Spiritual Development

Page 63

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By CinnamonMoon

The practice of shamanism is found throughout the world. The term itself has been adopted from
the Slavonic language. It is used today generically to represent traditional or eclectic teachings of
all cultures in the context of a spiritual path. A true shaman or shamaness is an individual that
lives a shamanic lifestyle and acts in the capacity of a spiritual leader for their community or
society. The teachings are of a nature based spirituality with the foundational concept that all life
is interrelated through Spirit. It is not a religion, but it is the base of all religions and compliment
to them. Shamanic practitioners will all be highly specialized in a wide variety of areas that
include an array of talents. There will be some who practice religion along with this spirituality
as a personal choice or as a service to the society in which they live.

Shamanism involves working with Spirit Guides that act as allies; healing of the mind, body, and
spirit; and always with a focus on spiritual growth and development. The path of this lifestyle
includes shamanic journeys and vision quests into other dimensional realms of enlightenment.
Not everyone who is on this path is considered a shaman, nor do they need to assume the
responsibilities of that role. You can study, practice, and evolve through these teachings in an
effort to become a better member of society and spiritual being. That is the choice of the
individual. Becoming a shaman or shamaness has certain criteria attached to it. For the sake of
efficacy some brief generalities will be presented as an overview.

The Call: This is a summoning by Spirit that becomes an innate drive to study and understand
the role of the shaman with the intention of becoming one and of serving others. It can appear at
any stage of life; however, there is a tendency to have a fascination for shamanic practices from
an early age. It beckons the individual to know more. This Call can become a hunger that drives
the mind and individual to acquire this station. It can be intimidating and the individual may find
they are running away from facing a destiny to which they feel unqualified only to discover that
it faces them wherever they go, no matter what they do. At this point it becomes a confrontation
to either yield to the Call or refusal to answer it. Generally a vision quest is sought at this time. It
can be a subtle seeding that grows slowly over the years, until the right conditions bring it to
light in some form of self-discovery. A crossed path with an influential individual might bring
about a shift in consciousness...a new awareness will take hold...a transformation takes
place...and the person will evolve in a natural process of Be-coming who they already are.

The Birth: This is an ancestral heritage issue. The individual is literally born into the role of a
shaman or shamaness through bloodlines. It is clear cut and they are taken at an early age to be
tutored for this specific purpose. In that schooling they are often removed from the society in
which they will serve to avoid the distractions of daily life. In this way they will remain focused
on the spiritual teachings and views of the shaman. There comes a point where they are reintroduced
to the social constraints of life; but, by this time they are by their very nature
uninvolved with it. They emerge into an assimilation of their way of life with that of their people
always living on the fringe of that society but serving those who need them. There is an
exception to this type of birth and that would be the infant that is born with a mark recognized by
the cultural society as the "mark of the shaman". Or there may be a highly unusual birth in itself
that distinguishes the traits that culture recognizes as being shamanic. In either of these latter two
cases the individual would be treated the same as the ancestral heritage youth and brought into
the fold of shamanism accordingly.

The Illness: Often there is a severe illness that will strike at an individual and bring about a
transformation. Again, it can happen at any time; however it tends to show up early in life. The
illness is always life-threatening in some way and can involve high fevers or coma. During the
time that the individual is "not of this world" they frequently encounter a Spirit Guide who
comes to them revealing a path and role offered to them by Spirit. They are given a choice to live
and fulfill that role or to die. This is often referred to as a shamanic death, and can appear in a
variety of other circumstances during the training of any shaman or shamaness. It is a choice that
is critically important to be made and comes from the core of that individual's inner spirit. There
is illuminating of the world view and an enlightening spiritual experience that is undeniable.
When the individual recovers from their illness they do so having undergone a transformation
that remains unchanged from that day forward. This can be a disease that strikes, a severe
childhood illness, or an accidental situation that causes an Out-of-Body or Near-Death
experience to be undergone.

The Gifts: In this case the individual demonstrates unusual gifts from an early age. Perhaps they
will receive visions, hear spirit voices, have premonitions, or are able to heal by touch. There are
a wide variety of these gifts that can manifest either singly or in combinations. However that
manifestation takes place, the community becomes aware of the individual as standing out from
the rest of that societal norm. Some may choose to deny the role, and others will seek out the
shamanic practitioner for help and guidance. Those that seek become novices and apprentices
until they have mastered the teachings and are able to step into their role of service to others.

The Tradition:
Many cultural traditions of shamanic practitioners exist. All have variations to
them but are based loosely on the fundamentals of nature and Spirit. All are in service to their
social community, and each practitioner is gifted with one or more areas of healing. Some will
heal only the mind, others the body, and still others the spirit. The methods used may vary from
ceremonial rituals to the laying of hands; from the spiritual guidance of allies to channeling the
energies of the universe; or they will demonstrate any number of other wide-ranging abilities that
are often classified as psychic today. The tradition is strongly based in cultural beliefs and
follows a rigid guideline within that structure.

The Eclectic: This is an individual that is generally based in some form of cultural tradition in or
outside their own society. They may be taught at the feet of a shamanic practitioner and then
branch out to study many different forms. They can be self-taught in their studies and efforts to
master their own abilities. Always this type of individual grows spiritually and finds training
through the creature-teachers, Spirit Guides, Totems, and at the hands of Spirit Itself. Initiations
appear quite naturally in the course of events. These are followed by periods of assimilation,
mastery of new lessons, testing of skills and ethics, and the cycle repeats.

Whether the role of the shaman appeals to you or you are interested in simply walking a pathway
of shamanic spiritual teachings for personal reasons, we encourage you to explore all areas of
interest and walk with Spirit knowing the peace and harmony of a balanced life in mind, body
and spirit.

Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

Cinnamon Moon
Text: © Copyright: Cinnamon Moon & River WildFire Moon (Founders.) 2000-date
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