True Story: I’m A Shaman

i'm a shaman
Note: I realize that many of people hold different or more ‘traditional’ religious or spiritual views than the ones that Peter expressed in this interview. Polite, articulate disagreement and discussion are always welcome. Inflammatory comments will be deleted. 

Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Peter. I am 53 years old, born in England from an Indian father and Hungarian mother. I work as a healer and teach courses in healing and magick. In my spare time, I practice ninjutsu and spend time in the forest, walking and meditating.

You list your job title as ‘Shaman.’ In layman’s terms, what does that mean?
The traditional meaning of Shaman is “master of inspiration and ecstasy.” It refers to the healer who is also the voice of spirit for his tribe and gives guidance from the spirits and petitions them to aid his community. In modern terms, it means I work with traditional spiritual powers for healing. These are powers gained through deep rapport with nature and many years of intense spiritual discipline while isolated in the wilderness.

Growing up, how did you feel about religion?
I was first taken to a Methodist church, then to a Mormon church, my parents were seeking a religious home. At that age, it didn’t mean much to me. My main spiritual experience during my childhood was my grandmother teaching me to communicate with nature spirits. Around age 11, I was kind of left to my own path, as my father went back to Sufism and my mother wasn’t interested in religion. I never really had any attachment to one religion, but generally believed in some kind of God.

How do the people in your life feel about your career choice?
I started practicing healing while still living with my parents. At that time, they didn’t understand what I was doing, but let me get on with it.

However, my mother soon noticed that all the people coming to see me were being healed, while she was not seeing any improvement of her arthritis through medical treatment. In the end she let me heal her. Now my family come to me to sort out their health problems, even though they don’t understand how it works.

shaman altar

What are your feelings about ‘traditional’ religion (Christianity, Judaism, etc) and Western medicine
There is always a place for religion. Wherever I’ve traveled, I’ve found Shaman following the religion of their own land. Of course, in many places the big religions such as Christianity and Islam have moved in and had a strong influence. Some Shamans practice within the structure of these religions. Their tendency is to use all available tools to improve their connection to the spirit world, and modern religions may add some new ideas to expand further. For example, I have found very powerful sorcerers on Java, and they tend to be Muslim. Through Islam, they increase their knowledge of the Djinn, which has only added to their power.

I can’t get along with Western medicine. Over the years, I have never seen any positive result from it that couldn’t have been achieved far better through natural methods. It is totally at cross-purposes to true healing, as it gives unnatural and poisonous substances to suppress symptoms with no respect for nature or for the whole human being. Furthermore, doctors often use their authority in a very negative way that stops people’s healing.

I remember a situation when I had been learning from an aboriginal medicine man, where doctors asked him his opinion of how Western medicine could be improved, and he answered “stop pointing the bone.” Pointing the bone is a way of cursing – someone telling you that you can’t be healed, or you are going to die, with all the authority of the medical profession and legal system behind them. It feels like a very powerful curse. Such negative influences are often harder to remove than the original cause of the illness.

How does one become a Shaman? Is it an inherited title? Do you pursue training?
Anyone who has the will, the patience, and the discipline can train to be a Shaman. It used to be passed down through family lines, but lately many Shaman have found their children weren’t interested in following the path so they started teaching outside their families.

There has been no loss of power through this. It generally requires a 25-year apprenticeship, and then another 10 years to find your feet before you should call yourself a Shaman. The training involves learning healing, communicating with the spirit world, journeying to other worlds, taking various plant medicines, and various exercises for building inner power. That process also involves dying and returning from the dead. This is necessary to have full power over the forces of life and death, and to travel freely between the worlds.

What do you consider to be your professional skill set?
My professional skills are healing and magick. This can include resolving love, money problems or constant bad luck. Mostly, I am healing various physical and emotional problems, but am often called to help people with other areas of life when they are going through a crisis. This can involve saving a collapsing business deal, preventing a major split in a relationship, or helping a property sell.

You’ve researched and learned about occult practices from many different countries and cultures. Have you encountered any that made you think “Hmmm. This seems bogus.”?
For every genuine Shaman, you will always find a hundred bogus ones. This is true all over the world. One problem is that in many indigenous cultures, Shamanism has become a tourist trade, so there are always self-styled Shaman ready to sell their wares. Most of it is harmless, but you do see a lot of trickery going on.

