The Shaman Next Door
Shane Knox has served 417-land as a modern-day shaman since he was 15. Despite his non-traditional beliefs, Knox has always considered himself just a regular guy.
Written by Adrienne Donica | Photos by Terry Sweeney
If Shane Knox’s spiritual journey were mapped out, it would be a winding path with detours left and right. The 417-lander was brought up in the Riverdale Baptist Church of Nixa, where he says he first felt the calling. But after his parents’ divorce, his mother took Knox and his brother to countless houses of worship. “I always like to say that we experienced everything from the Assembly of God to Zen Buddhism,” Knox says. Eventually, they met Barbara Dilley, the medicine woman for the Lumbee tribe. She told Knox of his shamanistic power and began teaching him some healing techniques. From there, Knox found Hilltop, an informal group organized by Betty Walker. Here, he learned metaphysics and met astrologers, healers, intuitives and many other people who helped sharpen his skills.
Today, Knox offers a host of shamanic services, such as intuitive readings, life coaching and guided meditation; owns Sage Studio 3.0 (5133 S. Campbell Ave., Suite 203, Springfield, 417-866-2248, mysagestudio.com), where he teaches eight yoga classes a week and offers yoga teacher training once a year; is finishing up a book called Spirit Message of the Day due out this year; and is working to expand the studio into a holistic wellness center with massage therapists, energy workers and others. We sat down with him to chat about his practice, his forthcoming book and why he’s just like any other guy.
417 Magazine: You describe yourself as a modern-day shaman. What does that involve?
Shane Knox: The typical role of a shaman is to be the go-between for the community and the spirit world. I help people figure out where they are, where they want to be and what they’re going to have to do to get there. It’s about making people strong in their life. Our logo for the studio itself is “Strong on the mat, strong in life,” and it embodies the same thing that I do in the shamanic capacity. People say, “What all do you talk about?” It depends on what’s going on in your life. A lot of it is about helping people to resolve old issues that hold them back. A lot of times I work along with or in place of traditional counseling with people.
417: What are the basics of metaphysics?
S.K.: Basically, we believe that everything is energy. We believe that everything is connected, everything is one. And it goes to the idea of the law of attraction—what you hold in your mind is what you draw into your life. It goes to the idea that we’re a soul that’s here to learn and to experience and to grow. To me, it’s much more of a platform of self-discovery than a set of rules, laws and expectations to be followed.
Despite being a shaman, Shane Knox is your average guy with pet birds. They come in handy , though, because he uses Appalo and Nicki’s feathers in cleansing rituals.
417: Tell us about the book you’re working on.
S.K.: I had been sick for a week, and on the first day that I felt like I could hold my head up, [my assistant] Jann sends me a message, and she goes, “You need to sit down every day and just write a little something from spirit and put it on Facebook. It’ll be a great thing to help people [and] give them an understanding about what you do.” I was super reluctant. I got up the next day, and I sat down on my laptop. And there was something there. Every day I would get up, and I would write about whatever it is that came in my mind. It went for 222 days. By the time we got done with it, so many people were sharing it and telling us how much it had helped them. The general consensus was [I needed] to make this a book. I happened to have as a client a professor at MSU who decided to take it and start editing it. It’s going to be the kind of book that you sit down and just open to the random page to see what it has to tell you.
417: Why did you decide to expand your studio?
S.K.: This has been my dream since I was a child. I’m trying to bring in the best of the best of everybody that I know because I don’t think I have all the answers. I don’t think that I’m the only practitioner for people. We are best served when we have a network and when we allow people to do what they’re excellent at. When we come together in that capacity, then we can be so much more effective at helping people.
417: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
S.K.: People would be shocked about how incredibly normal I am. I say that sitting here with beads on and covered in tattoos and talking about, to some people, outlandish spiritual stuff, but I’m just a regular average person. I have three German shepherds, a blue-and-gold macaw, an African grey [parrot] and two cats that are all rescues. I like riding my Harley. I like taking the top down on my Jeep and going for a ride. I like average guy things, and sometimes that gets lost in what I do. I would say the biggest thing that I get asked all the time is do I believe in God, and my biggest response to people is, “Where do you think this comes from?”
417: As someone who believes in the interconnectedness of all things, what do you say about the current divisiveness in our country?
S.K.: It is the cancer that is killing us. My mother brought me up with one true understanding that fits this: people are more important than situations. And I see people putting situations, opinions—many times unfounded—in front of caring about individuals and people. In Springfield, I hear people say constantly that this is a backwards or repressed [community]—I don’t like those words necessarily, those aren’t mine—but I hear people talking about the overly conservative nature that’s here, and I sit here and think, I’ve been with my partner for 15 years, I’m surrounded by a very loving group of people and I’ve got my storefront, city license, tax-paying approved business. I’ve had many people look at me and go, “I don’t believe in this sort of thing, but I believe what you’re doing right now.” I think the reason that it works is because it comes from the heart. I want to help people. I wish people could reach out and try to understand how cool diversity is. We live in a country that’s founded on that principle, and we’ve forgotten.
417: What advice do you have for someone looking to become more spiritual?
S.K.: First realize that you’re a soul in a body and therefore everything that you do is a spiritual act, and then ask yourself if that resonates with the highest views that you have about spirituality. I think that the greatest thing that we can do to get on the spiritual path is to realize that we’re on it already. It’s not some hidden path that we’re supposed to find. I think that we need to realize that regardless of what religion, regardless of what philosophy, regardless of what practices are there, it’s ultimately about sitting down and working it out with yourself and getting to where you feel right with your own spirit and with what you consider god to be. That is the spiritual path, and I think that that is as unique as there are numbers of people.
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