Shaman vs. Shamanic Practitioner

Shaman vs. shamanic practitioner - my take on the controversy. 

by Sarah Petruno, Shamana 

In the United States, there’s a predominant teaching in the shamanic community.

The teaching states that if you are a real shaman, you are only supposed to call yourself a shamanic practitioner, and that only others are allowed to call you a shaman. It continues to say that *actually* calling yourself a shaman demonstrates that you’re acting with ego, and therefore, you aren’t really as spiritual as you say you are and you aren’t a shaman.

This teaching is held by most of the leaders in the western world shamanic community at this time, and as such, it’s perpetuated throughout the community by other teachers and by students of this teaching.

It’s parroted back as fact, and definitely true, and it’s thrown in the face of anyone who chooses to go against this teaching.

I’m here to tell you that this teaching is an arbitrary rule set by another human within the shamanic community . . . and it stands in place serving the perceived purpose of helping to illuminate authentic from inauthentic.

But let’s call a spade a spade.

It’s a tool that those within the shamanic community use to judge each other and push each other off the ledge, throwing their very colleagues under the bus - often without knowing anything about them before the judgment is cast.

It is used as a tool to make a snap judgement about another human.

THAT, my friends, is the true egoic practice underway here.

Not what you call yourself when you practice shamanism, but rather, the use of a label and an arbitrary rule placed by a shamanic teacher as a means to judge other practitioners of shamanism.

If you have made your way to this site to “educate” me about the true ways of shamanism and to let me know that I have no business calling myself a shaman and that doing so makes me a fake, here’s what I have to say:

  • I know about this “shamanic practitioners are the only true shamans” teaching
  • I am actively and consciously rejecting that teaching

Here’s the thing.

I was trained in Shamanism by the Spirits and NOT by another teacher who perpetuated this shamanic practitioner rule, whose sole basis seems to be a means to judge and level yourself against other shamans (oops sorry, shamanic practitioners). 

My Spirit guides have called me a shaman - and that’s all that matters.

That’s what resonates with me, and that’s what I’m gonna keep on doin’.

If you practice shamanism, you know that deep down, the Spirits are the true shot callers around here - not some person somewhere who invented the rule of what practitioners of shamanism were allowed to call themselves, lest they be judged.

So, I call bullshit on that rule.

The very existence of that rule and its use to judge the worthiness and authenticity of a fellow practitioner is the only egoic thing happening here, not what I or any other shaman chooses to call or not call themselves.

Keep the title that feels right to you, and while you do - stop casting your judgment on those who choose not to follow in those footsteps.

let us let the spirits do their job, and do the judging if they so choose. 

In the meantime, I’m gonna keep doing me.

And I suggest you do the same.


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