What it takes to Hang out a Shaman’s Shingle
We live in a time of boutique shamans and shamans-for-hire, New York fashionistas using crystal combs to calm their hair, and luxury hotel spas featuring sweats and soul cleansings. Therefore it is refreshing to find a book (Shamanism in the New Millennium) presenting a powerfully modern yet authentic look at shamanism and what it really takes to hang out a shingle with the word “shaman” on it.
Shamanism in the New Millennium is a fascinating, sometimes shocking, collection of stories told by 16 modern shamans from different countries, lineages, and traditions. They talk about their calling by Spirit and the various intense—and frequently harrowing—initiations they have undergone to enter into a shamanic healing tradition. It is compiled and edited by best-selling author Cate Montana (The E Word: Ego, Enlightenment & Other Essentials) and published by Rampant Feline Media run by Montana and Betsy Chasse (best-selling author of Tipping Sacred Cows and co-creator of the famous film What the Bleep Do We Know!?).
This fast-paced book does a credible job revealing the truth that, no matter what century you live in, it takes a lot more guts, pain, blistering intensity, hard work, and enormous sacrifice to walk the shaman’s path than the vast majority of so-called normal humans are willing to endure.
The Calling of the Shaman
“To be invited onto the mystic road of the shaman is a calling, a summons,” says Hank Wesselman, PhD, anthropologist, and author of The Enchantment. “This book reveals the richness and challenges facing those who respond to that call.”
Shamanism in the New Millennium
Montana, editor of Shamanism in the New Millennium, says the book is the culmination of a long-time dream to bring an authentic, yet modernized view of shamanism into the world. “Back in 2008 when I was first introduced to the powerful gift of plant medicine by Peruvian shaman Rossana Nascimento (whose chapter opens the book), I was deeply impacted by the dedication and profound knowledge of the native men and women guiding the ceremonies. At the same time, I was horrified to witness what I can only call “shaman wannabees” flooding into the Amazon and towns like Iquitos, staying for short periods of time then departing, thinking they had acquired wisdom.”
Equally unsettling, she says, was watching handsomely-paid spiritual teachers arriving with their flocks of followers from the US and Europe, handing over, at best, maybe a couple hundred dollars per ceremony to the native shaman doing all the work. “The exploitation of this resource is of tremendous ongoing concern,” says Montana. “When Betsy approached me about doing a compilation work on shamanism, I jumped at the chance.”
Shamanic Training around the World
The book is divided into three sections, the first highlighting stories of traditional shamanic training within several cultures: Peruvian, Bolivian, pre-Celtic, African, and Native American. The second section details stories of individuals extensively trained in the “old ways” who have bridged old and new, combining traditional training with psychology, medicine, and new energy technologies. The third and final section tells the stories of healers called by Spirit, some of whom do not even call themselves shamans.
“Working with the shamans, hearing their stories, seeing the relevance of their deep spiritual and humanitarian work in the face of Western society’s current ills was a humbling experience,” says Montana. “Psychologists, social workers, medical personnel, businessmen and women, mothers, fathers, millennials—anyone interested in what it’s going to take to change and heal humanity—need to read this book.”
Bottom line, if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to become a genuine shaman/healer, if you’ve ever been curious about different shamanic traditions, if you’ve ever contemplated engaging plant medicines, and wondered how to figure out who’s the real deal, this book is a treat and a valuable resource. Learn more about Shamanism for the New Millennium here.