“It was not I who cured. It was the power from the outer world, and the visions and ceremonies had only made me like a hole through which the power could come to the two-legged. If I thought that I was doing it myself, the hole would close-up, and no power could come through”
– Black Elk
Shamanic practitioners view mind, body and spirit as a holistic integrative system, and facilitate transformational inner healing on all levels of psyche and soul, mind, body and spirit to promote individuation, inner alignment and wholeness. In ancient and indigenous cultures, a ‘shaman’ or ‘medicine man’ served as the tribe’s holistic healer. The key word here being “healer”.
Shaman practitioners understand energy and how energy influences and works in both the environment and in the human body. We recognize the inherent power of nature and connect with plants and animals on a very deep level. We understand the spirit body and how to communicate with the spirit body along with the upper, middle and lower worlds, and the various dimensions.
Shaman practitioners often work through a team of spirit guides, ancestors and the elementals, while moving in and out of non-ordinary states, different realities i.e., the upper, middle and lower worlds. We move outside of this 3D dimension to gain new insights, understandings, knowledge and truths, which we bring back to benefit the client.
Shamanic journeying (rhythmic drumming to induce a trance-like state) is a primary tool of shaman practitioners for soul retrievals, soul extractions and spirit de-possessions. We often work with a team of spirit guides and animals, ancestors and plants in service to the soul. We serve Spirit, not the physical realms.
We understand the concept of energy. How shifting a human’s energetic frequency and vibration can assist them in moving through a stagnant past, change untrue stories, accept true stories, and realign limiting belief patterns. This process facilitates processing, integration and the ability to let go of the past, while teaching us how to live in our bodies and the present. We don’t simply move energy; we ask spirit to transmute energy. We work with Spirit to help support the soul.
Shamanic healing is an art form. There is no “right” way to perform a shamanic ritual or ceremony. While there may be similar elements (prayer, drums, and other tools) each shaman’s direction from their Spirit team ultimately shapes how we work. Every shamanic practitioner comes to know their gifts from a deep desire to learn and disciplined commitment. Trust me when I say this is not a glamourous job by any means. We must continue to learn and practice through our ever-deepening relationship with our human and spirit guides. We see healing as a gift and an art form, and one that must be respected and well-tended.
While, on the surface, the benefits of shamanic and energy healing may be similar, it is the process through which we bring the healing that differs. From the outside, it appears subtle, almost benign, but to the shamanic soul, the love and respect we convey is fundamentally sacred.
“Shamanism is a path of knowledge, not of faith, and that knowledge cannot come from me or anyone else in this reality. To acquire that knowledge, including the knowledge of the reality of the spirits, it is necessary to step through the shaman’s doorway and acquire empirical evidence.”
– Michael Harner
My Shamanic Calling
Shamanism is a calling, plain and simple. There are no schools per say and rarely will two shamans work in the same way. Shaman practitioners are called to this healing path and learn from wise elders in the community, or venture off to far-off lands to find their teachers. My calling was no different. I knew from a very young age there was something different about me. I knew things I shouldn’t know. I knew truths about people I was never told. I saw things others did not see. Like most young children I desperately wanted to fit in, be accepted, be considered normal. So, I did what many of us do. I shut it down and pretended I didn’t know what I knew.
Running away and avoidance of the truth never lasts. In fact, my denial of the truth caused me great pain and perpetuated much suffering throughout my life, often from unconscious self-sabotage. At one point I became extremely ill. Western medicine couldn’t help me and even made me sicker through misdiagnoses and prescription medication my body rejected.
At one point I couldn’t keep down water or food for months. I knew I was dying. In desperation I clumsily turned inward. Not knowing how or what I was doing, I asked for guidance, which I received. I was told step by step how to heal my body through natural means. Three weeks later I was healed.
Shortly, after this, and unbeknown to me at the time, my master shaman, mentor, and wise elder came into my life. She told me who I was and that I would become a powerful soul healer, and she said would be my teacher. That was over 15 years ago. Today, I continue to learn and work with my master shaman daily, while studying with numerous shamans and healers from many lineages, philosophies and cultures.
I find this path not only gratifying, but also deeply humbling. The healing of others has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with my relationship to spirit. The more I move my ego out of the way, the more powerful the healing energy flows through me. In working in such close communion with spirit, co-creation, manifestation, and true miracles are within grasp. The world around us feels different, magical, even when we see ourselves as a contributing force within creation.
