Who should come for a Shamanic Session?
Shamanism is the oldest spiritual practice known to humankind. This ancient and powerful path teaches us that everything in existence is alive and has a spirit. We are part of Nature , not standing outside of it. Through the web of life we are connected to all life on all levels; Spiritually, Biologically, Ecologically and Socially. We can contact and relate to all there is through this web. Shamanism is not a Religion. It is a personal spiritual practice grounded in direct communication with the divine. This is a path of personal Direct Revelation. There are no intermediaries that stand between the helping spirits and each of us. We all can choose to access the healing, guidance and wisdom of the compassionate helping Spirits.
The word “shaman” comes from the Evenki peoples, a Tungusic tribe in Siberia. In Shamanic cultures it has evolved to mean “one who sees in the dark” or “one who knows”, reflecting the extraordinary spiritual abilities and talents as an intermediary between their peoples and the Spirit worlds.
A shaman is a man or woman who interacts directly with spirits to address the spiritual aspects of illness, perform extractions and soul retrievals, divine information, help the spirits of deceased people cross over, clear and bless land, property and perform a variety of ceremonies for the community. Shamans have taken on many roles in tribal communities acting as healers, doctors, priests, psychotherapists, mystics, dreamers and storytellers.
From a shamanic perspective there is usually a spiritual issue at the core of illness. A person may have lost his or her power, resulting in depression, chronic illness or misfortune. Due to emotional or physical trauma, a person can experience soul loss. The shaman journeys into the Other World, or non-ordinary reality, to retrieve the soul essence and bring it back to restore the person's lost power
Spiritual extraction is the shamanic process of removing negative energies which have manifested within the body as localized illness and pain. The practitioner's compassionate spirit helpers assist in displacing these energies for the purpose of restoring health and well-being. Two or more sessions are often required to complete the work.
Soul Loss, Soul Retrieval
Loss of vital essence, or soul, is a self-protective response to trauma. Soul retrieval is a method for restoring wholeness to a person by returning the lost essence. Soul-remembering is follow-up work for soul retrieval . The practitioner helps in the process of rooting the returned essence and in discovering how to incorporate the healing gifts, talents, and strengths that the essence brings into a person's life for healing. Soul retrieval is based on the concept that throughout the course of daily life pieces of our soul can be lost. When we are traumatized and it is too painful for us to be present and aware, a part of us may leave to wait in non-ordinary reality. This state of soul loss is often referred to medically as shock, or psychologically as dissociation.
When we have a soul loss we may feel something is missing. We may have an emptiness that we try to fill through addictions, compulsive behavior, taking energy from others, or we may simply feel depressed. We may look and act competent on the outside, but feel inadequate or disquieted on the inside.
Soul loss can occur in a number of ways: through serious illness or accidents, through depression or strong emotional events, and even through theft. Often "soul-thieves" do not know that they are stealing soul parts, and they may be people close to us: parents, grandparents, siblings, and lovers. Sometimes we experience soul loss because we have given a quality or essence to someone else or allowed them to take it. We often give away a quality of essence (patience, assertiveness, zest for life) to someone else because we want to help them or they may want this quality for themselves. No one can make use of our essence but us, so when it is with another person they are weighed down and we feel unnaturally connected to them - we may think about the other person more often and more intensely than is warranted.
Signs of soul loss may include:
• Difficulty staying “present” in your body
• Feeling numb, apathetic, or deadened
• Problems with your immune system and resisting illness
• Chronicle illness as a child
• Memory gaps after age five; sense of blocking out trauma
• Looking to external fulfillment to fill up an internal void
• Difficulty moving on with your life after a divorce or the death of a loved one,
Soul loss is identifiable through apathy, an absence of joy, an inability to feel love or receive it, suicidal thoughts, addictions, chronic despair and depression. Angeles Arrien states that symptoms of soul loss include "losing a desire dance, sing, enjoy silence, and enjoy storytelling." We may have done much personal growth work at the emotional and psychological level, which can be enhanced by this spiritual healing work.
