[This is part of a series about Shamanism; the first post What is Shamanism? is here]
After learning about Shamanism and its history, most people want to know: how can Shamanism help me? This is a huge question, but I’ll try to give some examples here as clearly and succinctly as possible. I won’t be looking to compare Shamanism to other practices as much as I’ll attempt to illuminate how Shamanism creates deep healing, drawing on my personal experience where it’s appropriate.
How can Shamanism help me?
A note about Healing, Responsibility & Integration
My Shaman always says that we get the healing we need and that we can handle. When I first heard her say this, she was trying to quell our anxieties about a plant medicine ceremony; over time I came to realize that this not only applied to plant medicine, but to any type of healing. We only ever get the healing we need, and that we can handle: there’s a comfort and a beauty in that.
After working with her for several years and starting to see a few clients of my own, I wholeheartedly agree. No one – whether it is a Shaman, a guru, a life coach or an astrologer – can speed your healing. You are the only healer you need. While it’s normal to initially rely heavily on the Shaman’s healing and insights, overall you’ll be responsible for integrating the wisdom on your return to the ‘real world’. This is the hardest part of any healing journey.
Integration, not healing, is the true challenge.
Shamanism opens the door – only you can step through it.
If you’re ready, Shamanism is a profound method of achieving permanent, long lasting healing on the soul level. Shamanism is an ancient practice, and not just a Woo-Guru workshop built on quick bucks.
I had glacier-size problems with my self-esteem and insecurities, and every other modality I tried was like holding a chopstick in one hand and trying to take down the glacier. I experimented with everything: Reiki, family constellations, pranic healing, a multitude of meditation techniques, Theta healing, crystal healing, The Reconnection, Hypnosis, life coaches…the list went on and on. Shamanism was the only thing I found that went directly to the core of my deepest wounds and healed them.
N.B. Shamanism is not for the faint of heart or for anyone looking to spiritually bypass the dark halls of ‘shadow’ work. Shamanism works with both the light and the dark. You’ll have to jump in at the murky end of the pool, but if you do, the benefits are tremendous.
How Shamanism Heals Us
Just a few of the ways Shamanic Healing Liberates the soul
Increasing Personal Power The solar plexus is a vital chakra for Shamanic work; it’s not only the center of self-esteem and identity, but the seat of personal power as well. Loss of personal power is a serious leakage point of the soul in Shamanic work and is something that Shamans look to heal on the double. Importantly, the solar plexus is the center of our energetic boundaries and the place from which we consume energy from others and our environment. Think: your toxic office, your draining friend, your vampire-ish family members. Developing energetic boundaries is key in developing a sense of personal power as it allows us to clearly differentiate between our own energy and the energy of others. Eventually, this illuminates not only how we yield power over others but also the multitude of ways we may unknowingly give our power away. This is essential work if you are psychically sensitive in any way.
Developing Intuition By nurturing our intuition, we inherently boost our confidence and sense of determination. We have many places within the chakra system that deal with intuition, but here I’m mostly talking about the 3rd eye and solar plexus chakras. Getting in touch with my intuition was life-altering for me: having always been a person that ‘felt’ things instead of ‘thought’ them, I learned that my hunches and gut feelings weren’t just delusional tendencies but an extra God-given tool on which I could rely. Through Shamanic healing we can move from suppressing the inner voice to letting it lead – a change that à la Robert Frost “[makes] all the difference”.
Connecting to the Body In Shamanism, our bodies are our wisdom. This is an important concept. The mind cannot always be trusted and even the intuition can be off when we are very out of balance. The body never lies. All of our memories, “good” or “bad”, are stored in our body: we carry these memories as energetic charges imprinted on the cellular level. Unless we release these charges they can eventually manifest as illness. We tell ourselves that we are so over our ex, have forgiven our old boss and have forgotten about that old familial wound. What we don’t always see is the connection between those traumas and our migraines, IBS and reoccurring throat infections. Shamanism brings us in better relationship to the body so we can use it as a tool; the body is a divine feedback system for identifying misalignment between the mind, body and soul.
Penetrating the Core Shamanic healing is not a palliative practice. It’s not fluffy, and it’s not done simply done for the sake of feeling better. The Shaman’s sole intention is to release what no longer serves you by finding the core of your pain and severing the energetic connections that have kept you in a place of fear or shame. Metaphorically speaking, Shamanism drills down to lay a new foundation instead of just vacuuming the house. Many of us have experienced a very different but all too familiar pattern in other types of energy healing: we see our healer and feel great…until a couple of days later when we don’t. We can get stuck in this cycle, dependent on our healers and unable to find emotional equilibrium without them. Shamanism is not based on co-dependency. It empowers you to reach your own answers and become your own mystic.
Balancing the Heart and Mind Everyday life in the modern world keeps our minds running the show nearly 24/7. An increasing number of us work in jobs that are purely mind- or ego-based, strapped to our desks, overworked, and under appreciated. The emails are never-ending, the mental chatter never stops and our thoughts can be filled of fear-inducing traps to keep us in the safety of the ego’s cocoon. With so much of our daily focus dedicated to the mental hamster wheel, our hearts can end up stifled and suppressed, an afterthought if even a thought at all. Shamanic healing helps bring the heart and mind into complete alignment, so that neither the heart nor the mind is leading. When these parts of ourselves are at odds, we suffer. When they work together in harmony, we can create magic.
How does Shamanism work? What does it mean to receive Shamanic healing?
I have to reiterate here that I am not a Shaman. I’m a Shamanic Practitioner, and a current student on the Shamanic Path. I’m not sure if everything I write here would get a sign-off by other Shamans, if they would agree in part, or not at all.
In the words of Don Juan Matus, the erstwhile teacher to Carlos Castaneda: ‘Everybody falls pray to the mistake that seeing is done with the eyes.’