Breaking Boundaries: What to Do If Your Spiritual Teacher Crosses the Line.
There is a dangerous and wildly unpopular issue that has arisen far too often in shamanic, spiritual, psychological circles. And it’s time we shake it down.
If you are a student, apprentice, client or follower of a shamanic teacher or healer, and your teacher, healer, or shaman shows even a propensity to cross your or another’s sexual or sexual-emotional boundaries, meaning, he is oddly charming with you to the point you feel inflated, special or somehow chosen, or he seems to flirt with you or with other women, or he feels just a bit too close, or makes comments that verge on or are explicit sexual innuendo, or you witness his charming or flirtatious behavior with other women and it just feels creepy and wrong to you — do not doubt what you are perceiving.
Do not second-guess yourself.
Your inner GPS, your gut, your unfuckwithable intuition is telling you something is wrong.
Do not talk yourself out of this one, especially if your head is saying that your shamanic teacher is fairly well-known, or has a Ph.D., or has published books and has thousands of followers on social media, so he just could not possibly be messing with your psyche, when you have come for healing and guidance, or as a student to learn a tradition and healing system.
Truth is, it happens too often. And it is not supposed to.
So if it happens to you or you witness it, or even suspect it, get the heck out of there.
Seek support from others outside that circle. And proceed with healing your soul.
As you take care of your own soul and heart, you will support others in doing the same. And make strides toward ending this sort of damaging, oppressive behavior.
I have witnessed this oppressive and traumatizing phenomenon in a few ways — in the stories of many of my own psychotherapy and shamanic clients who have sought me out to help them heal the deep wounds that result from this sort of abuse of power — as well as, over the course of a couple years, when I witnessed this directly while observing a former romantic partner of mine conduct shamanic/Jungian psychological workshops.
Make no mistake, this sort of boundary-crossing and sexual ethics breach is a crime of the soul. A flagrant abuse of power. A violation of the spirit. And one from which it is vitally important to protect yourself — body and soul.
It is a crime of the soul because it violates the woman or man who is targeted (anecdotal evidence, across decades, show that it is more often women who are targeted), preyed upon and being groomed on nearly every level of her being: psychologically, psychospiritually, emotionally, spiritually, and psychosexually, breaking some of the oldest and most important boundaries of sexual ethics that have come about through the development of both ancient and modern anthropological, psychological and spiritual healing systems.
Your teacher, healer or shaman is in a position of both implied and explicit power. When this power is used in service of your soul’s healing and spirit’s expansion, your teacher, healer, or shaman is, indeed, in right relation with his power, his own soul and psyche, as well as with your soul and body.
However, if he uses his power or influence over you or others — rather than in service of your soul — to meet his own egoic needs to feel powerful, accomplished, attractive, needed, or even loved, then he is abusing his power, committing a crime of the soul and spirit, inducing harm through traumatic abuse of you, and very likely other women and men too.
Good news is, if you are genuinely called to a shamanic, spiritual path, there are solid shamanic teachers and healers around the world who will not compromise your soul in this way.
There are many shamanic teachers who have done enough of their own depth-oriented psychological and spiritual inner healing work so that they will not abuse their power to inflate you, mess with your psyche and your body, and take your money while doing damage to your soul for an unconscious narcissistic complex of their own.
As I imagine many of you know, this is such a common problem, reports of which have been in the media for decades, and across cultures and spiritual practices of all sorts. And it is not acceptable.
From everything I have witnessed and learned over the last 20 years, in spiritual, psychological and shamanic communities worldwide, I believe that women who are targeted in this way are the very ones who hold the power to stop this sort of oppressive treatment.
It is not only oppressive and damaging to women, and to men, but is an egregious violation of the archetypal Feminine, the soul of the world, and to the very earth, Gaia, Pachamama, Terre Mère, to which these abusive shamanic teachers are ostensibly devoted.
Melissa La Flamme is a visionary artisan of cultural evolution. As an author, poet, Jungian & shamanic psychotherapist and troublemaker, she kindles soul’s smoldering longing for everything real. She helps hack and track the smell of our longing to fully inhabit our life. She shows us how to enact our own prison break, from the inner and outer lockdowns we have unknowingly built. Melissa teaches the soul’s clandestine trade. The trade of the code-breaker of our one authentic life. The way of the Holy Hacker of our soul. The one writhing alive in our glistening, raving heart, vulnerable, ravished, undone and messy in a world where anything but is the safe way to belong. Visit her at her website, and on Facebook.