The Shamanic Initiation: Is it Necessary?

The Shamanic Initiation: Is it Necessary?

by Sarah Petruno, Shamana

A shaman is someone who works with Spirit to heal another of their spiritual, energetic, and physical maladies.

In this way, a shaman can be considered a catalyst for healing. Someone in the physical world, that you can talk to with your voice and see with your eyes, that works on behalf of another individual to connect with Spirit and with Energy to heal that individual.

A shaman is a conduit for healing. Healing guidance, energy, and wisdom from the Divine, Source, God, the Universe, a Higher Power, or however you identify, flows through the shaman and to the individual being healing.

Because of this, a shaman must be a clear conduit for healing.

In order to be a clear conduit for healing, a shaman must first have been cleared themselves.

This is the heart and soul of the shamanic initiation.

The shamanic initiation is not meant to scare off potential shamans who may not be worthy. It’s not meant to maim or kill potential shamans.

It’s quite the opposite.

The shamanic initiation process is about a rapid soul awakening.

Many people take their entire lives to realign and awaken to their true soul, to see all expectations that have been placed upon them by others fall away, and to see themselves for who they truly are.

But when you wish to become a shaman in this life, it can’t take an entire lifetime to wash off all that isn’t you and stand in your true inner light.

It can’t take that long because it’s part of the shaman’s job to do that for other people. To honestly, truly, and purely do this for another person, it must first happen to you.

To help someone heal to become more aligned to their true self, you must first become aligned to your true self.

To deeply heal, you must have been deeply healed.

To speak harsh truths, and soul changing revelations to others, you must first have them dawned upon you.

To rebirth another soul, you must first have been rebirthed.

And when you begin on the shamanic path, you enter the fast track to self healing as it were.

It is said that shamans can die in shamanic initiation.

This is considered a soul death, accompanied by a soul rebirth.

The initiation is about losing and tearing away all that isn’t you. All that isn’t true to your soul. All the darkness and pain that lies within you must be healed. All the walls, expectations, and barriers that you have placed on yourself and your environment has placed on you. These all must come down.

And they have to come down fast.

During the period of shamanic initiation, which can last 1-5 years, a to-be shaman sees harsh truths, realizes deeply held misconceptions, comes to soul-changing revelations, and learns who around them is a true supporter. Typically, this happens all at once and in quick succession.

Several realizations and breakthroughs that actually lead to breakdowns, crises of faith, and questioning of the universe.

The Shamanic Initiation: Is it Necessary?

The shamanic initiation can be lonely.


Because during the shamanic initiation, you are blowing through soul growth and life lessons, faster than most of those around you.

Remember, you are undoing a lifetime or lifetimes of untruths to walk in your truth, and you are doing it in 1-5 short years.

During a shamanic initiation, you unravel, and you unravel quickly.

Those around you may not understand, and they don’t have to. What you are doing may take others their entire lives.

The awakening and soul’s rebirth process that happens during initiation is different for everyone.

In some lineages of shamanism, there are solo journeys, implantations of crystals under the skin, and ayahuasca ceremonies.

How the soul purifies best is part of your own soul path and there is no one right way to do it.

For me, I left a lifetime in academia and left an entire life behind - friends and all. I walked away. I had no less than 15 breakdowns and crises of faith, and I felt alone for most, if not all of it. My self healing shamanic initiation was propelled by a life changing therapist, whom I saw for a time in 2009.

The period of transformation was so intense, that we refer to the two periods of time as my “old life” and my “new life.”

I’m still alive and I wasn’t physically maimed. I didn’t have to walk on coals, either.

But something did happen to me that is common among all shamans who have gone through this process.

I experienced a soul death.

And I also experienced a soul awakening. In the span of a few short years.

I would do it again.

And I’m sure if you asked any shaman or shamanic practitioner, they would likely say the same.

The shamanic initiation isn’t an easy one, but no healing and recovery process that tears down a lifetime of walls, barriers, and pain is easy.

But it is necessary.

To heal the deepest and darkest pain of others, you must first have healed your own deepest and darkest pain.

To be a clear conduit for healing, it’s the only way.


With love on your journey,


The shamanic initiation is part of the shamanic death. If this resonates with you, watch the below video where I talk about the shamanic death. 

LAST UPDATED: March 24, 2015

Disclaimer: By law, we are required to state that we are not a medical doctors, the information presented here is for education purposes only, and our advice is not meant to be replaced for medical diagnosis and/or treatment by your doctor. This website is run by a shaman and an herbalist. The statements made on this blog and website represent our view of the world given our unique set of life experiences. These are truths as we see and understand the world at the time the words were written. Statements here have not been evaluated by the FDA and are meant for educational purposes only. We cannot guarantee successful outcomes. Your health is your responsibility. Please view our full terms & conditions and site disclaimers, located in the webpage footer.

Subscribe to my list & get a FREE GIFT