The Dreamspeakers include both awakened mages and unawakened shamans (Second Sight, pp. 90-93), and is one of the most egalitarian Traditions in terms of the status of unawakened members. This acceptance of unawakened magic means that 80% of the tradition consists of unawakened shamans. By many members of this Tradition, the core of being a Dreamspeaker is seen as both a dedication to working as an intermediary between humanity and spirits. However, there is significant tension between shamans (both awakened and not) in traditional cultures, where shamans have an accepted social role, and shamans in the first world and in other industrialized cultures where shamans have no accepted place. Shamans from traditional cultures typically look down upon shamans who are not, but two thirds of the members of this Tradition are not from cultures that acknowledge the place of shamans.
Dreamspeakers in Myth and HistoryEdit
For centuries, Tradition Mages and Technocrats in Western Europe and the United States claimed that Dreamspeaker shamanism was the oldest and "most primitive" form of Awakened Magic and scholarly mages wrote treatises about the underlying unity of shamanism across the world. More recently, Dreamspeakers and scholarly mages have not merely disputed these claims, but declared them based in nothing more than racist ideas about magic and the misperceptions of outsiders looking for traces of ancient knowledge in the practices of less technologically advanced peoples. This same attitude lead to many Mages both inside and outside of the Dreamspeakers dismissing Dreamspeakers who awakened in technologically advanced cultures who lacked any ancestral ties to supposedly "shamanic cultures", leading many to become Orphans or occasionally to join the Verbena or the Hollow Ones.
Today, most Mages admit that the idea that shamanism was in some way the first magic is nothing more than a myth. Instead, it's understood to be a type of magic particular to people across the world whose Awakening is closely connected to communicating with spirits and having visions of Twilight and the Shadow Realm. Such experiences are not limited to any culture or race and seem to date back to the initial separation of the Shadow Realm from the physical world and later the separation of Twilight from the physical world, both of which happened many millennia ago. According to this theory, Dreamspeakers are Mages whose magic attempts to bridge these divides and reconnect these now-separate realms.
Dreamspeakers can learn the Totem Merit (Werewolf: The Forsaken, pp. 186-195). While groups of Dreamspeakers who regularly work together can purchase this Merit as a group, most often each Dreamspeaker has their own individual Totem. When purchasing benefits gained from the Totem, always use the lower (pack) cost, since the Dreamspeaker need not share this ability with anyone else, and so need not spend more points.