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You want to be a Shaman?

The word Shaman has become increasingly commonplace. Which is in some ways good, for it brings back to our awareness that there were once medicine people within every community who worked in partnership with spirit to bring healing and guidance when needed.

There are those out there who are offering weekend courses, and even longer trainings, in how to be a Shaman. Does that make those who complete such training a Shaman?


A Shaman intercedes with spirit on behalf of their community. The work of a Shaman is inextricably linked to the spirits and the depth of that relationship. That relationship develops over time and the skills of a Shaman come with time. Anyone can learn shamanic practices, but without deep partnership with spirit, their work is hollow.

I am still deepening my relationship with my spirit allies, and always will be. Some are close as friends, others are fierce, hard teachers, all of them challenge me. My shamanic practice is a lifelong journey and brings me much joy.

So, for those of you who want to be a shaman, I have written this poem. It is not all love and light, although certainly that is part of it. It is a path which will turn your life upside down and transform you utterly if you embrace it.

Drum in hand

She looked askance at me

You want to be a Shaman?

She laughed

And stepped closer to the fire

First you must be chosen

It is not a choice.

Then you must meet your death

And live

You must hunt down

Your Demons

And be eaten by them

Until nothing but

A hollow bone is left

You must be possessed

By the Sun, the Moon and the Stars

You must learn

To see with your heart

To listen with your skin

You must learn

That you are something more

Than blood and bone

You must become


Empty as the sky

Full as the Earth

Until you are One

And all that is

May dance and sing through you.

The shaman looked at me

That would be a start

She said.

© Sarah L Kent 2017

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© 2017-2021 by Sarah L Kent