Frequently asked questions and Incites into the Shamanism we offer

We share a lineage of Shamanism from the Far East with an integration of universal Shamanic practices and wisdom found world-wide. To better communicate, we’ve translated everything below into a more western language and terminology.  The challenge is that our English language doesn’t have the words for these expressions of “Spirit,” practices, skills and states of Awareness-Consciousness.  We also find in our Western world we have commercialized certain words and practices which have distorted, diluted and often changed them. For this reason, we’ve translated the terminology to best communicate the integrity and depth of this wisdom.

Frequently asked questions

Where does the word Shaman come from?


“The meaning of the word ‘shaman’ is shrouded in linguistic mystery and various explanations have been put forward for its origin. One theory is that it is possibly derived from an ancient Chinese term for a Buddhist priest or monk. The Oxford English Dictionary says the word comes from the Russian “shaman” and is a translation of the Tungusion word “saman.” Other sources say it derive from a Germany. In Siberia and Mongolia, shamanism was known as Tengerism, meaning a reverence for sky spirits. It reflected an animistic belief system where everything in the natural world was alive, permeated by spirit force or, in simple terms, inhabited by spirits.” ~ Micheal Howard




What is Shamanism?


The term “Shamanism” has become quite distorted and generalized. Many think of it as Native American but it in fact the term derives from eastern Europe and the oldest expression comes from India and surrounding parts of Asia.

Depending what part of the world you’re in, you’ll most likely get different descriptions of it. You’ll also discover each one has it’s own way of being initiated and learning it.

However, you’ll see there are universal principles, mindsets and ways of doing things that all traditions of shamanism have but may express differently.

Shamanism, in essence, is a nature based spirituality and way of honoring all things as its own unique expression and form of consciousness. It’s recognizing everything is Spirit. It’s a way of seeing beyond the surface representation of the world appearing as disjointed and seeing the interconnected relationship within everything. It’s being part of the relationship.

Imagine looking around and seeing divinity within everything you see. Imagine seeing the relationships between all things and knowing how to interact, to be part of this relationship, part of the conversation.

We share “Spirit is always speaking to us and Shamanism is a means of joining the conversation.”




What is a Shaman?


Around the world there are different names for shaman: Wizard, Guru, Mystic, Witch, Ascetic, etc

A Shaman may be considered an Interpreter of Spirit. She/He is one able to see the relationship within things, the cause and effect and cycles and patterns.

A shaman takes on all sorts of shapes and functions. Just like the west has eye doctors, heart doctors, nutritionist, psychiatrist and so forth, there may be shamans masterful with nature based healing, leading others through specific rites of passages, exorcisms, how to live in rhythm with cyclic nature and others are focused on personal-alchemy.

A Shaman is one who is grounded in a state of consciousness allowing them to interact with greater awareness of how Spirit is expressing itself through the natural world, each person, and world events.




How can everyday people benefity from learning shamanic principles?


Not everyone can be a Shaman. We all have a natural knack for things in life. We each have our own dharma, path. However, we can all learn from seeing the world through the Shaman's eyes. The moment you transcend the illusion of duality, of seeing differences, and struggle, you enter a much more expansive paradigm. You see how to live in greater rhythm, harmony and balance in life. You learn how to your nourish your relationships, to have more spaciousness in life so you have the experience of being alive. You learn a common sense methodology of knowing what to do and when to do it so you may consistently make informed decisions with diet, relationships, choices, desires, and life. You feel more connected and apart of life so instead of life happening TO you, life is expressing THROUGH you. It opens a greater sense of magic in life and this expands into everything you do.

To live in rhythm with the seasons is also to understand how they influence our consciousness and pulls us, leads us and guides us. Every season has it's own magic. Using rituals, journeys, and intention we move in partnership with nature.

It's recognizing we are not a cog in a wheel bending the universe to me, but falling in step with the rhythm of the universe. Live connected... Live Align..




What lineage of Shamanism do you Share?


We share a time honored tradition that’s been handed down Master to student for thousands of year from a region which now encompasses parts of India, Afghanistan, Tibet Thailand and China. Imagine a lineage of powerful mystics who live without possessions, live outside amongst the raw elements of nature, and have mastered the techniques to regulate one’s body temperature and other bodily processes. They’ve devoted the entireties of their lives to their inner alchemy and serving others. Imagine those who track the movement of the stars, harness the energy of the sun and moon and live every breath in rhythm with nature.