““Most people think we believe our experience. This is not true; we experience what we believe.”
– Sandra Ingerman
Shamanic Practitioners Responsibility
Being a shamanic practitioner comes with great responsibility. In addition to accessing the different worlds and spiritual dimensions, we must possess the ability to transform what we have learned and experienced into concrete change in the physical world. The ability to apply shamanic wisdom from the spirit realm for healing and transformation in the physical realm is what differentiates shamans from other ‘spiritual travelers.’
Shamanic practitioners believe for true healing to occur, one cannot simply mask symptoms with medication, repress painful memories, or hope they will just go away through pretending they do not exist and denial. Shamans believe we must address the root cause, or origin, of memories and wounding and understand internal, psychic healing often requires assistance from non-physical realm of spirit.
Shamans’ responsibilities extend far beyond healing. We are also teachers of, and for spirit. Everything is interconnected and alive including mother earth, the planet, the stars in the sky, plants, animals and even the wind in the air. Shamans are responsible for teaching the community how to maintain a harmonious balance between humans, nature and spirit.
Shamans voluntarily enter altered states of consciousness and maneuver in and out of those various states. We are mediators between the worlds and are responsible for articulating the needs and wisdom of the spirit world to the physical world, and vice versa.
Receiving shamanic healing is also a gift. Each shaman shares their art and allows you into their intimate relationship with spirit. It can feel raw and primal energy, especially when venturing into the depths of psyche’s underworld, spirit allies and power animals to seek truth and healing. With the beat of the drums, the smell of herbs and incense, an ancient mood is set. This ambiance takes us outside of reality to meet with other-worldly forces. Shamanic healing allows us to dance in rhythm with the breath of life and emerge feeling renewed and whole.
Who Can Benefit from Shamanic Healing
If you feel, or have chronically felt sad, depressed, anxious, fearful, explosive anger, repressed rage, lost, disconnected, lonely, hopeless, worthless, unlovable, unseen, unheard, invalidated, invisible or like you don’t belong here, or if you lack direction, purpose and meaning in your life you can benefit from shamanic healing.
If you suffer from the inner critic, that nagging negative voice in your head that persistently tells you, ‘You are not good enough’, ‘smart enough’, ‘pretty enough’, or not worthy? If you have persistent nightmares of being persecuted, attacked by monsters, demons or other scary beings? If you feel a dark presence around you, that wasn’t there before? If you are having a streak of bad luck, or it feels like nothing can go right? Or if you tend to always be in crisis, conflict or drama with others, you can benefit from shamanic healing
“Wherever you go you will find people lying to you, and as your awareness grows, you will notice that you also lie to yourself. Do not expect people to tell you the truth because they also lie to themselves. You have to trust yourself and choose to believe or not to believe what someone says to you.”
– Miguel Ruiz
Shamanic Healing Modalities
Through the integration of modern and ancient healing methods transformation can occur at all levels of our being. Shamanic modalities include, but are not limited to acupressure, reflexology, reiki, sensitivity re-balancing, sound healing, journey work, past life regression, drumming, guided visualization, exploration of belief patterns and channeled messages.
Energy Displacement, Extractions and Spiritual Intrusions: Shamanic practitioners make no distinction about where energy came from. The shaman sees dark, negative or stuck energy that does not belong where it is and removes it. The shaman might practice hands on, or hands off energy work to discover areas in the body where energy is stuck or unbalanced. Depending upon their lineage shamans will use numerous modalities, techniques and breathwork to realign an individuals physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
Chronic anger, extreme and constant frustration, depression, chronic pain, auto-immune disorders and/ or a sense of emotional heaviness can be signs of a spiritual intrusion. The loss of personal power is referred to as a spiritual intrusion. Intrusions are caused by negative thought patterns that are often outside of our conscious awareness. Shamanic practitioners can extract spiritual intrusion energy and move it out of the body, enabling the individual to heal. After an energy extraction individuals tend to feel lighter, have a heightened sense of well-being, have more physical energy and confidence, and have a more joyful demeanor.
Soul Retrieval: Shamans believe that parts of the human soul are free to leave the body. The soul is the axis mundi, the center of the shamanic healing arts. Shamans know how to shift their state of consciousness, which allows their free soul to travel and retrieve ancient wisdom and lost power. The soul is free to leave the body. Often parts or aspects of our soul may get lost or leave the body, due to lack of safety. Soul parts leave the body to protect the soul and the human from even greater emotional or physical wounding. The shaman must intervene and retrieve these fractured or lost aspects of the souls essence.
