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Shamanic Spirit Teachers

Spirit Teachers in Shamanism


Spirit teachers are the ones to whom the shaman is truly apprenticed. Certainly, a shamanic practitioner may have teachers and mentorship in our ordinary reality. I have been a teacher, for instance, and I have also had many teachers. However, when it comes to our shamanic practice, teachers like myself only train a shamanic practitioner to 'learn how to learn'.

Our ordinary reality shamanic schools should at least be providing the information a practitioner needs to get moving safely, ethically and capably. There are also numerous practices and experiences that have been passed down through the generations, and these are important to learn as well.

However, once out of this shamanic 'basic training', the now advanced practitioner goes on to learn from their non-ordinary reality teachers. It is generally the case that when you seek a spirit teacher, you have a much better opportunity to find one in the shamanic upper world, as there tend to be more of them in that realm. ‘Shaman schools’ just get you started, even if what it is you are learning is advanced training. This is because beyond all of this, it is our spirit teachers who we need to seek out as we move on through life and pursue our shamanic education.

What does a student learn from a spirit teacher? All sorts of things. I am not being 'catty' here, it’s just that there really is no limit to what one might learn from them. Perhaps, a spirit teacher will demonstrate or in other ways put directly in your face, something important you need to learn about life in general. Most often, it gets all-too 'up close and personal', as one's spirit teacher will show you something discomforting about your life in particular. Usually, these are things we don't particularly want to hear, but look back upon as probably the most important lessons of our life.

Spirit teachers have been known to teach shamans ways of working with the spirit world and bringing such knowledge and awareness to those who the shaman serves. They are teachers, pure and simple. They come and go or may stick around for years, and always show - just as does a spirit helper in animal form - at a time when we most need to learn from them.

Just so you don't have any fluff and nonsense ideas about how they appear, don’t anticipate that a teacher will necessarily show up as some profoundly ancient and wise-looking elder woman or man. Yes, that can happen, as spirit teachers do appear to us in all sorts of shapes and sizes, generally a form that they know we need to see them in so that we can best learn from them at the time. However, there is nothing 'cotton candy' about spirit teachers. They may appear as a terrifying, violent madman or madwoman, and just as rapidly shift into an appearance of a soft cotton-tail bunny, and snicker the whole time.

A spirit teacher is there to teach you, and teach you they will. They are marvelous at leaving you feeling uncomfortable about something you learn about yourself. They are particularly good at helping you feel like you know nothing (when you thought you knew everything). On the other hand, they are the most supportive (even if roughly), compassionate (even if it hurts), and wise beings you will encounter.

Spirit teachers may be quite good at one or another type of healing, or working with one or another kind of person. They tend to know more about you than you might like, and as I alluded to above, they drive the lessons you need home because they are looking for your growth and ability to live into your shamanic potential. Otherwise, they won't give you the time of day.

The training and education of a shaman is different from that of many other people. Once you begin to develop a good shamanic journey ability and have a strong grasp of ethics and personal safety, it is actually up to the teachers and power animals, and your experiences such as in the upper world and lower world to provide you with your further training and instruction.