In my personal experience, they’re the most awake and powerful beings I’ve ever came across.

Expanded Answer:

The best translation of this is the Tradition of the Shape-Shifter or Multi-Faceted Being. It is a very detailed body of wisdom and practices providing a delineated path enabling one to steadily evolve through specific state of consciousness, skills and abilities through immersion with nature and coming into direct contact with oneself.

My teachers, these great mystics of India, would say we follow the tradition of no tradition. These nameless teachers of a nameless tradition refused to have names and put labels to their order. They identified with being without identity for this is the way of the Multi-faceted being.

The word Guru is actually two words. Gu means without our form and Ru means without attributes. Hence by dissolving sense of identity and letting go of the ego’s attachment to one’s attributes, one then may become all forms and all attributes. One transcends the limited singular form of consciousness and becomes one with the multi-faceted being.

Like a single drop of the ocean merging again with the whole where it maintains its individual self while gaining the

consciousness of the whole!

In other traditions this is the way of the Shape-Shifter.

With that said, it is the Trikta Tradition or Kashmir Saivsim which best exemplifies the underlying principles, practices and mindsets.




What Paths Does This Tradition Provide?


This tradition shares there are four methods of Sadhana (Spiritual Discipline)

āṇavopāya, the method of the body,

śaktopāya, the method of the mind,

śāmbhavopāya, the method of Consciousness,

anupāya the ‘methodless’ method.

These includes ritual, meditation, rites of passage & trials, initiations/activations, awareness development, and learning the subtle laws animating the processes of nature both without and within.

The ultimate aim of this tradition is transformation of the Self where one grounds in an expanded consciousness linking She/He with all things.




What do you mean by The Methodless Method?


Once you learn the universal core principles found within all traditions, practices, and rituals/initiations, you gain the freedom to allow Spirit be the guiding force.

It enables you to experience a kind of mysteriously organic process of discovery and learning. Because you are grounded in this inner framework of Self and the universe you have a deeper sense of intuition and direction.

“You do what makes sense to your interior, instead of “Because that’s the way it is or way you’re told to.”

It’s like a tree growing. It doesn’t know where it’s growing next. A branch may grow out this way, then that way, and then another way. If you let it be that way and don’t have pressures from outside, when you look back, you’ll see that this will have been an organic development.” ~ Joseph Campbell

My teachers would send me to all kinds of teachers from other traditions and lineages. They say “Go to this “X” village. You’ll see a small opening in the jungle alongside the road. Follow it and you’ll come to a river. cross it and follow the jasmine flowers. There you’ll meet Baba (teacher). Stay with him until we call you back. And that’s how it went.

When they told me to return to the U.S they continued to guide me to other teachers of many different traditions. I traveled to Thailand, Italy, Mexico and through the SW of U.S. Learning from Native American, Druid, Sufi, Buddhism, Esoteric Christianity. My teachers shared there’s truth and magic in all them. It’s like being on a great treasure hunt and because I had the core fundamentals I could slide right in, speak the same language, and engage on the Level. What’s more, those teachers identified it right away so we just began where I left off rather than starting from the beginning with each tradition.

In the Methodless method, everyone becomes your teacher and guide. Every experience, every encounter with animal, plant, person or land becomes a lesson further connecting you to the mysteries within. It’s a powerful bliss filled path!

What’s important here however is to learn the core fundamentals so you can do so.

THE DANGER IN THIS is those who haven’t learned these core fundamentals, who haven’t been initiated and grounded in this frame of reference. These wander from teacher to teacher, searching out “experiences” rather than legitimate growth and so they have the appearance of growth while merely caught up in the dream of experiences.

This is why the Methodless Method is the most dangerous and difficult. One still wants a guide helping cultivate discernment and provide direction. The true Sadhana (Spiritual Discipline) is one of the mind. It’s learning to navigate it and the dreamscape while remaining awake without unknowingly being pulled back within it.




Are you a Nature Based Tradition?


Absolutely.

