Effective shamanic teachers are doors for us. They embody the personal work they have done and the intimacy of their relationship with their helping spirits. They create a safe place for us to do our work and manage group dynamics in a way that allows everyone to share freely.
Healing is an art form. Each healer’s techniques grow and flower over time as they are taught by their experiences, human teachers and spirit guides. Because of this, each healer may present their Way a little differently. Some specialize in Divination, some in beautiful co-created Ritual, some may have learned from Native American culture, some are rooted in Celtic Shamanism.
Finding a teacher or healer that is good for you may be a confusing process, so here are some tips that may help you along the way. In all cases, listen, listen, listen to your own sweet heart.
Boundaries: A good shamanic healer or teacher has excellent boundaries. This means that they will not ask you to do anything you are uncomfortable with. It also means that they will be very clear on what is expected of you in your role as a student or a client.
Accessibility: A good teacher is available to answer your questions during instruction. They do not try to make things sound more mysterious and powerful than they are. They are also comfortable with not knowing everything about how the universe works.
Deferring to the Spirits: A good healer or teacher will never tell you what they think is “wrong with you”, what they think you need for healing or interpret your journeys for you. They will honor your unique relationships with your power animals and guardians.
The first thing a shamanic healer does when encountering a client is go on a diagnostic journey to find out what that person needs and how to go about helping. This is a safety precaution to take the healer’s ego out of the picture and enable them to be a good “hollow bone”, allowing Spirit to work through them for the benefit of others.
A good teacher knows that all they can do is show you the door through teaching – that it is you who must walk through the door. They know that no one is going to find their own Way through imitating them. Expect to be encouraged but run from those that want you to put them on a pedestal.
Compassion: Love heals, not techniques. If you do not feel heard or cared for as a person, do not work with that healer or teacher.
Safety: What is most important is that you feel safe with the healer or teacher you have chosen. If you find yourself coming home from sessions feeling smaller and more insecure than when you came in, something is very, very wrong. If this is happening on a consistent basis, you do not need to have a reason to leave. All you have to do is listen to your gut and go. Figure it out later in the safety of your own home, with people that love you.
Sometimes our sacred yearning is so strong, that we rush to sign up for every session we see, forgetting that important steeping time between classes. It is good to stop the brain sometimes and ask the heart: Is this what I yearn for? Or do I really yearn for a circle to practice what I have already learned? Or do I yearn for community? Or was there a different class that matches my spirit more closely? Or? Or?
Take your time. The real learning is happening inside of you, the real practice is today.
Blessings upon your path.