How to Become a Shaman (Really)


Get ready to break out the sage and prepare to do some smudging. Why you ask? Well today we are going to talk all about how to become a shaman. Yep, that’s right folks…a shaman. Now don’t let your eyes glaze over just yet, because this is a pretty fascinating career path that we have lots of information about. So come and sit around our metaphorical fire and take the journey of becoming a shaman with us.

How to Become a Shaman

We know that one of our first thoughts on this subject was “exactly how does one become a shaman?”. So we pulled on our floaties and hopped into our research pool for the answers.

Most shamans trained as an apprentice under an experienced and practicing mentor. You will not need a degree to follow this path, but you may obtain some certificates through organizations. After you have followed your training path you are then ready to start building your client base. For some this is easier than others and will largely depend on the culture you are in. For example those that practice Native American shamanism and live on a reservation may have a wider client net to toss out.

Many shaman healers follow this path because they feel that it’s a purely spiritual endeavor. It is a calling that some shamans receive and feel that they are unable to turn back from. The spiritual nature of the this path leads some shamans to not work for money. As payment they will often receive offerings of food or even animals.

For those shamans that do intend to pursue this as a paying career, they are most often self-employed upon completing their shaman training. You will have a few options of brining in revenue, but in total honesty, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. It may even be a good idea to walk this path as a secondary income source. That’s just our 2 cents though.

Let’s Break it Down with the Different Types of Shaman

There are three different types of shamans – Black, White and Yellow. The Black and Yellow types of shaman are considered to be traditional forms of practice. The Yellow type of shamanism is influenced by the Buddhist faith. So let’s break it down now!

Black Shaman Tradition

Black shamans are considered by many to be the most powerful and are said to get their power from the Northern direction. They are known as warriors among their kind and are tasked to overcome evil. They engage in this battling by fighting might with might. Courage and discipline are keystones to this practice. This practice is dominant in Mongolia and Siberia with many of the same rituals as the Black and White practices.

White Shaman Tradition

White shamans have very special relationships with the spirits of nature and are a peaceful people. They are prone to receive their powers from the Western direction as well as direction their prayers to the Western Heavens. The main focus of a white shaman is to soothe angry spirits and aiding mankind to live in harmony with nature.

Yellow Shaman Tradition

As we reference above, Yellow shaman are derived from a melding of traditional Black practice with Tibetan Buddhism. The melding of these two practices created Yellow shamanism.

What Exactly is a Shaman and What Does One Do?

One sec…let us put down out peace pipe, so that we can fill in the blanks for you. A shaman is a person that is believed to have contact and/ or influence in the spiritual world. Shamans are especially common among Asian, African and Native American cultures.

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You are likely also asking yourself “well what the heck does a shaman do?”…again good question! You are really in top form today my friends! Firstly, the acts of a shaman will likely vary from culture to culture. It is commonly noted that most shamans are said to be healers, teachers and spiritual representatives that are in touch with other worlds to relay messages from one side to the next. It’s a pretty spiritual thing, but pretty neat too.

Being a shaman means that you will have a harder than average life and this is due to never able to close down to all of the feelings that are bound to head your way. Shamans are said to have contact with spirits that help them heal and help their communities. They are known as wounded healers and this is not a path that you can pick for yourself…rather it is a path that picks you.

Do I Need to Be Certified?

You certainly don’t need to be certified to pursue this path. There are however, classes and certificates of completion that are available and can be helpful if you want to start a practice. Take a look at some of the certification options and take some notes if this is an avenue you are interested in pursuing.

Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing

The Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing offers many classes that will allow you to become a certified shaman. There are also a variety of classes that are offered that will help you to further expand your practice and spiritual growth. The main location for the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing is located in Oregon, but luckily there are many locations around the country that offers classes.

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies

The great folks at The Foundation for Shamanic Studies offer an array of workshops that will help you to gain certificates of completion. There are a variety of shamanic classes that may take anywhere from 5 days all the way up to 3 years. They are located in California, so be sure to pack your shorts and sunscreen if you decide that they are the way to pursue you path.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Shaman?

