Dave, Are You A Shaman?
The word "shaman" comes from Siberian native language. When translated, it literally means "healer." Healing in that culture (as with most native cultures around the planet) comes with the perspective that indelibly includes a spiritual component.
So the term "shaman" describes someone who communicates with the spirits of the land, of plants, of disease, of their clients' divine support team, etc, to gain information to help their community or an individual member who has fallen ill. It often translated as someone who "sees in the dark."
Deeply rooted in the culture surrounding that term is that it is a strong sense of community and tribe. Someone is determined to be a shaman by either the existing shaman of the tribe or by the tribe itself. The idea of appointing oneself a shaman is unheard of in those cultures, and makes no sense.
This is why I will never call myself a shaman. Self-appointing that title comes from ego, and not actually in alignment with the deeper meaning and origin of the term. To call myself a shaman is to disrespect the context that term implies, as it is a title given by community.
Instead, I say I am a shamanic practitioner. I employ shamanic techniques such as divination, journeying, soul retrieval, and extractions. But simply using these techniques does not make me a shaman.
The shamanic techniques are available to us all - you do not have to belong to a native tribe in order to use them, just as you do not have to be Japanese to make sushi.
So no, I am not a shaman. I also am skeptical of those in the western world who call themselves shamans. It feels disrespectful to the community- and lineage-based cultures that the term originates from.
However, I hold in deep respect and love the perspectives, techniques, and cultures of shamanism, and employ them in my life and in my sessions with great adulation. My aim to spread the awareness of them to others to extend the reach of these amazing tools, as they hold the power to transform our lives and our culture.