What is Shamanism?
The term Shaman is Siberian in origin and refers to the local ‘healers’ of the area. Michael Harner, an anthropologist studied similar indigenous societies across the globe and found they all had people performing similar functions; he coined the phrase ‘Core Shamanism’ to describe the broad worldview these people held and the techniques they employed.
The shamanic worldview holds that everything is alive (animistic) and it is possible to communicate with the spirit of all things. It also holds that the root cause of all illness is spiritual; the shaman, therefore ‘travels’ to the other worlds that the spirits inhabit in order to gain their help in curing a person’s illness. For this reason, a shaman is sometimes called ‘a walker between worlds’ or ‘hollow bone’ (which makes reference to the fact that spirits work through the shaman).
As has been said, the shamanic worldview is one of travelling to spirit worlds in order to elicit Spirit's help. In core shamanism, a model of three spirit worlds is used. They are traditionally accessed by travelling through the roots of a tree to the lower world; through the trunk to the middle world or ascending the branches to the upper world.
What is the Lower world?
The lower world is associated with the past, the deep subconscious, our basic instincts and pre-rational thought. The spirits here are envisioned as animal forms.
What is the middle world?
The middle world is associated with the present, the astral and dream worlds behind the world as we see it and current issues. It is inhabited by nature spirits such as water spirits, wood nymphs, rain and rock spirits and many other spirits of natural forms.
What is the upper world?
The upper world is associated with the future, the ‘big picture’, like purpose and direction and has tutelary spirits which can take human like or angelic forms, or no form at all.
The Shamanic model of illness
Contrary to the western model of illness, in the shamanic model, there are only two basic causes; That is, either you are missing something you should have (termed soul or power loss), or you have something you shouldn’t (termed a spirit intrusion). In both cases it is understood that all illnesses are spiritual in origin, only becoming a mental or physical problem if left unattended.
How does Shamanic healing work?
You can ask your own Spirit Helpers/guides for healing, or work with a shamanic practitioner to work with their own spirits to help you. My personal preference is to teach, help and guide you do this for yourself.
One of the most well-known forms of shamanic healing is the Soul Retrieval. This is because it is common to lose a part of our Soul, our energy or our power, during a difficult time in our lives and feel incomplete, lost or unwell as a result. By being reunited with the missing soul part we regain our missing energy. Traditionally the Shaman journeys to his or her Spirit helpers or teachers to travel through the Spirit World in search of a part of soul missing from the 'patient'. This can be a subtle, gentle process restoring balance and leaving us more fulfilled, being 'clearer', with more energy, peace or feel whole. Or it can initiate a dramatic change our lives as we regain ownership of our life process. Again my preference is to teach and guide you how to do this.
Power Animal Retrieval
All people and animals can enjoy the power, strength and comfort of an alliance with a spiritual power animal. The spirits of wild animals work with shamans, guiding them through their journeys, giving advice and performing healings. Often the first thing a modern shamanic healer does for a person retrieves a power animal for them. The person then bonds with the animal by honouring it in ordinary reality, visiting it during quiet meditation time.
Often times in life when things happen, people have the sense and just know that someone has taken something from them. It happens when they are abused, made fun of, degraded, made to feel less than someone else, teased, demeaned, assaulted, when their dignity is taken etc.
In Power Retrieval, you reclaim your power that was taken from you, without reliving the trauma, and integrates it back into yourself, and your life. All of the energy and power from those events comes rushing back into your Mind-body and Spirit, reintegrating inside you, re-informing you, and bringing a sense of wholeness back to you.
This can be done for people who have suffered a major trauma or event, and who want to reclaim their power and energy.
Additionally, this can be used to reclaim many “little things” that have happened to a you, where someone has taken something from you (demeaned you, or done something to take your power) and that energy is reclaimed from the past, brought forth into the now, and refocused into your present life.
When all of the energy from your past is reclaimed, and brought back into the person and refocused and reintegrated in the here and now, they know and feel a sense of fullness and empowerment.
- Removing inappropriate energy
Another form of shamanic work is extraction, where unwanted or excess energy is removed. The shamanic view is that certain energies are inappropriate to our health with the help of their Spirit guide or your spirit guide theses unwanted energies are removed allowing you to restore balance to the person.