Others are okay as healers but can’t demonstrate the kind of powers traditionally associated with a Shaman. Until you see such powers, you would not know what to look for. The awakening came for me when I was on Maui back in 1988 training with kahunas. A man had broken his leg. He had a compound fracture, with his bone sticking out through the flesh. An old lady came out of a hut, put her hands on it, and the bone went back in and completely healed within minutes. No one had even known she was a kahuna. After seeing such possibilities I knew what to look for in a Shaman, so I have been very discriminating in finding my teachers. I have met a number of powerful sorcerers who could show real power and hundreds of would-be Shaman who couldn’t.

Do you practice on yourself and your family?
Yes, I practice on family, usually minor day-to-day problems, such as strains. My son does a lot of physical training, and I often heal his injuries and strains. My mother had arthritis, but it hasn’t ever returned since I healed her over 20 years ago. Apart from that, it’s usually quick fixes for colds, headaches, etc.

Walk us through an average work day.
My average work day is a typical 9-to-5 job. I make hourly appointments for healing and tend to treat people throughout the day. Courses are a bit different. When I am teaching, I have to be open-ended with finishing times, as I tend to get people involved in some very deep processes that may take several hours to complete. Then I may be working until 8 or 9 in the evening.

Once we open up very deep memories and suppressed emotions, I have to be there to support them until it is complete. It can be a long and sensitive process.

What are some of the issues you regularly cure? What are some problems or diagnoses you’d ‘refer out’
I have to be very careful talking about cures, as the law is greatly influenced by the Pharmaceutical Industry, and it is often illegal to tell the truth. However, I will say that I never refer anyone out, as I am usually the end of the line, being referred to when nothing else works. I take on some very serious cases.

Rather than looking at people in terms of disease and cure, I simply work on resolving causes, which often include deep emotional blocks, negative beliefs, suppressed trauma and even entity possessions. When the cause is removed people heal naturally. I won’t say I cure them, any more than putting a plaster on a cut would make it heal. The body heals itself, I just make sure there are no obstacles to this natural process.

What’s one thing you’ve learned through your work that any of us – regardless of our belief system – could use in our daily life?
The main theme that everyone can benefit from is that we largely create our own reality, including our bodies, and that we can achieve anything if we believe in ourselves and keep focused. Doing that doesn’t have to be difficult.

Here is a simple self-healing exercise anyone can do. It can also remove blocks to success, or to manifestation of your desires. Whatever you are feeling, just be the observer and start welcoming the feeling. If you find anger, stress, or frustration coming to your mind, just sit still and welcome it. Once you have fully experienced it, it passes and is gone forever. You can do this exercise to resolve any difficult situation. Once you feel and then release all the pent-up emotion that we hold onto, anything can change for the better.

If you are trying to manifest your dream, whether it be a new house, relationship, or career, start by welcoming all the emotion that stands in the way. That means feeling all the doubt, and the memories of past failures. As you welcome the emotions, they pass, leaving you with the quiet confidence in achieving your dreams. Then they will start to manifest.

Likewise, many illnesses can be traced back to a time of trauma. When you take a little time to welcome and release all the emotions of that trauma, you will begin to heal.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Peter. Do you guys have any (polite) questions for him? 

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  1. kelseyespecially

    This is so, SO fascinating!

    Growing up I lived with a non-religious father and mother who was raised Catholic but sent me to a Lutheran private school, though we attended Christian services on Sunday. Weird, I know.

    My mom seems a little bit like Peter (and likely many others), in the sense that she has spent a huge portion of her life believing in some sort of God but not really meshing with any primary religion out there. When I hit middle school my mom started doing yoga – not the fitness-y kind, but the kind that really tunes into spirituality and meditation. Then came the burning bushels of sage around the house. And the Reiki courses. And the crystals – everywhere.

    More recently she’s kind of “come back down to Earth” a bit and given up some of the more “out there” things she was into, trading in her 30-year career in the mortgage business for a shot at a life-coaching gig heavily based in a holistic approach. And even though her spiritual journeys have never been something that I “get” or really “buy into,” they are very real and very fulfilling to her. And they’re not hurting anyone so you know? To each his (or her!) own.

    Thanks for publishing this – definitely a great read into something that’s oft misunderstood and misrepresented, or not talked about at all.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      I’m so glad your mom found something that works for her! <3

      • kelseyespecially

        Yes! And again, it was very cool to read this – a great interview. IMO, Peter really humanizes a craft (no negative connotation implied) and lifestyle that’s so often demonized.

  2. Lesley S

    This was such an interesting article. I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but I do enjoy hearing and reading about other peoples’ journeys.
    And the self-healing exercise was exactly what I needed to read this morning.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      So glad you found it helpful!

