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Metista Spirit Tribe's Shamanism Questions and Answers

To: alt.religion.shamanism
From: (Bearwlkr)
Subject: Metista Spirit Tribe's Shamanism Questions and Answers
Date: 15 Jun 1997 22:37:23 GMT

Web Page:

Q: What is Metista?
A: Metista is a spiritual philosophy inspired by and drawn
from the resources and extensive backgrounds of Bearwalker
and StarrHawke. The word comes from the French "metis" which
means "mixed." The methods within Metista are non-culturally
specific, and are similar to practices found in many tribal
cultures throughout the world. All questions in this FAQ are
answered from a Metista point of view which may or may not
agree with any other point of view.

Q: What is Shamanism?
A: Shamanism is primarily a set of spiritual techniques 
used to enter into a trance state called ecstasy in which
the pratitioner travels to Other Worlds in order to diagnose,
heal, gain information, guide souls, etc. Traditionally these 
purposes have included locating or attracting game for the hunt, 
weather control, and mediating between the sacred and profane
dimensions. Since grocery stores are readily available
locating and attracting game for the hunt is generally no
longer necessary!

Q: Is Shamanism a religion?
A: No. Shamanism is a set (or series) of techniques that can
be used in any religious context. It is not a religion. For
in depth information, please see Dean Edward's FAQ.

Q: I want to become a Shaman. How do I do that?
A: Itís foolish to want to become a Shaman. If you get an
unmistakable call from Spirit saying you must be a Shaman
you will go through tremendous and sometimes horrible
changes. Many people have lost everything they held dear;
jobs, families, homes, and so forth. Usually the emotional
upheaval is quite similar to serious mental illness. Some
people actually wind up in mental hospitals because of the
severity of it. If you survive that you may actually start
on the initial stages of training to learn your shamanizing.

Q: How do you learn to become a Shaman?
A: Mostly direct experience with the spirits encountered on
journeys, with guidance from a human teacher. But there are
exceptions. That will vary from culture to culture. Within
Metista Spirit Tribe you would start the same as everyone
else. First you would develop a thorough grounding in our
foundation (which includes a recognition of, respect for,
and honoring of your own personal genetic, cultural, and
spiritual roots), then slowly develop your abilities to pray
and communicate with various aspects of nature and recognize
the answers that come in your inspirations, dreams, and

Q: Can anyone become a Shaman?
A: No.

Q: Why not?
A: A  Shaman is someone who fills a role within a community,
a specialist who works directly in the spiritual realms on
behalf of their community and its members. To do so, they
must be accepted both by their community and by Spirit.
That doesn't mean that people who aren't  Shamans can't use
and benefit from the techniques, even if they have no call
to follow a truly Shamanic path.

Q: I donít understand...
A: A mother might diagnose and treat various illnesses and
injuries in her children.   She knows to put ice on a
bruise, how to pull splinters, and treat a cold.  These
things are basic medical practices, things anyone can use to
ease their life and the life of their family. But knowing
them does not make Mom a doctor.  To really be a doctor,
she'd need to spend years studying medicine, pass tests and
be approved by the medical community, and have some form of
practice and acceptance within the community at large.
        In the same way, there are basic techniques in
Shamanism that anyone can use to better understand and
improve their own life, but knowing and practicing the
techniques donít make that person a  Shaman anymore than
knowing that aspirin cures headaches makes dear old Mom an

Q: Where can I learn more about Shamanism?
A: Start with Bearwalker's Shamanic Teachings homepage at Download and read the
articles, including the Shamanism - General Overview FAQ by
Dean Edwards.

Q: What books do you recommend?
A: Although we donít agree with everything he says or does
"The Way of The Shaman" by Michael Harner is a good book to
start with. It gives some basic theories and detailed
directions for beginning practices in a non-culturally
specific manner so you can adapt them into your own
spiritual path.  After that, "Shamanism: Archaic Techniques
of Ecstasy" by M. Eliade is good to introduce you Shamanic
practices in Siberia and various other parts of the world.
An extensive book list is included in Dean Edwards FAQ.

Q: Does studying  Shamanism make me a  Shaman?
A: No. It makes you a student of Shamanism. Only survival of
the call, initiation, training, practice, experience, and
recognition by both Shamanic peers and your community can
identify you as being a Shaman.

