Before practicing, offering spiritual advice, or healing that affects another person, be sure to think about consequences. How will your actions affect not only you, but also other people? Will it ultimately cause harm? Are you prepared, with the appropriate considerations?
Study of Shamanism is more than study of meeting with spirits, healings, and intuitive reading. The shaman is interacting with another person, who could misunderstand the shaman’s actions.
Getting to the roots of Ethics, Morals, and the Shamanic Practitioner become a study in how important understanding the conception of ethical actions materialized in humanity, and its relationship through our ancestral linage.
The study and practice of Shamanism, and the alternative forms of healing often bring the practitioners/consultants and their patrons into certain situations that a client could reason about ethical practices. As a Shaman, people call on the practitioner with high expectations. Just what are the considerations a shaman should take before meeting with someone? Confidentiality, appropriate physical contact, and permission.
Informed consent means in ordinary reality the person who will receive the work knows, at the very least, that you will be oﬀering spiritual healing and that you will be working with helping spirits on their behalf. If the healing is to be face-to-face, it is important to let the person know that there may be some physical contact and to ask them if it is all right to touch them if necessary during the healing session. For example, you may hold their hand. Yes, holding hands is physical contact.
Express permission means that the person has asked you for healing or you have asked them and they have said, “Yes”.
If the person is alive and conscious, this means a direct ordinary reality “yes.” It does not mean that you asked them in a dream or in a journey or telepathically, or asked your power animal or teacher, or that you had your power animal ask their power animal, and so on (Mokelke, J.D., S. 2008).
The patient’s right to privacy is a basic responsibility of the Shamanic Practitioner. Practitioners have a obligation to maintain the confidentiality transmitted to them in any of their professional roles, including the identity. Shamanic Practitioners make provisions for maintaining confidentiality in the storage and disposal of records, whether written or on audio or visual recordings.
It has been part of my practice to inform a client, Shamanic healers don’t claim to have the answers or know the answers or be the answer; the answer lies within ourselves. Spirit guides us in our work; however, what the client chooses to do is entirely up to the client.
Let us take a little time to look at ethics, how ethics and morals affect choices. Starting with Philosophy.
“The Golden Rule is a cross-cultural ethical precept found in virtually all the religions of the world. Also known as, the “Ethic of Reciprocity”, the Golden Rule can be rendered in either positive or negative formulations: most expressions take a passive form… What is hateful to you; do not to your fellow neighbor” (New World Encyclopedia, (cc)). And then we have the infamous Wiccan Rede – “if no harm is done, do as you will”.
Cross-cultural—and all religions of the world believe something similar to “the Golden Rule”. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
The Great Philosophers, (Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates) debated ethics and morals over wine while lounging about in their togas. These fathers of behavior were enjoying the delights of the robust women of their times, serving them, with decadent foods, dancing, and extensively mulling over the moral virtues of humanity. Their ideals would have profound effects on humanity long into the future.
Given a task (just one example), it has always been my duty to complete that task, to the best of my ability and if knowing that I am incapable, it becomes my duty to find someone or someway to remedy the situation. Responsibility, this is one of my big pet peeves… College prepares students to use critical thinking skills, and apply these skills to any given situation in preparation to manage life ahead.
Parents, teach their children responsibility by assigning them with tasks where the child can apply skills to solve everyday problems. Respect is another virtue that children learn by example, and by ethics and morals observed by their parents and other adults.
Once upon a time, the Greek Philosophers were hashing all this over, their words, and teachings were written in stone as the wisdom we are guided by today. It all can become a bit daunting for someone to translate the pretentious wording of their writings.
Greek philosophy began at a time when hedonism, the Mayan, the Romans, Egyptians, Buddhists, and Judaism influenced theology. The Christians began to use their influence manipulate the virtues to gain control of humanity.