A person was in an abusive situation and the soul left to protect itself from the abuse.
A child might have sent his or her soul to hide while his parents were fighting.
The soul might jump out of the body just prior to an accident to avoid the force of the accident.
Someone close died and the soul left until the person is ready to deal with his or her grief.
Shamanic Journeying: The shamanic journey transpires by shifting awareness or consciousness so the shaman can leave the body. The drum and/ or rattle are both integral components of shamanic journeys. The slow repetitive rhythm shifts of the shamans energetic “rhythm” allows shamans to journey or travel into different spiritual dimensions such as the upper, lower and middle worlds. The rhythm of the drum transports shamans you into a different spiritual state so they can journey. The drum beat used is very close to the frequency that is measured from the earth.
Inner Child Regression: Our entire life is a collection of psychic snapshots stored in our hippocampus. Our childhood years are a formative, developmental period in which children learn through mirror neurons and observation. Through this process our mental programming, emotional cues and triggers, and belief patterns are created through a variety of sources. Trauma wounding and abuse in childhood can create a separation from our true self. The internal programming and triggers that developed to protective us at the time no longer work for us in adulthood. In fact, this adverse programming stunts our spiritual growth, which then makes it necessary to regress back to a time when these childhood snapshots where created. The intention is alter or shift adverse thought patterns and emotional memories, which longer serve us to move into self-acceptance.
Rite of Passage Initiation & Ceremonies: A rite of passage ceremony and initiation demarcate and celebrate a man or women’s transformation from boyhood or girlhood, to manhood or women hood. Rites of passage can encompass the whole life cycle, from birth to death. Rites of passage journeys, or the Hero’s Journey, have three stages, separation, initiation and the return. Initiation rites represent a rite of passage process and includes a ceremonial demarcation to symbolize the death of the boy or girl, and birth of the new mature man or woman. In indigenous and traditional societies, rites of passage where used to assist young boys and girls in becoming adults and to mark a closing of the status of “child.” The lack of meaningful rites of passage leaves young people in a kind of limbo of extended childhood and in turn extends their emotional immaturity.
Burning and Clearing Ceremonies: Burning and clearing ceremonies is a process of letting go, a demarcation event that allows us to burn off past memories, events, loss, grief, shame etc., which no longer serve us and need to be released through the process of fire. Burning ceremonies are common practices in shamanic healing practices.
Psychopomp or Death Rites: Sometimes a sudden, unexpected death, or a deep attachment to a person or family, or a strong desire to complete some remaining unfinished business can stifle the transition process. The soul spirit wants to remain on earth, or the soul doesn’t realize it has already transitioned. Shamanic psychopomp work helps to ease fears about impending transition, both for the dying and for family and friends. Psychopomps assist the dying person to better understand the process of dying from a spiritual perspective, and ease fears of what lies ahead by clarifying the mystery.
Shamanic psychopomps assist individuals soul to move out of this dimension upon death, and move into the light. Psychopomps assist individuals with their transition and to cross over over safely without fear, or getting lost. This work also entails working with family members to calm their fears, anxiety, sadness and grief. Our soul is eternal. So transition is just movement from one state to another.
Psychedelic Preparation, Facilitation & Integration: The most effective way to minimize the risk of a bad trip occurring is to prepare well. Shamanic practitioners are uniquely positioned to assist individuals in preparing for altered states of consciousness. Preparation consists of understanding the importance of set and setting, deep inquiry into intentions for their journey and rigorous honesty of how one feels about moving into an altered state.
Psycho-Spiritual Counseling: Shamanic healing is psycho-spiritual in nature, while shamans philosophy is that mental health symptoms arise out of some form of spiritual imbalance, disconnection from self, spiritual and/ or emotional distance. A misalignment or imbalance in mind, body and/ or spirit must be rectified before wholeness can be actualized. Shamanic healing practices and energy healing have efficacy that dates back thousands of years and are known to be highly effective healing methods.
Shamanic healing practices, or psychic healing, as it is often referred to, uses ancient shamanic healing modalities that may include; shamanic drum journeys, ancestral healing, spiritual imbalance alignment, soul retrieval, often caused by physical or emotional trauma wounding, power retrieval, energy healing, cord cutting, spiritual intrusion extractions, regression work, psychopomp work and death rites. Shamanic energy healing shifts and releases blocked or stagnant energy.
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