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The Shaman's Calling

 How one hears the Call

The Shamanic ideal is practice without ego; practice as an exercise of giving without expectation of return.  Whether one journeys for themselves only at the very simplest end of Light Work or deals in the dispossessions and exorcisms of the deepest Dark Work makes no difference. 

No practice is more valuable than another.  No shamanic practitioner should ever delve deeper than they are called to.  Many folks are called to Light Work and perform valuably in those arenas; less are Called to Shadow Work which represents a significant leap in personal involvement and increased personal danger; some are called into Dark Work, dealing with the deepest and most arcane of these worlds. 

To perform or attempt works beyond a Call is an exercise in folly at best, idiocy and stupidity at worst, driven by ego and some perverted sense of value that exalts or erroneously values the more perilous and involved Dark or Shadow Work more than Light Work.  I have seen far more healings and answers presented through Light Work than ever required through Shadow or Dark work.

I can only give this simple and direct counsel:  Never exceed your Call.  If you are Called to Light Work, that is where your desire will lie.  Unless you are called to Shadow or Dark Works, you are best to leave these areas right alone.  To some extent, a Calling is the basis of a level of protection for the practitioner, but a Calling can not be faked.  For more, please visit Safety & Discernment

Delving deeper into the practices of shamanism will expose you to your own, naked, searing and mask-less truth.  Before you can help others to overcome their feelings of jealousy, you will first have to face your own, but without the 'rose coloured' glasses that help us cope with our decisions.  You will experience every base, raw and disgusting jealous impulse you've ever had, and then you get to feel it from the other person's perspective as well!  We are still in Light work here by the way!  By the time you get into deeper works, you will be seeing and dealing with yourself, and always in the same harsh light of total exposure, in ways that will shock, scare and often truly disgust you.

That's the downside.  The up-side is that in those same journeys, you will have the opportunity to love, to heal, to see and to change who you are. 

A mentor once asked me early on, " if I wanted to learn what being a healer truly meant?",.. "of course!" I replied.  He then hauled off and punched me in the shoulder as hard as he could.  "Now you're healing!" he said, walking off. 

The same fellow responded to the question of why a shaman can't heal themselves, but need to ask for assistance from others.  "Lets 'em know they better stay humble.  Only [god] can heal [him]self" was his terse reply.

Another day he asked me if I wanted to know how a clever feller works in healing another.  I cautiously said yes, watching for another blow!  Instead he walked away silently, motioning with his head to follow.  He stopped and looked at me, looking back, waiting for an answer.  He sighed and walked on, again signalling an invitation to me.  Another stop, another sigh, no words, but another walk away.  This time, when he invited me to come with a lift of his head, I decided, "NO!", I did not want to play his silent game, but I wanted what he offered so I started on again after him,..... 

That folks, is a flash of the blindingly obvious!  He could only invite me, it was up to me to decide to follow or go my own way.  Muttering something about 'white fellas being a little thick at times' joyfully, but under his breath; then with a smile as wide as a sunset, joined me in laughing myself silly at how right he was and how thick I had been. 

The ultimate lesson,.. only those who are sick can heal; the shaman can only facilitate the person's realisation of how to heal themselves.

Practicing as a Shaman is not a vocation, occupation or hobby,.. it is an imperative, a compulsion, an answer to a Call.  A person Called is drawn by events, coincidences and other illusions into contact with shamanism repeatedly, sometimes with the 'hints' getting progressively stronger and less subtle.  A friend who is yet to 'hear' his call has been struck twice by lightening so far, yet without deficit each time.

In my personal history, I was simply presented with teachers again and again until I had to listen.  In my first Journey, I found answers that knitted together so much of what is separate in industrialised society.  I constantly pay homage to all of my teachers, some of whom are incarnate and less tangible (like severe back pain for 18 years) and others who are flesh and blood.  For me, practicing Shamanism is a part of who I am; it incorporates its practice into every part of my life whilst not dominating any part.  Shamanic practice is gentle, respectful and subtle, performed with clear intent and purpose.

Before this sounds too far off track, let me give you an example.  Making a cup of tea with pure intent towards the goal of the recipient totally loving the tea, taking pride and care in each process,.. that is Shamanic practice at its core.  If I were Chinese, I might call this Kung Fu too; the martial art is only one side of a far deeper philosophy that is Kung Fu.

The Call to Shamanism can be heard many ways, but the most common expression is an overwhelming knowledge that there is somewhere else you're supposed to be, that there is a piece of you wanting space to grow.  This is augmented by any of the following Calls traditionally recognised commonly by many shamanic cultures over the world.

How each hears their call is different.  Mine felt like no choice but to pursue it (of course, I had a choice).  One word though, if a call is ignored, it becomes stronger until you have to make a decision.  If that decision is a 'no', it is unlikely that you will feel the call again.  Opportunity waits for an answer, but respects the answer all the same.  Opportunity also rarely repeats itself once a decision is made.




Craig Berry - 1996 - 2010, All rights reserved - reproduction without written permission prohibited.