Q: Wow! Shamanism. I'm really into Native American stuff!
A:  Shamanism and Native American/Indian don't mean the same
thing. In fact the word "Shaman" comes to the English
language from the Tungus peoples of Siberia, not from
American Indians. The word "shaman" does not now and never
has existed in any Native American/Indian language.

Q:  I'm only about one tenth Cherokee and Comanche, could I
still become an ordained Shaman?
A:  As we pointed out and will point out again and again
"Shamanism" and "Indian" are not the same thing. There's no
such thing as an ordained Shaman.

Q: Is the Shamanic Journey the same as Astral Projection?
A: No. The Shamanic journey may have some elements similar
to astral projection, but it is not the same thing.

Q: How about divination, prophecies, etc.?
A: Some Shamanic practitioners specialize in those aspects.
Others don't.

Q: So what about near death experiences?
A: What about it? Sometimes (often) thatís one of the
aspects of Shamanic initiation. For more information on that
see Eliadeís book, mentioned above.

Q: Do Shamans do magick?
A: Some if not all Shamans make manipulations in the Other
Worlds that have results in the physical world. If thatís
what you mean by magick, then yes. But the word "magick"
brings about more misunderstandings than clarifications.

Q: Will you cast (or teach me) a (__Fill In The Blank__)
spell for me so I can (__Fill In The Blank__)?
A: No.

Q: What does the Shaman say is a good remedy for recurring
A: See your primary care physician or a psychiatrist. It may
be caused by a chemical imbalance. Those of us who are
Shamanic practitioners work with, not instead of, the
medical community.

Q: What kind of power animals should I get?
A: There is a great deal of misunderstanding about "power
animals" or "power spirits" circulating by people who have
read a book or two and adapted a concept to their own
existing viewpoints. Your "power animal" is not something
you get. It's an essential part of your being that you may
or may not see as an animal. You don't need to get one. You
need to discover what you are. Discovering your essential
self  is available to everyone not just Shamans.

Q:  How may I figure out what I am though?
A:  What you are, your essential self, will come to you in
your dreams and visions which will be the results of your

Q: Can you tell me what my power animal is?
A: Sometimes, but you will be better off looking and finding
out for yourself. Youíll find many good techniques for
finding and identifying your power spirit in the Power
Animals article on our homepage, and in "The Way Of The
Shaman" by Michael Harner.

Q:  Am I too young to start questing? I'm only 12...
A:  You are not too young to start your search for your
spiritual orientation, but perhaps you are to young to make
firm decisions yet. It's good to quest, and to seek, and to
learn. Right now just listen to elders around you, in your
church, and such. That will help. And pray a lot. When you
pray remember the natural surroundings, the earth, the
trees, the plants, the grasses, the birds and animals the
waters, and rains, and winds, and streams, the rocks and
feel your closeness to them and remember your own
connectedness with them.  All are a part of Creation by the
Supernal Mystery.  Again, this is available to everyone, not
just Shamans.

Q: Do Shamans charge money for their services or teachings?
A:  In cultures where Shamanism is (or was) prevalent it is
unthinkable to ask a Shamanic pratitioner to do anything
without first giving him or her something of real value such
as  food, clothing, horses, chickens, blankets, and yes --
even money. In those cultures the Shaman isnít charging for
services rendered. He or she doesnít have to charge because
the custom is known and people respect it. People know that
the more important their request is to them, and the more
they can afford, the more they should give. It seems to be
only in modern "civilized" society that people are willing
to disrespect a Shaman or spiritual leader of any kind and
demand his services or teachings without giving anything in


Bearwalker is a seasoned Shamanic Practitioner and Co-
Chieftan of Metista Spirit Tribe. His writings have appeared
in numerous publications for the last 30 years. His "How You
Can Develop A Powerful Shamanic Mind" was republished in
Issue 4 (January/February 1997) of Shamanic Applications
Review. Bearwalkerís history can be found in the Interview

StarrHawke is a Shamanic Pratitioner and Co-Chieftan of
Metista Spirit Tribe. She is a dream/vision interpreter who
has been counseling people both on and offline for several
years.  Well into her second year of apprenticship to
Bearwalker, she is currently focusing on the development and
organization of Metista. She is active in promoting respect
and understanding for all peoples by her creation and
promotion of the In Sacred Integrity WWW site at

Copyright © 1997 Joseph B. Wilson and Victoria A. McElroy.
All rights reserved.

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