To put it simply. No.
Shamans are a very human healer. They are therefore subject to all of the pitfalls that other humans fall into.
The shaman’s deep connection with the spirit world gives them access to insights that other people don’t always have. It gives them access to a great deal of energy, which they can use for healing and helping to transform the world around them.
However, a shaman or shamanic type of healer is one that serves as a bridge from the spirit world to the every day world. That means that they need to stay connected to the world. They are not meant to become the type of evolved spiritual being that removes them from the world. If their spiritual evolution removes them from the world, the shaman is no longer a bridge for spiritual energy to help the people here. The shaman always needs to have one foot firmly planted on the earth.
As a result, a shaman healer will often have many experiences of suffering or difficulties. This occurs to them even after they have been doing shamanic work for many years. This occurs even if the shaman is doing everything right. New difficulties come when it is required for that shaman to deepen further.
Shamanic practitioners may have an illness, or an accident that gives them an injury they need to recover from. The shaman might have a difficult financial problem, or find him or herself dealing with difficulties with his or her house. These trials are considered sacred teachings that help keep a shaman open, and compassionate. (Obviously these things happen to everyone. However, shamans will often find themselves in learning periods where they receive the message that the trials are required for their growth.)
Even when life isn’t offering difficulties, a shamanic practitioner must monitor his or her inner state. He must watch to make sure that his ego is in balance. If a shaman starts to think that she’s the reason the healing is so powerful, instead of the spirits, that is an imbalance. The shaman must do the self growth work of examining any issues that are causing an imbalance.
Because of all these things, a perfectly good shaman can find him or herself in a period of time or a state that means he is not in the best place to help others. A self aware practitioner will stop offering healing during this time. Occasionally, a perfectly good shamanic healer might not realized how out of balance he or she has become. A shaman who was not trained about it, may not know to be on the lookout for this.
That is why its important for you to also monitor your own reaction to the shamanic healer. A shaman who is in a good place, is likely to make you feel safe and accepted. If there is any reason you are uncertain, take your time. There’s no rush.
Truly Bad “Shamans”
Aside from the very human shaman, who might occasionally not be in the best place to help others. You might be wondering if there are shamans that are actually bad, and are willing to harm other people.
The positive healing spirits will not help a shaman harm other people.
However, there are people who make connections with the spirit world to do harm to others, or to take advantage of them. There are spirits that are not positive healing spirits. Ones who cause problems, or crave power. People can work with these spirits (a bad idea) and use them to gain power over others.
However, are these individuals still shamans?
There is certainly nothing to stop such a person from calling themselves a shaman. These type of people are focused on power, so they are usually manipulative. Being manipulative, such people will use whatever term gets another person to trust them.
To detect these people, the same methods apply as you would need to use with any manipulative person. To name a few:
- If it seems to good to be true, it is too good to be true.
- People who are doing their work do not need to talk about how good they are. Especially not all of the time.
- The “hard sell” is a form of manipulation. The hard sell sounds like: “You have to do this or something bad will happen.” or “This is an urgent situation, you need to see me right away.”
- No shaman can promise a particular result 100% of the time.
- Manipulative people avoid having to tell you the whole story, by distracting you from asking your questions.
- Someone with many followers, who seem to be worshiping them, is a bad sign. The world groupies is used for people who follow musicians or rock stars. A shamanic practitioner who encourages groupies, is not doing what they should to re-empower those around them.
Other Cultures and Their Practices
It can be easy to judge another culture that you are not a part of, or do not understand. We can do this both in a positive way (assigning extra qualities or romanticizing), or by judging negatively what we don’t understand. Without making a judgment on a different culture, you still need to be aware of differences that could make a shaman unsuitable for someone from your own culture.
Some cultures know about energy, and use methods of energy manipulation to attack other people. Again, the highest spirits will not assist in harming others. However, warfare has been a part of human culture since the beginning of time. Some shamans do not think that attacking the enemy to help aid their people, is a bad thing.
In a culture where energetic attack and defense is an everyday problem, a healer necessarily has to learn about how it works in order to heal those effected by it. This may mean the healers there cannot remain outside of these conflicts and still be effective for their culture. You would need to form your own opinion about whether this makes someone a bad shaman or not.
If you are planning on contacting a shaman from a different culture, you must keep in mind they might not have the same point of view about what is right and what is wrong. For instance, some shamanic practices in other parts of the world, still involve animals (sacred sacrifice) as part of the practice. The shamanic practices were handed down from hunter societies, and these shamans are following traditions formed many years ago.
If this is not compatible with your values, that shaman may not be a good fit for you.
This may be because they are not well trained, or because they don’t realized that they are missing the information they need to heal powerfully. There are also people who are using the term to do healing of some kind, that isn’t necessarily shamanic healing.
Sometimes, a healer’s lack of knowledge, will prevent them from getting too deep into things they do not understand. In other words, they may simply be ineffective. You go see the healer, nothing happens.
Other times, they can cause an imbalance in your energy.
If you think you’ve had a healer that has left you worse off than where you started, another healer can help you. Go to websites like shamanicteachers.com, where they have screened healers, and you should be able to find someone that can help you.
Keep in mind that shamanic healing can be a process, and you can feel uncomfortable or out of sorts between sessions. However, a competent shaman should be able to explain to you what is going on, and should be able to give you some explanation about the healing process.
Which Shaman is Competent?
You might wonder if there is a certification that can help you find a competent shaman.
Unfortunately, certification requires that people follow specific procedures, and work in similar ways. Certification is best suited to methods that follow set or repeatable steps. Because shamanic healing is characterized by the uniqueness that comes from the healer, the one being healed and the exact situation, certification doesn’t fit well with shamanic healing.
Certification will only tell you that a healer has been through a training program, and won’t necessarily tell you if they are a good healer. There are some methods that have been combined with shamanic practice and offer certification, but many of the most powerful healers will not have a certification.
If you are looking at a new healer, and getting healing for the first time – trust your gut reaction.
- Think about getting a healer and look into your heart… how do you feel about it there?
- Think about the healer and then focus on your midsection. How does that healer make you feel in your gut?
- Your own reactions are often a powerful way to screen out good healers from bad.
In addition, you can look at this article on tips for choosing a healer:
As with anything in life, it is a good idea to take responsibility for choosing your healer. Blind trust doesn’t just mean that you are trusting someone too much, it can also mean that you are not trusting yourself enough. Every person has a clear light inside themselves (whether you feel you can see it there or not,) and often the guidance we need can be found there.