“The planet does not need more ‘successful people.’ The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, lovers of all. It needs people to live well in their places. It needs people with moral courage willing to join the struggle to make the world habitable and humane, and these qualities have little to do with success as our culture is set.” Dalai Lama

What is a Shaman and Why I Call Myself a Shaman?

What is a Sacred Shaman?

This is the tenant that most indigenous cultures around the world have been living by for hundreds of thousands of years. Living one with nature allows this to happen naturally whereas the people in the Western culture are separated from each other, nature and Source with all the problems that we encounter due to this. Yet, the indigenous people and their shamans—the medicine men and women of these cultures have been condemned from lack of understanding from our Western culture.

I find that when people fear something out of ignorance or misunderstanding, they will condemn it until it can be understood.  My goal is to help people understand what sacred shamanism is about so it is no longer feared or condemned.  Fortunately, people are starting to understand the importance of what the indigenous people knew and are open to learning what indigenous cultures, and sacred shamanism is all about.  I am finding that over the last 15 years, people have gone from fear to curiosity to open acceptance to enthusiastically embracing it.

Even so, I feel it is very important to educate the public on what a sacred shaman is because there is a lot of misinformation, much of it very negative, most of it stemming over the last several thousand years by the Catholic/Christian Churches.  When the Catholic Church brought Christianity around the world with the European conquerors, in order to control the people, negative propaganda was spread about the shamans, claiming the shamans and healers did the work of the devil. Many were killed because of it.

Interestingly, this is also what the Romans did to the Christians initially. Sadly enough, this is also what happened with those who were murdered after being accused and charged with being a witch and practicing witchcraft, and hence, tens of thousands of innocent men and women were butchered in the witch hunts and Inquisition in Europe.

I use the term sacred shaman, even though the tradition that I come from in Peru uses other terms–they are called pacos, ayahuascaros, laikas and achumeros–because shaman is now the generic term to describe what I do and what anthropologist generically call what I do. A shaman is a Siberian term that means “the one who sees in the dark”—therefore a sacred shaman is one who can see where things have gone wrong in your life where you cannot see it to help you get things going right again (we all have our blind spots or most people would be living very different lives).  Every village in every native culture around the world had a shaman.  In North America, they are called medicine men and women.  In Christian traditions, they would be the priest or pastor over their congregation.  In Hindu traditions, they would be the Brahman.  In Taoist and Buddhist traditions, they would be the lamas, although in the Buddhist and Taoist traditions they also have shamans.

And just as you do not need to be a Buddhist or Taoist in order for acupuncture to work, you do not need to adhere to a certain religious belief, or non-belief, in order for this shamanic system to work.  This work does not interfere or conflict with any religious belief.  In fact, if you have a religious belief system, after working with me, you will be an even better Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Jain, etc.  My work clears out of your energy field that surrounds your physical body from the energetic/spiritual, mental and emotional pain that gets in the way of being the best that you can be, your Authentic Self.

My tradition also distinguishes between a shaman and a sorcerer. The difference between the two is night and day.  The shaman dedicates their life to serving people and the world to be a better place.  A sorcerer uses their knowledge for personal gain and power.  They are sometimes called black magicians and can use their knowledge to harm others; in other words, “they dabble in the black arts.”  But the reality of how they work is more like how they operate in South America:  a sorcerer works like an attorney–they will do whatever you pay them to do.  They will harm someone if you pay them to do so or help someone if you pay them to do so. In other words, they will call themselves a shaman but really are a sorcerer.

I even distinguish between a shaman and a sacred shaman. There are many shamans who will work with beings of Darkness as quickly as they will work with beings of Light, although they only use their abilities to help others. A sacred shaman, or light healer, will only work with the Light. I only work with the Light and beings of Light, usually called Ascended Masters and Angels. I have found that those who use their abilities to help others but will also use beings of Darkness to assist them at times have the darkness spill onto their clients eventually—that is a very high price to pay for getting help.

The other knowledge that my tradition talks about is that energy is neither good nor evil.  Evil lives in the heart of men.  Everything that people do is based on intent.  The same with a shaman or a sorcerer, and the same energy and techniques that heals someone can also do harm or kill—it is all based on intent. So what distinguishes between the shaman and the sorcerer is simply their intent.  But this is everything.

