The most common question I'm ever asked (with link to podcast AND my top 3 answers you can borrow!)

power animal shamanic journey shamanism spirit guide spirit helper Jun 21, 2021

Whether it's Facebook, family, a dinner night, a potential new client, the most common question I'm ever asked is:

"So what exactly is shamanism?"

[***Psssst  - 'quickstart' personalities can jump straight to the podcast episode I recorded with the lovely Michelle Minke on this topic!]

In my early years I used to dread this question.  So much to fit in to the answer.  And never sure how interested the question-poser really was.  Not to mention the unbearable what-if-I get-it-all-wrong or what-if-I-misrepresent-shamanism to them? 

After all, it can seem a bit woo, with some scary misinterpretations and there's so much misinformation 'out there'.  


I always tried think about the person wanting to know. 

  • Are they enthusiastic about all things weird and woo?
  • Simply polite?
  • Desperate to know because their quality of life might depend on it? 
  • Terrified - of sounding ignorant, or of the whole subject?

And then I hit upon the KEY to success.  I started to ask, with a smile and laugh,

"Well..... would you like the 30 second, 2 minute or in depth answer?"

I WHOLE-HEARTEDLY commend this to you when you're beginning to talk about a new passion in your life! Whether it's shamanism, a new hobby, a new career... it really takes the pressure off and meets your audience's needs!

Their answers were surprisingly revealing, and this made things easier for me - and more in tune for them.  

So here are my top three typical ways I might answer.  They're not perfect, they evolve over time, but this is an approximation of the comments.

And, by the way, feel free to borrow any answers to help you to answer questions from your own friends and family!

#1. The 30 second answer

A typical response might be:

"You know, 21 years ago when I first came across shamanism I hadn't heard of it either!  Yet, rather incredibly, we've all evolved from communities that had shamanism as their basis.   Wherever humans evolved from in the world anthropologists know they had an animistic world view - the understanding that everything has a spirit."

"A mountain, a tree, a bird, each of us. Using shamanic ways of working we can connect to our own personal helping spirit guides or teachers for help, healing or even wisdom and advice for an easier, more connected life."

"I believe every single one of us can learn how to do this today, no matter what our beliefs or religion!  We all have spirits ready to help us - sometimes human or animal in form...  I'm curious, how does that sound to you?"

#2. The Two Minute Answer.

This starts along pretty much the same lines, but I might also include a personal anecdote...

"You know, 21 years ago when I first came across shamanism I hadn't heard of it either.  In fact I went along to a workshop about it because I was on a search for something more - a sense that something was missing in my life.  Like I was off track, didn't belong, was yearning for a connection to the world beyond the physical - whatever that was!"

"In this workshop I was taught a couple of really simple practices for me to be able to connect to my own shamanic helping spirits. My first ever was in an animal form. The advice and help I received literally changed my life - in a good way!"

"I learned how to ask the spirit world the questions that mattered to me.  Such as 'how can I find the best career for me', or 'please help me with the anxiety I feel', or even 'what can I do about the difficult boss I work for!'. I got the most incredible answers.  In fact, this is how I learned what to do next when leaving the army.  And I've never looked back, and never had anything but great advice."

"Interestingly, this spirit world is slightly different for all of us, depending on our own spirits, and even own religion and culture.  So that's it, in a nutshell.  What do you think?"

Of course, I rarely say it as a soliloquy. Can you imagine if I did?!  Depending on the occasion and the person, there's lots of room for questions and responding to their answers, changing the pace and the direction as feels natural and called for as in any other conversation.

#3. The longer discussion

For the genuinely intrigued, curious or maybe bored but open to listening we can dive into a longer discussion.  This often covers all sorts - from God, the Universe, where shamanic techniques evolved from, different cultures, cultural appropriation, the UK's history with shamanic ways of working, Seidr, how to do a shamanic journey and anything else that pops up.  

If you'd like to learn more about shamanism, and my personal explorations of this fascinating, widely accessible path then why not listen to this podcast chat (below).  I'm in conversation with the wonderful, warm and open-hearted host Michelle Minke.

Through the loss of her child Michelle was thrown into a spiritual awakening and is on a quest for healing. She's now a former opera singer turned vocal energy guide, on a quest to find out as much as she can about all that is greater than us.  And I was delighted when she chose to chat to me.

Michelle writes:

"The word Shamanism either scares people or intrigues people in the 21st century. I have had the enormous privilege of studying with Joanna and her heart led practice. She believes primarily that if we ask we receive. "

"In this podcast, Joanna speaks about the importance of finding your power animals, guides, and spirits to assist you in this life and that it is accessible to everyone.  Join this exceptional Heart and Spirit Coach as we dive into the curiosity of spirit."

Please do leave a review on Michelle's podcast pages.

What are your questions about shamanism for me?  Join my Heart and Spirit Circle and ask me there!



Joanna helps people to connect to their heart, nature and spirit to live a life of more freedom and joy in sync with their heart's purpose.

She is a certified Martha Beck Wayfinder Life Coach and shamanic practitioner with over 20 years experience teaching and mentoring others. The foundation of her work is her desire to make the world a better place. One step at a time.

Come and join her private Heart and Spirit Circle Facebook Community and for connection, teaching and offers...

Join the FREE Heart and Spirit Circle now!

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