The spiritual development/shamanic apprenticeship pace has been moving at a speed I’d only experienced while living in Peru in active Ayahuasca ceremony. But for a person who is in a life purpose apprenticeship, the training never stops. It takes twists and turns, ebbs and flows, and cycles in some dramatic full circles. But it never stops.


Twelve Years Into Shamanic Apprenticeship

I’ve technically been in my apprenticeship since 2008, when I spent the next six years back and forth (averaging half of each year) in the Amazon in the Medicine, co-running a small healing center with the ayahuasquero I work with. I know people debate about whether one needs to be working with shamans or not (and I know sometimes they can be a pain in the ass – with all the love in the world) but as this thing has continued over time, (now in its twelfth year) I’ve really come to appreciate having a mentor who will give me space to explore, always emphasizing that my apprenticeship is between me and the Medicine (rather than “under him”) and be there when new levels of training hit and I wonder if I’m in over my head. Getting validation (or gentle reminders in the other direction) is truly priceless.


When I first landed in Iquitos in 2007 and felt the jungle (through a series of crazy Divine flow events), I knew immediately I was in the right place. Every cell in my body vibrated with intuition that this was my work. This was before my first ceremony and almost no research, shy of an article written by a person with five ceremonies and a website that didn’t even use the word Ayahuasca. I tried to research – it felt like molasses (which happened often during my apprenticeship when I tried to read more about the Medicine.) I finally got the message direct once “Meghan, why would you learn about me when you could learn from me?” The Medicine didn’t want too much outside influence since my apprenticeship needed to be my own.


The fact that I had been also Divinely flowed into a two year very intensive spiritual development training program, headed by one of the world’s master spiritual processors (Iyanla Vanzant) was no accident. I still am in awe that the Universe gave me such a powerful and skilled woman as my starter pack. But that’s what it took for me to fulfill my larger purpose in the Medicine. I needed to assist with the bringing of the language (of course, since I also basically got sent to become a sign language interpreter and learn Spanish.) Being trilingual and an interpreter gave me a nuanced view of the energy of language, culture, and how to “walk between two worlds” (also the shamanic archetype.) I needed that initial training to prep me for my apprenticeship towards my role.


On Becoming a Shaman

Initially in the Ayahuasca portion of my apprenticeship, I wanted to someday “become a shaman” like so many other newbs do. Luco and I opened the healing center a year later (I was coordinating and doing spiritual process and integration work, he was running the ceremonies.) At some point (maybe a year after) I didn’t care about becoming a shaman – my apprenticeship intention was to train me in my life purpose, whatever that looked like. And it stayed like that for many years (up until the last year or so.)


I, too, have the hangup on the word ‘shaman’ (and especially the word maestro.) The word didn’t used to be a revered status, it was simply a job title. Ayahuasquero, Palero, Sananguero, Curandero, Doctor, Guia – this is how they described different aspects of the role. Not every shaman has every specialty, which we want. Just like there are general medicine doctors in the Western world, you don’t necessarily want your GM to be the one making cardio or neuro decisions. Even the word ‘shaman’ itself came from Siberia and is now used as an umbrella term all over the world.


And ‘maestro’ is very new historically – and it means both ‘teacher’ and ‘master’ in Spanish – you can imagine the ego shitshow that can cause if unchecked. I still use the umbrella term ‘shamanism’ for the training and will refer to Luco as a shaman (but that’s mostly because it’s become the language norm at this point so I adapted, as did he.) But even Luco will never take the title of Maestro – he emphasizes always that we will be apprentices for life. I love this about him. Plus, it’s a failsafe for him to keep his own ego in check.


So I’ve long since resigned caring about titles. They don’t seem necessary to me (I like the oldschool way that focuses on the skill set itself.) Plus, to be totally honest – I’m a white girl. It just feels icky for me, on me. No judgement to others, as everyone’s relationship is their own, and there’s truth to the fact that spiritually, whoever is called to this job should do this job. But we’re on earth, with cultures, and I just can’t shake the cultural appropriation enough to do it.


But my apprenticeship has definitely evolved. It keeps going back to the Medicine. I’ve been tasked time and time again with doing energetic Medicine ceremonies in the clutch, and have finally stopped questioning whether they will work or not (they always do – yet at the same time, I’m only tasked with stretches that I can handle, which has been nice.) The ego work has been imperative to making sure I’m not trying to skip steps, or get in over my head. But the over-correct on worrying about my ego also can get in the way of growth, if I’m afraid to step up or take ownership of what is clearly happening. I’m definitely in an Ayahuasca shamanic apprenticeship, and there will come a time where part of my job is to pass Luco’s Medicine on through the lineage. But I’m still in no hurry.


