Our line of Shamans was a line of misfits. My teacher was the first teacher to have multiple students. His teacher was the first one taught outside of the family line. But the fundamentals of the teaching remained the same. “As a Shaman,” he once said, “we get to play ‘fast and furious’ with the rules.” That thought stuck with me, and I thought I had some idea of what he meant. I was an apprentice now, so I was determined to learn everything I could.
“When does my training start?” I asked, expecting a schedule of lectures, workshops, and hands-on training. I was surprised by his answer.
“Now. Ask Questions,” he replied, grinning like the Cheshire cat. I could hear the capitalization of the word ‘Questions.’ So I delved a little further.
“When does my training stop?” I asked, half-guessing the answer.
“When you run out of Questions,” he answered as I expected, but when he did, and I could sense that to be a half-truth.
“So it takes about three years to run out of Questions?” I asked slyly, hinting at his earlier remarks that training lasted three years. I could feel him bristle under the Question, and made mental note: he does not like to be cornered.
“Just about!” He laughed nervously, so decided I to drop that line of questioning. “Just ask questions? Okay, what are the Rules?”
“The Rules of Shamanism… You know, what are the Rules I’m supposed to follow?”
“Where?” He repeated, and I finally caught what he was saying.
“Everywhere…. The BIG fundamental rules. The Universal ones.”
“There are Universal Rules?” he asked as though he was surprised, and his flippancy was starting to get to me, however, I figured it was a test. Everything was going to be a test for the next three years. I swallowed my pride and soothed my irritation.