Monthly Archives: May 2013

How to Prepare for a Shaman Training Class


completeting the circle
Joining a shamanic circle is helping to complete the circle of transformation currently happening among many people around the world.

What can you expect on the first day of shaman training? How to prepare? What to bring?

Each shaman teacher will approach the start of training in a different way, of course. But the one thing all teachers and students have in common is the anticipation of the beginning of a sacred
journey of exploration, discovery and spiritual healing. So right off, you all have a common purpose, which begins to build special power for the work ahead.

For most people who begin shaman training, there comes the realization that the journey is one you began long ago. And it’s a journey without end. In other words, and as some of the old shamans have taught, the journey continues long after the body has melded back into the body of the Earth Mother to be re-formed.

In my experience as a student, the first day of training answered a dilemma that had long intrigued and confused me— why did some of concepts of shamanism seem so familiar to me? You may experience the same thing. I was shocked to learn that I had been a healer in previous lives! And more likely than not, you too practiced and taught the healing ways over many lifetimes. Otherwise, you would probably not have felt the urge to join a class.

It works something like this. Your shamanic memories are buried deep inside, and when you step into a new life, that part of you remains asleep. It is only when something occurs, perhaps something so small that you do not consciously know it, but that nonetheless needles the start of an urge that builds over time. It is a quest that calls to you, and it’s unrelenting, even though you can’t identify it. And then, quite by surprise, you discover a budding interest in helping people heal. Perhaps you even discover some healing talents, like placing a hand on someone’s shoulder and wishing them a speedy recovery from a disease. And then to find out later that the person did indeed have a speedy recovery!

The job of the teacher, then, is to help you to remember who you are and thus to help awaken the healer inside. That is the basis of the first class!


Preparing for your first shamanism class is a very personal undertaking. I always ask students to spend as much time as possible in nature and to perform a few tasks during the week leading up to the class. It is in nature that you will receive your Ph.D. in shamanism and spiritual healing!

Being in nature is the most important thing you can do because teachers await there who will help you prepare. They are the trees, grass, sky, a stream, birds and other animals, a breeze, a sudden silence. They are separate and whole simultaneously, each carrying a spiritual message and providing help and support to you. Other guides and spiritual advisers will join the circle there, too, even though they may not inhabit a body that you can see.

You honor them all by going where they are, and they honor you for being there.

I can think of no better way to prepare than to sit up against a tree after a long walk in the woods. If you will do this once a day for four or five days before your first class, you’ll be good to go!

What To Bring?

Your teacher will probably suggest a number of items you can bring to class, including a drum, rattle, blanket, sleeping mask (to help keep light out of your eyes while learning the shamanic journey), a journal and so forth. I ask students to bring a few “souvenirs” from their time in the woods, like small pebbles, a bit of a leaf or tree bark, a flower petal, a feather or any other small item that calls their attention. I suggest they perform a short ceremony to ask permission to retrieve the item beforehand. Then, once in class, they will find comfort in holding the items and in recalling their peaceful experience in nature. If you do this, I guarantee you be in tune with whatever your teacher has to offer for the day when you form the healing circle. (And you will have a head start on the sacred items you may want to add to your medicine pouch.)

Though teachers differ in their approach and priorities, I believe you’ll find that these few steps of preparation will serve you well at the start of your journey.

Brightest blessings to you, to your teacher, and to all of those around you, my friend. You are about to change the world…for the better.

Aho & Namaste,


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