I have yet to meet another living soul who lives as closely connected and in rhythm with nature as these incredible beings I lived and trained with in India. They sleep beneath the stars, on temple steps, beneath trees and in caves. From tracking the movement of the stars, to harnessing the energy of the sun and moon, living off the land amongst some of the harshest raw elements and conditions, these great shaman are intimately one with nature. The movement and processes of nature are the movement and processes of their own consciousness. It’s embedded in how they live every moment of their life.

The practices and awarenesses taught are based on closely observing nature from this intimately connected relationship.

It is from their ancestors that gave birth to Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda which share the most detailed inner workings of our body and mind seeing each person, plant, and entity as its own microcosm of the universe. They see each as it’s own consciousness and it is this unique consciousness that is their medicine.

It’s an intimate understanding of how the five elements interact within each plant, each person, within the mind and how it’s these elements which one’s is balancing in any healing session.

We see each plant as a combination of the 5 elements, sun energy, moon energy, and its own consciousness. When treating a person, they ask what elements/qualities do we need to increase and/or decrease within a person to restore balance.

I could write a book on this subject so will stop here. :)




What is a Shaman in this tradtion?


The essence of a “Shaman” is she/he is the interpreter of Spirit but it’s so much more. (See Types of Shaman)

In this tradition, the Shaman is more exemplified as a Mystic, a person of great terrifying power and simultaneously as the humbled guide who’d go unnoticed if not for the hint within their eyes. What makes it seem as a “terrifying power” however isn’t anything more than having a connection to the unseen. For those without the sight, this can be terrifying. The Shaman is one who’s aware of the Physics of Spirit and hence how to use these laws to manifest and play with the elements. For those not understanding the science of it, it become superstitious and they project mystery and stories onto them.

There are three aspects of the Initiated Shaman in this tradition:

The Shaman is able to see past the surface representations and appearance of differences and connect with the living essence within all things. They rest within a state of equanimity holding all things/people with equal regard understanding we’re all drops of the same ocean reflecting the light of consciousness in our own way. This uniqueness is what gives each thing it’s own medicine from which the Shaman learns from and interprets the present moment with

The Shaman is aware of being aware within the Dream of life. She/He, now able to see beyond the surface appearances (the dream), is awake within the dream and hence is conscious of the part She/He is acting out

Because the Shaman is grounded in the above two aspects She/he is able to intentionally manifest and create the experiences around oneself. She/He becomes the creator

In short, The Shaman is one awake within the dream, able to see things as they are which is unique expressions of Great Spirit, and with this is able to heal, dance, and play amongst the ocean of consciousness aka Life! She/He is able to help others by interpreting Spirit, offer healing, guide, and teach without teaching helping to awaken the consciousness within others

“Our Job is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new paradigm. It’s to simply do our work silently, sacredly, secretly and those with eyes to see and ears to hear will respond and awaken in turn”




Why do you share Shamanism and provide classes?


I was up in the Himalayas with my teachers. Every morning after doing my Sadhana (spiritual discipline) on a rock in the middle of the Ganges River, I would venture to the hall where my Guru and teachers would be. We'd have chai together and we'd be in dialogue, sharing with me, unraveling the limitations of my mind to see and experience a greater paradigm. One morning when I sat at their feet, Guruji said "Go home." I said "What do you mean? I am home. There's nothing left to go back to. I'm here to learn." He said "You don't become a Master by sitting at the feet of a Master. You must return to the world you're from and apply all you learn there." He said "Go back and translate all you've learned so others in the Western world may have access to it and live in greater balance and harmony. I charge you with this task!" I didn't want to leave my beloved teachers. I resisted at first and then I returned and have spent everyday since translating, perfecting how to deliver to our Western world, and empower others. The way of the East is very different than here in the West. I honor this path of sharing as my sacred duty. I return to these teachers when they call me. Go to other teachers or areas as they direct me. I'm their humble student.




Is this based on Native American Traditions?


