The Shaman’s Friends And Family

By Patrick Coleman

If you are reading this, you might have been sent here by a friend or a family member because they have either been identified as a shaman or are in the process of becoming one. In modern times, this is an extremely difficult process made even more difficult due to resistance from the culture itself. In this article I will explain what is happening and why. Furthermore, I will give you insight on how best to help your loved one deal with the life-changing experience of being chosen to be a shaman.

Anthropologists have discovered that the first shamans appeared on the planet around 50,000 years ago. Shamans were the first to see the “light of God” and they shared this with their fellow humans. Shamanism is the world’s most ancient spiritual practice and it almost went extinct. Had it not been for the work of Michael Harner and his landmark work The Way Of The Shaman, humanity might have lost this knowledge that is essentially their birthright.

In other cultures, when an individual comes down with the “shaman sickness” they are taken to the elder shamans to be cared for and trained. Families often mourn the loss of their loved ones, but they know there is a divine purpose in what is happening. For thousands of years cultures have survived based on their shamans alone. They have come to rely on the sacred process and if a generation should come where no shaman is born, then that means the culture may not survive.

Your loved one has been chosen to be both a vessel for this knowledge and also a practitioner of ceremonies and rituals designed to foster health, wellness, happiness and healing. Shamans are here to heal deep generational wounds caused by war, famine, racism and genocide. Western culture was essentially an experiment to see if humanity could function without the guidance of this ancient wisdom. And now our culture is at a turning point. Shamans are being created as a direct result of injuries made to the collective conscious. Shamans are here because humanity is crying out for them.

The link between shamanism and mental illness is apparent to anyone with a basic grasp of both paradigms. In other cultures what is called the “shaman sickness” is often referred to as “schizophrenia” or “bipolar” here in America. In the popular article “What A Shaman Sees In A Mental Hospital“, a shaman visits a mental hospital and is shocked to discover that all of the patients are actually healers in various states of being born. Distressed over the fact that in America, we imprison the very people here to assist us, the shaman takes a schizophrenic young man and heals him.

Any shaman, shamanic practitioner or person knowledgeable of such matters will be able to recognize the distinction between “mental illness” and the “shaman sickness” for the symptoms of each are similar yet wholly different. A “psychotic break” can leave the individual unable to function and have them completely disconnecting from reality. A “shamanic initiation”usually involves either a near-death experience, a devastating illness or injury or some other type of trauma. This trauma can be physical or emotional but usually the effects of it completely destroy the individual’s framework of reality and delivers them knowledge and wisdom to recover from what has happened to them.

If the individual survives this, then they are a shaman and their training begins in earnest right away. And the techniques they use to heal themselves and recover, they are able to teach others. The shaman-in-training may have to go through many painful and difficult trials in order to gain the wisdom that they need to deliver to the culture. The insight into human suffering can only be gained through these trials. There are elder shamans available but they are extremely difficult to find.

If you truly care about your loved one, you will support and love them through this process. For every shaman that doesn’t survive the initiation, another one is created. The spirits are that relentless. In our culture, shamans are locked up, destroyed or so grief-stricken over what has happened they wind up ending their own lives.

Your loved one was chosen because of their particular talents or abilities and they do not have to publicly reveal what they are in order to function in our culture. There are many famous singers, artists and authors that are “secret shamans” and they receive guidance from the spirits to make incredible works of art.

Coming out as a shaman is a lot like coming out as gay. No one really chooses their sexuality much in the same way as no one chooses to be a shaman. The best you can do as their loved one is to support them and love them as best you can. And rejoice because a healer was born in your family for a reason.