Aristotle (c. 384-322 BCE) the first of the three founding fathers of Greek philosophy He is also known as the teacher of Alexander the Great. Aristotle studied a wide variety of subjects, including science, ethics, government, physics, and politics, and wrote extensively on them. Aristotle’s ideas on science were widely believed for centuries and had a profound influence on Islamic thinkers. Aristotle was one of the first people to try to classify animals and to study psychology. “The pleasures of exercising the ethical virtues are, in normal circumstances, mixed with pain. Unalloyed pleasure is available to us only when we remove ourselves from the all-too-human world and contemplate the rational order of the cosmos. No human life can consist solely in these pure pleasures; and in certain circumstances, one may owe it to one’s community to forego a philosophical life and devote oneself to the good of the city. But the paradigms of human happiness are those people who are lucky enough to devote much of their time to the study of a world more orderly than the human world we inhabit” (Kraut, 2014).
Socrates (c. 469-399 BCE) Socrates became famous for encouraging people to critically question everything. Socrates’ greatest contribution to philosophy was the Socratic Method in which discussion, argument, and dialogue are used to discern the truth. The method is usually regarded as a set of questions that are tests of logic. Socrates’ most famous student was Plato. Socrates eventually gave his life for liberty. He was tried and convicted for criticizing the government and religion. Socrates then chose death by suicide over exile from his homeland of Athens, along with Plato and Socrates.
Plato (428-327 BCE) “Laws are made to instruct the good, and in the hope that there may be no need of them; also to control the bad, whose hardness of heart will not be hindered from crime”. Plato is regarded as the father of political science and the founder of one of the world’s first known institutions of higher learning, the Academy in Athens. The Academy created formal philosophy by teaching students the Socratic Method. Plato wrote widely on many subjects, including philosophy, ethics, religion, and mathematics. He created an influential school of philosophy called Platonism, which influenced Christianity.
Justice, courage, temperance, prudence, the four cardinal virtues
The Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues
introduced by Christianity
Lust (excessive sexual appetites) Chastity (purity)
Gluttony (over-indulgence) Temperance (self-restraint)
Greed (avarice) Charity (giving)
Sloth (laziness/idleness) Diligence (zeal/integrity/Labor)
Wrath (anger) Forgiveness (composure)
Envy (jealousy) Kindness (admiration)
Pride (vanity) Humility (humbleness)
1. Faith is belief in the right things (including the virtues!).
2. Hope is taking a positive future view that good will prevail.
3. Charity is concern for, and active helping of, others.
4. Fortitude is never giving up.
5. Justice is being fair and equitable with others.
6. Prudence is care of and moderation with money.
7. Temperance is moderation of needed things and abstinence from things, which are not needed.
Virtue as defined in Miriam Webster as follows:
• Behavior showing high moral standards: paragons of virtue
• Quality considered morally good or desirable in a person: patience is a virtue
• A good or useful quality of a thing: Mike was extolling the virtues of the car
• : concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior
• : based on what you think is right and good
• : considered right and good by most people : agreeing with a standard of right behavior
• a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.
•: a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way
•: a particular way of thinking about or looking at something
Each of the virtues is a state of being that naturally seeks its mean relative to us. According to Aristotle, the virtuous habit of action is always an intermediate state between the opposed vices of excess and deficiency: too much and too little are always wrong; the right kind of action always lies in the mean.
The following is taken from the full version of the Wiccan Rede, it was edited to include only the ethics/morals/and virtues. The following words in the Rede, if interpreted ethically, you can see the four virtues and moral good.
Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.
With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.
These Eight words the Rede fulfill:
“if no harm is done, do as you will”.
The Foundation for Shamanic Study has a PDF file with a Code of Ethics for a Shaman. This file is a copyrighted file. All I can do is referring you to the web site. The Foundation offers classes, in ethics, as do other organizations. Contacting those organizations is up to you.
The study of Shamanism is more than a study of meeting with spirits, healings, and intuitive reading. The shaman is interacting with another person, who could misunderstand the shaman’s actions. It is better to be informed and make better choices when practicing, offering spiritual advice, or healing that another person could misinterpret. Be sure you have consent, and your actions are appropriate. Make sure you have permission, and keep your consultation confidential. Some states require licensing for consulting, and holistic practices, including liability insurance, check your laws.
The above post was based on personal opinion.
On no account is any of the information considered to have significant holding.
Richard Kraut 2014, Aristotle’s Ethics, “The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy” ISSN 1095-5054 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-ethics/
Ethical Considerations in Shamanic Healing
Susan Mokelke, J.D.
© Shamanism Annual, the journal of the Foundation