On Being a Shaman

Interview with Nicholas Noble Wolf

We are interviewing Nicholas Noble Wolf, a local shaman. Nicholas will tell us what it means to be shaman in the modern world through his lineage and tradition.

Shaman: A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events--American Heritage Dictionary

WA: What is your lineage in shamanism?

NW: The person who took me through my initiation and was my teacher for a number of years was Jade Wah'oo. He is a Mongolian American. His predecessor was Juan Peña who was from the San Juan Pueblo. I am Scottish American—my people came over in the 1700s.

WA: Well then, would you call yourself a multi-cultural shaman?

NW: Since the shamanic ways have their roots in tribalism, I'm able to assist people of the western culture better than if I had been brought up tribally myself.

WA: How long have you been a shaman?

NW: My first initiation to make me shaman was in the early ’90s. However, I have been involved in the ways since the '70s.

WA: How many initiations have you been through?

NW: Three.

WA: Exactly what is an initiation?

NW: During an initiation, you are ritually killed. Your spirit "passes over." While on the other side you receive teachings and medicine. Your spirit heals your body, and you reincarnate back into the same body.

WA: Do you really die?

NW: I don't know, I was dead. (laughs) During my third initiation, I was told that I was held under water for several hours. Since I can't hold my breath that long, I assume I must have been dead.

WA: What do you mean by medicine?

NW: I define medicine as a relationship with a spirit such that it will respond in accordance with our desires. For example, before one can claim a medicine, one has to show that medicine to an elder. If I earned Eagle Medicine, an elder might require me to take him into the woods and call a physical eagle to come visit us.

WA: Can anyone decide to become a shaman, or must you have a calling?

NW: Anyone can walk the path and receive great value from doing so, however only the Old One can decide who can become Shaman.

WA: Who is the Old One.

NW: The Old One is a spiritual being who has previously reached completion on the earth and no longer needs to reincarnate. Instead of continuing his or her journey, the Old One agrees to remain as a helper to those on the Earth. I believe that this is similar if not the same as the ascended masters. The Old One of this lineage is named Compassion.

WA: What can you do for people?

NW: The reason that we're here on the Earth as manifest beings is for our spirit to receive value and experience, so we should walk our spirit's intent. When we aren't walking our spirit's intent, our life doesn't work. We are not happy and/or we get sick--actually, sometimes we get sick just because we do. The ceremonials I carry and am authorized to lead, assist people in staying on their path and in balance with the earth. The doctorings I carry correct disease and imbalances that are already there. You could say the ceremonials are preventive medicine and doctorings are corrective.

WA: Do you lead sweats?

NW: Yes.

WA: Tell us about sweats.

NW: It's hot and dark, we pray and sing a lot. It has four rounds, it's very traditional. I run my sweats the way the Old One told me to. I have done Apache, Lakota and Ute sweats, and it's a lot like those.

WA: Are women allowed in your sweats?

NW: Yes, I run men's and mixed sweats.

WA: What do people wear in sweats?

NW: Men wear shorts, women typically wear a sweat dress or something conservative.

WA: Is it true that women are not allowed to do sweat in their moon time? Why is that?

NW: It would be most appropriate to ask that question of the women. But, I understand that they can pick up the negative emotions being released in the lodge and get very sick. Women I know who are in touch with their moon time say a sweat lodge is the last place they would choose to be at that time.

WA: I have heard a lot about levels of consciousness. What's that all about.

NW: Since mankind evolved from animal consciousness, we've gone through three levels of consciousness. In the first level, we gained the ability to operate from the place of give-away. In other words, life receives life in a give-away manner.

In the give-away level we would do something to honor the animal who chose to give to us. Perhaps we would offer a prayer, such as, "Deer, I am hungry. I ask that one of you jump in front of my arrow." Then after we hunt, we would give thanks to the animal who gave its life that we might eat.

After time, it became possible for mankind to shift into the second level of consciousness. This second level has two parts:

Part A is that awareness seeks embodiment. Embodied awareness creates consciousness. We could say that awareness is spirit. Spirit wants to be embodied in physical form. When you have awareness embodied, you then have consciousness. We came to the awareness that we are embodied spirits.

Part B is that consciousness passionately seeks union with consciousness. We could say that we have an understanding of the attraction consciousness has for consciousness.

In the 3rd level, fulfilled consciousness creatively manifest. You could say that when consciousnesses come together, you get more than the sum of the parts. This third is the level of power such that we find ourselves manifesting powerfully.

Think of these levels of awareness being related to the branches on the tree of life, and we are climbing the tree of spiritual development and awareness. So the first level of awareness is related to our first chakra. The 2nd to the second, and the 3rd to the third--like that.

The 4th level of awareness is going to have some relationship to our fourth chakra. When we step into the 4th level, we step into the level of spiritual love.

By the way, our word for chakra is star.

WA: Why star?

NW: The stars within us are the same stars that make up the star arrangement called the Seven Sisters. When you look into the night sky and see the Seven Sisters, you are seeing the stars that are within yourself.

WA: Can you fill us in on prophesy?

NW: There is a doorway that started opening in the mid-1980s. It will close sometime early in the next century, around 2012. By the time it closes, people will have to have shifted into the 4th level of awareness or the opportunity will be closed to them. The sad part is, the comet, Hale bob came through the mid-point of the door being opened. It was a sign that the people had to get on the path of the 4th level of awareness. The prophesy said the people must do that by the time the comet came to earth. Once it came to earth, the people not on the path--it would be too late for them to go to the next level.

WA: But the comet didn't actually come to the earth, did it?

NW: No, not physically, but it looked at first like the comet was flying through the sky from right to left. After awhile, the comet's tale shifted so that it was pointing straight up. The comet looked like it was heading toward earth. Each night the comet was lower on the horizon so that it looked almost like it touched the earth. I believe this is what they meant. When the comet disappeared from the sky, it had spiritually come to earth.

WA: What happens to people not on the path?

NW: Spiritually, they will have to start over again. They will be left behind. Physically, they will be on earth, but they must start over at the first level.

WA: I have really enjoyed our conversation. Do you have any last words?

NW: I want to make it clear that my ways are not the only ways. There are many paths that will get a person there. Maybe, sometimes, I can help a person on their path.

(originally published in Wholistic Alternatives Magazine)

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Posted 11/12/2006

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