The time that it takes to become a shaman will vary greatly and is dependent on the person and training pursued. Another factor in the length of time is that many people view it as a journey and sometimes their spiritual path may take longer than others. If you’re looking to merge your spiritual quest with your career and start your own practice, that can take anywhere from 1 to several years.

You’ll likely need an advisor that is a current shaman to help guide you along this process. You’ll be considered an apprentice of sorts if this is the route you choose. Remember that some practices may charge you for this training, so try to vet out the source before you drop any cash.

How Much Does a Shaman Make?

For pretty obvious reasons, there’s not a tone of data on shaman salaries. However, we can get a close approximation of what it will be if we look at the salaries and demand for a similar career in holistic medicine, the naturopathic physician. Remember, though, this is a very rough estimate, and because shamanism is not as big a part of mainstream culture, salaries are probably lower.

The data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is unfortunately not specific to the actual profession of shamanism. We can see that there is quite a range for others employed in holistic fields and we can surmise that the salary for a shaman may be within this range as well.

Another option is to start your own business and a great place to start is usually with a blog. Bloggers who charge consulting fees can make as little as $500 a month and all the way up to 6 figures a year. The amount of Benjamin’s you bring in will ultimately depend on your business savvy though, so keep that in mind from the start. Most of these independent businesses run by shamans make the majority of their revenue through counselling fees. These counseling fees can be hefty depending on the spiritual needs of the client and the duration of the counseling.

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Let’s take a few minutes to go over some business and blog examples that offer shaman services that are run by shamans, holistic healers and shamanic teachers. These sites will serve as pretty good examples of how you can earn income all while following the path of a shaman.

Evolve Wellness Centre

The Evolve Wellness Centre is a pretty good example of a business that you can run that offers a great many services on top of shamanic rituals. This business has both online and on site services, certifications and classes. Some things that the Evolve Wellness Centre offers are shaman services, yoga classes, reiki therapy and various online courses.

Why Shamanism Now?

Why Shamanism Now is an online website that has blog posts, podcasts and services offered by Christina Pratt. Her website offers a good amount of information on this topic. Christina Pratt is operating a blog that in turn generates money. She is also the director of the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing. This center offers a ton of services and is likely to be where she pulls in the majority of her income.

Where Can I Find Classes to Become a Shaman?

In all honesty, you’ll be hard pressed to find shamanism classes at universities. There are plenty of private teachers offer classes and certificate programs though. You will want to be cautious of who you will be giving your money to however, because unfortunately there are some less than savory people out there. You don’t want your good intentions and existential journey to be derailed because some internet dude wants to make some cash off of you.

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies is a nonprofit, charitable and educational organization. They are dedicated to preserving that teaching and studying of shamanic knowledge. This organization cares deeply for the well-being of our planet and all of its beings.

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies offers many different training classes and workshops to help you achieve your calling of being a shaman. Their programs vary in duration. They can last anywhere from a few days to a few years. Before you can further pursue your shamanic path with this organization, you will need to complete their perquisite workshop, The Way of the Shaman.  This workshop helps to prepare you for all of the other work to be done.

What Makes One Decide to Become a Shaman?

So we stumbled across two seriously awesome ladies that are shamans at the Spiritual Leader University. They have a series of fun and informative videos posted on YouTube that describe everything that is involved in the life of a shaman. These are two super funny ladies that were kind enough to share their experience of what motivated them to become shamans. Today we are going to focus on the very first video the shared with their YouTube viewers. Let’s go meet Kathy and Kelly, shall we?

Meet Kathy

The first shaman that we meet in the video is Kathy. She is a feisty firecracker of a lady with a very interesting story to tell. Her journey to becoming a shaman is super interesting and it sucks you right in immediately.

Kathy was what most would consider to be a normal woman with a normal life. She had great job and was making what was considered to be great money as well. One day she found herself to be 33 years old and rather unhappy. She felt very unfulfilled in life and desperately wanted something to open a doorway for her.

Kathy decided to pick up her life and move in search of the life path that she desired. One day she met someone that was unbeknownst to her a shaman. Her knew found friend invited her along to an event that was filled with people that proclaimed to have knowledge of nature and the earth. Kathy was less than impressed with the gaggle of people that she met.

