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The ancient dynamic of Master & disciple

Within many traditional shamanic cultures, there still remains the old tradition of Master and disciple. For Mongolian shamans, when they are called to a path of Shamanism, they must first find a Master. They believe that only those that have shamanic lineage are drawn to this path and display the relevant skills and dedication. Due to years of oppression in this country, most of the direct lineage is lost or forgotten. So modern shamans try to upkeep the old traditions as shamanism reemerges from the scars of the Soviet occupation. By choosing a Master, each shaman is guaranteed a physical mentor to seek guidance and support as they become more powerful. It is said that a shaman gains more power every year that they are alive on Earth.

It seems in modern times, age is not a determining factor for who is the master, and who is the disciple. It is more aligned through a soul contract made previous to the incarnation that determines how this sacred dynamic will play out. Without a master, a shaman will grow too tired in his physical life from holding too much responsibility. Also, since this bond is for a lifetime, the Master is held responsible for any and all of their disciple's mistakes and misfortune. It is in this way that they create karma together.

The disciple must first ruminate and meditate of why they need a master. Once they are clear that this dynamic serves their spiritual growth, they can then begin to look inside and outside of themselves for the person that their Tengri (ancestral spirits or guides) approve for them.

The Master must also gain approval from their own Tengri whether to enter into the lifelong bond. As is customary, the disciple must then present a yellow sash to the Master which will be kept as long as the bond is in place. This custom honours a bond that is dictated by servitude to each other. One must guide and the other must follow. Once the bond is made, it is then assumed that when the Master seeks assistance with a ceremony, the disciple must be there. The disciple must also go to their Master for help and guidance before they lose their way and detrimental karma plays out for both.

Under the guidance of a Mongolian Shaman and his Tengri spirits, I have been instructed to find my Shamanic Master (which might equate to a spiritual mentor in our culture). It will also be part of my journey to take a few disciples over the years, depending on what my own guides instruct me to do. I believe this dynamic will bring support and stability to a journey that is so often disorientating and confusing.


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