Let me tell you a short story . . . Once, when The Buddha was out walking, he came to the town of Kesaputta of the Kalamas. Now the Kalamas of Kesaputta had a burning question. They had been visited by many preachers. One would come and preach then then "disparage, debunk, revile and vilify the doctrines of others." This preacher would be followed by another who would teach a different doctrine and attack the teachings of the others . . . and the cycle kept repeating itself over and over. I live in a town where there seems to be a church on almost every street corner, and sometimes there are four, one on each corner. M many of my friends feel like the Kalamas of Ksaputta. They don't practice shamanism.
After describing the situation the Kalamas of Kesaputta said to The Buddha, we are perplexed, "which of these good ascetics speak the truth and which speak falsehood?" The Buddha proceeded to give them a couple of tests that are just as valid today as they were at the time of The Buddha. First, The Buddha told them what to avoid:
If we can't use all of the "traditional truth tests" then how do we decide what to do?
The Buddha (above) told the Kalamas of Kesaputta what not to rely on. In essence he told them not to rely on blind faith. Rather, he told them to rely on personal experience; try it out, see if it works. He told them, "But when you know for yourselves, 'These things are wholesome; these things are blameless; these things are praised by the wise; these things, if undertaken and practiced, lead to welfare and happiness,' then you should engage them."
Did you notice what The Buddha didn't say to the Kalamas of Kesaputta? He didn't say, "My way is the only way. My way is the right way. Ignore the others and follow me!" He said to try it out and see if it works. Make an evidenced-based decision, not a faith-based one. I like that. I can live with that. And, that is why I practice eclectic shamanism. If a practice or concept makes sense to me and it works consistently (for me) then I add it to my tool kit. If it doesn't make sense, or doesn't give consistent, expected results then I discard it.
What makes sense to me and what works for me may not be the same for you. I do think that there are some core ideas and practices that seem to be pretty universal. However, I encourage you to practice, try new things out, and find what works best for you. I don't want to you practice my shamanism, I want you to practice yours so explore, have fun, and make it yours.
And that, my friends, is why I practice eclectic shamanism,
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.