Shamanic work is healing done at the level of spirit. In doing this work we connect with our higher selves and helping spirits for guidance, insight, and relief of physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms. If you had told me 10 years ago, while I was working in the ER, that some day I would be a practitioner of shamanic healing modalities I wouldn’t have even known what that was, let alone believed it would be my path. Despite not believing in Spirit (or, really, being too unsure to step into the possibility of Spirit) and choosing to (try to) cut myself off from it, I always felt a pull. What allowed me to start opening up to that pull was learning how to redefine and practice trust in myself, my intuition, spiritual connection, and faith. I think Brene Brown gives the best working definitions for what those things are. You can read her work in a series of books that start with “The Gifts of Imperfection.” Below are her definitions that, for me, anchor ideas of spirit work into the tangible world.
–Connection is “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. The energy of connection must travel in both directions.”
–Spirituality is “recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.”
–Intuition is recognizing that “there is not a single way of knowing.” It speaks to our ability to “hold space for uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we’ve developed knowledge and insight including instinct, experience, faith and reason. Our intuitive voice is silenced by our need for certainty.”
–Faith is “a place of mystery where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our need for certainty.”
–Trust is a “slow-building, layered process that happens over time. It’s a product of vulnerability and courage that requires work, attention, and full engagement.”
The process of learning to open to my connection with Spirit and others, learning to ground that connection in trust, compassion, and love, learning to hold space for uncertainty and choosing to be courageous enough to step into it has been incredibly healing.
Shamanic Healing is done when the practitioner, on your behalf, shifts her consciousness to enter non-ordinary reality- a process called a Shamanic Journey. After a conversation to pinpoint what we will be working to heal, you will rest on a massage table. There may be music, drumming, or rattling. Sacred herbs may be burned. In the journey I will meet with my spirit guides who will convey a message for your healing or who will guide us to perform one of the following:
Power animal retrieval
Power Animals are guides that come to us in animal forms. Each animal brings a unique medicine and they come to help us, either for our lifetime or through a specific period of healing.
In this world view, a natural coping mechanism during times of acute fear, trauma, or pain is for a piece of our soul to leave our body for a short time. If it does not return we can start to experience physical, emotional, and spiritual discomfort and symptoms. During a soul retrieval, that piece of your soul is tracked and returned to your body.
When we lose part of our soul or personal power a void is left and other energy may attach to us, causing symptoms. This isn’t a case of good VS bad energy, it’s just energy that is in the wrong place. Doing extraction work removes this energy that doesn’t belong to you to relieve symptoms and finishes by filling the original void with healed energy.
Symptoms, conditions, or thought patterns that “run in the family” are healed through ancestral work. We travel through your family line to go back and do healing work on the original ancestor/situation and transform the pain that has been passed down through the generations to clear the symptoms you are currently experiencing.
While I have had the honor of learning Shamanic healing techniques, I am not a Shaman. I am grateful for this medicine that comes from Spirit and these techniques that come from our ancestors, across the globe, throughout history. I want to acknowledge that while all cultures have a history of shamanism, I have learned from teachers whose lineages are indigenous to North and Central America. I also want to acknowledge the paradox of being a white person who was born and lives on unceded North American land (so, who obviously comes from a settler colonizer lineage) who practices Shamanic Work. I do not hold these two aspects of myself without feeling the inherent complexity.
I was resistant to doing this work for others because of this complexity. What changed my mind, was learning about the ancestors that were Shamen in the part of the world where my family lineage originates from. They were women who connected Spirit’s healing to people through the songs Spirit gave them. Also, if the community needed help from Spirit, they gathered around this woman, this Shaman, and sang her unique special song that helped her shift her consciousness and connect to the Spirit world. Learning this drove home the point that shamanic work has been done across all cultures, and anyone can learn to do this form of healing. I do this work because I think the antidote to the addiction to stress, anxiety, overwork, toxic group think, numbing behaviors and disconnection that can run our lives and lead to physical emotional, spiritual, and societal pain;- the antidote is connection to spirit, nature, and our authentic selves, and this work strengthens our ties to all three.