The Existential Shaman

It is a clear warm night in Costa Rica. There is a fire, and drums, and a big moon, and about 15 people watching a young man as he goes through an initiation ceremony. The shaman is tall, muscular, very powerful, a tenth-generation shaman. He goes for the jugular if he thinks you are being stupid or cowardly.

He asks us, “Who are you?”

The younger people in the group look blank; they have no idea how to answer this. The shaman is getting impatient.

“Come on, come on. It’s not that hard a question. Who are you?”

I love this question, although it isn’t such a simple question anymore. I’ve outlived the simple answers. I am like a mobile, shifting and whirling, with more and more doodahs bobbling around on it all the time.

I’m an adventurer

a seeker

an explorer of wild places

(inner and outer)

I’m a really good friend

I love being a woman

and a mother

I love to play and I love to learn

I’m passionate, curious, and sensitive

I treasure honesty and grit

and wisdom rooted in pain

I’m slowly finding my voice

and learning to live from my heart

(I have a long way to go)

I’m an artist

a musician

a writer

a teacher

a healer

a mystic

but mostly I know that

I’m a child of the

great mothering heart of the universe.


I tell this to the shaman, and he laughs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.