Question 9: My Path to Shamanism

I have received another question, this one from Valiel Elantári:

I wonder if you would be open to publicly explain your path : how do you define “shaman” ? how did “it” “happen” to you ? How did you realise you were one, when did you decided to use the word?

I define shaman as an intercessor between humanity and the Worlds of the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits.  Given that the Northern Tradition has no appropriate word, the word shaman is the best I have that quickly, and as accurately as possible, sums up what I do.  Shamanism is not a religion; it is something that is done and lived.  It is not picked up for a weekend, it is a calling that one is bound to for the course of one’s life.  I did not come to using the word lightly, and fought against using it for a long while.

I worked with Anubis for about three years before I came to Odin.  During this time I was involved in doing quite a bit of ceremonial magic, and was very happy with the neat, detailed rituals I practiced.  My Work was going well, when one day Anubis came to me when I was worshiping at His altar.  He told me it was time for me to work with Odin, and to pick up the threads of the rest of my Work.  Anubis did not give me very many directions, only that I would be following Odin primarily now, and that while I would still have Work by Him, our relationship was now firmly on the backburner, especially compared to the demands He knew Odin would make of me and my time.

Odin gave a simple introduction and told me it was time I followed Him, to do the Work of becoming His priest.  He told me that I had taken long enough and had Work to catch up on.  So I began to research what I could of Odin.  I read digital copies of the Eddas when and where I could, and looked at what resources I had about me.  It was not long after that initial contact, and a month or so of research, that He told me I was to be a shaman.

I balked at the idea.  I couldn’t be a shaman.  Yet, whenever I went to pray or to give offerings, there He was, at some point demanding that I start getting serious about following the path.  I had only started officially worshiping Him but a month before; how could He call me to shamanism so soon?  Yet, He did.  I could not ignore it.

Eventually I was worn down by Odin, but I asked and pleaded for a word other than shaman.  I knew it was not from my culture, but borrowed from the Evenks and had found its way into common use.  Still, it was the one word I had that described what Odin was setting before me, what I was to become.  At His insistence, and after much worry, doubt, and second-guessing, I finally bowed to His wish.  I now use it to describe my path, my Work, and myself.  Shortly after accepting this path I began to find Raven Kaldera’s books that had started coming out on Northern Tradition shamanism.  Things began to click very well for me alongside Odin’s lessons with what I found in the pages of Raven’s books.

In the beginning Odin’s instruction for me was a lot about learning to work with the landvaettir and beginning to work with my Ancestors.  A lot of it was low-key, small rituals, much of it rolling off my tongue before a small altar in my dorm room.  It was establishing a small, but regular practice of prayer and offerings.  Since then my practice has expanded, but it grew from the roots of working with the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits.

11 thoughts on “Question 9: My Path to Shamanism

  1. I really enjoyed this post, and I was struck by how similar my journey has been to yours. I began following Anubis, and have in the past couple years developed an intense relationship with Odin, right around the time that I was called to “shamanism.” I was hesitant as well. but now embrace the term as it does describe my practices better than any other term I have found…


    • I am glad that you found similarities there and embraced your own path. It is not easy, especially as the term alone is so loaded, in some cases to the point of ‘what is this again?’ that it starts to lose meaning. Then there are other times where it is so misused as to render its understanding more or less moot. I’m glad there are people who are engaging in shamanism with their whole Selves, as it should be.


  2. I knew it would be interesting ! 😉 Thanks for sharing your path.

    I love how you describe that your Gods (Odin) pushed in a direction that seemed very far away (shaman role), too soon, and how he made you work small steps, emphasis on personal strong practice first. That kind of ring a bell 😉

    I guess it leaves me with a small remaining question : what difference do you make between “shaman” and “priest” ? (Which was implied when I asked you, to see if you had a personal definition or follow the wider shamanic one.)


  3. Pingback: Question 10: Shaman vs. Priest | Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

  4. It’s always wonderfully uplifting to read others souls journey, lovely post, great inner wisdom, very big thank you for sharing, sincere regards, Barry


  5. Pingback: Savoir lire les signes | In Harmony May I Walk

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