Is the word "shaman" cultural appropriation?

Yes is the answer- and I still use the word. Let me explain why I refer to myself as a “shaman”

I have seen a lot of posts recently suggesting that using the word “shaman” is cultural appropriation. I want to explain why I choose to use the word.

Basically it is the word most understood by the people I communicate with.

That’s it. It is not my favoured word. It does not reflect my cultural roots, nor the heritage of my spiritual tradition. But if language is to communicate- then shaman is the word that is best understood. And that is why I use it.

My preferred words?


This more accurately reflects my spiritual path and training. It is a Norse word which is usually translated to mean “shaman or seer” which with the blend of shamanism & tarot I practice is about perfect. But what is the use of using a word in my advertising that is not particularly well understood?

It is a beautiful word. However words are for communicating so I although I may use it on occasion I don’t use it often. (I think I will be using it more in general conversation though!)


Love this word. Powerful, earthy, British. Reflects me quite well.

But- I have been into shops with my Tarot flyers and asked to leave a few. I have seen shopkeepers shake their head and tsk at me. “Uhh no, not tarot thank you” I look at all the cards for reiki, angel cards, energy healing, yoga and the like and I despair. That is how judgemental our British culture still is. Mention Tarot or Witch at your peril.