The people I most admire as helpers, healers, agents of change, or whatever one chooses to call them have one thing in common; their work is informed by personal experience. Exhilarating joy, heart-crushing misery, rosy-cheeked health, and ashen illness have been poured into the well of wisdom from which these people drink, regardless of whether their tool is tarot, ceremony, reiki, council, herbalism, astrology, psychotherapy, or shamanism. This quote by John (Fire) Lame Deer — which I found on Page 2 of Alejandro Jodoroksy’s Psychomagic — says it all:
A medicine man shouldn’t be a saint. He should experience and feel all the ups and downs, the despair and the joy, the magic and the reality, the courage and fear of his people. He should be able to sink as low as a bug or soar like an eagle…Being a good medicine man means being right in the midst of the turmoil, not shielding yourself from it. It means experiencing life in all its phases. It means not being afraid of cutting up and playing the fool now and then. That’s sacred too.
I’m reminded of something that I remind people who come to me. To be on a spiritual path does NOT exempt us from anything that life brings; it simply helps us to hold these things in a different way.