Today, I had a wonderful introductory call with a woman who thought she might want to do Mentoring with me. We had a very engaging get-to-know-you chat and nearing the end I invited her to ask me any questions.
She asked, “Well…I guess what I’m wondering is…how do you know you can say, I am a mentor?”
I love this question!
Maybe it’s my secretive Scorpio self, maybe in a past life I was a member of a deeply underground mystery school, or maybe it’s a hangover from the Burning Times, but I find the notion of self-declaring title a little…unseemly. It has never felt appropriate to me to say things like, “I am a priestess.” Or even, “I am a teacher.”
Of course, for clarity’s sake, I use the language of our times. I try to call my courses and services what they are. I do market my services as a spiritual practitioner. I do use spiritual tools rooted in shamanic practice, and Druidic earth-based practices, and the priestess path, among other things.
But I distance myself from public declarations of title or lineage.
Over the past few years, I’ve moved away from declaring my expertise.
Instead, I’ve stepped towards modelling, apprenticeship, showing-not-telling.
Once during a rite of passage ceremony for my daughter, I declared to her, “You are the daughter of a priestess. I serve Spirit, and those who serve Spirit.”
That’s about as close as I’ve come to declaring my “spiritual identity” or claiming a title for myself in a spiritual context. It was private. It was not remunerative.
I believe there are some kinds of work that should not be declared.
I believe there are some kinds of work that should be approached with eyes to the earth and palms to the sky.
I don’t believe we ought to say “I am a shaman”, particularly online. I believe a community that you live in has to name you and claim you as such, you need to be working (for free or very little monetary exchange) within that community for some years, and you need to not be calling yourself that.
I believe we can say, “I am a shamanic practitioner.”
We can say, “I serve Spirit.”
Or, “I do this-and-that work to help people during such-and-such trouble.”
And so for that reason, I don’t declare “I am a mentor.”
I say, “I mentor.”
It’s a verb. It’s a craft. It’s a practice. It’s a body of work.
It’s not a title.
It’s an approach I take to a working relationship with Mentoring clients, a relationship in which each of us are richly endowed with skill and knowledge, and one of us is in need of witness, guidance, mirroring, and perhaps expanded skill in some specialized areas of soul craft.