I think one of the tougher things for me about following a path that began with shamanic initiation, is finding relevance. Sure, when one studies the past of shamanic tradition, it was easy to see the "job"...finding prey for hunters, occasionally healing or retrieving "lost souls".
But we are not small tribes of hunter gatherers any more. And other than a few nutcake Christian fundamentalists, most folks have doctors and mental health counselors for physical illness and the array of mental issues and heart-break that could have been attributed in the past to "soul loss." This is not to say, if such IS your cultural surround---such as is in some Indian tribes, that the attentions of a traditional healer will not augment such treatment. But, for the most part, in spite of shamanism being the latest and greatest fad again,
finding what it is in daily 21st century life in the western world that someone who walks the liminal borders is good for NOW?
For me, studying shamanism as it existed in Siberia, or Celtic & Nordic lands, or even in South Africa, did not answer that question. Instead, I found my answer in my study of ancient Greek religion; for although I am not a Hellenic Reconstructionist, I am at least partially a Hellenic Pagan. Athena can be an unforgiving mistress sort of patron; she is (for me) prone to sort of barking commands and leaving it to me to find out how to do it.
Did I mention I am a bit stupid? Did I mention that I need to fully understand what I am doing to do it well? She didn't seem to much care; if she were around today in the flesh, she would be a Marine and would bark "Suck it UP!" So, I stumbled forward and finally went begging aid from another goddess ---not strictly or only Greek: Hekate. Hekate to the Greeks and others was not the "wedged into a MMC matrix" hag that one finds in some bad neo-pagan books. She is a Titaness, "Lady of Sea and Air and Earth", the guide both of brides and the dead, the companion of Persephone and aide of Demeter. Her special province is the "aoroi" --the angry dead.
How the dead were treated was of prime importance to the ancient Greeks---soldiers for instance, had to be properly brought home and buried with suitable honor. A general who failed to take care of his dead could pretty much kiss his career good-bye. Likewise, women who abused or neglected children, or killed them, would be in trouble in the Greek world----and with Greek deities. For such behaviors created unhappy ghosts----somewhat akin to the Navaho idea of "chindi"---hungry ghosts. Such dissatisfied (disfunctional?) dead sapped the living society and were seen as a danger.
Shamanic tradition has often included components of working with the dead, to ensure they find their way where-ever it is they are bound for after shuffling from this mortal coil. But for many years as I stumbled along, I had no idea why I would be called to what seemed terribly like a superceded and archaic pathway.
Until the war began. And then, it seemed I was deluged with divine 'shoulder taps'...and found out why I had been "prepared." It seems my job to worry over the dead of the war---those whose caskets are not publicly viewed on television as the other generations of war dead have been---in the Greek sense, this could be deemed a "lack of proper honor and notice." My dreams were of sights I had never and could never see....and I knew I was seeing what those whose names I began to keep had seen last.
So, I have, for a while (and I hope a SHORT while) found my personal relevance. It is why I built the Labyrinth. I will not lengthen this doubtless boring post with more detail----anyone who is not already snoring or more curious can find info at the link below my signature line. It might be nicer to find herds for hunting---but alas, THAT time is gone. I REFUSE, lol, to decide the stock market is the "hunt" and divine market predictions!