Bored and tired she totally zoned out while staring at the fire. Out of nowhere there was a dragon in the fire and she said he was pretty miffed that no else seemed to notice him in there. She swears that there wasn’t any Cheech and Chong action going on either. Kathy’s interpretation of what she saw that night was that the vision came to her because she finally opened herself up to other possibilities. She had before been closed off to other spiritual plains and unable to access her hidden shamanic powers.

It was in that moment that she realized that she may have found what she was looking for during all of those unfulfilled. Since that day Kathy hasn’t looked back. She is now a practicing shaman and oracle. It’s pretty safe to say that she has found her passion in life finally.

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Meet Kelly

Kelly is the other shaman is the video with Kathy. She is equally as funny, quick witted and interesting as Kathy is. Kelly’s journey to becoming a shaman was a bit different than her partner Kathy’s.  There are some similarities that really make us understand why these two super cool ladies clicked the way that they did.

Kelly was raised by her mother in the new age movement and really always believed that magic was real. She lived her life according to the standards that are often set out by society and did everything that she was “supposed” to do. By the time she was 28, she had nearly completed her check list.

She had a husband, a house, a thriving business and a dog. She had what most would say was a perfect life. Kelly on the other hand hated her life and felt cheated out of her true destiny. One day she finally decided that she had had enough of living a life that she wasn’t happy with.

Kelly sold her business, sold her house and asked her husband of 7 years for a divorce. She completely erased her life and started over from scratch with a clean slate. She felt free and happy for the first time in a long time.

She found and bought a nice little house that was across from a Revolutionary War site where there was lots of reenactment. She loved this type of thing, so she was eager to get over there to introduce herself. One day she jumped over the fence and got to know some people that then referred her to the Renascence Fest after hearing that she loved going.

While there, Kelly met a group of people that she really liked. She later found out that they were Pagans and that some were actually shamans. During her friendship with this interesting group of guys and gals, she learned all about earth based spiritual practice.

Kelly spent lots of time with them and finally had a truly life changing experience one night while she was at an extra special event. One night at a ceremony where each participant is supposed to send a secret asking into a cup, Kelly had the moment she too had been searching for. She asked the universe to help her find her spiritual path and boy did the universe send her a big fat “Holla!” at her in return.

 She says that her life pretty much fell apart due to the request she sent out. According to the spiritual beliefs of most shaman, that was to prime her for her new divine destiny. Kelly, much like her pal Kathy, feels that all of this happened to her when it did because she too was open and willing to accept whatever comes and suspend any disbelief. That was the starting point on her journey to become a shaman and she hasn’t looked back since. She has continued on her spiritual path to this day. She is now a well-known shaman, healer, psychic and medium.

Final Grade

  • Degree vs. Debt: C+

So you don’t need a degree to become a shaman, so the degree to debt ratio is wicked low. Having said that, it can be difficult to make money. There isn’t a very high demand for this type of work. It may be a good idea to pursue this as a hobby or secondary career so that you do not have to worry so much about the lean times that are bound to come as a shaman. Your spiritual soul may be fed, but your stomach may still be growling.

  • Degree difficulty: A

You don’t actually need a degree to become a shaman. You can totally get a certificate if you’d like one as well as the extra credibility that it will give you. The certificate process is usually pretty easy and they don’t take all that long to complete for the most part.

  • Happiness Quotient: A

We think it’s safe to say that the happiness quotient is pretty high on this traveled career path. Most people really do take this road because they feel very strongly about the job as a shaman as well as the spiritual beliefs that support it. We are all about people being happy and following their desired course in life, so shaman on my wayward son!

  • Job Outlook: C

As we are sure you are able to deduce by now, there are not a lot of companies employing shamans. The job market is not booming for a job as a shaman, but there are some unique entrepreneurship opportunities here. Not to mention the fact that many that pursue this avenue are doing so mainly out of the need for spiritual fulfillment. In these cases the growth of the job market is likely a non-issue.

Sources and Recommended Reading

So, what do you think now that you’ve heard all of the super interesting details about how to become a shaman? As usual we have included all of these helpful links throughout this awesome piece (yeah that’s right we are totally tooting our own horn, don’t judge us). We also decided to give you the links in this little section as well, so feel free to go on a copy and paste binge.

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