Not all awakening is Kundalini awakening, although it is a commonly used term.
Shamanic activation is probably the least understood of all the spiritual processes. Despite the recent (disrespectful, erroneous) New Age idea that Shamans can be created by courses and workshops, true Shamans are born, not made. A Shaman does not initiate other Shamans, as occurs with Yoga and Wicca. Rather a Shaman may recognize that another has been chosen or born a Shaman, and assist with the unfolding. The primary teaching happens through the spirits directly, although it is not unusual for a new Shaman to be drawn to a more experienced one, to have a hand to hold to make it easier to accept the process. Usually one is also lead to information and Spirit provides a commentary for enhanced understanding.
In tales of Shamanic training such as those by Carlos Castaneda, the human guide chooses a student who is already a potentially Shaman, the gift is within them waiting to be actualized. Carlos often wrote that Don Juan would become frustrated because he could see the power within Carlos, but the logical Western mind of Castaneda was slow to actualize. Carlos had Don Juan to explain things, but much of the teaching was a result of Don Juan creating situations for Carlos to interact with spirits directly, and learn from them.
Shamanism has some things in common with Kundalini, and they may go together, but they are *not* the same thing. Shamanic training makes Kundalini feel like a walk in the park, by comparison. I would not wish Shamanic initiation on my worst enemy!
While all Shamans may become K. awakened as part of the training process, not all awakened people become Shamans.
Shamanism is much more intense than Kundalini., and it also involves a much more hands-on training as to nature of the illusion of the physical, and a deeper relationship with death, nature, and the underworld.
Being taught by the spirits directly is one aspect of Shamanism that some Kundalites share. Most Shamans are also K. awakened, but few Kundalites are also Shamans. There are many different definitions of what makes a Shaman, but my own consideration looks for several specific aspects and experiences.
For Shamans, Death shows up as a spiritual being, an ever present spirit teacher-guide whom you get to know, and eventually integrate with. It is an ongoing relationship.
My definition of a Shaman is pretty simple: if the spirit who claims you does not do its best to kill you with a severe, life threatening sickness shortly after you meet, then you are not a Shaman.That is not to say that all life threatening illnesses are shamanic sickness, of course. CFS, malaria, flu, pneumonia, fibromyalgia, cancer, arthritis, heart disease, or suicidal impulses are not Shamanic sickness.
The basic pattern is that there is a "First contact" with the spirit, usually taking the form of a psychic or paranormal experience and an interrogation by a spirit. The interview is followed by a severe life threatening illness. Shamanic sickness usually includes visions, high fevers, transient comatose states, delirium with hallucinations of visits from the spirit that claimed you, etc... the sickness may last weeks or months, however long it takes you to surrender to the training, or die. Medical intervention is usually of little use, as the cause of the illness is supernatural, not physical. (See a doctor anyway, just in case your illness is physical and treatable, and not Shamanic sickness!! Better safe than sorry. ) It is estimated that 1/3 of those who are called, do not survive the sickness. The sickness is a cleansing and a testing.
The key to survival is to consent to their plans for you. Surrender to becoming a Shaman and agree to be trained.
There are exceptions. There are cases where the subject was already dedicated to another God, such as Jesus Christ or Goddess, and they asked that Divinity to then you can claim prior allegiance and ask for your God to intercede for you, however if the Shamanic initiation is part of your God's plans for you, it will not work.
If you survive, then the spirit(s) go on to train you directly. Unlike yoga or other forms of magical training, there is no human hierarchy to Shamans. It is part of the definition that to be a Shaman is to be trained by the spirits directly... although it is not unusual for the initiate to be drawn to a more experienced, 'Graduate' Shaman to have a hand to hold during the difficult bits.
Kundalites may traverse the underworld levels of the Bardo on their journey through it as part of ego-death, Witches may go there in ritual and return, but Shamans get to know it well enough to be tour guides, and actually live in both worlds. Some Kundalites may become healers, but not all... whereas most Shamans become healers, although some may primarily specialize in other activities. Some Shamans, like myself may even have an imperative to do a certain amount of healing work regularly, in order to maintain our own health.
Unlike Kundalini, one eventually "Graduates" Shamanic training, and surrender to the teaching spirit is no longer required. It becomes more of a spirit helper friend. With Kundalini, eventually the separation ends and one recognizes "I AM That", but there is still humility.
Shamans having integrated death, have one foot in the underworld. Kundalites deal with ego death, resolving their fear of death and dying, but Shamans have a relationship with the archetypal being that is death itself, and integrate that being into themselves.
