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 What Does It Mean To Be Certified?

The Certificate of Advanced Practice (CAP) earned upon completion of the 3-Year Apprenticeship is a public acknowledgment of the commitment to complete the training programs, personal development and practical, hands-on training led by Malidoma Somé and associates. It serves as official recognition by Elder Malidoma that certificate holders have received comprehensive training into the Dagara tradition allowing them to practice and teach publicly as designated by their certificate.

The CAP is awarded upon successful completion of all required training including all assignments and field work.

Ideally, we look for people who feel deeply called to preserve the wisdom of the Dagara people and who wish to bring healing, abundance, guidance to their communities and remembrance of their connection to ancestors and nature. It is not designed for personal healing or exploration into indigenous tradition. You are welcome to do that in the Ritual Healing Village or IAST.

Other Levels of Certification

Certificate of Attendance (COA) is awarded upon completion of any RHV intensive. The COA is simply an acknowledgement of attendance in the RHV intensives and is offered only at the East Coast Village. It does not endorse the certificate holder as a practitioner or teacher.

I Reside Outside of the U.S., Can I Participate?

We welcome international students!  With the once-a-year format and online mentoring platform, international students should easily be able to complete the certification.

What If I Have Completed The 2-Year IAST?

The short answer: certification will be the only legitimate path to professional teaching & practice of the Dagara tradition as taught by Elder Malidoma.


What If I’m An Initiated Elder?

Same as above.

What if I’ve taken Reload training with Maldioma?

Again, we need to emphasize that the only way to practice legitimately is to earn a Certificate of Advanced Practice. You are free to take any and all trainings with Malidoma for your own personal use. To extend services to the public using the Dagara model taught by Elder Malidoma, certification is required.

How Long Does It Take to Get Certified?

The certification process is designed to be a 3-year program, with trainees meeting once per year for a weekly (5-7 days) on-site session. Sessions are currently be held in the summer (August) at the East Coast Village, Cherry Plain NY.

How Much Does It Cost?

Refer to the calendar of events for current fees.

Will I Have to Travel to Africa?

At some point in time, students are expected to make at least one trip to Africa under the guidance of Malidoma to complete their training. These trips will be announced when scheduled.

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What Prior Training Qualifies For Entry Into the Certification Program?

Malidoma has been teaching for over twenty years and we recognize that he has taught various technologies of the Dagara people in a variety of settings. Below are general guidelines for entry into the certification:

A.  2-year IAST led by Malidoma at any location

B.The Ritual Healing Village @ East Coast Village

What does not count:

  • lecture or divination by Malidoma
  • single ritual intensive
  • single workshop
  • Beyi only
  • elder initiation only

If you have trained with Malidoma prior to IAST or RHV, please contact us.

What If I am  Already Teaching/Practicing Dagara Spirit Technologies?

We are excited to announce that Malidoma is offering this professional level of training in Dagara Spirit Technologies for those who wish to be credible practitioners. As a result, the training will take on a whole new level for those seeking to extend services to the public. By becoming certified, you will gain a new level of credibility in knowing that Dagara Elder Malidoma endorses your practice, that you are able to demonstrate to the public that you have received adequate training as a practitioner including verification of your skills, and be in a reciprocal relationship with Dagara elders and shamans in Africa. Therefore we invite all those who are currently practicing to earn their CAP as proof of their credentials, qualifications and credibility, especially to the public who is already wary of inexperienced practitioners in the field of shamanism and spiritual healing.

Will I be a “shaman” or shamanic practitioner?

Shamanism is a “term used in a variety of anthropological, historical and popular contexts to refer to certain magico-religious practices that involve a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world.”   The role of shaman “is usually defined by the obligations, actions and responsibilities expected of them within their individual cultures.” –Wikipedia

Although the term shamanism is a culturally acceptable term in the west, Africa and many indigenous traditions do not use the term shaman to describe people who work in the realm of spirit to bring healing, insight and wisdom to their communities. Most often, these people are identified by the specific roles they play, including diviners, priests/priestesses, weather workers, herbalists, medicine men and women.

You may call yourself whatever you wish, but we prefer that you use the designation indicated by your certificate such as Certified Ritual Leader, Certified Diviner, etc., when promoting the Dagara work.

How do I become a certified trainer?

Certified trainers are those who’ve completed Master Trainer certification.

Why do I have to complete a pre-application?

Certification is an advanced level of training and is not a time for exploration into the Dagara work. It is open to people who are well grounded, balanced and committed. The classes therefore will be limited to select people who demonstrate these characteristics. It helps us, and you, to see if this is a good fit for you.

Please note that the above questions and answers are subject to change. Revised Feb 17, 2014.


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