Statement on Cultural Appropriation
We at the Spirit World Center take a firm stand against cultural appropriation.
We believe in working with universal techniques that are the birthright of all humanity and that come naturally to humans. These techniques exist cross-culturally and are wired into our very biology and soul (e.g. trance, ecstatic states of experience, the creation of sacred space, heart-based communication, etc.)
There is a deep chasm between working with these universal techniques and the act of appropriating the cultural practices of another culture. Taking cultural practices (e.g. sacred songs, specific ceremonies, or a ritual dance) from another group is deeply disrespectful. The spiritual practices of another culture are not simple items that can be swapped around and borrowed. Rather, they are the result of a long-standing communication and relationship between that cultural group and the Spirit World. These spiritual practices are a reflection of a specific metaphysical relationship that an outsider is simply not a part of (and cannot join, unless invited in). If you are not part of that group, a specific spiritual practice of the group is simply not available to you. Ultimately, this means that you need to find and create your own relationship with spirit.
Thankfully, we can help you with that. We focus on techniques that are a universal part of the human experience. In working with these techniques you are connecting with things that are ancient, that have existed for as long as humanity has, and which have evolved and taken on may forms over the millennia. Working with these ancient and universal techniques allows you to make your own connection with spirit.
As a result of working with these universal techniques you will discover your own sacred dances, songs, and rituals. You will not receive them from a human source. Rather, the spiritual realms will provide them to you.
– The Spirit World Center
The Term "Shamanic Practitioner"
At the Spirit World Center we use the term "shamanic practitioner" to refer to a person who practices shamanic techniques. Due to a number of valid reasons, the use of the term "shaman" is culturally problematic in a number of contexts. Therefore, we feel the term "shaman" is best reserved for those practitioners of shamanic spirituality who embody the term within established lineages and traditional systems. For those who come to shamanic spirituality from a non-traditional approach, such as that taught by the Spirit World Center, we believe that the term "shamanic practitioner" is a more respectful term to use.
On the right, Mongolian traditional shaman performing a traditional shamanistic ritual with a drum and smoke in a forest during autumn afternoon. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Photography by artist Kertu