I read an article recently. “Why I am Not a Shaman and Neither are You”. (find link) In it I found an excellent description of why I use ‘shamanic priestess’ as a label to give people context for my lifepath and spiritual practice.
The article starts by pointing out that a shaman is a very specific thing. First it is a noun…it is the name of a particular role in a community. Second there is a set of cultural traditions to inform their practice, an intact set of protocols. Third a shaman is named such by the community they are born into. Last they are raised in the traditions and practices of their people.
I do not have that.
I am not, and will not ever be, a shaman. I will never have an unbroken tribal tradition. I have had to find my own way to these principles and practices I follow.
A ‘shamanic practitioner’ is using the term as an adjective to describe a way of relating to the world.
The article mentioned one more thing Shamans around the world have in common. They are in a close, negotiated, equal relationship with Spirit and All That Is…including Animal-People, Plant-People, and Stone People for instance.
Shamanic knowing comes from carefully listening to and deeply being with All the Peoples.
I have been noticing, equalizing, and negotiating with Everything, for as long as I can remember. I was an avid reader from a very young age and many of my favorite things to read, from fairy tales to Frank L. Baum’s Oz books (all 14 of them) to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan books, give voice to the trees and the animals and the earth.
When I was eight I read “The Wizard of Oz”. In the book, the Tin Woodman stepped on an ant and cried so much that his jaw rusted shut and he couldn’t talk. When Dorothy finally figured out what was wrong and oiled his jaw hinges so he could speak again he told her what had happened. Since he had lost his heart, when his body became made out of tin, he knew that he had no heart to feel. So he made sure to notice very carefully any way he harmed any other being and account for it.
If he stepped on an ant he grieved for the loss of life the same as any other life.
Equal Value of All expressed in this children’s book series.
My eight-year-old heart swelled and thrummed in agreement when I read the Tin Man talk about grieving harm he did to an ant.
I was born to a family of zealous preachers of the Truth of God’s Kingdom in the Organization, The Watchtower, Bible, and Tract Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In the Watchtower publications saturating my life for almost 30 years I heard God loved the earth and everything on it equally.
To my logic as a child that meant everything; rocks, plants, trees, animals, water, fish, human… matters equally to God. I was also instructed by the Witness Literature to love the world as God loves the world.
I did…and I do love the world…and everything in the world…equally.