You read the title so I'm sure that you know that this blog is about being a contemporary shaman. That's something that you can do/become if you are interested and dedicated. All shamans are contemporary to their society. I guess that might mean that the description of someone as being a "contemporary shaman" is meaningless. But actually I don't think that is true. To me someone who is a contemporary shaman does two things. He or she uses healing methods and techniques to connect with Spirit that members of her or his society find meaningful; that's the "contemporary" part. The contemporary part makes it possible for shamans to connect with members of their culture, and connection is necessary for shamanic healing. Second, the individual uses spirit-connected methods that work, and that's the "shaman" part.
Contemporary shamans often seem just a little bit different. They think about things that don't enter most people's minds. For example, if you are out for a walk and look at tree and have the sudden urge to hug the tree, talk to the tree and expect an answer, or the thought enters your mind, "I wonder how Tree Spirit is doing today?" Then you might have the seed of a contemporary shaman inside of you.
Contemporary shamans believe that communication with spirits is possible and necessary. We believe that healing can take place by connecting with Spirit. The shaman doesn't heal but is a "hollow bone" through which Spirit can work. I believe this so strongly that I stay far, far way from shamans who assert that they can heal. The body heals and Spirit guides . . . that's all.
Now the question might be, what methods are meaningful today in the West? I think that there are several that are relevant. Here are some of the most important:
I may go into these four modalities in future blogs. Stay tuned for more, and thanks for reading!
I'm Dr. Dave, an eclectic shaman. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice eclectic shamanism.