How to Learn Shamanism Without a School + {FREE VIDEO CLASS}

Sarah Petruno, Shamana

One of my favorite things to do in the morning is to drive my daughter to preschool – by myself.

As I drive there and back, I’m largely able to think about what I want to do that out and sort things out in my idea. It’s a really nice time to kind of organize, plan, and think about my day.

Today, on the drive, I was thinking of some questions I’ve been asked recently, and really, the common questions of HOW exactly I got my Shamanism training.

I also had a pumpkin latte from Dunkin’ Donuts, which has taken me from 0 to 10,000%, so I am READY TO SHARE.

I did not to go to Peru or anywhere else. I lived in Madison, Wisconsin at the time and did everything from my apartment and surrounding neighborhood.

I’ve written about it before on the blog, but it’s been awhile. And I’ve also talked about how I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy over learning shamanism, too.

Because I was so hesitant and reluctant to my gifts, when I found out I had the gift of shamanism, I wasn’t immediately diving right in and searching for a way to learn it.

In fact, I was so clueless I didn’t even know there were schools for shamanism, mediumship, or any of these things. NO IDEA that in the US and elsewhere, there’s an “accepted” protocol for how you learn.

So, ignorant to all that, I slowly started learning it, without really knowing it.

You see, at the time I found out I was to be a shaman, my twin sister, Amanda, was about 6 months ahead of me in developing and finally actually stepping into her lifelong gifts of being a traditional dead people medium (that’s not all she does – she’s a bit of a renaissance woman, go check her out).  Being twins, I wanted to support her and participate in what she was doing.

I could write a novel on this, but because this is a blog, imma keep it as short as possible. For the full lesson – check out my YouTube channel where I taught a whole class on this for free.

I didn’t want to be a shaman.

I thought shamanism and the associated energy healing was all kind of bullshit. I wanted to be a medium, though, because I wanted to share in what my sister was doing (which, I later learned, is like ½ of shamanism). Anyway, I was open to learning how to see and talk to spirits, like my sister Amanda was doing.

I started by getting a tarot reading from a master reader named Mari (this is where she gives readings, in person only).

Then, I went to an energy healer named Tina (business now closed) to prepare myself for the upcoming life change foretold by Mari.

After I did about 6 months of healing work across 3, spaced out healing sessions, my sister was giving readings professionally and gave me one for guidance on what to do next.

In that reading, she connected with, introduced, and delivered messages from my guides on what I was to do on the next stage of my journey and exactly how to do that

I followed the guidance to a T and did exactly that for 3 months.

Then, I paid her for another reading. I received more guidance for the next few months and did exactly that. I practiced on my sister and husband when I needed to practice on people and not just plants and animals.

Then, another reading, and by that time, I’d been meditating and practicing so much (every other day, for at least 30 minutes a day, for about 6 months), I’d gotten pretty good at perceiving energy, seeing, getting perceptions about healing, and communicating with my own guides.

Once I could communicate with my own spirits, I was off!

And at about 9 months after I learned I had the gift, I was guided to start a facebook page, to create a website, and to start offering practice readings.

I offered for-donation, practice healings on my facebook page, and the rest is history.

I did about 40 free healings (very few donated, but some of the few that did, are clients today!). After those healings, I was had a good idea of what I could and what I could charge for.

Through the healings and all healings since, my guides taught me all the principles of shamanism and how to do shamanic healing.

I’d think I’d be making up a healing process or doing something off the cuff, and then later I’d research it, and it had a name in shamanism.

Eventually, I learned ALL the standard shamanic practices, without knowing they had names, from my guides, through actually practicing.

And here we are.

If you want to learn shamanism, you don’t need a school.

You don’t even need another shaman to give you the guidance from spirits, my sister is a medium and she did just fine and perhaps better than another shaman.

Here’s the thing, in the US, there are very few shamans who don’t practice under the umbrella of a school. In a school, there are regimented ways of doing things, which is great for certification, but NOT great for trusting your own spirits and the guidance you’re getting from them.

What I’m saying is, there can be a bias in the shamanic community about a certain way that things MUST BE DONE.

Which is odd, because it ignores the whole notion that everyone has a different path to being a shaman and needs to learn and grow in their own unique way.

When I eventually DID reach out to a shaman to work with her, I was heavily SHAMED for not having been to a school and WHO THE F was I to call myself a shaman? Yikes. Gulp.

OKAY – so if you want to learn to be a shaman and you want to do it without a school, here’s what I recommend:

How to Learn Shamanism Without a School

1. Heal yourself

Yes, you do need to do some healing work to clear yourself out for best results. This can be self-healing, healing through many of the offerings I have on my website, or supported healing in sessions with some kind of healer. Do whatever you want, but I do recommend you start with inner healing work – it will make learning and honing your spiritual gifts MUCH easier in the end. I suggest that you do this as guided healing in some way because we can often resist or not be able to see the thing that needs to be healed the most. I have a blog post on why this healing is necessary. You can find it here.

