Michael Erlewine has recently returned to the Matrix Software company that he started, and he is making a big splash on the web. He has started a new sub-blogosphere over there as well.
The shaman helps others accept their changes or deaths on one level, and obtain rebirth and to develop familiarity on other and new levels. It is said that the shaman restores the road between earth and heaven, a road that has been temporarily lost or has become unclear or uncertain. Another way to say this is that the shaman knows the way from one state of being or chakra to the next state, and is able to guide or prepare the initiate for that journey. The shaman often guides the would-be initiate from an unstable or dangerous state of mind to stability and future productivity. In the esoteric literature, the Shaman traditionally escorts the souls of the dead away from their corpses and dying places and on into the next world. The shaman is capable of entering and holding an altered state of consciousness at will, and can act as an intermediary between the known world of the would-be initiate, and the supranatural, or “next”, world.
I believe that people are called to this work – it’s not something that you can decide to do on career day. Any kind of shamanic work requires walking through the terror of your own darkness and it’s not something most people would do if they could avoid it.