I never really understood Shamanism and what it was until recently when I began to undergo Shamanic training. My teachers recognized me as having already undergone the initiation that makes one ready to help others on such a journey. A Shaman is one that has spent years undergoing a very rigid process of initiation and taking a journey into the underworld to bring back the knowledge that is held for him in that place of darkness.
I understood the true Shamanic journey to involve processes that most of us would not undergo in this culture. These processes involved being buried alive for several days where a death and a rebirth must occur before one comes back out of the earth.
Our modern day Shamanic training hardly qualifies us as a true Shaman, yet many of us have gone through a long journey into darkness and found our way back to the light, and this is truly the initiation of the Shaman.
Until we ourselves have experienced a decent into darkness, a death of who we believed ourselves to be, and a rebirth into who we really are, can we help others with such a journey.
As I look back on my life I realize that I have experienced several deaths and rebirths. My first conscious journey was when I was just a teenager and I had a near death experience resulting from an extremely low point of anorexia nervosa. Through the process of this disease I had starved myself down to 89 pounds which was not much weight for my 5 foot eight inch frame. I know that I stood at deaths door and was given the choice to stay or to leave this life and I chose at that time to stay here. Yet that decision was only the beginning of what was to be a very long journey.
I battled with my addiction to food for years, experiencing both rigid control and complete lack of control. I spent years in therapy delving into all those parts of myself I had been hiding from and bringing them back into the light. Coming from extreme low self-esteem I found myself in several disempowering, abusive relationships, one which I barely escaped with my life. It seems my life brought me to deaths door over and over again and each time I chose life and turned in a new direction.
The most horrific experience of all was my experiences with narcissistic abuse which is such a subtle emotional type of manipulation that one is unaware of the damage it is doing until it is already done. Narcissistic abuse is the ultimate assault on ones sense of self. The self is nearly annihilated through the experience. Yet when I sunk into the deepest form of despair I found my greatest awakening. It was as if I truly had to let myself die the death that had been trying to pull me in most of my life. I finally surrendered to it and allowed myself to be taken. But instead of dying a physical death, I died a spiritual death. Everything I believed myself to be fell away and so did the world I believed myself to be a part of. Unbeknownst to me I emerged a type of Shaman. I came out of the darkness with an understanding of the spirit I could have gained no other way than through the series of initiations that life took me through. I realized that all the times I had given my power to other people or to society, or my peer group, I lost myself. I had given others the power to define me, to determine who I am. But through the process of awakening I came to realize that nobody has that power. I was able to call back all those pieces of myself I had given away and step into my true purpose in this life.
After having undergone such a rigorous initiation, something we can never get from a class, or course of study, we are prepared to act as a guide for others who are going through their own initiations. We can see things from a higher perspective and part of what we can see is the soul’s journey and the light at the end of the tunnel.
When you are in the midst of the darkness you can’t see that there will ever be light again. Often you are in deep despair, feeling the world is caving in on you. You may be experiencing a crumbling of your belief system, a lack of faith in the things that once sustained you, and a complete lack of hope in life. A Shamanic guide can help you see what’s up ahead and help you see the purpose for why you are going through such trials. The guide can also help you to recover the pieces of yourself that were stolen, lost or given away. He or she can help you to break destructive psychic or emotional bonds, see where you are stuck energetically and help you to get unstuck.
There are various types of Shamanic practices. Although I’ve had several types of training I know my greatest training was my own spiritual journey and the understanding I have gained from it. I use minimal tools and tend to work in a mild hypnotic state with my client and take them on an inner journey to wherever they need to go to do the work at hand.
I was Certified as a clinical hypnotherapist in 1988 where I learned a lot of valuable tools to help induce a relaxed state and guide others through a process that would help them to change their inner environment so that their outer environment would shift also.
Shamanic work takes hypnotherapy several steps further. It works not only with the subconscious mind but also in the spiritual realms so a deeper degree of healing and transformation can take place.
Since Shamanic Guides can read energy we intuitively know where to go with our clients. Through our own journeys we have developed our psychic abilities to a point where we can normally either see, sense or feel the energy field around a person and where the energy is dark, dense and inharmonious. We are aware that all disease within the body begins in the energy field which surrounds the body. If the energy is not cleared on the outer levels, which include the psychic, emotional and mental bodies, it will work its way to the physical and create disease of some sort.
Having Shamanic work done is nothing to fear. It is actually quite a relief to most as many people experience an immediate lifting of the heavy burdens they have been carrying. Not to say everything can be cleared or healed in one session but a lot of work can be done to where there is a noticeable difference.
I know after I experienced one of my first sessions with a true Shaman I couldn’t get up off the table I was lying on without assistance. I was so light and feeling separated from my body. It took some time to integrate back into my body again. It seems I went right out of my body on my journey and could see I am really not my body at all but pure spirit. I experienced myself as this amazing high vibrational spirit dwelling in a lower level denser body. I could understand the relationship between the two. When I left the session I was really high, feeling lighter than I had felt in years. This kind of work can have that effect on you.
In the physical world we don’t often realize that everything around us is energy. It is invisible so we tend to ignore its importance. Just as the spirit is invisible and when a spirit leaves its body we tend to get the illusion that the person is dead. Yet they have simply left their body. The body is now just a hallow shell which once contained a living spirit. But the person who resided in that body is not dead; he is off on a new journey that doesn’t involve the physical reality.
Although I do shamanic work I still don’t call myself a Shaman. I feel there are really very few true Shaman’s on the earth. However we can effectively do powerful shamanic work with an individual and help them to understand on a spiritual level the journey they are on. This is the work I have come to know and love as there is more real purpose for me in helping others with their inner journey than anything else I do.