Native American "Shamanism" and Other Fictions

I recall years ago that i was watching a presentation on native American “sacred sex”. It featured things like pendulums and chakras and such like but used native American terms. Years later i realized i was watching a new age version of eastern tantra in native American drag. It was convincing enough that a cherokee man looking to connect to his culture was fooled by it. It wouldn’t be the last time I saw something like this. Part of the reason the term “shaman” is so red flaggy to me is because what is being taught as Native American shamanism simply isn’t. aside from the fact that it’s not a native term It’s often just a mishmash of new age concepts in native clothing.

Being a medicine man is a job and those dudes have their hands full serving their tribes. They aren’t out there teaching the public or anyone who isn’t immersed in the culture. They don’t even teach everyone within the tribe who wants it. Candidates for that are chosen based on aptitude. However, anyone can go take a core shamanism course and append native words to it. And people do. Then they hang out their shingle as teachers of Native spirituality. For a price of course.

Anyone who refers to themselves as a native American shaman is pulling your leg. Some may sincerely believe it. but the amount of nonsense being put out has gotten so bad that some actual medicine men have felt compelled to leave their communities to set the record straight. Best not to be taken in by that. There is nothing wrong with core shamanism and it’s a good bit of tech to have. I just think that forewarned is forearmed.


PREACH IT, my dude! This post is on point and too many people get suckered by this blatant disrespect of native beliefs. Even the term “medicine man” is a general term and not used by all tribes.


That is no small reason why they don’t teach the public. They don’t want that stuff watered down and they know damn well that people outside the culture will do exactly that. It’s how they preserve their traditions.


Interesting account. This is a problem with spirituality in general. They arentabout the deep inner work, they learn some surface level stuff and turn around and use it as a cash-grab or power trip. You have to watch for charlatans everywhere.

To reiterate, if you dont like me using shaman as a catch all for spiritual paths closer to nature thats fine bruh lol. We can agree to disagree on the importance of certain terminology. My bad if I came off wrong in the other thread.

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I will not recount the past life experiences the medicine spirits showed me for very personal reasons, but it brought up a lot of negativity that the person conducting the ceremony removed. It was a very grounding experience. The Hopi man spoke to me very directly about what I saw which I had not divulged to them.

I should have articulated myself better but I was busy with other things at the time I wrote those other posts. I didnt mean to make it seem they were claiming something they were not, simply that they are capable of some actual abilities I rarely see and it stems from indigenous cultures. Im no expert on native american practices and I cant say if they were perfectly emulating it, but I know from there I created a bond with plant and animal spirits.

I actually left that group anyways to pursue my own shit cuz one of them was an arrogant dick despite what he was capable of.

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Someone who exhibits power and insight has something worthwhile to teach whether it is traditional or not. And that is of primary importance to me. So why am I such a stickler for terminology? I am Choctaw and I practice magic. Does that give me license to teach Choctaw magic? Not really, because it would be misleading and would only muddy the waters for people looking to connect to their native culture. That’s why so much of this native American fanfic raises my hackles quite a bit.

I was once trying to learn things about my own culture only to end up wading through an ocean of made up garbage. It was so bad, I gave up on it for years. And I am seeing the same things being perpetuated here. New age ideas masquerading as native American lore. I have made attempts to straighten out some of the more blatant nonsense with some actual facts, only to have the authors of said fiction double down even more as if I had never said anything. And when someone conveniently trots out a “shaman” to bolster claims, you now know why it’s suspicious to me.


While I personally don’t care what someone calls themselves like Native American “shaman” different Native American tribes had different things they called themselves and it’s insanely too messy to shift through the real stuff and the stuff that new agers crapped on to make Native Americans sound like some over fantasized pile of shit. So I can also understand the irritation with it.
Like how the concept of rainbow warriors came to be, oof…
I have choctaw heritage (among other things) and I was debating on looking further into it but I have to admit I had to give up after all the cringy shit.

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To hear them tell it, you would think we were a bunch of tofu eating tree huggers. Pfff. We were warring amongst ourselves before Europeans ever set foot here.

Yeah. You get it.


I understand completely. My mistake, I mean no offense bro. Its a bad habit I am working on, making sure I dont get ahead of myself and generalize or whatnot instead of articulating myself properly. My main path is a small Sumerian neo-pagan group that emphasizes practicality and grounded-ness, and you echo the advanced members warnings from early on in my path and Im grateful for that. They want to bridge the gap between the esoteric and the physical, science and spirituality. They always reinforce critical thinking and not making things out to be something they are not (specifically on the spiritual, “a rock is a rock”)

I kept mostly to that path before one of my brothers who is more advanced than I from that sumerian group got me into the indigenous side of things, so its a fairly new thing on my path and I dont want to act like I am all-knowing. It did open me up to different paths and how many are just different ways (often culturally) to certain spiritual truths, and its why I am an eclectic now and not a straight neo-pagan. Been wanting to delve into Daoism as well. In fact I’d love if you shared your knowledge on indigenous culture and spirituality as I deeply respect it and I do not want to disown that. Im sure you know better than me.

