What Are the Different Types of Shamans?
Updated: Oct 7
Before continuing, please read my post on Light, Dark and Balance.
If you're still reading and you didn't do what I just said, you're going to have questions, but whatever, that's your problem now. This article primarily focuses on shamanic work, but only touches upon polarity healing which will be covered in another article and linked here in the future.
Darksider shamans - These bastards like to pretend they've got your best interest in mind. They have big egos and will happily blow smoke up your ass. Try not to let on that you've never used a shaman before because they'll spiritually rape you as quickly as possibly and more than once if you allow it. They are addicted to power and will not hesitate at all to steal your power, soul pieces and money. There are a lot of dark shamans operating in Ayahuasca retreats so please do your research before just picking any random company and most importantly, use your intuition.
Lightsider shamans - These guys are relatively harmless in some respects. They have integrity and may truly want the best for you, but you still need to be cautious here because some of their shamanic or healing techniques can cause more problems for you in the future because they're too spiritually stunted to understand that they're the other end of the polarity spectrum which is no better than actually being that polarity. They like to do things "for your own good" which is very selfish as this line of thinking doesn't respect your personal choices. These shamans love to use white light and that's one of the worst things you can use when you're trying to do any type of shielding or protective work. If they start to use religious references and bible verses as a foundation for their work, you can already tell where they are spiritually. A true shaman is NOT aligned with any religion. They operate outside of those constraints, they aren't bound by religious "rules" and therefore have more power to effect change. Often, these lightsider shamans unknowingly utilize dark healing energy thinking that they're doing you good, but it'll fuck you in the end. This is more prevalent than you think so be cautious if you seek out healing from a lightsider shaman. (Very few healers are aware of the polarity of the energy they utilize for healing).
Balance shamans - These are very rare. They can often be confused with dark shamans because they equally embrace the light and dark and aren't afraid to fight dirty if the situation warrants it. Any lightsider or "light worker" will probably tell you to steer clear of these shamans mainly because they don't know any better. Balance shamans have the power of BOTH polarities at their disposal. They have more latitude with their range of abilities and skills because they aren't bound to the common consensus "rules" for each polarity. Their versatility is unmatched by either type of shaman listed above. I wish I could tell you how to discern a Balance shaman from a Dark or Light shaman, but there isn't an easy way. At the very minimum, you have to understand the differences between the polarities and then you have to trust your gut. If a Balance shaman does healing work, they have the option of utilizing either dark or light energy, but there is never a good reason to heal with dark energy just like there is never a good reason to eat a rotting piece of fruit.
Now let's move on to three more types of shamans to be aware of. These categories are mutually exclusive of the first three. Therefore, you can have any of the above three variations with any of these three variations.
While you continue to read, please keep the following in mind. I'm not going to list the traits that shamans have in common nor am I going to talk about the trials and suffering that take place before and during their initiation. That's not what this article is about. I'm going to tell you about one trait that hasn't been fully discussed and I'm not sure why other shamans don't talk about it. I know why I'm talking about it - because I don't have a fucking filter and I don't give a shit what other shamans may think of me. They can go fuck themselves. They're ALL thinking it, but I'm just saying it - True shamans are extremely reluctant to embark on the journey and to fully embrace their destiny. Why? Because the path is a motherfucking bitch to put it lightly.
If you feel this "pull" to shamanism because you think it's your path and you're excited to embrace this glamorous journey ahead of you and that it's going to be wonderfully fulfilling and amazing and you're expecting to fart rainbow glitter every time you tell people that you're a shaman, you're fucking delusional and the chances are extremely high that YOU ARE NOT a shaman.
REAL shamans eventually come around to accept their destiny and may never share the fact that they never wanted to be one in the first place. Why do they eventually come around? Well, what choice do we have? Real shamans are given a shit sandwich and that's all they're getting to eat, so they eat it and shut the fuck up about it. I like to tell the awful truth about everything on this ball of dirt, so I ate my sandwich, but you're going to hear me bitch anyway.
