There’s a reason why mentorship is a feature in nearly every educational program out there. Off the bat, you gain a community link ready to show you the ropes, advise, encourage, and support you.
The same goes for shamanism. Stepping into your calling as a shaman isn’t as simple as taking a week-long online course and calling it a day. Just like you may hire a tour guide to get the best out of your holiday, a shamanic mentor is your guide to a whole new world.
The importance of an experienced mentor can’t be overstated. Learning how to practice shamanism safely and effectively is one of the most important aspects of shamanic mentorship — without which you may pose a danger to yourself and others.
The best thing you can do to become a practicing shaman and/or attain a shaman certification is to find an experienced mentor or sign up for a program centered around mentorship and community.
Of course, finding the right training program or mentor is easier said than done. Read on for some tips on how to identify a good shamanic mentor.
Qualities to Look for When Choosing a Shamanic Mentor
If you want to learn to be a shaman, then you’ve probably looked through various offerings online. However, what many aspiring students may not realize is that many of the programs you may come across are not led by practicing shamans.
More often than not, shamanism is taught by scholars and reduced to theory alone. While that’s perfectly fine for those of you more interested in the more conceptual elements of shamanism, if you’re looking to become an everyday Shaman, then you’re going to have to invest in a mentorship program.
That said, you can’t just settle on any mentorship program. It’s important to make sure that your mentor is both experienced and qualified enough to guide you. However, remember that not all shamans are certified and that certification isn’t a prerequisite for practicing shamanism.
When in doubt, it’s best to err on the side of the experienced shaman. Although having a mentor with a wide range of knowledge is certainly appealing, you may find it more useful to have a mentor that is adept in an area of your interest. This can be particularly useful if you plan on using your shamanic skills to help others.
For example, if you are particularly drawn toward energy healing, then finding a mentorship that pays significant attention to the various forms of energy healing will be to your benefit.
The mark of a good mentor will be someone that has positively touched the lives of their community members. Close-knit relationships, wide-reaching social ties, and volunteerism will speak to the character and values of your mentor. In general, a good mentor will be empathetic, compassionate.
Finding a shaman isn’t as difficult as it may initially seem. Practicing shamans typically form close bonds with their communities. Nothing beats a positive referral — and the best way to scope out a good shaman would be to talk to the individuals they have helped within their community.
However, credentials may have little to do with your decision. Take note of how you feel when you talk to or are around your shamanic mentor. Feeling connected to and comfortable around your mentor lays the foundation for a conducive learning environment.
With a growing number of shamans reportedly taking advantage of their mentees and clients alike, it’s equally important to find a mentor that respects your boundaries, be they physical, psychological, or otherwise. Regardless of whether you’re doing your shaman training online or in person, you should feel safe being spiritually and emotionally vulnerable with your mentor.
An attentive shaman should be able to strike a balance between your personal needs and your practical needs without overstepping. At the very least, however, make sure that you feel comfortable opening up to your mentor about any concerns that may arise during the course of your mentorship.
That said, a good shaman shouldn’t coddle you. Your mentor should encourage and support your healing process. Self-reflection can be difficult, however, be careful not to mistake the discomforts that may come with self-healing with a deficient mentor.
Finally, remember that shamanism isn’t standardized. Beliefs and practices will vary depending on the shaman, the community, and the location. If you’re interested in exploring modern shamanism, then look for a shaman whose practice and experience align with your personal values and goals.
Mentorship is the backbone of shaman training. Any shamanic practitioner training program worth its salt should incorporate mentorship to help you with both your personal and practical development.
Remember that embracing shamanism means embracing a new way of life. Your mentor should be there to guide you on your journey toward self-improvement and ultimately self-healing.
Clinical Shaman is helping people step into their calling as a healer, overcome the stigma associated with shamanism, and integrate Shamanistic practices into their everyday life. Learn how in their Shamanism Membership.