This is NOT based on Native American Traditions. We do NOT share their ceremonies or practices that belong to them. We share the Universal Principles expressed through Nature Based Spirituality the world over and more specifically of Ayurveda, the naturopathic medicine of India in which Chivito is a certified practicioner with many years of professional training. Chivito has spent time learning with Elders of various first nation people and lived and trained with the great shaman of the Himalayas, Great Thar Desert and Jungle Shaman of India and Thailand. They had a profound influence on his personal training and ways of expressing these universal truths. He has been told to share what he's learned so others could also benefit. It's part of our responsiblity to pass on what we learn and support others in their path of "remembering."




What's your view with Ayahuasca, Peyote, and Shrooms?


Shamanic traditions around the world have discovered some form "plant medicine." Our view is these are meant to be used only in ceremony and for specific purposes. One should journey with a specific intention for months before partaking. It's used as a rites of passage, a moment to step out of the old and into the new now. They should be used with great reverence and sparringly. Too many use them to have an experience and get attached to having "experiences." This hinders one on their path as not every part of your journey is glamorous and expansive. You also have to enter the Shadows, move through our challenges, and learn to apply our consciousness through the cycles of life. If you're to use them, do so with great intention, reverence and preparation so they're a momentary medium that transitions you into a more connected way of living.




What do you mean by Universal Principles?


It can be seen that beneath all traditions, lineages and practices there is a fundamental core awareness with how and why things are. Each tradition has a unique way of expressing this core based on their culture, geography, myths and stories.

The lineage in which we’ve been initiated share the essence of the original shamanism from which all others share these core principles that make up their practices, rituals, and intentions. By learning these you gain a universal language and framework that enables you to connect and participate with traditions worldwide.




What do you share?


We’re focused on developing the skill of the shaman which in truth is the skill of awareness. We help you develop your awareness, learning what to be aware of and how to participate. WE share the meditations, rituals and techniques to activate one’s consciousness and hence be more able to co-create within the dream of life.

What’s more is we share what’s happening within the form and how to activate the practices so you can continue to amplify your skills on your own.

Everything we share, the initiations you experience, the rituals and meditations etc are all Results-Based meaning it’s not based on theory but on application. It’s providing those practices/techniques you can gauge and experience as you cultivate your skills of awareness.

We share a very specific lineage that offers a delineated path on which you experience steady growth, heightened abilities, and confidence in your skill as a Shaman.




Why do you charge money?


In all Shamanic Traditions there was some form of exchange. We no longer live together as a tribe, partaking in our overall activites to sustain us as a whole. In the past, a shaman may receive horses, chickens or other things. Today, the exchange is monetary. You are receiving professional services, training, and education. Everything you learn you'll be able to apply and be able to gauge the results/immediate effects of in real-time. We put a lot of love, energy and time into everything we offer. We greatly appreciate your contributions as it helps continue to serve the world. Much Gratitude




Cultural Appropriation?


We are very mindful of cultural appropriation. We have great reverence for traditions world wide and and immense amount of respect of following the time honored processes of that tradition. We see too often in the West people taking short cuts. People charging for sweat lodges, using words they've heard but don't fully understand, turning Yoga into "Power Hot Yoga" and "Heavy Metal Yoga" and" Beer Yoga"... Everything we share we've been given permission to share. My teachers in India, sent me back to translate what I've learned so others can access it, learn from and live in greater harmony.




What Does Totem Mean?


A "Totem" is an object, plant or animal that serves as an emblem of a clan, family or tribe. Often used on coat of arms or insignia. A totem is that which has special meaning for a person or people and may contain specific understandings, lessons, or powers from which a person or people abide by or learn from. The term "Totem" derives from Ojibiwe language and is a cross-culture reference to considering animals as messengers, bringers of gifts, and often as guides. Totemism is a world-wide phenomenon reflecting an animalistic belief system where people honor or consider animals as their own people. They believe animals and plants have spirits and one can be in conversation with them. Totemism reflects a universal understanding that humans are not superior but are merely part of a greater whole where we are all related and intricately connected in the web of life. What happens to one happens to all.




How Did We Get The Name Tree Of Totems?


