As I feel indebted to the shamans who saw themselves in me and helped me understand why I have always felt like I don’t belong in mainstream medicine, the intention of this article is to respectfully honor the shamanic tradition, and not to violate it in any way.  
Because modern culture doesn’t have a role for the shamanic archetype, many people who grow up outside indigenous villages are shamans and don’t know it. Many naturally wind up in overtly healing professions, such as medicine, psychology, or life coaching. But some wind up in professions where they may feel like they don’t fit in at all. Even those who enter the healing professions may feel out of place, because the systems of Western medicine and psychology leave little room for a shaman to practice his or her natural healing art. But many will wind up in various forms of sacred activism, healing the planet, for example, rather than healing people.

Are you a shaman and you don’t know it? Here are some telltale signs that you might fit the archetype.

1. You sense that you’re meant to participate in the global shift in consciousness that is currently underway.

We can all feel it, this impending shift that New Agers have talked about for decades. But those with the shamanic archetype don’t just feel it, they feel it pulling them, like a magnet, towards leadership positions that help facilitate this transformation of human consciousness and evolution of the species.

2. You’ve been through a difficult initiation, which has prepared you for this leadership role.

In indigenous cultures, the village knew who the shaman was because he or she was struck by lightning and survived. In modern culture, you may not literally be struck by lightning, but you may have survived some other life or heart-threatening ordeal. You may have experienced childhood abuse, sexual violence, a near-death experience, or some other trauma that put you through the crucible and forged you into the healing earth shaman you are becoming.

3. You are an introvert.

Shamans are multi-dimensional beings who dance between the realms of the seen and unseen worlds, so if you’re of the shamanic archetype, you may have a hard time navigating the 3D realms of this dimension, which may cause you to withdraw into yourself so you can visit the realms of consciousness where you feel most at home.

4. You feel most at home in nature.

The shamans of a culture are the bridges between nature and humans, serving as translators between the mountains, oceans, rivers, animals, and people. You may sense that nature is talking to you or that you get your most tuned in downloads when you are surrounded by the natural world.

5. You’re very sensitive.

You may feels things others don’t feel, see things others don’t see, hear things others don’t hear, smell things others don’t smell, and sense things others don’t sense. This may make it hard for you to be out in public, where you may feel accosted by over-stimulation of your senses. If you embody the shamanic archetype, it’s likely that you’re the kind of person others may feel is “too sensitive.” But this sensitivity is a blessing. It’s part of your gift.

6. You feel a sort of spiritual calling to ease the suffering of people, animals, and nature.

Many health care providers are called to medicine the way priests are called to the priesthood. But you don’t have to be a health care provider to have the shamanic archetype. It may transmute itself into healing service to animals, sacred activist causes, or conservation of Mother Earth.

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