I mean no disrespect to shamanistic cultures and traditions, nor to those whose spirituality embraces spirit/totem creatures. There is a tradition of women shaman/medicine women among Native North Americans.
My spirit animal, a red squirrel, whispered in a dream, “shaman.”
Not the career choice I had planned, but to go against one’s totem animal was dangerous ground.
So I meditated, drifted, explored my inner soul. The one open to the world, and the ones of mine alone.
As I let my mind wander, I heard my great-grandmother with her usual sarcasm: “There is a problem, if you haven’t noticed.”
Coming from a conservative-minded culture, I needed to find a very modern, open-minded shaman who believed in equality of the sexes.
Trend-setter. Shattering pre-conceived notions. Breaking the gender barrier. This was not going to be easy.
“Thanks,” I thought. “You have implanted this idea and now it will not leave.” Response, just laughter. Spirit animals can be annoying.
After discreetly asking around, I learned there was a “retired” shaman of my tradition teaching at the local community college. I made an appointment, and before hand slipped into his class.
He seemed small against the size of the lecture hall, but his voice boomed and carried to the very back. He was lecturing about religions and spirituality. To not to dismiss what you haven’t seen, felt, or conversed with. I was caught up in his stories, images on the screen behind him. He spoke of ritual cleansing, of healing the mind and the body.
As the class filed out, the teacher, taking two steps at a time called my name, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Yes, I have an appointment with you during office hours.”
“No,” he said, panting a bit. “I’ve been waiting for you since before you were born.”
I looked at him strangely. Perhaps his “retirement” as a shaman was forced by his village.
“No, not creepy!,” he said, noticing the look in my eyes, though I kept my face looking stoic. “While I was training, a raven came to me several times. He had something to convince me of. Too wild and incomprehensible, I put it in the part of the mind that once trapped, doesn’t get back out again.”
“And it did?” wondering if this whole adventure was simply a trickster joke.
He gently touched my shoulder. “The raven said when it is time for you to know, your mind, spirit and soul will come alive.”
He smiled, “The raven dropped by last night to say our adventure was beginning. Remember, raven always knows.”
I looked confused. Still smiling, he said “Sorry – you are destined to be a sha(wo)man, and I was picked to teach you.”
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Fairy Tale Prompt May 8.