Shamanism, the world's oldest spiritual path, is founded on the ideals of centering, personal responsibility, and loving respect for nature. Much like being a true artist or a bona fide healer, being shaman is an art and a way of life.

To develop an authentic, shamanic path, one must not only accept the calling; one must also be recognized and trained by a shaman elder. Training involves a great deal of inner work and transformation and cannot be disseminated at a weekend workshop for a fee.

There is no CliffsNotes version for becoming a shaman. Just as anyone can walk into a martial arts supply store and purchase a black fabric belt, anyone can likewise call themselves shaman. A meaningless title, however, does not make a person a shaman any more than a black fabric belt makes someone a martial arts sensei.

For starters, shamans are born rather than made. Thus, being a shaman can often be as much of a curse as it is a blessing. Marks that signal a shaman’s calling include:

  • Having epilepsy
  • Seeing apparitions or UFOs
  • Surviving a fire or shipwreck
  • Having vivid and uncommon dreams
  • Having a sense of contact with Spirits
  • Parents who have paranormal abilities
  • Having been on the verge of drowning
  • The urge to learn how to become a shaman
  • Surviving a deep coma or an apparent death
  • Glimpses of the future or verifiable deja-vus
  • Being eccentric, “different” or a loner as a child
  • Falling sick from a serious or odd-symptomed illness
  • Experiencing and living through multiple snakes bites
  • Meeting with the same animals repeatedly in this reality
  • Ability to relieve physical pain/illness by touch or prayer
  • Childhood urges to go into the wild alone for long periods
  • Being born with a caul, an impairment or extra fingers/toes
  • Dreams that depict the future or unknown, verifiable events
  • Encountering the same animal or teacher in different dreams
  • Being struck by a lightning or shocked by high-power electric

If you answer yes to 3 or more of the above life experiences, you may well have a shamanic calling. To verify your gift(s) and reclaim your empowerment, it is advisable to consult with a shaman elder who can tutor you in the art and practice of training and initiation.

Jack Alexander (“Golden Feather”) is a shaman elder. He lived on Water’s End reservation in Northern Nevada and trained for 16 months in the Lakota tradition as Chief White Feather’s last Caucasian shamanic initiate. It was Chief White Feather who named him Golden Feather. Learn more about yourself, life and shamanism by contacting Jack at / cell: 415-244-0445.


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Comment by Imelda FB Maguire on October 28, 2012 at 9:22pm

Hello Jack,

Wonderful article here on Shamanism.  Indeed a White Feather doth float within Heart of man.

So excited am I to see all the beauty here on your profile page. 

God Bless your beautiful soul



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