This is a magical story. We had a retreat center alongside the Wenatchee River just outside of the small town of Leavenworth WA. Our backyard was literally the river. Directly on the other side of the river from our quaint cottage there was a dead tree. This tree became an incredible teacher. Most mornings, whether rain, snow, or sun, I'd sit alongside the river in meditation. And over the course of three years I witnessed many magic things. This tree specifically attracted the animals. Ospreys, bald and golden eagles, woodpeckers and vultures would rest in its branches. At it's feet deer would graze, bears would scratch their backs, and otters would play. Many people would travel 5+ hours to our humble cottage for one of our sessions. I'd ask them what they wanted their session about and they said "I don't really know, I've just heard these were amazing." Well I would reply "That doesn't give me much to go on." haha So we would sit and wait a few minutes and sure enough, an animal would always appear whether is was an insect on the table, a hummingbird hovering between us etc. Most often an animal appeared at what I called The Tree Of Totems. I would share the meaning and medicine of the animals and the person would break down in tears for it reflected exactly what they were trying to navigate in their life. And so, this is how we got the name, Tree Of Totems.




What is "FOREST" Shamanism


Shamans draw their energy from the land, environment, animals, and even weather of the place they reside. It's about being in relationship with place. There are shamans who dwell within the desert, the jungle, on islands, and forest. Each one has an intimate relationship with the land. The Forest Shaman is hence deeply connected to the forest, rivers, and lakes. In the PNW we're also connected to the Puget Sound, islands of the Salish Sea and the Pacific Ocean. We're a land of volcanos and ancient forest. We also share Desert Shamanism when we're guiding in the desert. Chivito live and trained with Shamans of Desert, Forest, and the Jungles of India & Thailand. We share how to be in relationship and part of the conversations of the forests, waters, animals and weather of this land. Hence we share Forest Shamanism as opposed to the Jungle Shamans of Africa or South America.




How Does One Become A Shaman in this Tradition?


The shamanism we share has been part of an oral tradition for thousands of years. It requires years of trainings, undergoing specific rites of passage and initiation. It's a lifetime discipline. A shaman is a distinquished and recognized person of the tradition. Many practice shamanism such as shamanic healing but this doesn't necessarily constitute them as a "Shaman." It's not something one becomes because of completing a training but by recognition of the inner shift and competence of applying one's consciousness. As my teachers share "This isn't knowledge you learn, it's wisdom you become." One is hence initiated onto the path and ungoes intensive training in order to become a Shaman. However, everyone can benefit from learning shamanism and applying it in there lives. Not everyone need become a shaman or undergo the intensive training. It is a nature based wisdom that breathes greater connection and balance into life.




Are You Qualified To Share?


I'm a certified Ayurveda Practitioner in both the U.S. and in India. Ayurveda is the Nature Based Science and Medicine of India and the oldest medicine on the planet that is still practiced today. It reveals how the patterns of nature are also patterned within us and how to live in rhythm with the great hoop of life. I interned with Ayurveda Doctors in their clinic in India as well as with Village Medicine men. I also was taken under the wing of a group of Shaman's with whom I lived and trained with in India. They initated me into this tradition and would send me to teachers in Thailand, U.S. and throughout India to learn from multiple branches, healing methods, and spiritual practices. They would drill me and ask "How would you translate this so others could benefit?" They said with each Master who dies we lose a living connection to that lineage. These teachers wanted me to help pass on what I could and they trained me day and night. We meditated 12 hours a day, did extensive fasting and intensive rites of passages that tested body and mind. There were vision quest, being exposed to extreme weather, and learning to channel internal energies. I share this only so you may recognize you're tapping into a powerful and deep tradition and by someone who's dedicated their life to it. It isn't learned from books. With that said, I remain a humble student of the path. The more I learn the more I recognize how much I do not know. My teacher once said "This tradition is like the ocean and my glass is but a quarter full." If his cup is only a quarter full, then I have but a drop on a tea spoon for he was the most knowledgeable and wise soul I've ever known. I strive to maintain a beginners mind and recognize I am still but a student. I share what they have asked me to share and from the experiences, trials and rites of passages I underwent. Most of what we share is simply the universal principles, practices, and methods. To learn the deeper practices one must first go through levels of training and exemplify you have become the wisdom rather than learned it intellectually. It requires discipline, patience and dedication. OM!





ABOUT US

Providing hands on training in Shamanism helping you develop the awareness to access the potential within and join the conversation that's happening within every moment, with everything. OM!

ADDRESS

971-242-9475

Learning@TreeOfTotems.com

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