Shamanic Practitioners: Out of the group of people who call themselves "shamans", most of those are NOT real shamans. They have been taught a few skills that real shamans possess, but they DO NOT have any true, inherent shamanic ability. The key word here is "practitioner". They're PRACTICING. Just like doctors getting out of med school - They open a medical "practice" because they don't know what the fuck they're doing. The same with these shamanic practitioners (in lower-case on purpose and cue the hate-mail flooding my inbox from shamanic practitioners around the world).
Think of it this way: A skilled pianist can teach someone with absolutely NO inherent musical ability to play a song on a piano through simple key memorization and a little bit of training on timing. With enough practice, the NON-musician can play that one song to someone else and it could pass for a decent or good rendition of the original song, but that doesn't make the NON-musical person a pianist. Learning a couple more songs on the piano still wouldn't make the NON-musician a pianist. Do you see where I'm going with this? In the past, I've had work done by real shamans and by shamanic practitioners. The practitioners are extremely limited in their skill set and the difference in the work and results between the two is night and day. It's like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.
If these "shamans" were legit, they wouldn't be so happy and gung-ho about pursuing this line of "work". The fact is that these people ARE NOT REAL SHAMANS. They did NOT go through the proper channels of initiation. They did NOT suffer needlessly. They were NOT forced into it. They had an interest in it and having merely an interest
DOES NOT MAKE YOU A FUCKING SHAMAN !!!
Do your research on the person you're going to hire so you can steer clear of shamanic practitioners. Some of them may conveniently leave out the second word and refer to themselves as a shaman anyway. They may try to wow you by setting up a fancy website and dropping names of famous "shamans" they've taken workshops with (some of the famous ones are complete shit too - don't get me started on Sandra Ingerman or Michael Harner). Don't fall for this bullshit. You can put a dress on a pig, but it's still a pig.
Ask the person point blank if they are a "practitioner". If they said they took a couple weekend courses and read a lot of books on shamanism, it's ok if you can't hold back your laughter as you walk away or hang up the phone. One thing you'll notice if you're sensitive enough is that REAL shamans are MAGICAL. There is a certain energy about them that you can feel. The practitioners have a FLAT energy. There is NO depth because there isn't any shamanic magic there to begin with.
These next two categories denote REAL FUCKING SHAMANS.
Human-trained Shamans: Only those individuals who have been PREDESTINED FROM BIRTH (chosen by spirits) to become a shaman can actually be trained as legitimate shamans. In conjunction with their Spirit Guides, these individuals are also trained by other living humans that are legitimate shamans. They go through intense trials and suffer in countless ways, both when waking up along the path and during their initiation. I knew of one shaman that started seeing and hearing spirits in his early 20's. He thought he was going crazy as western society would have him believe. The spirits told him to go to the Amazon to fulfill his destiny and he reluctantly did. Serve or suffer. He left his friends, family and life behind to live in the jungle for many years with a tribe that didn't speak a word of English. They knew he was coming and this is where he received his training. He fulfilled his destiny by dedicating his entire life to this calling (there is NO other alternative) and eventually became a highly respected Master Shaman specializing in Ayahuasca ceremonies.
I knew of a lady who would fly down to South America once or twice a year for a week at a time to "train". Sorry, but a couple weeks a year of "training" with a human doesn't make you a shaman either. As I stated above in the shamanic practitioner section, just because you desire to be a shaman and take training from a legitimate shaman doesn't make you a shaman. Remember, this is a lifelong dedication that involves predestination, not two-weeks-a-year dedication. You can lump these "weekend warriors" into the category of shamanic practitioner.
Spirit-trained Shamans: These shamans are few and far between. They have been traditionally prepared and trained for the vast majority of their current lifetime by their Spirit Guides in non-ordinary reality and do not require training by human shamans. In addition, they usually have hundreds of other incarnations as shamans, witchdoctors, medicine-men, healers, etc. that they can pull experience from into their current lifetime. Their skill set is unmatched. Why? Because you can only learn so much in one lifetime, but when you are given access to your experiences from all your other pertinent lifetimes, your tool chest is significantly larger and your pool of wisdom is much, much deeper.
I hope that I've managed to shed light on a nebulous topic that few talk about or even understand. And if you haven't already figured it out, I am a Spirit-trained Balance Shaman.