What Is a Heyoka Empath and Could You Be One?

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An empath is a person who has the ability to feel the emotional state of another individual. There are many different types of empaths, however, Heyoka empaths may be the most spiritually attuned of them all.

What is a Heyoka?

‘Heyoka’ is a Native American word meaning ‘sacred clown’ or ‘fool’. This term is apt because it describes the way Heyoka use light humorous energies to open people’s minds and to heal. They work almost by tricking or joking with people.

This kind of empath sees life differently. They understand that sometimes the only way shift people’s thinking is to startle them out of it. They do this by showing them a completely different way of looking at things, often the complete opposite way.

The healing of a Heyoka is important, but they don’t take life too seriously. Heyoka empaths also behave as a mirror, reflecting other people’s behavior back to them so others can see themselves in a new way and begin to heal.

What do Heyokas do?

In Native American ceremonies, the Heyoka’s role would be to disrupt things in order to enable people to see things differently. This kind of empaths uses the energy of the sacred clown to open people’s eyes to new possibilities and different angles on a situation. They also have the ability to shift the energy of a group through their understanding of emotions.

Modern day Heyoka Empaths will often say or do something to shift energy and change perceptions. This allows others to begin to see clearly and heal. This kind of empath doesn’t heal in a conventional way, with crystals, their hands or through spirits. Instead, they create the space for others to become more aware of how they are behaving and thus heal themselves.

Heyoka empaths often heal through chaos and disruption. This is not always an easy or peaceful healing. However, it may be necessary for those completely stuck in a way of thinking that does not serve them.

Because Heyoka are empaths, they understand the emotions of others and are, therefore, able to provide the healing method suited to the individual’s needs. They might not heal someone completely all at once, however, he or she can lead someone through the next step on their journey to wholeness.

How do you know if you are a Heyoka?

Traditional signs that you are a Heyoka include being born breech, being dyslexic, being emotionally unpredictable, doing things backwards, being left-handed and thinking differently to others.

If you can feel other people’s emotions and instinctively know what they need to heal, you may be a Heyoka. You may also notice that when you have a deep conversation with someone, they often experience life-changing insights.

Perhaps you help people to heal through humor, or point out the ridiculous nature of a situation, in which case, you are using Heyoka energy. If you often find people are surprised or shocked by what you say or do, but then come round to your way of thinking and are able to move forward in their lives, then you are most certainly a Heyoka.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org

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By |2018-09-22T00:01:01+00:00November 30th, 2016|Categories: Empath and HSP, Personality, Self-Improvement, Spirituality|Tags: , , , , |12 Comments

About the Author:

Kirstie works as a writer, blogger and storyteller and lives in London with her family of people, dogs and cats. She is a lover of reading, writing, being in nature, fairy lights, candles, firesides and afternoon tea. Kirstie has trouble sitting still which is why she created www.notmeditating.com to share techniques and practices for tuning out the busy mind. She is also the author of Not Meditating: Finding Peace, Love and Happiness Without Sitting Still.


  1. Donnel February 4, 2018 at 5:45 am - Reply

    Please replace the image of a female wearing a war bonnet; that is not done by any Native American tribe. Thank you.

    • Anna LeMind February 6, 2018 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      This image is just an artistic representation and doesn’t claim to reflect the historical truth.

  2. Don February 14, 2018 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Don’t worry about the picture its some wat tradish iguess but these heyoka .is there other being also like them and where can I get some other information I really enjoyed this what nation are you from?

    • Anna LeMind February 14, 2018 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      No, but Native American culture is surely an interesting one. You can find further information about Heyoka empath in the references at the bottom of the article.

  3. Amie April 16, 2018 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Heyoka?? So, I am a Heyoka? Really? I couldn’t believe that I am a Heyoka..

