even today, the potential shaman is recognised from birth through a number of signs and characteristics that are largely informed by which family they’re born into.
But sadly, the embryonic shaman is not recognised in the West, where all knowledge of shamanism has been driven underground for about 1500 years.
The child who hears the fairies talking at the bottom of the garden is quickly told to ignore such fantasies, and they can often be shamed and ridiculed into line. The parents mean well; they don’t want their child to be diagnosed with schizophrenia for hearing voices, and incarcerated in a mental hospital.
However, it does mean that the first, formative years of the emerging shaman in the West are often spent in utter confusion and pain.
The divide between the ancient world of natural magic and the modern one which is blind, deaf and dumb to the true nature of Nature, is illustrated clearly in the life story of the West African shaman Malidoma Patrice Some.
He tells us all about it in his book, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman.
Malidoma was born in 1956 into the Dagara tribe of Burkino Faso, in north-west Africa – a tribe which the Christian missionaries seem to have bypassed. And so even by the age of four, he had highly advanced shamanic powers through being encouraged to develop his relationship with the spirits of the land, and the trees of the jungle.
But then, one day when he is out alone, he is espied by a Jesuit priest, and the priest kidnaps him, and takes him off to be imprisoned in a seminary for Catholic indoctrination.
During a terrible 15-year-long ordeal, they tried to beat the magic out him. He was abused and intimidated into totally forgetting his tribal origins, his own native language was replaced with French, and he had to endure whippings across his back and sexual perversions from the priests.
He was 19-years of age before he finally managed to escape that hell-hole, and then he had to walk for more than 100 miles through the tangled jungle to find his village. When he finally arrived home, he says his mother greeted him, “with profuse tears, all care, love, and sorrow.” But his father appeared not to recognise his prodigal son, and ignored him.
Malidoma’s experience of the Catholic seminary divided his body from his soul and it took him many years to become whole again. He says today: “Nothing important can happen until the person is fully integrated again, joined back together, body and soul.”
For most of us, though, born in the West, they don’t have to send the Jesuits to kidnap us to steal our power, and separate our body from our soul in our conscious awareness. We are already born into the nest of the vampires of the Vatican. You might think that’s a bit of a strong term…vampires of the Vatican. But the nature of this 3D material existence, instituted by the controlling narratives of the Romans and continued today by the Club of Rome, is essentially vampiric, energy-wise, until we learn to become whole again, body and soul, and to stand tall in our own clean power.
So one of the first signs you’re destined to be a shaman is what I’m going to call “commotion in the nest”.
It’s a bit like when the cuckoo lays its eggs in another bird’s nest, which it invariably does because cuckoos don’t build their own nests. Cuckoo’s eggs are much bigger than the eggs laid by say, the sparrow hen mother and so when the baby cuckoo is hatched, it towers over all the sparrows in the nest, even the parent birds.
This is a metaphor for how the shaman is born into a family in the West.
All the other birds in the nest of the West don’t consciously know what the problem is with the strange bird. They just know it’s a bit odd and out of place and just like with any foreign body, the immune system of the nest of the West wants to reject and eject you. The baby cuckoo is much too big in the eyes of its siblings. The baby sparrows instinctively feel a threat to their own existence. They worry that the baby cuckoo is so large, it could take up all the food.
So then it’s just a question of what they are going to do about the existential problem of the big bird, and the solution usually arrived at is to try to cut it down to size, to use different strategems to steal its power and then justifying it afterwards by claiming the baby cuckoo somehow owes them for being so mean or evil or ugly.
When the parents in the West recognise that power in one of their young it is usually just on the subconscious level. Their conscious minds more often that not know nothing about shamanism, and so they may choose one or two tactics.
Either they will try to work out a way for the family to profit from having such a gifted individual in their midst or, like Malidoma’s Jesuits, they may try to bash it out of them, to try to keep them down and in line with the other siblings … they may even tell themselves that it is for the child’s own protection.
I’m speaking from experience here: my mother did both. She encouraged my writing because she could tell that I had the gift; at the same time, though, she would use the edge of her tongue to keep me in line, in case I thought I was better than the others.
She had been knocked down in her confidence by her own mother in the same way, and for the same reasons. I inherit my shamanic abilities from my mother who had no idea that she had them… although as she aged, and her dementia advanced, the walls of her conscious mind dissolved enough to reveal brilliant psychic and poetic powers which everyone else in the family teased her about, to bring her down a peg, to try to keep her in line. I didn’t though because, by the,n I was at the beginning of my training in shamanism, and so I could recognise what was actually going on.
