A shaman is a medicine person of Paleolithic times – from the days that we were hunter/gatherers, before we dramatically changed our diet with the introduction of agriculture and grains to our dinner table.
The shamans of old had direct experience of the energetic nature of reality. They understood that the material world is an expression of a subtler energetic realm that we interact with at all times. They learned how to dream their world into being within this energetic realm, so they could participate in the creation and stewardship of reality.
Today there are very few traditional shamans left, but I believe that we are the new shamans. We are the new caretakers of the earth, the new dreamers that can dream a more peaceful world into being. Even though we are not shaking feathers and rattles, or reading the oracle of the bones, we are nonetheless today’s modern shamans, engaging with the luminous nature of reality.
We are helping to birth a world of the possible in which we have health, in which the rivers are clean, the air is breathable again, and where we are able to assist people who are suffering. We help our fellow humans understand that there is a way of living in stewardship and connection with nature; that when we step into that path which is the medicine way, we live in harmony and health.
The shaman is the master of the two worlds – the visible physical world and the invisible energetic world – and can dance between the two. I like to use the example of Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2, where we have energy on one side and matter on the other. Most people are totally invested and familiar with the world of matter, but overlook the world of energy. The shaman is the man or woman who can dance on the equal sign between the two worlds.
We help to birth into the world that which needs to be born from the energetic, and we help return to the energetic that which needs to go back to source – whether it be a child that is about to be born, a loved one going through their final days, or a new concept destined to become a powerful moving force in our planet. This is what modern shamans do. We actively dream the world into being; we co-create with the divine.
“Shaman” is an ancient term for a healer and a person of medicine – a person who conveys beauty and health. Today it is essential that we recover this model of the human that is dedicated to service and healing and stewardship of the planet. We have to break out of the folklore and establish that the new shamans are the innovators, the people who are reflecting on problems such as how to solve global climate change by addressing it in our personal lives; how to deal with violence in the world by healing violence in our lives.
My job is to recover this model of the ancient human who is in service to the earth and in service to nature, beauty and health.