I am opening up my home for a limited number of trainees in Therioshamanism. My goal is to be able to work with those who successfully complete the initial training to further develop Therioshamanism as a path. While it will still be “my baby”, in that it will be based on the ideals and parameters that I have been laying down and will continue to develop, I want to encourage further experimentation, and in-person note-trading. In order for other people to help in this development, it will be necessary to have training in the basics already established to give proper context.
What is Therioshamanism?
Therioshamanism is the neoshamanic path that I have been developing over the last year, based out of my own experiences with animal magic and other paths in the past decade and change, as well as supplemental reading and studying. I have been actively practicing this path, and am continually developing the techniques, particularly as they pertain to journeying and related practices. This will be an experiential training wherein the trainees will be doing the bulk of the work on their own with me as a guide.
It is first and foremost an ecospiritual path; this is not a path of abstractions, but one that ideally brings spirituality into conjunction with physical reality. There is no divide between “mundane” and “magical”; the physical world has magic all its own. As shamans, we mediate between the physical world and the spiritual world, but we recognize that they are not so distantly separated as is sometimes assumed. Part of the training, as well as subsequent work, will involve the interrelationship between self, community, and environment, and making improvements to all three.
It is also specifically a spirit-focused path. Most neoshamanisms tend to emphasize the techniques of shamanism first, with the relationships with the spirits primarily as aids to those techniques. In Therioshamanism, the relationships come first, and the techniques (as well as the contexts you will use them in) develop out of those relationships. This also means that your shamanizing will not be only focused on aiding human beings, and/or on self-development; rather, you will also take on tasks for the benefit of the spirits, as well as the natural phenomena they represent/embody/hold sacred/etc.
Finally, Therioshamanism is not based on core shamanism, which is what is detailed in Michael Harner’s The Way of the Shaman and the majority of other books on practical neoshamanism. One of my goals is to create a neoshamanic path that is independent of core shamanism and traditional shamanisms, and that is specifically geared towards nonindigenous practitioners. To that end, while we may look to other cultures’ shamanisms as inspiration, the bulk of the practical material will be based on both my experiences as I have developed Therioshamanism, as well as your own experiences during training, but also on the accounts of other nonindigenous, non-core shamanic practitioners.
The development of Therioshamanism will be primarily according to the parameters I set; you should be prepared to work within these parameters, which I will elaborate on during training. There will be ample room for experimentation, as well as for personal practice of things that are not included under the aegis of Therioshamanism, but I want there to remain some core of beliefs and practices that are central to the path.
If you would like to find out more and see where I’ve been, check the archives on the left sidebar, or scroll back on the main site.
So, who am I looking for?
–People who are in Portland, or who are willing to travel to Portland once a month, and who can commit to meeting up once a month through a six month initial training period.
–People who want to actively practice Therioshamanism as a path in and of itself, whether you are doing so already or not, and whether you are trained in other forms of shamanism/paganism or not. A basic understanding of magical practice, neopagan/neoshamanic spiritualities, as well as at least some experience with meditation, are preferred; if you are entirely new to all of this, please wait until a later training cycle and do some research in the meantime.
–People who, having successfully completed the initial six months of training, will continue to work with what they’ve been taught, and to continue regular meetings with me and the rest of the successful initiates.
Things You Should Know In Advance!
–Again, I want to emphasize that this is not core shamanism. Journeying is considered to be potentially dangerous, though not to the point where we should all just stay home. You will not simply go off into journeys with a single power animal and a power song; an important part of the basis of Therioshamanism is developing healthy relationships with a variety of spirit guides. You will also not be limited to learning only about healing, for while shamanism may involve healing, it involves a number of other potential tasks as well, not all of which are nice and pretty. And you will most likely not hear me throw around words like “medicine” and “vision quest” unless I am referencing someone else’s work. I do not draw on sources such as Brooke Medicine Eagle, Carlos Castaneda, Mary Summer Rain, or Ken Eagle Feather. If you would like to see some of my source material, click here to see a bibliography.
–This will NOT be a “shaman circle”, wherein we get together to do group rituals, group healing, etc. Rather, you will do the bulk of the work on your own, and meeting up will primarily be for trading notes while you are training. Further work beyond the initial six months will be discussed in person.
—These meetings will be for trainees only, not friends or family members (unless they have applied themselves). If you have children, please make sure that you make child care arrangements in advance. Also, just to make things clear, I am accepting trainees only 18 years of age or older. I am not responsible for any conflicts with family, friends, etc. that may result from your decision to train with me.
—If you are allergic to cats, please be aware that we have two cats, though we will be doing much of our discussion in a room where the cats aren’t allowed. However, there may be social time downstairs, where the cats roam free. I also have a husband, who is very good at respecting confidentiality, and who may be found wandering the downstairs portion of our home. He will not be participating in the training, but you will invariably encounter him. Please do not harass, bite, poke, molest, worry, or frighten the husband; it makes him cranky, and he must then be placated with video games and/or good beer, through an anciente Therioshamanick Rite involving Great Risk to Life and Limb. (You can, however, safely say “Hi” and even engage him in conversation.)
–Part of Therioshamanism does involve working with animal remains, including skin drums. This is an essential part of the path. If you want to find a drum that has been made from the skin from an animal that died a natural death or was used for food, I can help you with that. If you are a strict vegan, you may want to reconsider.
–Training is expected to be preparation for more involvement in Therioshamanism as a path, including continuing to meet as a group. It is not an end within itself, and completing the initial six months training will not “certify” you, so to speak, as a Therioshaman–it will simply lay the groundwork. There will not be set rites of passage, other than at the end of your initial six months; any other rites of passage will be determined by the individual and/or the spirits s/he works with, and discussed with the group to the extent that the individual is comfortable.
–You will not be required to pay any fees for training. Donations are appreciated, as I will be providing you with some materials at the outset, and I’m not going to complain if you want to help out a bit beyond that. We may do a small potluck for each meeting; if you want to make something extra and leave it with me that would be a good substitute if you’re uncomfortable with money–I can always use food! There will be some books that are suggested for you to get, though probably only one or two will be considered mandatory (and they are generally easy to find cheap and used). You will also need to purchase a skin drum during your training; one option is that complete kits for 12″ goatskin drums are available for under $30 at the drum shop down the street from where I live, as well as on the internet. (If you already have a skin drum, you’re welcome to use it.)
If You Are Interested…
Please contact me at whishthound (at) gmail.com and include the application below–do not put your application in a reply to this post. I will set up a time where we can meet in person to do an interview. I do reserve the right to accept or deny applicants.
Therioshamanism Training Application
Date of Birth
City of Residence
Best phone number to contact you
Best Evenings for Meeting and Potential Scheduling Conflicts
Emergency contact person with contact info if different from your own
What is your spiritual/magical background? What paths have you followed, and what sorts of magic/ritual have you done? Have you been initiated into any other paths?
What has drawn you to shamanism in general?
What reasons do you have for wanting to train in Therioshamanism?
Are there any health considerations, physical or otherwise, that I may need to know about? Please keep in mind that shamanic practice may be very intense at times, physically and psychologically.
Do you have reliable transportation to get to the inner Northeast portion of Portland? I am located in the Kerns/Laurelhurst area, reasonably close to the 20 line and about fifteen minutes bus ride from the Skidmore Fountain MAX station.