Teen Spirit Guide to Modern Shamanism by S. Kelley HarrellToday’s the day: my new book, Teen Spirit Guide to Modern Shamanism releases world wide. To celebrate the occasion, all summer Intentional Insights will host leaders in Pagan and shamanic communities, artists, authors, and activists in the Teen Spirit Wise Voice Series. These fabulous people have come together to share their stories on exploring spirituality in their young adulthood, what spiritual traditions they honor now, and how the offroad experiences of their youth influence their work and path, now.

It goes without saying that the book, itself, is the culmination of years of work, study, and soul relationship-building, on my part. Honestly, when Alice Grist told me her plans for the Teen Spirit series, I cringed. The teen years were hard enough the first time, I didn’t really want to revisit any of it if I didn’t have to. Of course, that was me being selfish, because when I did finally give in and reflect on what was happening in my life on many fronts, at that time, I realized that baptism by fire for what it was, and I knew I would write this book for one simple reason:  Nobody has to do it that way anymore.

That’s it, really. If we’ve learned nothing in the modern shamanic movement, which is what’s happening, if you haven’t looked around, it’s that we are our own tradition, now.  We are no longer in the shadow of traditions spanning a history that was always eventually going to birth us.  We are no longer pioneering a movement to begin; we’re in it. We are many paths aligned by timing and geography, reconnecting very personally with the sacred in a way that changes how we go forward, for all time as a culture. It’s time to realize and celebrate that fact, and look to building the foundation from which those who come after us will blossom.

We’ve obsessed about where we’ve been, taken a lot of shit for where we’ve come from. As we continue to find our shamanic roots, it’s time to share ecstatic vision for where we are going. We have the opportunity, now, to engage a new audience, a young audience. We have a collective opportunity to offer access to a tradition most of us didn’t have, and couldn’t even identity.

What became evident in talking with those in this blog series is that we all share a few common traits. We knew at a young age that we were experiencing life differently. For whatever personal reason, the collective directive that led us away from that knowing was to placate others, to make their lives and experience easier, more comfortable in approaching us–a pattern that for most lasted into adulthood. Another commonality made me laugh–the repetition of the phrase, “There was no Internet back then,” hinting at how just the advent of that one little thing would have left us feeling supported, connected, and possibly more educated about our worldview.

And now, we can offer so much more to those seeking, today. We have living, breathing, thriving shamans in active traditions all over the world to honor. We have each other.

Yes, those featured in this series share stories of  challenged pasts, some of which are painful to read. What we have in common about our present is this:  We recognize the shift in young adulthood that impacted our spiritual path forever, and through sharing our stories, want to encourage you to stay the course.

It’s worth it.

We’re here.

You’re not alone.

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