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What is Shamanic Healing?

Author: Strix d' Emerys

Paula & Gordon Ireland Proprietors
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"Where Olde Traditions meet the New Age"

“Shamans heals themselves. By working through their pain, they learn to
help others." -Wounded Healin'

"But the primitive magician, the medicine man, or the shaman is not only a
sick man; he is, above all, a sick man who has been cured, who has
succeeded in curing himself." -Author Unknown

Shamanic healing is a spiritual and medical practice based upon the belief
that all healing includes a spiritual dimension. Shamans enter altered
states of consciousness to communicate with other realms of reality. The
shaman's journey is to help the patient or community to rediscover their
connection to nature and spirit.

Shamanic medicine is a tradition dating back 25000 years. The shaman is
responsible for the health of the individual as well as the community.
This is a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance. Shamans are
the ritual leader, herbalist, and mediator between the community and the
spirit world. The spiritual healing methods of shamanic are now receiving
increased and significant attention in our culture, because shamanic
healing affects the energy field of a person.

To better understand how a shaman heals it is important to understand some
of the fundamental concepts of what shamanism is. It is a specific set of
methodologies for accessing the spirit or energy field of anything or
anyone. The shaman heals by working unseen/inner/spiritual reality to
crate changes, which in turn crate changes in see/physical/everyday

The essential perspective of the shaman is:

  1. Everything is alive. Everything has spirit and awareness.
  2. Energy and matter are the same. Everything is vibration. Everything that
    exists is an energy system within a greater energy system.
  3. Everything that exists is connected to everything else in a web of
    energy or life.
  4. Unseen/inner/spiritual reality affects visible reality.

Working within this system of perceptions, the shaman strives to create
balance and harmony of the spirit. This can be focused on the individual
or the community. This also can be applied to anything that exists.
What distinguishes the shaman from other types of healer are his methods.
The journeying, or shamanic state of consciousness, allows the shaman to
send out their consciousness to obtain information from the spirit world.
This information is retrieved and used for further insight or healing.
Example: a shaman might assist in healing a broken bone by opening up an
increased energy flow to that area, or help a person half from an
emotional depression by restoring energy lost as a result of a traumatic

By using shamanic practices a wide spectrum of healing is possible.
Traditional shaman healing is done by journeying to the bat of a drum or
rattle to visit a teacher/spirit/totem for guidance or wisdom. Shamanic
healing takes place in many forms, depending on what the spirits
recommend. This can include plant and mineral spirit medicine, through
ancestral memories, soul retrieval; extraction and soul escorting.
Shamans employ many different healing methods besides those acquired
during journeying, these are herbs, visualization, and hands on, use of
aroma, gemstones, and basic psychology. The shaman will use their lore of
nature along with the ability they have to read auras and apply the
knowledge of chakras to heal. The shaman understand the necessity to use
both nature and spirit in healing. All of the above used in any
combination may be used, along with journeying to heal. All depends upon
the situation.

Plant and gem spirit medicine

The exercise that was used in the beginning of the class is to use to do
this. The shaman words directly with the spirit of the plant or mineral to
assist in healing. The healer must ask the spirit if they fan be used to
heal certain illnesses with certain people. The shaman must be willing to
personalize and individualize treatments. Both the healer and the patient
must be willing to work in a spirit of humility and gratitude,
acknowledging dependence and partnership with non-human elements.
Healing through Ancestral Memories: This includes ancestral spirits and
reincarnated memories. There are spirits who have gone on before who have
evolved to the point that they no longer need to be incarnated. These
ancestral spirits have a vast source of knowledge and power. They are what
keep the shaman connected to his/her roots. Reincarnated memories also can
assist the shaman as do present body memories. If you have done something
before that was successful, you will attempt to repeat it the same way, or
if you have done something wrong you, hopefully, will not repeat the

Soul Retrieval

One of the primary service performed by the shaman is soul retrieval. The
search to recover and restore a person's vital essence that was stolen or
lost, from the Shamanic point of view, physical and emotional illness, as
well as misfortune, are due to the loss of personal power or life force,
the diminution of spirit that keeps us strong and alive. Soul retrievals
are intended to retrieve the soul parts that were lost. Each piece has its
own characteristic that once reintegrated enhance our own capacities in
that area.

Bring back this lost part is not a quick fix; the shaman then needs to
work with the person to help them restore their balance. Putting the soul
back is only the first step in restoring one's self. For instance, if a
soul piece were stolen from us as a child that has the quality of love, we
may grow up with a closed heart, making it difficult to show or give love.
With the return of the missing quality our heart is healed and we now are
able to begin to learn how to love. This is not easy; learning to change
ways of a life time, but with patience and understanding the shaman can
help others to learn how to change.


Snce the Shamanic theory of health and illness focuses on personal power,
illness results when a person's spiritual power is diminished someway or
when a person loses spiritual power or soul. The illness moves into the
gap in the person's life force, bringing patterns of energy that are
harmful for the individual. Extraction is the healing method in which a
shaman locates a harmful spiritual intrusion in a sick person's body and
removes it.

An intrusion is something like an infection, which affects the spirit.
Extractions can be done with the hand or mouth, sometimes with a power
object, such as a gemstone. For most shamanic healers, the extraction
process usually involves going into the Shamanic State of Consciousness
and summoning one's spirit guide and building up personal power in order
to confront the intrusion. The shaman fins the location of the intrusion
in the body by seeing, hearing, and/or feeling it. The actual extraction
can involve sucking directly on the skin, through the clothing, or with
hands cupped over the appropriate area. When the intrusion is removed, it
is put in a neutral place, such as a body of water where it will dissipate
back into the universe.

Soul Escorting

Shaman's help souls cross over to the other side because they know the
terrain of the spirit world and may have even journeyed through the realms
where the dead pass. They also know how to find lost souls and bring them
back or escort them to their places.

In summary, the practices of shamanism involves making conscious
connection with that which is spirit or life that which is sacred — all
things. Healing can be accomplished through this connection by working
directly to create grater balance and harmony of energy and spirit, and
bringing back to the ordinary world awareness from the spirit world.
To do healing works of any kind a shaman will typically journey to the
spiritual cause of problems. A particular problem of everyday life might
have very different spiritual causes. In other words, illness that looks
exactly the same symptomatically in two different people might be the
manifestation of different underlying situations. In one person,
depression and fatigue can be caused from a spiritual injury to the heart;
while the same symptoms might be caused from excessive worry in another.
And once the shaman gains understanding of the illness, he/she has a
variety of ways of healing it.

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