A New Way of Initiation

As a founder and a facilitator of the Young Shaman Foundation I often have people question… are you initiated?

The best way to answer this is through story. So here is the story of how I came to be standing in this position, this point in the human timeline.

I was born an empath, sensitive and attuned to the emotions of others. This depth of compassion led me down the path of healing. First as an Advanced Care Paramedic, then as a traditional healer in Hawaiian healing arts. This Hawaiian linage of healing found me when I was 19. From this day I have experienced yearly rites of passage in a modern day kind of way, using traditional methods of fasting, meditiation, yoga and Ka Huna massage. After seven years of these initiations I had completed my training. The hard thing for me is, though I went through these initiations it was not the traditional way entirely, and so to call myself a Ka Huna is a bit controversial to traditional Ka Hunas.

This controversy with ancient practice has been constant on my path of Shamanism. How can I call myself initiated in anything if I have not come through the rite of passage in a traditional way?

In 2014 I spent two months sitting in ceremony and walking the land with Shamans in Peru. Again, I experienced many kinds of rites of passage. From traditional plant medicines and visions to a newly formed rite of passage in Munay-Ki rites. The most profound initiation to date is now tattooed on my back, so that I may continue to remember this initiation that was never witnessed. In honouring this initiation I do not speak of it, but it is written in the symbology and placement of my tattoo. In fact all of my tattoos speak of my initiations, of many different linages including Australian. Yet, I cannot speak of them, for they are of an energetic and Shamanic nature. And so, again and again, I receive initiations of a non-traditional passageway. All of which, only I can validate as a “true” initiation of self.

This is my work now… it is not through traditional rites of passage in a pure linage. What I now gift to the world is a rite of passage for the young wise ones to self-initiate. This self-initiation is witnessed by community, it is celebrated and honoured for the profound shift and metamophous that it is. In reverence to ancient practice, relevant to today’s challenges. They are challenges that were never a part of life for our indigenous. We need our initiations to be integrated and deeply embedded into our world.

All of my unwitnessed and non-traditional rites of passage have led me to where I am now. A decade of these self-initiations have afforded to me the ability to support others along the path of self-initiation, so that we may become the wise ones, the elders and the holders of the wisdom that all of our ancient practices point to. Together we discover this within us, and carry it on for generations to come. It is exciting times as people are discovering they are the creator and curator of their life, their world. Together we remember, we awaken to the truth so that we as peoples may rise out of the delusion of separation to remember our connection to Earth and all of life.

*Mircea Eliade is a renowned anthropologist who writes of initiations in her books: “Shamanism” and “Rites and Symbols of Initiation”


Want to hear these words spoken? Here is a video blog from Karla.


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