The world of “Core Shamanism” (which takes its cornerstone beliefs from similarities between all cultures which practice rituals of spirit communication) is a modern construct that I studied for a time and then departed from. I left it behind for many reasons, but generally because I am an impatient student; I prefer to discover for myself rather than being told what is true.
One particular leader in modern shamanic thought turned me off by professing in each podcast that the practices of shamanism (“journeying” to speak to spirits) were our human birthright. Meanwhile, she also maintained that only an elite few who met certain conditions could actually be called shamans, despite the practices being available to all. And of course this individual was one of those elite few. I found this attitude to be almost deliberately misleading, calling upon everyone to financially support her work (framing it as a spiritual duty) because so many people want to be one of those elite few, and she promised to show the way — but she also eviscerated anyone who dared to think they were so special without her approval, or any of her students who wanted to think for themselves.
Another problem with modern shamanic thought is the rampant cultural appropriation. I am not one to take on the beliefs of others anyway (and not because I am so noble, but probably because of my own egoic and pompous faults). So I decided to find my own path which does not reference any specific ritual or teaching from another culture. I worked out my own personal and self-specific cosmology from the ground up, and in doing so I found a new way to approach spirit communication that appeals to my personal logic and perspective.
What I have discovered is that I believe all conscious beings are spirits; that the two words are interchangeable. Spirit with a physical limit (such as us humans, which have bodies and do not transcend space), might as well be described as “spirits wearing hats”. Non-physical manifestations of conscious beings are likewise spirits, but not spatially limited (although, I believe, it is logical to assume they are still limited by time — or else they would not be singular Selves, but all-knowing gods with infinite consciousness).
So all conscious beings are spirits. What then, is the importance and role of spirit communication? It is reasonable to think that a spirit who has transcended physical limitations has gained more knowledge and wisdom than humans (which are spirits whom you could speak to in the most ordinary way!). However, as I said, I am an impatient student and did not wish to wade through hundreds of different conversations with different “wise spirits” to come to some conclusion.
My solution came when I was thinking about the concept of collective consciousness, and how I would define it. I believe that if one could hear the voices of infinite spirits (physical beings and non-physical beings), one could abstract from this the commonalities between all or most perspectives, which would be the most “true” wisdom (as true as anything can be, anyway). For a moment I struggled to comprehend how I could experience the noise of infinite spirit voices. And then I realized I have been doing it in a certain way all along. I prefer to think through abstraction, and when you abstract from an infinite chorus you are not listening to all the noise, but awaiting the sudden swells like the peaks of waves, which come suddenly out of nowhere, as my precious truths.
And so for me, I am not practicing shamanic journeying. I require no ritual tools and no rigorous, monk-like meditation. I simply have faith that I can “tune in” to the consciousnesses of all beings as a whole, like listening to all the radio channels at once — but then, only hearing those loudest spikes of truth. With my faith in the reality of imagination, this is neither difficult nor fantastical. For me, abstracting from the collective consciousness of all spirits is a better source of the image we wish to see of God.