Tribe

SHAMAN

SHAMAN: What's in a "title"?

Last week I enjoyed the opportunity to introduce myself to someone using "anything but the woo-woo words" to describe myself and what I do. I was meeting a family member of someone close to me for the first time, and was forewarned that this family member would be most receptive to meeting me and warming to my character if I did not use "Spiritual language" to describe myself. In short, the phrase, "I'm a Shaman!" was off the table.

Challenge accepted!

When asked, "what do you do?" by this family member, I described the functional, tangible aspects of my work. "I support humans and animals in their journey to natural health and wellness. I work with animal health and behavior, and on the human side, I help people connect with their joy, love and purpose. I mentor people through challenging periods of their lives and help them work their way to the other side feeling more empowered, confident and connected." This person nodded approvingly and the conversation moved on.

Fast forward to today, in continuing with the theme, when someone online asked me, "What do you do as a Shaman?"

Again, I thoroughly enjoyed considering the functional implications of the term. What does a Shaman "do?"

Here is what I wrote back:

"I'm kind of laughing at my internal response to your question, which was "What DON'T I do as a Shaman?" I know that's not how you meant the question, but I try each day to live the idea of "my every breath and action is a practice in devotion to All That Is." So, essentially, I do everything as a Shaman, from washing the dishes and dancing to my healing work and more!

In other senses of the question, I practice the philosophy of "A Shaman devotes herself to the health and well-being of her Tribe." In my case, my Tribe is my global community. I work with humans and animals all over the world (though much of my client base is local) to help them discover and express their greatest joy, their fiercest love and their deepest purpose. I teach empowerment, mentor personal investigation and shepherd people through the underworld as they experience their own dark nights of the soul.

Functionally, I also work with supporting natural health and wellness (for humans and animals), teach Reiki and other healing practices (to humans), translate between species (animal communication) and channel Spirit (usually for humans).

Does that answer your question?"

Being a Shaman means different things to different people. The term gets thrown around a lot, and it's often loaded with some kind of judgment and/or misunderstanding. It took me YEARS before I was able to "put on the mantle" of claiming my medicine and publicly call myself a Shaman.

Now that I've journeyed through the process of fearing the label, unfolding the layers of the label, coming into my own understanding of the label, claiming the label and living the label, I'm finding that the label matters less and less. Shaman isn't what I DO, it's who I AM and how I live each moment of my life.

When my every breath is a prayer for the Highest and Greatest Good of All That Is, when I practice presence and peace in the face of every challenge, when I accompany people into the depths of their darkest fears so that they may feel safe, when I surrender to Spirit and allow the Divine to flow through me in order to let someone feel loved and seen and held--THAT is what I do, with or without the label. Shaman or not.

To be fair, the word "Shaman" fits more easily on a business card. It can be a very loaded "title," but it is also only that--a title. How is someone living their life as a Shaman? How do they practice their devotion? What is their offering? How do they live their service? These are questions I love to ponder for myself and others in the world, whether or not they call themselves Shamans.

I offer my gratitude to all those who continue to inquire and create opportunities for me to ponder my work, my choices and my path! I gladly receive these moments of reflection and growing understanding.

Many blessings and much love from your friendly neighborhood Shaman!

Michelle Hawk

A Love Letter to My Medicine Family

Originally published on Eagle Song December 22, 2015.

Dear Tribe,

Happy Solstice! I am so grateful to take this time to reflect on the past year and its lessons, and on the people with whom I exchanged beautiful energy.

Thank you so much for the times we danced together, laughed, cooked amazing food, dressed up in costumes, drank tea and talked about the Universe and sat in hot springs until we felt like we were dissolving into infinity.

Thank you for sitting in the forest with me and listening to the rain, nerding out with me over communication and human consciousness, serenading me with beautiful songs and feeding me chocolate.

Thank you for witnessing me in my grief, offering me reflections on my process, being amazing mirrors for my own growth and awareness, teaching me about Power and Love and living your own journeys so fiercely that it inspires me to do the same. Thank you for showing up to talk about the hard stuff with me.

I am so happy to hold space for your process, to reflect with you on your journey, to hold you as you cry, to read your words, to crack jokes all night so you can laugh for a moment and forget your broken heart. I am happy to hold ceremony for you and offer you healing.

I love journeying with you into your own darkness, helping you discover your demons and shine a light on your deepest fears. I will always be there to share my insight, offer my intuition or be a sounding board. Tell me your stories, share your epiphanies and bare your hearts. I love watching your soul sparkle as you speak your Truth.

This past year has been particularly magical because of my amazing Medicine Sisters who have shown up in all the most beautiful ways. Never before have I had such a strong reflection of the Divine Feminine from so many powerful women.

I am also so grateful for my Medicine Brothers and their embodiment of the Divine Masculine.

This is also a dedication letter of sorts. As I continue on my path and step more completely into alignment with my role as a Shaman, there is a necessary acknowledgement of purpose and commitment. As a friend told me, a Shaman doesn’t choose to become a Shaman. They do so because it’s the only way they know how to heal themselves. And once they pass through the Shadow realm and come out the other side, a Shaman’s life belongs to their tribe.

The work that I am doing now is the work that I will be doing (in some form or another) for the rest of my life. So many thanks to my amazing Tribe–you make it so easy to commit to you! And that’s exactly what I’m doing: I commit to supporting you, my Tribe, in your health and well-being, especially in regards to your Spiritual journey.

I hold so much gratitude for my Medicine Family. Thank you for seeing me. I love you, I love you, I love you.

Many blessings,

Michelle