What is shamanism?
The word shaman originated from a word in Siberia and eventually came to be applied to all medicine men and women of indigenous cultures who’s practice includes the flight of the soul. Anthropologisst studying indigenous cultures throughout the world, began to find that for different cultures, there were similarities in the way the medicine men and women worked with healing and connecting to the spiritual aspect of people and the world. While there were differences specific to culture, removing the cultural reference revealed a core system of practice. The core practices are called core-Shamanism – a phrase coined by Michael Harner. Shamanism is the practice of these core techniques, either for healing or to gain spiritual knowledge. Shamanism is sometimes studied with the cultural reference, sometimes without, but the essential nature of the shamanic practice does not change, nor has it changed since ancient times. It has adapted to fit the times or the culture, but its essential core has been the same.
What do shamans do?
Shamans work with the spirit or the soul. They heal illness at the soul level. They gain knowledge and insight from working with the spirits of nature such as rocks and trees, the land, and they gain knowledge from working with spirits of animals and humans such as their ancestors. For the shaman everything is alive and carries information, you can call this spirit, energy, or consciousness. In order to communicate with the spirit or consciousness of these things, the shaman will shift his or her own state of awareness. Shamans can do this through various means, such as meditation, repetitive sounds such as that of the drum or rattle, or through the help of plants. The shaman will then “see” through a new set of eyes, they will see what is going on with you on a spiritual level. The shaman’s practice is also characterized by the soul flight. (shamanic journey) There is the shift of consciousness that the shaman makes, which allows the free part of his or her soul to leave the body. (that part of our soul that leaves during dreaming) The shaman can then go retrieve information for your healing and growth. They can retrieve healing power, or things that you have lost along the way in living your life. During the soul flight the shaman is both in the room, and going on this “journey” so that he or she has an awareness of both at the same time.
Shamans divide the Spirit World into three major parts: the Lower World, Middle World, and Upper World. The shaman journeys to different Worlds, while in altered consciousness, to accomplish different tasks. It is also possible to make a personal journey for yourself. Lower World: The Lower world is generally where the shaman will go to meet power animals and other spirit guides. Guides are different from teachers in that they are the ones who will lead the shaman to the destination he/she is seeking. This world seems very earthy and tangible to the shaman and is characterized by caves, seas, dense jungles, forests, and deserts. The beings inhabiting the Lower World are the spirits of animals, trees, plants, and rocks as well as human spirits that are connected with the mysteries of the earth. Middle World: The Middle World is generally accessed by the shaman when he is searching for information that applies to our life in this world, such as looking for a lost item or to determine who is responsible for a crime or other action. Upper World: The Upper World is experienced as more ethereal than the Lower World. The lighting is bright and can go from pastels, to gray, to complete darkness. The landscape here is also very varied. There are crystal cities and cities of clouds.
What is soul retrieval?
One of the shaman’s most important tools is soul retrieval. It’s possible for the soul to become dis-integrated through any of a number of common traumas, circumstances or situations that might take place during a person’s normal course of living. When these occur, they may manifest in physical or emotional conditions. Conventional therapies only treat the symptoms. Until the root cause is addressed, the underlying problem remains – leading to recurring, sometimes increasingly more severe effects. Soul retrieval focuses on locating, recovering and re-integrating lost parts of the soul. Soul retrieval is a modality that has been practiced for thousands of years, by shamans in various cultures on every continent. Though the specific techniques for recovering the soul vary from one culture to another, the premises and goals of soul retrieval very similar – and have been throughout history.
What are power animals?
In the shamanic worldview every thing is alive and carries with it power and wisdom. Power animals are an essential component of shamanic practice. Shamans believe that everyone has power animals – animal spirits which reside with each individual acting similarly to a guardian angel. Each of us has at least one, and more commonly a number of such spirit helpers waiting for us. They want to help us and bring their special powers to us at a time of our life when we need them. They can also travel with us, guiding, protecting, and providing us with information that is helpful in our lives. If you would like to find out what your power animal is, a Power Animal Retrieval with me is an option. This is where via the drum I do a shamanic journey on behalf of the client to find the animal or animals that wish to be a part of the client’s life. I then join the animal with the client.