I recorded an invocation in Spanish for my new YouTube channel yesterday and in that introduction/invocation I described myself as en eclectic shaman. I don't come from a society where shamanism is part of our culture. That tradition was pretty much destroyed in Northern Europe where I have my geneological roots with the Christian invasion (1). Any way, the result is that shamanism isn't a tradition in my cultured and so I'm not a "traditional shaman".
Rather, I enjoy a form of shamanism that brings together the practices from diverse cultures. This combination of practices combines elements that work for me. They may not work the same for you so I encourage you to experiment and use what works. Shamanism is, after all, an experiential path. For example, no matter how many books about medicinal herbs you read or how many correspondence courses or workshops you attend you eventually have to get out into the field and communicate with the spirits of the weeds (I love weeds, they are just plants that grow where must people don't want them . . . I want them everywhere).
Here is another example. There are lots of tools that you can use for divination. You might use a pendulum, tarot cards, or ogham. If you are a curandero/shaman in the Andes then you would open your pachakuti mesa or despacho (bundle of sacred objects) and cast coca leaves on a q'ipina (Quechua, woven cloth). If you lived on the Altioplano outside of La Paz you might also melt a few ounces of zinc and drop the molten metal into a vessel of cold water and the read the formation that solidified when the melt rapidly cooled. The practice of molybdomanacy was/is also practiced in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. I don't mess with molten metal; its just too dangerous for me. If I started laying out my mesa in the park and casting coca leaves I would very quickly find myself in jail. I could mimic the practice by casting bay leaves, they about the same size, but to me bay leaves don't have the same energy, they are very weak in comparison to coca leaves. What to do?
I cast runes. The process is similar to that of casting coca leaves and I "read" the runes. The practice works for me and it comes from the land of some of my ancestors. The symbols on the rune stones resonate with me in a way the the images on tarot cards never have.
So, what does my eclectic practice include? Well part of it includes the following:
If you are feeling a little eclectic too then you might want to take a look at the blog series that I wrote on Core, Andean, Nordic, and Celtic shamanism. The links are to the first blog in each series.
Find the path and the tools that work best for you, and most of all, smile and enjoy your path because it's yours and no one else's.
(1) The last of the forced conversions of pagans in Northern Europe may have ended in 1386 when the King of Lithuania, LadislasJagiello, married Queen Jadwiga of Poland and received Catholic baptism. The two kingdoms were united under Christian rulers and the Teutonic Knights no longer had any justification for crusading against pagans there. Until then the twice-a-year crusades into Lithuania brought convert-or-die Christians into the flock.
I'm Dr. Dave, a modern druid. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice modern druidism and contemporary shamanism.