As interest in shamanism grows, online training offerings are emerging. There are pros and cons to this trend. On the one hand, never before has it been so easy to connect with shamanic practitioners and shamanic resources from all over the world. This is an exciting development, since no one with access to a computer need feel isolated in their pursuit of information about shamanism. The downside is that the sheer volume of material makes it challenging to sort through it and to determine what is accurate, legitimate, and useful. And, even when you find accurate resources, having information and truly knowing are not the same thing.

We are both physical and spiritual beings. Shamanism is an embodied practice, traditionally taught and passed on within a living community, even though the spirits work outside of space and time. Through many years of experience teaching the methods of core shamanism, we have seen that the profound depth of live interaction among participants—supported by the power of the gathered circle and the presence of the compassionate helping spirits—is not duplicated in an online format. Though shamanism is an independent spirituality that emphasizes methodologies that help you connect directly to the spirits for answers and knowledge, it is no contradiction that achieving this personal freedom is most effectively facilitated by learning within a grounded and harmonious in-person community.

Online offerings can provide useful introductory information about shamanism and shamanic healing—what it is and its relevance to the individual and our world. As to shamanic methods, just as one can experiment with shamanic journeying by following the process set forth in Michael Harner’s The Way of the Shaman and Cave and Cosmos, an online course in shamanism may provide you with a glimpse into another reality of great power and possibility. This may help you to determine if shamanism is a good fit for your life, worth pursuing fully in a circle of like-minded students through in depth training with highly experienced shamanic teacher-healers.

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Polestar logo design by Carolyn Fee ©2010 Foundation for Shamanic Studies
FSS Polestar highlights some of the questions we are frequently asked about contemporary shamanic practice. “Polestar” is defined as “something that serves as a guiding principle.” It reflects our commitment to helping practitioners stay oriented to authentic shamanic methods and ethics, while maintaining their own independent spirituality, which comes from learning directly from the compassionate spirits. Send us your practice-related questions for consideration for Polestar. Use our CONTACT FORM, and put “Polestar” in the subject line.