The Dragon Challenge
So the shaman in training has to first confront this Hammer horror movie — the realisation that they’ve been born into a castle in Transylvania. The only survival strategy they learn, from example, is to throw out energetic streamers and suckers to feed on others. Everyone they know is some kind of succubus, even their own parents.
This is the first challenge, if they are to successfully fly the nest. They have to work out how to transcend the vampiric realm in order to be able to own and stand in their own power.
The word ‘Transylvania’ means “transcending beyond the forest”, and “dracula” means dragon. So that’s why our ancestors left those metaphorical folktales, which were made into horror movies. At their deepest levels, beyond all the blood and gore, they are about the initial dragon challenge for those shamans born in the nest of the West.
This dragon challenge continues into school life, where our natural curiosity is stifled so much by the indoctrination that we can turn into what used to be known as a “problem child”, although I think they are called today “special needs children”. There was a pyschological study done a few years ago … I forget by who… but it found that most children diagonised with ADHD or who were deemed to be ‘school refusers’ were usually highly gifted individuals.
But it doesn’t end there. When you’re a shaman born into Transylvania, matters don’t improve much when you begin your career, except you might be trying to make more of an effort to fit in because your physical survival depends on it. But still, just your very presence in the workplace can cause havoc all around you without you even saying anything.
I first became consciously aware of this issue during the mid-Nineties, soon after I gave up journalism and had returned from a couple of years in an ashram, in India. I was at the beginning of my shamanic training then, and I was freelancing as a copywriter for different advertising agencies in London. My contracts would generally last about six weeks at a time and so, during those short periods, I began to notice an oddity. My mere presence being injected into what had previously been a completely stable situation for years and years, would suddenly cause all hell and high water to break loose.
I’d be sitting minding my own business at a corner desk, quietly getting on with some writing, while around me, the normally predictable dance of etiquette in the office, that everyone knew the steps to, would begin to fall apart. The masks of the personas would start to come off, and all the creepy-crawly nasties that had taken up what they’d assumed was permanent residence in the dark ‘blind spots’ of my colleagues’ minds, were suddenly running all over the room and causing people to fall out with each other.
I would finish up the contract and move on to the next place and the same thing would happen all over again … and again. So I began to notice a theme. I once tried to explain it to a fairly enlightened counsellor and she said:
“Oh, so you’re a surfacer!”
I hadn’t heard of surfacers before, but I had agree that my mere presence did seem to cause issues to come to the surface that had previously been quietly mouldering away in the subterranean shadows.
The Ugly Duckling
The long and winding path of the fledgling shaman, especially before they know it’s their destiny, is the same as that of the ugly duckling.
So I’m going to have to mix metaphors here… and jump from cuckoos to ducks. But perhaps I can be forgiven because so many of our proverbs and sayings are based on the ancient language of the birds which itself originates from the oldest known spirit or goddess …the Bird Mother or Bird Goddess.
So we have loads of bird sayings and they all go back to her …such as “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, one swallow doesn’ t make a summer, the early bird catches the worm…” etc etc. I’m sure you can think of many more and if you do, please put them in the comments below.
Anyway, this Danish folk tale, the Ugly Duckling, was adapted by Hans Christian Andersen, and it perfectly describes the early trials and tribulations of one who is born to be a shaman.
You may remember it as a children’s song?
“There once was an ugly duckling, with feathers all stubby and brown, and the other birds said in so many words, get out, get out of town, get out, get out, get out of town.”
So the ugly duckling is banished from his nest and even the community of his birth. And he has to wander for a long time, alone and lonely, through strange landscapes and challenging scenarios.
The duckling tries to find a place to fit in, first of all with an old woman, but her cat and hen tease and taunt him until he can no longer bear to stay there, and so he is soon off again on his travels.
As he’s going along, one day, he looks up to the blue skies to see, overhead, a flock of migrating wild white swans. He is delighted and excited by their graceful beauty. He wishes he could join them. But he knows he cannot because he is too young and too ugly, and his brown wings are too short and stubby to allow him to fly.
Eventually winter arrives, and he shivers in the cold North wind. A farmer comes along and rescues him and carries him home to the warm hearth. But the duckling is frightened by the farmer’s noisy children and so it isn’t long before he is off again, running from the farmhouse and down the lane.
He spends a miserable winter alone in the cold outdoors, mostly hiding in a cave on the edge of a frozen lake.
