In addition, the Shamanic path takes years of study, with the first initiation very rarely taking place before at least One year of study has been completed. The average student of Shamanism goes through two-three years of study before receiving the second initiation. Only those who are prepared for such a long journey should undertake this study. Any person attempting to take "the fast road" will only harm thmeselves mentally and physically. Undertaking certain Shamanic works without the proper training inevitably leads to mental illness or death. You must be totally comitted, prepared for upheaval in your life, as well as be ready to make changes, as the way you think and perceive the world will change. Never take the path of the Shaman lightly!
I have added selected authors who can be of great help to both the beginner through the advanced student. In addition, I will be adding different options for you to select in regards to Spiritual Improvement Exercises, the method of travelling to/through the otherworlds and finding your personal Spirit Guide/Animal Ally.
A Shaman is an ordinary everyday person. Very few of them actually live on tribal land. In fact shamanism is not "Native American" as it has been practiced by many cultures throughout the world. The name "Shaman" is actually a "catch all" phrase used to describe this mystic practice. The actual word comes from the Tungus people of Siberia. This art has existed since the beginning of time. The Shamanic tradition did not start with the "Native Americans", nor will it end with them.
Most shamanic practitoners live in an urban environment. If your vision of a Shaman is that of someone who lives a solitary, spiritual life such as that of a Buddhist or Hindu Monk you are mistaken. I would venture to say that you have been watching too many episodes of Kung Fu!
The average Shamanic practitoner has a career (outside of shamanism), a family, and other obligations. We are not obligated to "teach" anyone our craft, or to provide mentoring or vast information, as it is necessary to make certain that we do not teach someone who is only interestd in corruption of power.
We are also deserving of pay for healing, teaching, etc. If you were living on tribal land, the Shaman would charge you for his/her services. In addition the apprentice of a tribal shaman must live with his/her teacher as well as work to earn his/her keep. There is no free ride, even on tribal land. Those of us who are urban Shamans ask for payment in the form of money, as we are unable to live on a "bartering system" outside of the currency issued by our government. The saying goes "every worker is worth his due (pay)." If I or any other shaman performs a healing, journey or teaches an apprentice, then we are also workers who are worth our pay. The idea that we should not be paid "because this is the internet" or because the "easterners such as buddhists do not charge" is preposterous! Are you able to connect to the Internet for free? Of course not! Therefore the internet is NOT free, or an information "free for all". The services that are "free" to you are paid for by advertisers, as the owners of the business cannot run their servers, without paying programmers, the telephone company, their electric bills, etc.
Very few authors have written about the mystical or shamanic practices of the Celts, which has led most people to believe that the ancient Celts only practiced Druidism. However, there is evidence of Celtic healers, prophetics and physical transformation (shape shifting), all of which are Shamanic practices. The reason there is very little written about Celtic Shamanism as a whole is due to the fact that the early christians destroyed most of the written materials in relation to the mystic practices.
Because of this mass destruction the Celts depended solely on the tradition to be passed on orally by family members. In addition, the Christian church created legislation which made the practice and teaching of Shamanism punishable by death.
However, religious historians have ascertained that Celtic Shamanism is much older than the Native American practices, in addition the word "Shaman" comes from the Siberian mysticists, which means "healer".
Shamansim, just as any spiritual path requires a lot of solitary work. If you must continually be around people 24 hours a day in a group setting then Shamanism is not for you. However, there are many valid reasons why you should choose to practice as a solitary. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with seeking someone to communicate with on a regular basis, provided that the person shares the same spiritual goals as you. Just be certain that there are no pesonality conflicts before you choose someone with whom you want to network with for purposes of mentoring and/or moral support.
In addition, Shamanism does not require you to live a solitary life (i.e. you don't have to become a recluse), nor does it require you to give up the things you like to do in your spare time, provided that the activity is not something that is physically or mentally destructive, such as overindulgence of any sort (alcohol, drugs, food). Watching movies and television or reading books other than spiritual improvement texts will not hurt your spiritual progression! Just be certain that you balance your time and your life. Having a family won't hurt your spiritual progression either. Having a solid family foundation is actually excellent for creating balance.
I no longer offer mentoring services to persons on the web, unless they are students or previous students that were serious enough to complete their studies. This is because Shamanism has become a fad. Most persons seeking menotring or classes are not truly serious about their spiritual progression. They are not willing to put in the time or the work which is required of them. They do not want to think for themselves but want someone else to tell them what their dreams and visions mean. They have the idea that shamanism focuses on "totem animals". They seem to believe that all they have to do is go off with their little totem animal and everything is perfectly fine. These people need to get out the Fool card of the nearest Tarot deck to start meditating on it's meaning, because like the Fool they are headed for certain death or insanity! I will not take part in someone's demise because they are lazy.
<"#solitary">Now, a word about solitary practice:
For those of you who haven't experienced group work, there's a good reason why pagans often choose to go solo. There are so many different personality types within a group that it is impossible not to accidentally offend someone that is overly sensitive. Rather than inquiring as to the meaning of a statement, they will be burning black or red candles with your name on them before the day has passed! This of course is not part of the Wiccan tenets, which is "And harm no one!" That type of work and attitude will eventually turn on them in the form of karma. There's also the type of person who tell you they are "spiritual" or "religious" (I've seen a lot of web sites like that), they know little, nor do they care to learn or progress. They are only interested in power trips, going out of their way to work themselves in to numerous positions of authority. A word of advice AVOID THESE PEOPLE, they're strife looking for a place to happen! Unfortunately, there are a lot of people like that out there. It's also evident that this happens on the Internet quite frequently. Those of us who are interested in progressing spiritually just do not have time for this kind of garbage!