  3. Jessica W.

    Funky! But I really love what he says about our beliefs and how those are so connected to our body. I just visited a summer camp for juvenile diabetes for a freelance story – the staff reported that more than anything, they’re trying to heal the negative self-talk and limiting beliefs kids with diabetes can have. Once they address those mental blocks, kids start to really take care of themselves and the diabetes is easier to manage and they’re more successful.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      It’s amazing how those self-limiting beliefs can affect us!

  4. Gina

    I respect healing traditions but am very uncomfortable with the appropriation of native terminology such as shaman and kahuna. Native peoples don’t mix and match our traditions. I am trying to think of a way to express just how offensive native peoples would find this.

    It’s fine to have a spiritual approach to healing and to be curious about other peoples traditions, but what is described here is appropriation.

  5. The Jadeite Shutter

    I’d love to see a True Story: I’m a Christian

    • Caitlyn

      I think the True Stories try to focus on people that you might not otherwise get to meet. Most Americans interact with Christians on a daily basis. What questions do you have for a Christian that you don’t already know the answer to?

      • The Jadeite Shutter

        Hi there! While I agree that most people at least living in the US have met and come into contact with a Christian, like other faiths, it’s quite widely experienced and lived. There’s no one dimensional way to practice religion, including following Jesus. One thing that frustrates me is the assumption that it is… we aren’t all alike/vote alike/think alike. While I consider myself non-denom I’d say it would be pretty rude of me to assume I have the answers to how a Catholic or Methodist believes. Hence, the importance of inclusion. So I think it would be fascinating and honestly provocative if Sarah were to interview a Christian. Here are a few questions I think would be relevant just to start:

        -Where you raised Christian? If so, do you belong or consider yourself the denomination that you grew up in?
        -What does following Jesus mean to you?
        -Do you believe in some of the central tenants of Christianity? i.e. the Trinity, salvation as necessary through the Cross etc…
        -What are you thoughts on some of the more controversial issues that Christianity has been linked with? (Abortion, gay marriage) and if comfortable sharing, what are your opinions on those?
        -How do you feel you might “differ” from other Christians? How do you reconcile those differences?
        -What does it mean to you to live out your faith in God and Christ daily?
        -Are you involved in a church community or any ministries?
        -Have you ever doubted?
        -If you have a spouse or children how do you interact with them within the parameters of your faith?
        -Do you have any favorite Bible stories, verses, or faith-oriented books?
        -Did you have a faith mentor or are you a mentor?
        -Who has impacted your faith?
        -What do you wish non-Christians or non-believers knew about Christianity?

        • Sarah Von Bargen

          Ooooh! I like that idea! I’ve actually been trying to find an evangelical Christian or a Pentecostal Christian to interview for quite some time!

  6. Jen

    I love your True Stories series. This one was particularly fascinating and I love the self-healing exercise Peter shared.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Thanks so much – so glad you liked it!

  7. Vanessa

    I love this interview! Thanks for sharing, Peter!

    I was raised in a devout fundamentalist Christian household, but have left the church. I didn’t even believe in any higher power when I began experimenting with new age types of things – meditation, yoga, crystals, tapping. Meanwhile I’ve been in traditional psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment.
    I’ve noticed all of these things focus on embracing emotions fully vs avoidance + exploding limiting beliefs.
    I’ve become more spiritual as time goes on, & have found a religion I identify with. I’ve read a bit about magick, but am a little afraid to delve deeper.

    So here a few questions for Peter:
    You shared that you have met powerful healers that practice within the bounds of traditional religion. How do you feel about a lay person incorporating bits of new age practices and magick into their lives (with no intention of becoming an expert)?

    Do you have any sage (pun intended!) words for someone, like me, who is interested in magick, but is a bit afraid/skeptical about diving in?

    You’ve made your stance on Big Pharma clear (& I tend to agree with you), but would you ever refer someone out? (I’m specifically thinking of severe mental illness & the like.)
    Do you believe western medicine can be just as helpful in some (if very few) cases?

    • The Dame Intl

      Vanessa we sound very similar. I was raised christian but denounced in my early 20s. Have been exploring other beliefs ever since and most recently delving into magick after learning other new age things you mention like crystals and tapping etc. I love to research and I find so many correlating theories from a broad spectrum of practices which, when, simplified all boil down to the same thing. Energy and how it gets blocked from traumas and results in physical ailments and bad luck.

  8. The Dame Intl

    Ive been doing research on alternative beliefs and practices and more recently on shamanism and magick etc for a long time, I can attest that he is not talking crap. It is entirely possible to heal a broken leg in a few minutes, obviously not by anyone at any time, but my point is, we have mostly forgotten just what exactly is possible and live in a very dumbed down world.

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