Eventually, the warmer breezes of spring arrive, and the ice on the lake melts, so the ugly duckling takes to the water again.
Suddenly, a flock of white swans descends on to the lake. Then one of them comes close to him and says:
“You should join us. You are one of us.”
The ugly duckling is totally shocked.
“ How can I?” he replies in amazement that such a beautiful creature would think him worthy of his company. “I’m just an ugly duckling,” he said.
But the swan laughed, and then told him to look down at his reflection in the still, silvery water of the lake. And so then he saw his true self for the first time.
He jumped in surprise.
“Is that me?” he asked. “Is that really me?” quickly realising that he did not appear to be an ugly duckling at all… in fact, he wasn’t even a duckling.
“You are one of us,” the Swan assured him. “You are a cygnet…a baby swan.”
The swan is a familiar symbol in the stories that have come down to us from our ancestors that we call myths. It’s always associated with the concept of metamorphosis, as a bird that can transport us along the subterreanean rivers of the subconscious mind. So I think it is the perfect symbol for the fledgling shaman who is seeing themselves for the first time in the clear, silvery streams of the inner realms.
A huge step change comes about in the progress of the shaman when they can recognise themselves for the beautiful being they truly are. It is where their power comes from, once they are no longer in ignorance of their true self, an ignorance that had come from seeking validation in the Hall of Broken Mirrors of other people’s perceptions of them – other people who don’t know much at all.
By the way, this empowering love of self should not be confused with Narcissism. Sufferers of Narcissistic Personality Disorder are not in love with themselves. Quite the opposite, in fact. Their self-centred behaviour is motivated by trying to fill the great void where that self-love should be.
So once the ugly duckling shaman realises that he is not an ugly duckling at all, but a cygnet turning into the swan of a shaman, that’s when the real work for them begins.
To a very great extent, they have to process and purge the past in order to be able to access the pure fountainhead where the clean power of the shaman comes from. Part of that process is to reclaim all the power that was stolen from them in the nest, the school and the workplace… and from those they were in toxic relationships with, perhaps in a love affair or a marriage.
To that end, there’s a technique called power management that I teach to shamans. So this might be what you’re looking for if you’ve got a few years of shamanic practice under your belt, and want to benefit from reclaiming your power from those who have stolen it from you – and from those you unwittingly gave it away to over the course of this lifetime.
It is very intense work… but it is immensely effective in clearing your energy fields and thus turbo-charging your path forwards.
But just a word of warning. Don’t do power management until you’ve let go of the need to be liked by everyone. The net result can render you unpopular with those who were not expecting or wanting the power differential between you to change. There are all sorts of unwritten contracts between vampires, and refusing to offer up the jugular often finds you in breach of one of them.
Even not taking someone’s power when it’s being volunteered to you can cause the offerer to feel hurt or confused by your behaviour, although they don’t know why. They only know that this coping mechanism has always worked for them in the past, and so they don’t understand why it’s not working on you now.
They don’t realise that the issue between you is about power — they just know that they feel uncomfortable around you — and so they might decide they don’t like you for some other spurious reason, like your nose is too big or your voice is too loud. And then you might not see so much of them in the future … but at least that’s one problem solved for you. If that sounds a bit ruthless, I must admit, over the years, I have become more and more ruthless when dealing with those seeking to disempower me, whether they realise that’s what they’re doing or not.
Even if you are not a shaman, there are various techniques and exercises which you can use to replenish your own power reserves without having to resort to plundering the power of others… and so I teach these techniques too.
But the matter of power — who owns it, who keeps it, who’s giving it away — is key to shamanic healing because the source of most dis-ease is lack of power. And so in teaching people how to reclaim their power, they become potentised again very quickly and then they are on their way.
I mentor all stages of the process, from those who need a way to get started into shamanism … right up to those shamans who’ve been practising for years but are looking to learn some further shamanic healing techniques, such as soul retrieval and psychopomping the dead.
Another technique I teach is how to discover your destiny, by journeying into your energetic form just as it’s coming into incarnation, but before it reaches the egg in the womb. In this way, you can discover what “appointments” you intend to meet for this lifetime. But it is the power management work that is the most fascinating for me, because it gets such stunning results and so quickly.
So I hope this has answered some questions you may have if you are on the shamanic path, or are wondering if this is the way forward for you. If you’d like to pursue it further, I hold customised one-to-one training sessions here in Glastonbury, Somerset, and also sessions on Zoom, and so for a free phone consultation with me, just get in touch.
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