Are we mages or are we just magicians with a delusion of grandeur? There has been a large effort in magic in the past 50 years or so to really present it as just cleaver tricks or stunts performed by skilled tradesmen adept in the form of trickery, misdirection, and illusion craft. Really since the Inquisition started torturing heretics for being witches magicians have clung to the idea of innocent entertainers more so than powerful sorcerers. Yet still to this day we hold dear to our hearts romantic visions of the classical Merlin figure as being the epitome of what a real magician is. The Penn's and Randy's of our community speak out strongly against anyone who would dare obfuscate the truth of deceit in the name of performance. It seems that the magi can present any claim they want while on stage, so long as they take of the long white beard and flowing robes of their god like persona the minute the stage lights go out. But Urban Shamanism isn't that simple. Or rather much like Taoist traditions it's so simple it's complex if you try to over think it. I don't think the only acceptable archetype to be presented on stage should be that of the Trickster. That after all robs the audience of so much viewing potential it's not even funny. I also don't believe that there isn't such a thing as "real" magick either. After all as anyone who has witnessed the birth of their child, or pondered the impossible limitless power of love will tell you that magick is real. All the Urban Shaman does is blend a little wisdom with a little trade craft and add in a spice of showmanship to create and inspire our audiences to think about their lives. To aspire to inspire as it were. Does that make us frauds? Are we liars, deceivers, and con-men? Why is it that our magical fraternity must take such a self righteous stance against those who do not overtly scream at the top of their lungs "I'm just tricking you"? Why must the moment of magic, and awe inspiring mystery be limited to the first few seconds post reveal? Why must we disillusion our audiences only moments after we've worked so hard to create the illusion to begin with? Those questions are questions we all must find answers for ourselves with before we can truly dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of the Urban Shaman character. Choosing to walk the path of the Urban Shaman is not a path we take lightly because it makes us more than just entertainers. It calls us to be teachers, leaders, instructors, counselors and above all else- mystics. Because the work that we do is so impactful on others there will be those who will line up by the droves to denounce our work. They will call us religious fools who have lost the one "true" way, and that we've perverted their sacred art of magic by blurring the line between the Trickster and the Mage. A line that for thousands of years before us was blurred. But that is the price we pay, our dues if you will, for taking part in this important work. Just because one person learns to con people out of their money, manipulate them emotionally, or otherwise abuse their trust using skills of our trades does not automatically reduce every practitioner of the art to the level of scum that willfully pray on the gullible with the intent of personal profit. And in that there lays the truest difference between the Urban Shaman and the New Age Scam Guru Psychic. The scam artist our fraternity is so concerned with combating only seeks to give to them self by using their powers. They only seek personal gain. The urban shaman doesn't seek to give to them self, but to give OF them self to others. They help, not take. They heal, not wound, and they inspire not enslave. Not everyone can be an Urban Shaman, just like not everyone can be a magician. It takes a special kind of calling. It takes a special attention to detail, but to those who hear the call to avoid answering it is impossible. Inevitably we are drawn back to the way by forces more powerful than us. We can only answer the call and humbly accept the charge presented to us. It's a Gias that we're called to. And it's quite the rewarding quest to be sent on.