Spiritual Development Work is Vital for this Role

So many pieces have to align until I’m ready for whatever the next step is, over and over. The spiritual development work (which ultimately clears out the clutter of the mind, heart, ego, belief system structures, etc gradually over time) is imperative to be able to actually be a clear enough channel to get the Medicine through, as well as the intuitive spiritual feeds as to what to do next. The role isn’t even being the healer per se – it’s being the conduit. Half the time I don’t know what’s going to happen next, until I just know through the spiritual feed. Blocks, filters and arrogance would absolutely get in the way. Hence, why we do the spiritual development work.


People often put shamans on pedestals, looking at them like they have some magical ability that’s actually powering the ceremony. But it’s the opposite. It’s more like support staff for the spirits to do their work. It’s coming from underneath, holding up the space so the spiritual energy can come through, and also empower the person being healed to be an active participant in the process when applicable.


There are many times I’m called to have the person pull up their own power to release something, or ask their defenses to step aside, or tell me what they’re feeling in their body or intuition if I can’t see it, or just to verify I’m on track. Working together as a unit has yielded amazing results (even in game-upped levels of darkness I’d yet to have to deal with.) Working together, in the trifecta space of love, intimacy and Medicine, seems to be the theme of the hour in my world.


Intimacy Work Cut Out for Us

I got an interesting concept about intimacy the other day. Intimacy is simply love, connecting to itself through bodies. I thought it was a beautiful feed from the upper realms (since I wouldn’t have thought of that on my own.)


The ceremony-pace work at home is still going strong. New opportunities for Zach and I to see both of ourselves, and our defenses in action, have presented in ways that alert us what we need to work on. It’s been insane the fact that our constructs (energetically) are nearly identical, so we’re both working on the same thing at the same time, in different earth versions. *If you missed the beginning of this whirlwind, click HERE


We reached some deep core beliefs the other day about the “not deserving of love”/”not good enough for love” fear that so many of us walk around with at the very root of our defense systems. It’s not always accessible, but when intention is set on this work, it usually leads to some version of those core beliefs.


Once we had some good door opening/emotional purging in that super vulnerable space, a few days later we attempted to do some connection work to move the intimacy energy through our bodies, just to prime it to work on the core belief.


You’re not going to knock down that defense system directly. You have to add water to the hard ground that holds it in place, so it becomes soft enough to release. My higher self speaks.


This is extra funny since I have a strong earth element and he has water. So we were intending to move the energy underneath to basically prime the defense system over the core beliefs to try to move.


Annnnd it totally didn’t work:) All the activity was involved looking at each other, hand in hand and send love in order to circulate the energy. Seemed easy enough, but we were both surprised at how uncomfortable it was, and how activated both of our fear defenses became. We ended up fighting our own defenses, and lost. We basically both ended up in our comfort zones, focused on sending love to the other (easier) but had a hard time receiving it (both have rescuer archetypes, where we’re more comfortable helping other people through their shit than receiving help on our own.) So basically the defenses just pushed up against each other until we gave up. Very eye-opening.


Then we tried to do it taking turns, but were having a hard time opening our bodies back up (and it was the end of a very long day as well). We got a small amount ultimately circulated, and saw a couple of hairline cracks in the structure, but we’re used to everything we’ve been trying working fairly quickly (some tougher emotionally than others, but they all went eventually.) Now we’re at the harder stage of the game. But the approach adjustment has been noted.


Each Step Creates Access to See More

Even though I just released that very old structure last week (which I’m still happy AF about), there’s a whole huge system that I couldn’t see underneath it, which is now (at least) accessible. Welcome to the patience that’s required for this type of work. It takes as long as it takes, period.


But I love it. All of it. My apprenticeship at home has been nothing short of beautiful. There are certain aspects that have been extremely emotionally challenging (specifically letting go of old dynamics with roots in the wrong place, but just as much love as there ever was underneath – and trying my best to navigate that). But I wouldn’t trade this work for the world. And the fact that I can share freely and resonate with others is such an honor.


This work is messy, and it’s hard looking at our own shit as we go deeper, getting this vulnerable to another person, and holding on to the rope of intention (even when it’s confusing.) But it’s worth it. Every win brings relief. Ever new understanding stretches my frame (as my higher self told me it would, specifically in regards to the romantic feelings that I’m still coming to terms with – more on that later). But it’s moving, swiftly and steadily. Can’t wait to see what comes next:)


Thanks for listening! Big love ya’ll:)


~ Meghan Shannon Elder @wildspiritualride @zachshalack

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