  4. Karen October 15, 2018 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your article. Hey, look on the bright side least the girl is not nude hie hie hie. The Heyoka traits are very helpful, its as if I just took a personality test and am ready my results for the first time. I always knew that I’m an Empath, but this weekend I asked the Universe “Why do I have always – unintentionally – create chaos where I am or there will always be some kind of upheaval where I unknowingly said or did something wrong” I’m an Empath yes and have a deep love for others I cannot explain, but most confusing its a love/hate. My career always has me around different people and joking around is my middle name. Most people identify me as a bit loony and not all upstairs but I see it as a compliment 🙂 The also said Jesus was crazy, Einstein, Plato and Da Vinci. Thanks again for your article. This sparked something inside of me and now I can give it a name. In love and light

    • Heidi October 29, 2018 at 8:34 am - Reply

      Karen it’s the same way for me. I trigger people without even trying. People either love me or hate me. Their are no inbetweens.
      I’m also very misunderstood too. Some people think I’m crazy too! LOL!
      Finding out that I was an empath helped me a lot. Most of my life I never understood why people reacted the way they did around me.
      I can totally relate to what is happening to you.

      • Karen November 1, 2018 at 8:53 am - Reply

        Hey Heidi, thank you for sharing. I would love to keep in contact with you. I don’t know any other Heyoka Empaths in my life. I believe we can help each other if we share our experiences. Would you mind e-mailing me (pa at aminternational dot co dot za) or if you would rather not. I will understand completely.

  5. Angie November 3, 2018 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Wow this is definitely me! I thought I was a Super Empath (not everyone likes this term) but I’m able to mirror narcissism and fight back. I learned this in my last relationship. I’m also a problem solver and a healer. People always come to me for advice and somehow I know exactly what to say. I’ve offended people in trying to change their way of thinking. Sometimes the cold hard truth is necessary. Maybe I’m both?

    • Bud Knoh November 19, 2018 at 12:52 am - Reply

      Super Empath bbbaaaahhhhhahhhahahhhahahhhahah. That’s the greatest thing I’ve ever read. If you called yourself a “Super Empath” before learning you were a Heyoka, then you’re not a Heyoka and likely not even an empath. Also, if you were a Heyoka, you would know exactly what you were doing when you were do it. It wouldn’t be inclinations you are not aware of, you’d be very aware of them. Finally, if you were a Heyoka, you would not try to change anyone’s thinking. That’s the point. They change there own. Heyokas only close off all the routes (metaphorically speaking) through which one could escape the truth and flush another self-lie up and hold onto it as if it’s their truth. To close these off they have to scrutinize the self-lies the person might and likely will bring up (meaning you have to do this proactively if you don’t want the lesson to take twice or three times as long for them to pick up). They do this by breaking down the Truth into as simple and coherent of a concept as possible (based on the specific circumstance) so that the person can only interpret the same Truth as 2+2=4 and then they CAN’T say “no it’s not because xyz”. Then they are stuck w/ the truth. Heyokas don’t bring truth to the person, they bring the person to truth. Just like thinking differently; you wouldn’t change there way of thinking, you would open up room and corral them into changing their own thinking.

  6. Shawna DeLancy December 30, 2018 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Karen lol me too in fact my quote is from a popular book/play called “WICKED” It says
    “I don’t cause a commotion,I am a commotion” lol I just found out tonight by reading this article that my EMPATH class is that of Heyoka..and yes I do happen to be Native American 💙 I’m newer to being awoken to my path only really realized about 5 years ago but the more I learn the more I see my path was destined. Love &i Light yall 💙

  7. Karen January 9, 2019 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Shawna… “I don’t cause a commotion, I am a commotion” that is so funny 🙂 I think I’m going to steal this saying from you and post it on my status, hilariously true. And just a few days ago I’ve also become aware of the fact that we tend to unknowingly “put someone in their place” if you know what I mean. At my salon, one of the hair dressers thanked me for putting one of the ladies there is her place. I was totally oblivious to what she was talking about. Apparently she is very rude to everyone and I actually called her our about it. Hmmm, wonder how that happened. Anyway, never ever like conflict, but yeah we as Heyoka’s still get the job done. Being a Heyoka is being one… like an owl or any other animal, it never tries to be one, it just is.

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