I also want to connect with my ancestors culture and spirituality as I am heavily of nordic and germanic descent, but that is very hard living in the states. On the flipside it does make me think how much native american culture and spirituality has become pop culture-ized and saturated by dabblers and such. Being an outsider in terms of heritage, I see how it bothers you. I honestly was just seeing it from the lens of spirituality as a whole being saturated by dabblers, charlatans, and the like. Good to discuss and share perspectives sincerely even if we may end up disagreeing on some things.

Edit: sorry this post turned into a novel lol

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It annoys me a lot too…society and especially spirituality is infested with this idea of tofu eating tree-hugging when history scoffs at them projecting their culture onto history.


You didn’t offend me and that diatribe wasn’t even about you specifically. As far as I know you aren’t putting out made up lore and using a fictitious shaman to back it up. And it DOES bother me because people keep getting away with it. When you start with fiction, you end with fiction. There is zero value in that and it’s a distraction to people who are making sincere efforts as you seem to be.


Quick side note, you might want to look into Urglaawe. Its the closest thing to an unbroken Heathen tradition directly from Germany, primarily practiced in the Pennsylvanian Deitscherei


I’ve been hard at work on a philosophy book written for those logical scientist skeptic types. Several of the demons have been on me about it for years, so I’m going to go do it.
Part of the problem with so called Western Civilization, besides the supremacy of the Judaeo-Christain crap, has also been this fall into hardcore materialism and skepticism. All those spiritual lightweights with the tofu eating tree hugers, as well as the charlatans and scammers just give the skeptics fodder to say things like see, this is all fake.
Every time we think we get rid of the religion crap it comes back because atheist materialist philosophy doesn’t give peoples lives meaning, and it goes into some kind of self destructive hell mode.
So basically, without a firm philosophical foundation, we, as a species, are not ascending anywhere.

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We have always had the division between the exoteric and the esoteric. Our version of the exoteric is the popular occultism. Here, you will find the exoteric in practices based on fanfic and pop culture ideas of what magic is. Then you have the esoteric side wherein people are actually getting things done. Guess which demographic is largest and gets the most notice.


I couldnt agree more with ya’ll. Humanity is stubborn and doesnt like to evolve until it is at the brink of destruction and people would rather live a comfortable lie than accept the harsh truth.


Yes. Feelgood spirituality that otherwise does nothing. Exoteric nonsense.


“Shaman” is a Siberian term so anyone claiming to be Native American and getting precious about that term is commiting “cultural appropriation.” :laughing:

The earliest known depiction of a Siberian shaman, by the Dutch Nicolaes Witsen, 17th century. Witsen called him a “priest of the Devil” and drew clawed feet for the supposed demonic qualities.[6]

The word shamanism probably derives from the Manchu-Tungus word šaman, meaning “one who knows”.[7] The word shaman may also have originated from the Evenki word šamán, most likely from the southwestern dialect spoken by the Sym Evenki peoples.[8] The Tungusic term was subsequently adopted by Russians interacting with the indigenous peoples in Siberia. It is found in the memoirs of the exiled Russian churchman Avvakum.[9]
~ Shamanism - Wikipedia

Well, I don’t know what the controversy is, I do know for a fact that Native Americans no more own the term “shaman” or any rights whatsoever to use it and define it, guard it and appropriate it, than I own the term “feng shui” - as a Nordic-heritage white chick. :man_shrugging:

Core shamanism is not Native American, not Siberian, not (insert cultural or ethnic group) - it is the distilled core (clue’s in the name) of each method as collated by an anthropologist.

Core shamanic teachers who try to stand for any cultural or ethnic group’s traditions whilst still claiming to be “core shamanism” are missing the point, and misleading their students.


If I wasn’t clear, it’s not a matter of claiming ownership. It’s rather a matter of it not being a Native American thing in the first place. In a sense, the term is being disowned and not just by me. So when I see someone who is clearly spewing fanfiction and then conveniently trots out a Native American “shaman” to back it up when called out, this is problematic for that reason.


So true and this person that’s not native (okay she’s white) is selling an online course on shamanism and stuff for over $300 I think it’s ridiculous. Spirituality was never meant to be overpriced.


Michael Harner is a white guy and I don’t take issue with his core shamanism. It’s a method that I have used myself. And I have paid at least that much for information. if they are selling it as “Native American” shamanism, just know that isn’t a thing.