Italian Shamanism: an introduction

I’m sure very few of you have heard about Italian Shamanism. I too until 2 years ago believed the Shamans only existed in the Amazon, in Mexico or in Siberia. That’s because they are the ones who’ve been widely studied, recorded and written about.

I have to admit that I rarely speak about these things publicly. Still I sort of fear being taken for a crazy woman, a witch, someone living in the clouds. The word Shamanism evokes images of woods, darkness, a circle around the fire, Ayahuasca, antique chants, wild dances, and … a man. Yes, the Shaman is a man in our collective imagination. The Shaman speaks very little, drinks very little and is probably vegan. He is viewed as the holy man. And everyone who arrives at his feet bows.

No wonder then when I met Michela, the last Italian Shaman of a long family tradition of Shamans, I was confused. She was so…….. real! She was concrete! She lives in the present! She lives a normal life! Dresses like a normal woman! Drinks beer! Smokes cigarettes! She has a normal house (until you walk in ahahahahaha)! Has a husband and two children. She simply lives in the world. She doesn’t seek a refuge in the spirit world up there somewhere (see my hands waving above my head).

We have come to believe today that spirituality has nothing to do with the material world (the world of matter). If you notice, the society is now visibly divided between the spiritual people – who dress up carelessly with loose clothes, don’t wear make up, don’t do their hair, are vegan, do yoga, meditate, speak only about spirit and energy, send love&peace to everyone, refuse emotions such as anger – and the material people – who dress up nicely, wear make up, do their hair, eat whatever especially meat, smoke, drink alcohol, care about their appearance, work in areas considered evil, are attached to the world. You get the point and I’m sure you are now wondering where do you stand? “Oh no but I don’t meditate so I can’t be spiritual, but I am vegan then maybe…” Yes I feel your confusion πŸ™‚ The world likes to divide and label. Though don’t worry, welcome home wonderful human being! πŸ™‚

I want to tell you a bit about myself as I feel that because of the way I look and the job that I do… I should be considered the last person on Earth to be spiritual ahahahahahahaha In fact I always laugh at people’s astonishment when they meet me in person, because …. who they meet is a person πŸ˜‰
Soo I was brought up in Minsk by my grandparents and I spent all my time between climbing trees and sitting in the kitchen with my grandma. I was naturally in contact with nature. When I moved to live in Italy with my parents, luckily we lived in a town surrounded by forests, mountains and streams… I would spend my time reading books on witchcraft and playing at the stream nearby. The books on witchcraft were books that spoke to me about a deep contact with nature and elements. But especially about creating a deep contact with myself, with my body. They taught me about emotions and how to live with them and use them. OUR BODIES are important! It’s through our bodies that we experience the world. We are biology.
Those who have been called witches were simply women who had a deep contact with themselves and the world (a world that is a plant world since there are more plant species than any other living being). I don’t meditate, I contemplate. I am not vegan, I eat what I feel eating. I drink beer and wine. I am touched by everything, I am moved by the beauty of a flower just like by the rain on my skin or the gentle touch of someone who cares about me. I am attached to this world, to everything that is part of it. And yes I model and I act, I do all that consciously and have fun in changing skin. I enjoy to have my hair done and watch my face change with makeup, I love beautiful clothes and God I LOVE being photographed! I am real.
In the years I had abandoned everything concerning the world of magic and witchcraft – because seriously, I had noone to share all that with and I tried for so long to blend in, to adapt, to live like most people live… but it wasn’t going to last forever, I got called from the inside when it was time to go home – I read almost everything that’s been written on spirituality, on energy, on meditation and so on. Why? To find that something that I once had, but mostly to escape reality when it became unbearable. The funny thing is that the more I escaped reality the more unbearable it became. So go ahead and meditate more and more, do more yoga, eat more “pure foods”, think of energy, let go of your past, live in a bubble of love&peace and blah blah blah. Who hasn’t done that? Welcome to the New Age.

At the right moment arrived Michela (Michela Chiarelli). Thinking about it now, we met right before the most difficult period of my life… to start anew. Meeting her, and through her other magnificent women, gave me lots of hope and courage to be me. To stop fearing of being too much or too little. To stop hiding and instead stand up straight and tall. I got back to my nature, which is complex and deep. Automatically I stopped running away from reality and became very concrete, I may appear to live in the clouds only to someone who’s unable to see.
Italian Shamanism is vast and complex. It’s the antique story of the eternal feminine transmitted orally from mother to daughter. Michela’s job is to help get in touch with yourself so that you become the leader of your life; so that you get back the power with which you were born; so that you become you!
It’s not a weekend course, it’s not that you become a Moon Priestess in a week… It’s really about a way of living. It’s rediscovering the cycles of life-death-life and live in accordance. Nothing is static in nature, and everything is in equilibrium… there is equilibrium only in being present. To live today. To live breathing the air fully! To live with the fire always on inside! To live adapting ourselves to the events (when these cannot be changed)! To live with our feet touching the ground! … This is Italian Shamanism, learn to be an active participant in the beautiful dance that life is.

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