Eagle Feather Award


In 2016 The Society for Shamanic Practice began honoring outstanding members of the shamanic community with the Eagle Feather Award, a $5,000 award recognizing an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the field of shamanism. Each year a new recipient receives this award thanks to a generous multi-year gift from Sandra Hobson.

Why the name?

The eagle is revered across many cultures as a powerful embodiment of Spirit and emissary of wisdom. Whether soaring over the plains and coasts of the Americas, the craggy hills of Celtic lands, the fjords of Scandinavia, or the forests of Central Asia, the Eagle is central to shamanic peoples’ stories and beliefs. The eagle inspires in us the courage to see and shed our lowest fears and desires. It reminds us of Spirit’s fierce grace and limitless blessing. The eagle calls us into (or back into) connection with Creation, Creator and one another.

Selection Process

Each year the Society for Shamanic Practice honors an individual or group who has made a significant and wide-reaching contribution to the sharing of shamanic and indigenous wisdom throughout the world. We are interested in all forms of sharing this knowledge including writing, visual arts, music, student programs, etc. The recipient(s) will receive a one-time gift of $5,000, as well as be featured on the SSP website.

You may nominate anyone other than yourself or a family member. The nominee does not need to be a member of SSP and we invite you to make more than one nomination. We are unable to accept nominations of current or past board members of the Society for Shamanic Practice.

We are especially interested in those whose work is innovative and deeply inspiring with a broad reach. Nominees must have a website that clearly explains their work and vision. This is not a voting process and multiple nominations do not improve the nominee’s chance of receiving the award. All information provided will be kept private and used only for the purposes of selecting this award. Nominees and nominators may be contacted by SSP for additional information and verification.

The 2018 nomination period is now closed. This year’s award will be announced in November.

Past Recipients

Bhola Banstola | 2017

The Society for Shamanic Practice is thrilled to announce this year’s winner of the Eagle Feather Award: Bhola Banstola, a 27th generation medicine person from Nepal. For many years, Bhola has taught extensively throughout the world. Recently he has turned attention toward making ethnographic and shamanic healing documentaries to preserve his traditional ways and to educate those who are interested.

Nepal has been rocked recently by disastrous earthquakes and, very recently, floods. Bhola is actively engaged in helping his nature-affected brothers and sisters as best he can. SSP is delighted to support Bhola’s work and vision, and by extension the people of Nepal, at this time.

You can learn more about Bhola Banstola in this video interview.

Two quotes from Bhola

“I believe that the shamanic path is the most democratic path. Anyone can practice this way and take this practice a way of living life. One should be very sincere, one should take it as a daily practice with great discipline. It helps us to be always connected with the spirits of nature and with yourself too.”

“If you want to be a shaman, having a human teacher as a guide is a must, as human teachers show you the best way to explore and work with the spiritual worlds; and they can teach you how to perform healing rites and rituals as well.”

Joseph Rael | 2016

We were honored to present the 2016 Eagle Feather Award to Joseph Rael (“Beautiful Painted Arrow”), an eighty-two year old author, healer, mystic, and teacher who travels the world establishing his uniquely beautiful “sound and peace temples.” When he is not traveling and teaching, Joseph makes his home in Colorado on the Ute Reservation. He is of both Ute and Picuris descent and belongs to both tribes. Learn more about Joseph and his work here.

SSP Board members Lena and Jose Stevens traveled to Southern Colorado to present the award to Joseph in a short and lovely ceremony. At that time they recorded an interview with him containing nearly an hour’s worth of wisdom and humor. Congratulations, Joseph Rael, and thank you!