Do you continue to feel stuck despite years of self-examination, therapy and personal growth work? Shamanism could be the missing piece you’ve been looking for. If this sounds totally freaky, then allow me to demystify it for you.
Dating back more than 10,000 years, shamanism is the oldest form of healing. It’s still practiced across all continents with striking similarities and is the root of most of the world’s religions.
The word shaman literally means “one who knows” and the purpose of a shaman is to bridge the gap between our physical world and the spiritual one.
Because Shamanism was virtually wiped out by modern religion, many people today who are born with shamanic ability have to discover these practices elsewhere to learn how to use it. My training to become a shaman, for instance, was with the High Mountain Shamans of Peru — the Q’ero.
So what does a shaman look like ?
When I told my ex-husband I was going to Peru to study with the shamans, he asked me if this meant we were going to have shrunken heads hanging from our doorway. While traditional shamans often wear elaborate outfits, a Western shaman looks just like you. I did my last ceremony in jeans and a pair of Vans.
You’ll recognize us as those highly sensitive people who can find life very difficult, until we learn what to do with our natural gift.
Maybe you’re one of those people ... ?
How Shamans Find Their Calling
Most shamans experience some kind of physical or mental crisis, which breaks them open to their path. Often it’s an actual strike by lightning or near death episode. Mine came as a spontaneous out of body experience, followed by a series of intense dreams in which I was practically paralyzed.
Personally I found the whole thing totally totally bizarre and even quite frightening. My body and mind started to shut down and with no frame of reference for what was happening, my life became very challenging. I just assumed I was going nuts, and so did everyone else.
But then one night I had a dream of some old men sitting on a mountain top. They were dressed in colorful garb and chuckling to me saying, “When are you coming, when are you coming?"
One thing led to another until I eventually found myself in Peru on top of a mountain with those very men. Yup, the same ones I had seen in my dream. Cue theme music from the Twilight zone. Obviously, I knew immediately that I was in the right place.
How Shamanism Can Heal You
A shaman can access the blueprint for your life and actually change it for you. They can see and interact with the unseen world on your behalf, and heal your subtle energy body. Things like physical pain and emotional struggle can be changed at this level, often instantaneously. What can take years of therapy can often be changed in one session, without having to endlessly hash out the old story.
Generally what happens after a session is that you open up a new possibility for yourself. Your highest destiny becomes available to you. At that point it’s up to you to engage with the world in a new way, but you'll find that it's much easier to do because it starts to feel more natural. You feel like your true self gain, perhaps for the first time in years.
Most people can learn to use some simple shamanic tools for themselves. This will give you access to accurate information and guidance for your life any time you need it, for free! It’s really fun and feels completely natural, because it’s something you used to do all the time as a kid. Don’t you remember talking to your pets, plants and imaginary friends? You may have been connecting with the spirit world without even realizing it.
The more you learn and use shamanic tools, the easier your life will become. You’ll also feel more connected with nature, not just when you’re outside skiing or hiking, but all the time. Every waking moment of your life will be richer and fuller. Shamanism re-enchants the world again, the way it was when you were little.
“This is the ancient key for wellness known to shamans for millennia that is now being ‘discovered’ by modern science.” -Dr. Alberto Villoldo
Photos courtesy of the author