One aspect of Shamanic training is meeting, integrating the archetype of death itself. It often first shows up as the "Portal Guardian of the dream time" a great, vaguely human shaped black shadow being, that reflects your fear back multiplied with destructive force. It may also show up as the typical "death" image, a cloaked being with a cowl, no face. You may face it over and over, being utterly destroyed in dreams and visions over and over, till you learn to approach it with unconditional love... at which point you enter the next phase, you become that being, your consciousness a passenger within it, as it goes about reflecting fear and destroying.
The Jungian definition of the Shadow is "that which you think you are not", and once the earlier levels of the training are completed, the teacher may resolve itself into the form of a historical or fictional being which you believe to be the antithesis of yourself. My Shadow teacher took the form of the historical sadistic Romanian Prince that the story of Dracula was modeled on, Vlad the Impaler. I did not recognize him as that right away, and nicknamed him "Armand," after a vampire from an Anne Rice novel.
Those who are born Shamans often have a higher than average incidence of paranormal experiences in childhood, and often night terrors featuring a tall dark, voiceless shadow being who reflects fear back with destructive force unless approached with perfect unconditional love. These experiences gradually decrease with adulthood, and are eventually followed with an experience of Shamanic initiation by a spirit.
I experienced that aspect as night terror dreams as a preschool child, that did not end when I woke up. I shut down the process with prayer as soon as I learned to say prayers at night. It was relief, but I feel it did not serve me, in the long term. I was stuck partway through, being a reflection of fear, and got a lot of abuse from people, adults and peers, alike. If I had continued, the Portal Guardian would have become my friend and guardian in travels through the various dream dimensions.
Integrating the Shadow also happens with Kundalites, but it is a gentle process of facing the Mirror of all that is, and recognizing oneself in external, worldly things... not Shadow taking form and manifesting as teacher-guide.
This integration with the death archetype leaves Shamans with a particular vibration that can be felt by other Shamans and some sensitives. It is a little scary, like the death vibration of poison mushrooms, or the all out terror of a bad acid trip. Not that Shamans live in fear, because the energy is integrated, but it does sometimes scare other people.
Recently someone was asking me about it, so I pulled up that aspect of myself for her to see, and she was visibly shaken... I took her fear back from her, and she was glad I did... I could invite readers to look into me, and see what I am describing, but you might get some ferocious nightmares if you do... if your own guides allow you contact with it, at all.
Periodically I get people writing to me asking if they are a Shaman, and often they become quite determined to persuade me that they are Shamans, if I tell them they are not. (Don't ask. I don't respond to that question anymore.)� When I get people claiming to be Shamans, or asking if they are a Shaman, that death-vibe is one thing I look for. Ego death does not leave that imprint, but Shamanic training does. I also tend to get kind of hostile to people who claim to be a Shaman because they took a course on Shamanism. It is disrespectful to the ancient forms. Shamanism does not work like that. Shamans are born, claimed, then taught by the spirits directly.
Shamans also seem to get a lot more training and experience about how to travel to various dimensions, deal with nonphysical entities, and are called upon to relate more directly with various beings and archetypes. Kundalites do experience dimensional travel, through the opening of the chakras, but Shamans experience the unreality of the "real" to a much greater degree.
"To observe an electron is to modify its behavior. Scientists at the Weismann Institute in Israel have demonstrated (applicable to particles of one macron or smaller) that electrons behave differently when observed. The observer influences the energy, thus effecting changes in the environment. The latest research in quantum mechanics and particle physics attempts to understand this phenomenon. But even with their high-tech equipment, they cannot comprehend what is happening because they are locked in their paradigm. To the shaman, on the other hand, there is no mystery. This is exactly what he does in the other world. He goes to different energy levels which are not observable here, interacts with the energy, and effects changes in this world, such as healing. Shamans have been using their awareness of this principle for about 60,000 years."
Centre for Shamanism and Consciousness Studies (http://www.csacs.org/edu/sssyll.html)
I am a Shaman and also a Witch... Witches also take training from the Goddess they devote themselves too, or the one that shows up to teach them... but again, the vibration is different. There is a magical, fey or ritualistic vibe rather than a creepy death vibe.
There are Shamanic elements to the training of a pagan Priest or Priestess, and one can be born a Witch, if there has been a past life initiation... the relationship is similar... but most Witches do not get the same sense of the unreality of the world. One can be initiated as a Witch, in this lifetime by another Witch... not so with a Shaman. Witches may also spend time walking in the underworld, but it does not become an integrated part of them in the same way. Visitors, not residents.
The best book on shamanism I have found is Hank Wesselman's 'Spiritwalker". You might also want to read the "The Cosmic Serpent" by Jeremy Narby. Spiritual Awakening.
Near Death Experience (N.D.E.)