2. Find a spiritual mentor who can introduce your guides and channel their teachings

I highly recommend you find someone who can introduce you to your guides AND can deliver their messages to you, in addition to the assignments they have for you for growing your shamanic development. It doesn’t have to be a shaman, but it is helpful if that person is aware of shamanism and energy healing in general.

It DOES have to be someone who is clear that they can connect with your guides and clearly deliver their messages. This is a specific mediumship skill that not just anyone can do off the cuff. My sister no longer does public readings, unless you’re a part of her awesome membership program, then she sometimes opens them to members. Same for me, I only give readings and healings as an additional offering to subscribers of my program, The Shaman Life. Which, if you want to be a shaman, you need to seriously consider joining anyway.

This person can call themselves by any title they want – medium, energy healer, intuitive whoever, shaman, healer, channel, spiritual coach, business coach, literally any title goes these days. So, be on the lookout for any of these and more, making sure that they have what you want (to meet your guides and get messages/homework from them), and that you resonate with them personally. Don’t force it, otherwise, you may be disappointed by a non-match. (You can find a directory of people who have trained with my sister here. My guides are recommending Ashley, of Light, Love, and Spirit for this specifically.)

3. Practice all the time

Once you have your initial session, your mentor will ideally give you HOMEWORK from your spirit guides. DO THAT HOMEWORK AND DO IT OFTEN.  I recommend you do something related to your development and opening your gifts 3x a week for at least 30 minutes a day. Make it part of your daily routine and put it in your calendar. I’m serious about this. You really do need to do the work, and when you run out of specifically assigned work, give yourself more homework.

4. Repeated sessions

Then, after about 2-3 months, and you’ve done your homework repeatedly, get another session. You can do this sooner if you want, but I do recommend you go back. At this point, you probably aren’t quite there yet with channeling your own guides’ messages, and you’ll need more homework so you can get there.

Go back to the SAME mentor, ideally, and get more homework and messages from your guides. DO that homework religiously. Then go back again. The point is that you do your homework like a madwoman/man, and then that way, you only “need” a few sessions of getting the homework channeled to you before you can do it yourself.

During this time, you’ll also want to be doing other homework that you’ve given yourself too. Other things not specifically assigned by your guides through the mentor that will expand and grow your gifts.

Good places to get additional homework are my subscription program, The Shaman Life, and my sister’s membership program, found here.

5. Practice on other people

Yep, you will need to step out of your comfort zone here and ask your partner, friends, family members, or random people in psychic/intuitive/healing facebook groups to volunteer for your practice purposes.

You’ll need to learn to feel and understand human energy, how to move it, and what kind of problems exist with it, while also receiving spiritual messages and guidance on what to do, both to direct you and to deliver to the recipient. To do this, you need bodies and people with varied life experiences.

You can even start your business presences online and on social media and recruit volunteers that way. I put out the call and had people submit their requests to a google form. Then, I contacted people individually to let them know they were selected and when I’d be doing their distance healing.

6. Keep stepping out of your comfort zone

Becoming a shaman or a healer or a medium, or anything, requires that you come out of your fear cave and put yourself out there. Get over your “what would people think fear,” and fear of being judged by your family, community, friends, whoever. No one can do this for you. No spiritual mentor can do the work and take the steps for you. They can’t put you out there. If you aren’t willing to make this your life, it isn’t for you. Being a shaman in secret and living a double life is a very uncomfortable, slow growing place to be (I know from experience).

And that’s it!

(This is a boiled down, outline version of the full class I taught on this on YouTube). 

Watch the full class below.


Get a mentor who can channel your guides and give you homework from your guides. DO the homework. Practice all the time. And soon enough, you’ll be able to talk to your own spirits and you’ll be in their hands for the remainder of your shamanic training, which will be ongoing for the rest of your life. You’re always learning, every single day.

For a full list of resources mentioned in this post and in the video, scroll down! 

Have fun!



Resources Mentioned: 

The Shaman Life Subscription Program

My Shop

My Classes

Amanda Linette Meder’s Membership Program

Amanda’s Directory

Shamanic Directory

▷ How I learned to be a shaman: written form here and video form here.

How I learned I was a shaman (video)

Mimosa Books Madison, WI – An awesome place for metaphysical supplies and walk-in readings

Embracing shamanism as a gift

Debra Katz International School of Clairvoyance

Shamanic initiation/why healing is necessary

How I healed my anxiety (video)

Shamanic Practitioner vs. Shaman