No One Chooses To Be A Shaman

Being a shaman is a role and a duty that is thrust upon an individual who has been chosen by the spirits. For thousands of years and in cultures all around the world, shamans have sprung up in tribes and communities. America is no different. Once the individual is chosen to fulfill this role, their human life is essentially over. And all of their skills, talents and abilities are immediately put to work. The shaman must do their job and you cannot excise a shaman from the culture they were born into.

The Edgar Cayce Connection

Born in June, 1972 to an unwed mother Patrick John Coleman started life as an orphan. He was soon adopted by the Durchholz family in Hopkinsville, Kentucky and given the name Eric. Growing up on a farm just a mere mile away from where renowned psychic and healer Edgar Cayce had been raised, would later inform the shamanic practice. His childhood paranormal experiences included Ouija boards, imaginary playmates and spirit animals. And if you change just a few small details, Eric’s childhood and Edgar’s are eerily similar.

The large extended family provided support and encouragement for Eric’s many endeavors including acting, singing, dancing and writing and his first short story was published at only 11 years old. He soon became a fixture on the Speech and Debate circuit winning many  awards that earned him a scholarship to study journalism.

An Internet Pioneer

Eric Durchholz became an Internet phenomenon in 1998, when his website gained worldwide recognition for being among the first webcam sites to feature a gay man. Being openly gay on the Internet at the time helped many gay men struggling with their sexuality and paved the way for dominant online LBGT presences. This popularity led to the publication of his first novel The Promise Of Eden and speaking engagements at South By Southwest along with other appearances in magazines, newspapers and on radio shows.

Durchholz signing books at the Southern Kentucky Festival Of Books in 2000

Other books and creative projects followed including 3-D Photography, interactive e-books, a comedy web series, children’s books for adults and a comic book. His experimental fiction novel HEARTLESS won accolades from reviewers and is considered one of the best examples of ergodic literature, which uses typography, layout, imagery and formatting in order to tell a story.

It was the comedy series, ANYTHING BEAU’S that led to Durchholz moving to Chicago to study comedy at Second City. Live theater engagements and appearances at Salonathon  led to Durchholz managing a newly formed comedy club The Funny Spot.

(Durchholz books are available at retailers nationwide like and Barnes and Noble or you can order direct from the publisher by redirecting here.)

A Death And Rebirth

Everything was going extremely well until Durchholz moved into an apartment in Uptown Chicago between two large cemeteries and that’s when he died from a brain aneurysm. Finding himself in the afterlife, he was informed he was to be a “psychic, medium, healer, helper” and he was given a tour of the spirit world including visits to other realms that, in our culture, would be called heaven, hell and purgatory. He also experienced what it was like to die from different circumstances including accidents, illness and murder. He was given a “Soul Key” and returned to his body and the aneurysm was healed. And that’s when his training to be a shaman began.

The My Shaman Life Project

Eric had no knowledge of psychics, mediums or healers so he reached out to a fellow comedian who was also an astrologer who explained him what had happened. Suddenly, being from Edgar Cayce’s hometown brought many revelations about his paranormal childhood experiences and he reached out to the Association Of Research And Enlightment who put him in touch with author Robert Krajenke ( Edgar Cayce’s Story Of The Bible ) who assured him that what was happening to him was real. “Faint not for you have been called,” he told him in an e-mail.

Being an experienced video blogging, Eric took to YouTube to document his strange experiences which caught the attention of other healers who informed him that he was not a psychic/medium as he previously thought. All of his experiences had the classic hallmark of one who is becoming a shaman. Deciding to reclaim his Irish lineage, he reverted his name back to his birthname and began his journey in earnest. He the dubbed his videoblog The My Shaman Life Project and began documenting his daily life of training, work and difficult shamanic trials.

An Earthly Education

Just like being an openly gay man on the Internet had helped others come to terms with their sexuality, The My Shaman Life Project helped other initiating shamans deal with what was happening to them. It also caused a fair amount of controversy with many feeling these types of things should not be public. And those who didn’t understand the sacred process, quickly labeled him as mentally ill. Shamanism is vastly misunderstood in our culture and the project also served as an educational vehicle for those new to shamanism. But despite all the hardships and struggles, there were also magical revelations and intense joys. And after five years, the project was ended and Patrick became a fully-fledged practicing shaman.

Today, Patrick helps people all over the globe. He is also a writer and an editor for The Urban Shaman Magazine and serves as elder shaman for The Concrete Tribe, a community of healers and seekers. He has personally helped hundreds and reached thousands through his videos and writing on the Internet. He’s been interviewed on podcasts about shamanism and his blog entry on The Dark Night Of The Soul is one of the most popular on the topic. His YouTube channel still exists albeit in a different format delivering spiritual messages, lessons and cultural commentary.

He is available for consultations on spiritual matters. He also offers shamanic training for individuals who have the shamanic impulse.