Qualities, methods and roles of a Shaman

Shamans are found in cultures all around the world. Some come from traditionsshaman spanning back thousands of years and some are emerging in modern culture. Their methods are different, but they do share certain qualities that define them:

  1. Has compassion. Compassion for their community/tribe and compassion for all life as a whole.
  2. Perceives other layers of existence, outside of the awareness of the body’s physical senses. This is commonly known as journeying.
  3. Communication with entities that co-exist with us but are not usually perceived with the physical senses. These are often referred to as power animals, spirit guides, etc. The shaman builds lifetime relationships with some of these, just like we network with other people in the middle world.
  4. Becomes a bridge between the spirits and the shaman’s community/tribe by connecting others with the healing and knowledge provided by those spirits.

These four qualities will be found in shamans across traditions and cultures. But the most significant of these qualities is the last one. People can be compassionate without being a shaman. People can journey and develop relationships with spirits but not be a shaman. The final quality of bringing the healing and guidance from spirits to the people/places/lives that need it is what defines someone as a shaman.

The methods of a shaman are defined by their tradition. These are the tools they employ, the rituals they use, the processes they follow. Shamanism is in itself a lifestyle. The particular way a shaman lives that spiritual practice are their methods. Tribal shamans will be taught their methods by a mentor, usually another shaman in their tribe. Shamans from modern society may be taught a tribal tradition by a shaman from that culture, adopt methods they learn about through study or develop their own methods based on what works for them.

Roles are the duties of a shaman. For example, a shaman may: lead spiritual ceremonies, perform marriages for members of their community, take people to sacred places, bestow blessings on people or crops, be a mediator for disputes, advise the community on when best to plant, and be a general healer.

Traditions will often influence the roles a shaman fulfills, but ultimately those roles will be dictated by the needs of the community/tribe.

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Runecasting Services

10runeI’ve been casting runes since the late eighties. I have experience with multiple forms of divination but I really connected with the runes. I use the Elder Futhark runes and do a wide range of layouts in person, but online I offer a five-rune cross and a ten-rune Celtic Cross layout.

When doing a reading, I prepare my space with personal talismans and other items to help me clear my mind and be receptive to the message. I will then focus on the question being asked as I shake the rune bag.

The rune cloth I have before me has a line down the center. I will pick the runes that are face up, starting with those closest to the line and closest to me. Each one, in turn, gets placed into its position in the reading layout.

If I do not have enough runes face up, I will take all of the remaining runes and cast again, following the same selection process until I have the required number of runes.

Typical questions are about relationships, money or health. But I do not restrict questions. You can ask anything. The readings are meant to help you see things with an outside perspective, but I will not tell you exactly what you should or should not do. We must all make our own choices. I only help you to see possibilities.

If you would like to purchase a reading, visit the Runecasting Services page.

Perception Defines Experience

When you see a color that is “red”, typically other people will also identify it as red. But while we may have taught our brain that this particular light wavelength is to be called “red”, we are not certain that our actual perceptions of the color are the same.

Some scientists believe that our color perception is influenced by external factors that shape our neural patterns. Researchers state that two people can look at a red object and call what they see as “red” but the unique perceptions of “red” is likely not the same.

redandblueapple

For example: We both say the apple on the left is red and we both say the apple on the right is blue. We both identify colors the same, but what our brain says red looks like to us can be different, even if both sets of eyes sensed light the same. So what I see as red, if you were able to see through my perception, might be blue or some other color.

This concept can also be applied to our experiences on a shamanic journey. Our brains make associations to make sense of what it perceives. While on a journey you may meet a spirit you call a “wolf”. Because you have seen wolves in our physical world, your brain may see a wolf because it is similar in size, shape and mannerisms. The spirit sense is different from our physical senses and doesn’t provide the same level of environmental detail to the brain. This means our perception of the upper and lower layers (worlds) are distinctly defined by our experiences.

We are all aware of animals. So our brain will likely associate small and medium spirits with different animals. But that doesn’t mean the spirit is bound by the traits of that animal. We could meet a wolf who is able to stand up and walk with us and carry on a verbal conversation. When spirits shapeshift, it is because our brain is adjusting to the fluidity of their energy form, which is not as rigid as forms in the middle layer (physical world).

Also consider, the colors we see on a journey are not from visible light wavelengths. They are perceptions from our spirit sense as interpreted by a brain that has been programmed primarily by the senses of the physical world. The other layers can start out being very abstract and surreal, but in time, as your brain creates new patterns and associations, it will all become familiar to you.

Updating our self-code

From a technoshaman’s perspective, we are all part of the source code. We are akin to a self-programming AI. We are powerful and adaptive. We literally have the ability to rewrite our core-self at our free discretion.

But the majority of us simply do not. For example: as a child, someone experiences a trauma. They revise their code to see the world as a dangerous place. But years later, they have grown up and the world isn’t as dangerous to them as it was when they were young. But they never update themselves and continue to live with an unnecessary restriction of still being afraid of the big and dangerous world.

This isn’t uncommon at all. Here is a familiar example:

A person of {Gender A} has a serious negative experience with an individual who is {Gender B}. The person makes an emergency self-patch and now mistrusts the next {Gender B} to some degree because of sloppy coding. Instead of just fixing the issue with the one individual, the person makes a sweeping nerf to all {Gender B}. You could also substitute gender with race or some other attribute such as nationality or even political affiliation.

We must evaluate our self-code daily. Anytime we have an unsatisfactory interaction or we are unhappy with ourselves or our situation, this is an internal bug report and should be addressed. Neglecting our own revisions, patches and updates can leave us with errors and crashes.

What didn’t work? What could have made the outcome different? What do I not like about my situation? What can I do to change it? To change yourself, you need more than a general wish to change. You need specific goals.

  • I want to weigh this much. NOT I want to lose weight.
  • I want to stop this bad habit. NOT I want to get healthier.
  • I want to react in this way to this situation. NOT I want to react differently when I’m angry.

Nobody makes us feel any way. We are responsible for the choices we make. We cannot control everything that we experience, but we can absolutely control our choices and actions in response to those experiences.

How we revise ourselves is how we define ourselves.