New to shamanism?

May 11, 2016

Have you just stumbled across shamanism? Are you drawn to it but not sure why? Maybe you are wondering what all the fuss is about?

I know in my own path, when I discovered shamanism, I was both perplexed as to both what it was and why I was drawn to it so strongly. Unusually for me, I decided to dive right in and go for the experiential learning route rather than reading lots of books, and signed up to a year-long workshop programme which threw me in for sure.

Over the years I have deepened my knowledge in other ways, and I often get asked by people how they can learn more, as a beginner.

So that’s the topic of his blog – how to find out more about shamanism.

What is shamanism?

Before I go into the how, let me just define what shamanism is for me. It’s indigenous spiritually, the spiritually of our land. I was never drawn to other indigenous spiritualities, such as Native American, Peruvian, or Siberian, which people often are. My thirst was for finding out what our ancestors knew living so close to the land hat we have forgotten. It lead me to a fascination with stone circles and other ancient sacred sites, ley lines, and ultimately to the British shamanic path. A common definition is ‘walking between the worlds to bring back the energies most needed at this time”, and through my professional Environmental work I quickly came to realise that this above all other things is most needed at this crucial time for humanity. So when I discovered Shamanism it was like an epiphany. Finally I had found something which felt right and made such sense, after all my decades of seeking.

How can I find out more?

A great place to start if you like reading is by finding some introduction books. We write reviews of books which have influenced us, and you can find these in the Resources section of our website. Two great introductory books are Earth Magic by Stephen Farmer, and Following the Shamans Call by Mike Williams.


When you choose your first books, make sure they are entry level, as there are some deep writings out there on shamanism which are great once you have a foundation knowledge, but you may well get lost in them if you start out reading those.

There are also some good, short free tele-interviews out there we can recommend which are easy to listen to.

Then, to complement the theory, it’s so important to get cracking with the experiential. We can do so much ourselves, but it’s by learning from a teacher and learning from each other when our shamanic practice will really take off. The shamanic path is transformational, but it will only be so if we actually do it, rather than just read about it. If you are someone who diligently follows the exercises described in books, and this then forms part of your daily practice then you might get away with just learning solo, but if not then you will need to seek out someone to learn from if you are really looking to embrace shamanism and all it has to offer.

So what can I get involved with?

At The Way of the Buzzard almost all of our workshops and circles are suitable for beginners to come along to. So, you can take a browse of our website and see what draws you. We have an Introductory day which we run every two months in Lancashire, Seasonal Celebrations we run every six weeks again in Lancashire, and also deeper Weekend Retreats through the year in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. We also run monthly Shamanic Drumming Circles in five locations: Lancaster, Chorley, Preston, Wilmslow and Stockport. These are a great way to maintain your regular practice and connect with an ongoing community of like-minded people who live locally to you.

Common misconceptions

You don’t need a drum. You don’t need to take plant entheogens. You don’t need to know anything at all to get started. You don’t need to be a shaman (in fact most people on the shamanic path aren’t), and you don’t need special powers. There are no rules, there is no hierarchy, and it can encompass all other spiritual paths if they are open minded enough. Nature is our teacher.

This is our indigenous spirituality

This is our heritage. 2,000 years ago we didn’t call it shamanism, we probably didn’t call it anything. It was just what we did. It would be the equivalent of giving ‘eating’ a special title now. This is why every year Jason and I see hundreds of people just ‘get it’ straight away, and are hungry to learn more and more – we are just hard wired that way.

So, fancy diving in? Looking for that something which will transform your life into something more wonderful than you could ever have imagined? Then come along with us as The Way of the Buzzard finds a thermal to soar up into to carry us through a doorway to our own understanding.

Our next Introductory Day

Our next Introduction to Shamanism day is on

Saturday 21st May

and we have a few spaces left. The price is £60 which includes a pub lunch. We will use as our base a beautiful old barn behind a great pub close to our home and Anglezarke Moors near Chorley. Part of the day will be indoors, and if the weather is fine, part outdoors in a local woodland.

About the Author


Nicola Smalley is an edge-dweller, shamanic practitioner and writer living in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Natural Beauty in north Lancashire, England.

Following a career in corporate sustainability, she now runs The Way of the Buzzard with her husband Jason. Her passion is anything connected to nature and the mysteries of the Earth.

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  1. I won’t be able to make it as I’ll be in Devon and possibly Glastonbury that weekend. I’m sure everyone will have a great time.

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