Shamanic Code of Ethics & Best Practices
As a Practitioner, I Promise to:
1) WORK IN SACRED ALLIANCE WITH THE SPIRITS.
The shaman cannot do her or his work alone. It is entirely by teaming with spirit helpers that any shamanic healing or divination can be done at all. This is a reminder to thwart an urge to grandiosity and claim that it was the shaman who was the powerful one.
What does it mean to work in sacred alliance? Even though they are a team, there are crucial areas that only the shaman, and not the spirits, can effectively address and who can understand and make appropriate decisions regarding 1) the limits of human capability in general or that of a specific client, 2) the specific intentions and situational conditions of and surrounding a particular healing or divination effort, and 3) decisions involving matters of human ethics. Though both the shaman and the spirits can individually veto any action, it is the shaman who must, in addition to their other specific skills, maintain responsibility over these three areas in particular. The wise practitioner is always consulting with their spirit helpers, yet in this sacred alliance, it is because of their veto power that the shaman must carry the burden of ultimate responsibility for any work they are involved with.
2) RECOGNIZE THE WHOLENESS INHERENT IN EACH PERSON, GROUP, OR CIRCUMSTANCE THAT COMES FOR HEALING.
Whether it is a split or drained part of one’s power, or a split part of the soul, the shaman, and spirits work together to restore what is the whole of a true self.
3) HONOR WHATEVER FORM OF PAIN IS PRESENT.
What is painful to one may not seem so for another. When one suffers, their suffering is to be honored, respected, and accepted as it is. All symptoms of pain need to be heeded as indications that something is not well. Our role is to approach our spirit help to discern what the dis-ease might be, and receive guidance in how to proceed towards its healing.
4) BE MINDFUL OF SPEECH, THOUGHT, AND ACTION AND THEIR IMPACT ON BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS.
A strong working relationship with other human beings as well as the spirit world is the only way shamanic work can be accomplished. As speech affects others and thoughts affect action, so the shaman must be mindful of all of these, as they all affect the world in some way.
5) BE RESPECTFUL OF CLIENTS AND COLLEAGUES, EVEN IN DIFFERENCES.
This is to remain in alliance with clients and colleagues of unconditional respect. This will prop the door open for good work to be done and have good influence and lasting results.
6) WORK WITH COMPASSION AND NON-JUDGMENT.
In the shamanic practice personal ideas, expectations, hopes, opinions and feelings, are detrimental. Their affects prohibit the ability to clearly assess the wisdom and healing capacity of the spirits. The shaman must maintain the 'hollow bone' and ‘it’s not about me’ perception throughout the healing process. Compassion is a posture of understanding, awareness, and sincere service.
7) SET PERSONAL INTERESTS OR CONCERNS ASIDE SO THAT EFFORTS FOCUS ON THE CLIENT’S WELL-BEING.
Personal interests or concerns only impede professional care-giving. Manipulation and cunning or ‘what’s in it for me?’ is devoid in a shaman who maintains ethical integrity. A promise of integrity is mandatory for the ethical shaman.
8) STRIVE TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY, AND TO DO NO HARM.
Your intention to ‘do well’ is in duality with your intention to ‘do no harm’. Doing well to a shaman is resolution to do one’s best. The passionate strength of the practitioner's intention to be successful is one of the key factors that actually makes for practitioner success.
9) NEVER ENGAGE IN SEXUAL OR BUSINESS MISCONDUCT AND ABUSE CLIENT TRUST.
The shaman, as with many other public figures, may have become elevated, trusted and perhaps loved. Clients can easily blur the boundaries between the shaman as a professional and the shaman seen as a potential friend, lover, associate, etc. It is important that observers see that in actuality the spirits did the work. The shaman is only a secondary, and even a minor, conduit by means of which in any healing or divination might take place.
It is incumbent as a professional practitioner to constantly retain these boundaries, on behalf of the client’s lack of failing to do so. This is the only means in which the practitioner can retain her/his public's trust and respect.
10) MAINTAIN CLIENTS' RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY.
In order to garner and retain client trust, a client must always know that their concerns will be held sacred and private by the practitioner. The only exception to this is when a client is a credible risk to their own safety or that of others, in which case the professionally responsible and legally entrusted authorities need to be contacted.
11) BE HONEST WITH CLIENTS AND OTHER PRACTITIONERS AND TRUTHFUL IN HOW ONE PRESENTS HIM OR HERSELF PERSONALLY, IN PUBLIC RELATIONS AND IN ADVERTISING.
Honesty is always the best way to gain and maintain a community’s respect and trust. Without honesty, it is impossible to maintain one’s own integrity.
12) OFFER FAIR AND APPROPRIATE FEES.
A practitioner's time and training is valuable and needs to be respected and honored. The abusive shaman has in many instances earned the reputation of demanding exorbitant compensation for healing or divination services. The establishment of a fair and appropriate fee for shamanic service is a matter of balancing compassion with fairness.
13) KEEP MY OWN LIFE AND PERSON-HOOD IN BALANCE TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY AND SEEK ASSISTANCE WHEN I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT CARE, ETHICS OR TECHNIQUE.
The path of the shaman also known as the path of the wounded healer. As a shaman it is not only vital, but imperative that she or he performs the techniques given, or shown to them by their spirit allies and guides, on themselves. Also, to maintain the teachings, healing, and revelations like a high performance sports vehicle. Not only will this assure that the shaman is abreast with their own expertise, but he or she will constantly be mindful to spiritually protect themselves as they engage with their clients.
If or when a situation arises, in which the shaman has no knowledge or proficiency, ethically that information must be expressed by referring other professionals, in the best interest of the client.
14). CONSULT WITH OR ADVISE OTHER MODALITIES IF TECHNIQUES ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME.
This is simply a matter of maintaining best practices in any profession. It is incumbent on a professional caregiver to seek peer consultation in cases where there is any question regarding the best approach or any other significant matter about which the practitioner is unsure. Professionals commonly establish an informal network of peer associates. Reach out to colleagues, former teachers, or other professionals to whom you know you can consult with confidence and confidentiality. In this way you gain another perspective, other experiences, and the possibility of dialogizing towards the level of reasonable assurance you need to proceed.