In my work, I will often break the sorcery that has been done on someone by the ill-intent of another.  When someone is going through a bad divorce, for example, and their lives just can’t get back on track, with one thing after another going wrong, this is an example of passive sorcery in our modern world.

Shamans and the indigenous people do not “worship” the sun.  They see the sun as the representation of what Christians call God the Father.  They call on Spirit which is also the same thing, and understand that they are the children of Spirit, just like a Christian will call themselves children of God.  This is why the Incas called themselves “Children of the Sun.”   They understood that the spirit part of them was the same as Spirit/God, represented by the Sun, just as the Bible says that we are made in the image and likeness of God.

They do not “worship” animals—they were great observers of nature and saw in animals the primal instincts that we, the people of the Western world, have forgotten such as fearlessness and innocence and play, and try to take on those qualities by working with the energy of that animal to make themselves better people.  (The Chinese do not try to get someone to be a horse or a crane when they go into a horse or crane stance in martial arts.  They are tapping into the energy of that animal to tap into the power of that animal.)  They are more like archetypes in the same way that Carl Jung understood archetypes in psychology.  But as Carolyn Myss talks about in her work on archetypes, these energies are very powerful.

The shamans and the indigenous people around the world believe they were never “kicked out of the Garden” and live their lives that way.  They say that only the people of the Western world were kicked out.  They live their lives at one with nature and as steward of their Mother, the Earth.  They believe that the Mother provides for their every need and take care of Her the same way that She takes care of them.

The shaman was the one who made sure that the people in the village never had harm done to them.  They were “paid” by the villagers (by taking care of the shaman’s needs) for keeping the villagers well.  If illness or bad fortune came to the village, the shaman was not doing their job properly.  So the shaman got paid for prevention.  But when things did go wrong, the shaman knew how to get it back into balance.  This is sort of like preventative medicine being done so that we don’t need to go to the doctor, yet if we need a doctor they are there to assist us.  If doctors and insurance companies worked like a shaman, we would live in a much healthier world.

Since we live in a world of chaos and pain, my “job” as shaman is to assist people to clear out the heavy energies that keep their lives from feeling connected to God and each other, and therefore keep them from living the kind of lives they want to live.  I help people come back into balance with themselves and each other and the Earth.  I believe that it is time for all of us to start to take care of the Earth or we will destroy it and ourselves.  There is much that we can learn from these pure-hearted indigenous people.

Why I Call Myself A Sacred Shaman?

I use the term to differ what I do from Christian, Hindu and Buddhist traditions because what I do is very earth-based.   It is the one who understands the laws of the energetic AND material world and how to work with the energetic or spiritual in order to bring change to the material.  In this way, the tradition that I am trained in also says we are the ones who work between the world of matter and the world of spirit, a bridge for the people, with one foot on this side of the veil and one on the other. Science through quantum physics/mechanics is now starting to understand this world but still doesn’t yet know how to work with it.  Shamans do.  Read “The Eagles Quest” by Fred Alan Wolfe for more information on how shamanism is proven with quantum physics.

I also call myself a sacred shaman because I have been trained in a lineage of shamans that goes back over 10,000 years.  There is an energy that gets passed on from master to apprentice, similar to the martial arts.  There is a training that takes place that is much more intensive than a weekend class on the subject. This also did not get “released” to me and no one before me has ever heard of it.  I do spiritual healing but there are so many people in the world who claim to do spiritual healing that truly are charlatans.  So I distinguish myself from these people by using the generic title that describes the work I do.  Although, sadly there are also people who call themselves shamans who are also charlatans.

This image is still held to this day.  In Peru, some of the shamans will still cover themselves in neutral- colored ponchos and hats over their brightly-colored ponchos and hats that designate that they are shamans because less than 60 years ago, the Catholic/Christian Church would tell the villagers that the shamans do the work of the devil and instruct them to be stoned if they came around!  And in fact, in Mexico, Central and South America, many shamans are also Christians because of the Spanish Conquistadores bringing with them priests from the Catholic Church in order to convert the people.  In the shaman’s world, there is no conflict of “being Christian and being a shaman.”  Not true the other way around.

My sacred labor is to help people heal as a sacred shaman, and I am humbly grateful to have been given the great honor and training to be of service to all as a sacred shaman.