The Path Less Travelled

The path of the traditional shaman was quite brutal in many ways. They faced the terrors of madness and initiations were hard won. It wasn’t an easy path by any means. In contrast, shamanism today has become über fashionable.

In current times many have been drawn to groups run by bring in traditional Shamans so they can take plant medicine that originates from a completely different culture and landscape. Many people via the honourable medicine ritual are transformed in a very positive way, cleared of old wounds, healed from chronic addictions depending on what medicine they imbibe and where they are at in their concscous development, but its not an all cure, you also have to do your own work beyond that. Some, however, end up even more fragmented and a number of them spin out and spend time in psyche wards because they have split so much due to not being able to integrate the experience. These are the ones that usually come to see me, drawn to my credo of ’Safe Practices.

There are also what I refer to as the Glamourians, those who are all charismatic show and tell but underneath breach peoples personal space either physically, energetically or both.

Shamanism is not a fashionable new age toy to play around with, its not a party for the ego to how far out of it you can get. Its a respected medicine path of insight and like it or not you will end up facing your unconscious hidden shadows in one way or another.

How you face your shadows and who you choose to work with can make all the difference. There are some Shamans of the traditional bent who are really quite hardline, show little empathy and cut to the chase. This can be good for those that have an over inflated sense of self and need to be brought back down to earth so to speak, but it can also add more trauma to someone who is highly sensitive, who has little core strength, along with feeling intimidated by their strong no nonsense approach.

Many years ago, before I found my teacher/guide on this path I was sitting beside a lily pond in the country watching the little turtles swim around. I honestly wanted to dive into that pond and disappear into its murky darkness. The unhealed shadows were so heavy and I felt so isolated I didn’t know how to go on. I swallowed my muddled up pride and called a Shaman that I had once met who seemed to be quite ‘popular’. Shamanism was fairly new to the new age western mindset at the time. This guy was a big powerful man originally from America. I called him up in teary desperation. I got the tough love treatment. He wouldn’t listen to me, he just cut me off again and again without any kindness and lectured me, told me to take about 20 different flower remedies and that was that. I had studied flower remedies in the US a few years back and found that if I took too many at a time I just became more confused and that was confirmed by those who taught me, who were absolute experts in their field. During that low time in front of the pond, I was low on funds (often happens that when you are at your worst funds tend to dry up due to fear of lack in all regards) and there was no way I could afford 20 remedies of a brand I didn’t currently have to put into one bottle, nor did he offer to make some up to send me some.

After the phone call I looked into the pond again, feeling even more defeated with a good does of humiliation to boot. All the turtles had vanished. It seemed no one wanted to listen to my sobbing. Did he want me to get angry so I would get up and feel less helpless? I did come to feel pretty pissed off in regards to his bedside manner. I mean I could have easily decided to throw myself in to the dark depths, as that call felt like a final push of rejection. I was already so damn hard on myself I didn’t need more thumping, I needed to be held in my upset so I could find my way out. It took me a good while to learn that’s how I roll. Fortunately the times I have contemplating leaving this earth have only been a few and I have been stopped from within each time. I also get massively triggered by what I view as unfairness and injustice. So I left the pond, the turtles returned and I made some changes in my life in spite of him. Used my defiant ego to get me up and out of my slump.

After experiencing my life changing breakdown into madness and out the other side I found the teacher who was able hold space for me like no therapist, so called shaman or healer that I had ever met, could.

Sure she was tough at times (and as a human she had her own crap to deal with) but also so incredibly loving and gentle when needed and an absolute phenomenal expert in inner navigation. I was very fragmented. She taught me how to retrieve what was lost.

To this day I credit the back bone of shamanic medicine to her and how she guided me to empower myself without any plant medicine whatsoever. She adapted techniques like aspects of NLP and transpersonal psychology into a contemporary shamanic framework. Guided me the art of inner travel and the impeccable clearing of wounds. I lapped it up like a cat thirsty for milk.

Shamanic wound hunting can be incredibly confronting and at the same time wonderfully liberating. From my sensitive perspective one needs to learn from someone you can trust with your wounds, someone who can hold space for you and at the same time guide you to being your own empowered self. I have always found shamanic journeys for myself and those I guide to be so very enjoyable, even through the tears and the clearing of the pain. Within the multidimensional worlds beyond ordinary reality, it is a fantastic landscape where one can adventure beyond the limitations of the body mind.

People have often referred to me as healer but that word just doesn’t fit with my spirit. I am primarily a guide, a facilitator and a wound tracker.

In my training I was guided to my own self healing. My teacher contained me and guided me so well that did the work myself, and to me that is true empowerment for the long term.

You will face your shadows but with all the safety in place and I will be walking right beside you as you do and making sure your spirit returns to your body…. but its you that will do the healing work and you who will gain inner confidence in your own healing abilities.

This is why I refer to myself as a Contemporary Shaman, so I can teach you in these modern times how to empower yourself within this modern earth life time frame.

I chose the path less travelled and made it into my own and from that, being of service to others filled my life with greater meaning. Today for example I guided a session with a woman who travels very well. I had to go out straight after I had packed up and cleared from the session. As I opened the door I became aware that I was beaming, trilling a happy tune and smiling from ear to ear at how happy she seemed with the results.I wasn’t smiling cause I thought ‘Oh Im so brilliant!’ I was smiling because she was free of a wound she had been carrying for a long time. And she did that. She freed herself. That brings me so much joy.

Please be mindful in your awareness of shamanic therapists of glamour and high prices. Make sure you chose ones that have walked the shadows lands themselves. Read about their experiences in life. If they have nothing to share in that regard, you might want to question why they haven’t. If they put on a big show, they may be pumping it up for a reason that is not authentic.

Shamanism isn’t learnt through books and hanging out with Indigenous Shamans, getting a certificate in some weekend course, or going through crap and naming yourself one because its a great way to make some dosh.

Shamanism is the lived experience of dancing between the multidimensional adventures of shadows and light and being able to navigate well enough to reclaim what has been lost and reclaim it.




2 thoughts on “The Path Less Travelled

  1. Hi Odette,

    I always enjoy your blog and learn a lot. The topic of your current one is so needed today.

    Reading it was somewhat challenging to follow –is it possible a draft was sent out.

    Seeing it today is timely as you are on my mind-I will be in touch sometime soon.


    Bethana Sullivan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s