A shaman is a person who has the ability to commune with the spiritual world. This ability is used to divine, heal, and control certain phenomena. Shamanism is sometimes a latent gift as it may manifest later in life when a person is around middle age or older. However, this gift can be apparent in very young children as well.
Shaman is the term commonly used in the western world. This term is most often associated with indigenous American healers. However, it can be used to refer to anyone from any culture who has the ability to heal through spiritual means. Other names for shamans in different parts of the world include Babalowa, Iyanifa, manbo, oungan, sangoma, etc.
While this spiritual gift can be rewarding in many ways, it also has its share of challenges. It is not always easy and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. This is because a shamanic gift has the propensity to completely reshape and change the trajectory of a person’s entire life when fully embraced.
Few people have any control over the events that occur during a shamanic awakening journey. And if they try to control certain aspects of it, it simply gets worse. Enduring a period of solitude is one aspect of this process that falls into this category.
Solitude in a Shamanic Awakening Journey
Shamans usually go through a period of prolonged solitude or separation from the world as they develop their gifts. Sometimes this solitude is purposeful and planned as it may be initiated by elders in a shaman’s community. This is common in indigenous cultures that are adept at training and nurturing individuals with a shamanic gift.
Such societies generally have elaborate initiation rituals. Part of these rituals requires shamans to spend a certain period of time alone. Usually, this time in isolation is spent in the natural world away from civilization. It is during this time that the individual endures rapid spiritual development.
Other times such isolation is imposed upon a shaman. This usually happens when the individual refuses to submit to the natural flow of the shamanic awakening process. Such opposition mostly occurs among westernized individuals who do not have a community to navigate them through this process.
These individuals typically don’t have access to nor do they understand the rites and rituals involved in a shamanic initiation process. Therefore, Spirit takes them through this process alone, which can be painful and grueling at times. Spirit may systematically remove many significant people from the shaman’s social circle during this period.
On the other hand, some shamans may naturally develop the desire to separate themselves from others. They may go through a period of cutting off most or all of the people from their life. Or, they may pack up all their belongings and move far from their homeland. Sometimes such transitions are temporary and other times they are permanent.
Loneliness in a Shamanic Awakening Journey
Either way it starts, solitude serves a very vital purpose in shamanic development. It quite often leads to loneliness, which serves to build and grow the shaman’s gift. The purpose of loneliness in this process is to provide the individual with a distraction-free, quiet environment. It is at this time that the shaman connects with Spirit on a much deeper level.
It likewise serves the purpose of stimulating a certain level of sorrow and sadness. This is not the type of sorrow that leads to chronic depression or suicide. Though, despair can often be experienced during the development of a shamanic gift. Instead, this type of sorrow is meant to be the breeding ground for a higher level connection to Self and Spirit.
When an individual with a shamanic gift experiences sorrow, he or she truly begins to awaken to the pain and suffering of the world. The shaman can feel the sadness, loneliness, and pain of others because he or she has personally experienced loneliness. This also makes the shaman more empathetic to the longing of Spirit to have a deeper connection with creation.
Connection to Self
The more time a shaman spends alone, the more the shaman gains a better understanding of self. The shaman is able to listen to his or her own thoughts. Subsequently, the shaman will begin to discern his or her wants and desires from that of others. This is especially necessary for shamans who previously spent a great deal of time catering to the needs of others.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of life. This leaves little time to think and meditate on higher-order ideas and philosophies. Instead, many shamans are often relegated to regurgitating the thoughts and actions of others and accepting them as their own. That is until the shaman begins to walk up to his or her potential.
It is only when the shaman spends quality time alone that the shaman begins to truly understand Self. This is especially the case for shamans who grew up in very religious families or societies. They typically accepted the cultural and religious beliefs of their family or society without question. They spent very little time examining the things that they believed in.
But during solitude, shamans experience the dark night of the soul – a reckoning with Self and Spirit. The shaman begins to wake up to the reality of who her or she truly is. It is through this experience that the shaman can come to terms with his or her destiny. It is at this time that the true shamanic essence is born.
Connection to Spirit
For someone who is destined to be a shaman, this individual must spend considerable time connecting with Spirit. This level of connection is necessary so that the shaman can discern spiritual communication. It’s also necessary for removing the individual from negative spiritual influences.
In modern-day society, there are too many distractions that have caused the average person to become disconnected from Spirit. In which case, it is difficult to hear the soft whispers of Spirit. But when we are alone for prolonged periods of time we only hear two voices – our own and that of Spirit.
The more time a shaman spends in solitude – the more the shaman gets used to the voice of Spirit. It is during this time that the shaman begins to understand the true nature of his or her calling. And, oftentimes a shaman’s purpose will lead the shaman away from structured religious systems and into nature-based spiritual systems.
This is why it is very important for a shaman to disconnect from opposing spiritual viewpoints, especially if the shaman has spent significant time in a particular religious system. Oftentimes individuals from that system will try to cull the shaman back into the faith-based system from which he or she is in the process of disconnecting. It is very common for relationship issues to ensue in such instances.
Thus, to properly prepare the shaman for his or her work, Spirit will systematically remove certain people from the individual’s life. Usually, this will include most and sometimes all of the people from the shaman’s social circle. It may even include the shaman’s spouse, parents, siblings, children, relatives, and closest friends. In general, most of these people are probably stuck in the energy of outdated and counterproductive spiritual vibrations that will only hinder the shaman’s growth.