Shaman as a term makes its way to us from Siberia, where it’s been in use for tens of thousands of years. “Shaman” indicates a person who accesses alternate realities to facilitate healing here on the physical plane.
In other words, a Shaman is a healer who consults with Spirit.
In modern times, this word is used cross-culturally, as each continent has its own long-standing shamanic traditions. You’ll find people in the Amazon rainforest referring to “shamans”, alongside indigenous terms such as “curandero”, “ayahuascero”, etc. In the Western world, other terms that may resonate more are “witch” “healer” “energy worker” “spiritual counselor” or “shadow worker”.
As I recently explained to a client, every Shaman does energy work, but not all energy work is shamanic.
A shaman is not only a medicine person… They are also called upon to be counsellors, therapists, herbalists, referees, cooks, parents, priests or clergy, movement teachers, and outdoor guides. Their roles are many, and while not every Shaman has traditionally been compensated with money, there has always been an offering or exchange for their highly valuable work. These days, most Shamans (even in the remote jungle) are paid monetarily to support their families in the current economy.
There are many opinions about who has the “right” to be called a Shaman. There are no certification programs, no college degrees, no way of proving whether one is qualified other than offering the work and facilitating results. Often the most trusted Shamans have not been ordained by anyone, but simply carry a lineage (either genetic or soul) and have chosen to follow the shamanic path (often at great personal cost). Others have been studying with specific teachers and have received their blessings. Still others have been seen and received as a Shaman by their communities and thus embraced the title.
How to know you’re in the hands of a trustworthy Shaman?
- They are humble and have excellent boundaries
- They continue to learn from teachers both on the earthly plane AND in the spirit world
- They have experience doing the work and can readily provide references and testimonials
- They have a magnetic childlike sense of wonder
- They are in love with mother nature and strive to live in a harmonious way with our planet
- They are respected by their communities
- Their work… works
There is no shame in desiring to access your inner Shaman. In these times, this title belongs to no class, no race, no group… And each and every single human has shamanic capabilities. You do not need to be a certain age, have terribly traumatic history, or bear a specific genetic lineage to explore this work.
Here at Wild Playground, we honor our teachers. We specify which traditions we’re referencing and offer resources for continued exploration. We only teach that which we’ve directly experienced and have studied for many years.
We do not practice sorcery (which is conducting magic without full permission of all involved) and are conduits of white magic.
It is our mission to share the Shamanic Healing path with anyone who is willing to take it seriously, practice with devotion, remain humble, and do their own work.