Soul Retrieval Ceremony
The actual event of soul retrieval work occurs in a safe environment. The client invites allies to assist him or herself in the ceremony. These allies should be close and trusted friends, who are there to observe, support and accept the clients' healing process. They will be asked to focus on the intent of the work, maintain a safe psychic space and think positive thoughts.
The ceremony begins with prayers, energy cleansing through the use of sage smoke (smudging) and an interview by the practioner - looking to determine the client's intent in the healing. The client and the shamanic practioner lie on blankets on the floor; and the practioner enters the Shamanic State of Conciousness (SSC) through the use of a loud monotonous drumbeat.
While in the SSC, the shamanic practioner relies on the assistance of his or her Spirit guides and Power Animal allies. These are the avatars for the practioner in the shamanic realms, and it is these allies who perform the work which takes place. Often, the practioner will make the sounds of the ally they are working with. For example, a practioner who relies on Raven for healing work will caw and screech. Additionally, the practioner may make sudden movements, appear to be pulling or cutting, or make loud noises through clapping, shouting or singing.
Often during the process, the client may feel a wide range of emotions, from laughter or fear, to passion and hate. All of these feelings are related to the work and they should be acknowledged, thanked and released. It is completely acceptable to laugh, cry, yell, or do nothing at all during the ceremony and work. The client may also feel the urge to "assist" the practioner with her work - this is strongly discouraged. The client is best served by the remaining present in his or her physical body, and observing the emotions or thoughts that the work brings to the surface.
Upon completion of the journey, the practioner returns the missing soul parts by blowing them into the heart chakra, and into the the crown of the head. The practioner will then rattle around the client's body to seal in the returned soul parts, and welcome the returned parts home. After some quiet time to think and write, the practioner will share the ages of the soul parts returned, the nature of the loss event, and any allies who pesented themselves for the client. The practioner will then invite the client and the client's allies to share any experiences or emotions.
The ceremony ends with the closing of the sacred circle and the thanking of the allies present. It is proper for the client to bring giveaways (small gifts) for the practioner, the drummer, and for the client's allies who attended.
Modern shamanic healing arts are largely similar to the ancient techniques, with the important inclusion of therapy-based aftercare. It is highly recommended that the client attend several therapy sessions to assist in the process of "reintegration". Often soul parts have returned that were lost years prior, and the client must patiently explain to these soul parts how the client's life has changed in the intervening years. One client of soul retrieval compared the integration period to "leading a school field trip with earlier version" of himself. This client recounted tales of explaining the layout of his current city to his soul parts, explaining current events, and describing the nature of his current personal life.
Part of the integration process may include setting boundaries with newly returned soul parts. For example, a soul part returning from adolescence, before a client became a vegetarian, might crave meat. This client would have to explain the nature of his or her new diet to the soul part, and negotiate a proper bondary.
Most importantly, it is necessary to be tender with newly returned soul parts, and with yourself. These soul parts left due to some traumatic event. It is likely that feelings surrounding that event will surface, and that these should be dealt with in a responsible and respectful manner. One of the ways to do this is to build altars in your living space to the ages of the soul parts which returned, or to the Power Animals and allies who may have stepped forward during your healing work.
The healing work of soul retrievals and extraction work is based in a long tradition of shamanic medicine work, from many cultures around the globe. According to Hank Wesselman, a researcher into the nature of shamanic healing, "By using the shamanic method, each person is gifted with their freedom, their sovereignty, and their right to develop spirituality. In doing so, each of us becomes our own teacher, our own priestess or priest, our own prophet, enabling us to receive spiritual revelations directly from the highest sources - ourselves" (Wesserman 21).
- Wesselman, Hank, Ph.D. The Journey to the Sacred Garden: A Guide to Traveling in the Spiritual Realms. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2003
Other Sacred Ceremony
There are many sacred ceremonies that are performed by a shamanic practitioner and can include house blessings & clearings, purification ceremonies, divination sessions and psychopomp. Using personalized formulas of herbs and pure essential oils, remedies are developed by connecting with compassionate helping spirits and the ancestors and then used to perform the ritual. A psychopomp ceremony assists those who have died but not crossed over, guiding them to the light and peace.