Shamanism, shaman or shampra?


Things a Shaman Sees

Everything that is

is alive

On a steep river bank there’s a voice that speaks

I’ve seen the master of that voice

he bowed to me

I spoke with him

he answers all my questions

everything that is

is alive

Little gray bird

little blue breast

sings in a hollow bough

she calls her spirit dances

sings her shaman songs

woodpecker on a tree

that’s his drum

he’s got a drumming nose

and the tree shakes

cries out like a drum

when te axe bites its side

all these things answer

my call

everything that is

is alive

the lantern walks around

the walls of this house have tongues

even this bowl has it’s own true home

the hides asleep in their bags

were up talking all night

antlers on the graves

rise and circle the mounds

while the dead themselves get up

and go visit the living ones

Before going to bed, I looked at my books and Michael Harner’s book seemed to catch my attention. Initially, I thought it was about something completely different, but when I opened it, I immediately landed on the page where this poem was written.
It is a free translation of ‘A Shaman’s Poem’ from the Chukchee tribe in Siberia by David Cloutier.

The words seemed to be an answer to a question that I have been grappling with for a long time. How on earth do I explain shamanism to other people?!? The poem describes my feeling about shamanism. And on the other hand, it is almost impossible to describe it in words since everyone can experience it differently. Perhaps no words are needed at all, but if I were to attach a word or feeling to it, it would be CONNECTION. For me, the poem paints a picture of the connection that a shaman can experience. Connection with everything that was, connection with everything that is, and connection with everything that will be. Beyond time and space.
Of course, I can Google a description and put it in, but that doesn’t feel right to me. It feels better to share my own description, which is naturally based on my perspective and experience. Ultimately, it’s just a word that has taken on many forms in many cultures and times.

A few years ago, I came across the word Shamanism in a book by Elliot Cowan. This book led me to Sandra Ingerman and eventually to Roel and Griet at AnamCara. It caught my attention and the path that was already there wanted to be continued. The PATH is also a word that is associated with shamanism for me. I began to walk my own path. One that I had lost sight of and was now rediscovering. The calling was so incredibly strong when I read the description of the Basic Shamanism Course at AnamCara. My heart cried and tears streamed down my face. I was called and had no idea who was calling me. Shamanism really felt like a calling to me as I felt an unlikely drive from within to walk this path. As if I had finally found my task or life mission and the rest was all blurr and not important anymore.

I was called and had no idea who was calling me. I discovered that I was called by my ancestors, which is also very important within Shamanism. Your ANCESTORS and the ancestors. The difference is that with the first you look at the bloodlines and the other is way more than just your bloodlines. It is a larger tribe consisting of all kinds of beings. For example, I see the trees, the sun, the mountains and stones as our ancestors.  Your connection with the ancestors and the unseen world is essential. With SPIRIT, the SOURCE, NATURE and so much more. All beings and energies are interconnected. Work is done in the seen and unseen world because they are linked together. Everything is connected to each other!

As above, so below. As within, so without. As the universe, so the soul.

Through this connection, a shaman acts as a bridge between this and other worlds. It is importanat to be a pure channel and to work with a pure and clear intention. Getting permission from someone else to do the work is also important. It doesn’t feel rifgt to do so without it. Shamanism also requires a certain dedication, discipline and focus. There is respect and reverence for all that was, all that is and always will be.

Shamanism is truly a way of life. It is not just about knowledge, but also about embodying it, and those are two different things. When I first started walking this path, I absorbed a lot of knowledge, but I didn’t embody it as I can now experience. That took some time. Knowledge had to be transformed into wisdom and numerous insights, leading to growth and transformation. From the inside out, it is a process that needs time to brood and grow. I am still learning, discovering, growing, integrating, and transforming.

The difference between a shaman and a shampra is that a shaman is guided from a young age to become a shaman.
A shampra is a shamanic practitioner who learned shamanic healing methods from a teacher (shaman) and utilizing these shamanic tools.
Some are exposed to it from an early age, while others discover it later in life. For both, shamanism serves as a significant guiding principle regardless of its form or manifestation.

As a shampra, I also do not feel comfortable being called a “shaman”. I did not grow up with it, but later on my journey in life, I discovered shamanism. Despite having a diverse ancestral lineage, I believe it unnecessary to label myself. I have heeded the call of my ancestors and discovered the path I am meant to walk. It is my calling. I have found a sense of home and reconnected with myself, thereby also connecting with everything around me. In the seen and unseen, beyond time and space. I have received many gifts that I wish to share with others. I do all of this with love and utmost love.
As a human, as a being, as a shampra, as love…as I am! 

So let love rule!