Shamanism is a spiritual healing practice dating back 100,000 years from ancient civilizations around the world. The word shaman means one who knows, one who sees in the dark, spiritual healer. This practice is based on nature and the belief that everything is connected. Although it has been seen as a traditional practice, it has gained incredible momentum and is becoming a widely accepted alternative healing modality. Today, it is a global practice.
Honor is a highly valued virtue within shamanism. This refers to living life with honor and integrity, honoring others, honoring the shamanic practices, as well as nature, Mother Earth, the elements, and the animal kingdom. It also means paying respect to, and expressing gratitude for all that is honored.
Shamanic medicine is a method in which the shaman enters a trancelike state of consciousness to connect with helping spirits from the unseen realms. These helping spirits provide healing support for physical, spiritual, and mental illness for individuals, for the needs of the community, animals, and for the planet.
This process is called shamanic journeying. Practitioners raise their vibration to a higher frequency. They bypass the egoic state of mind and move beyond the veil between our world and the world of spirit and become receivers within this realm.
Shamans move into an altered state of consciousness through dancing, singing, chanting, or prayer, and often with the use of rhythmic percussions such as the drums or rattles. Some cultures also use psychedelic plants such as ayahuasca, but all differ in their common practice.
When working to heal individuals, shamans may utilize an assortment of strategies. Some of these are more customary than others.
Common healing practices:
Extraction - remove energy blocks and restore a state of balance, healthy functioning, and energetic flow (It is important to understand that illness and dis-ease often begin with energetic blocks within our energy fields and our bodies)
Dissolve personal karmic limitations and ancestral karma
Clear energetic ties to past relationships
Shadow work - help people to confront the darker aspects of themselves that they may have formerly repressed or denied
Power animal retrieval - bring in an animal's energetic aspects to provide transformative wisdom and support
Soul retrieval is an effective tool for healing the fractured self from traumatic experiences that have taken place in this lifetime, as well as past lifetimes. Sandra Ingerman, shamanic teacher, healer, author, and licensed psychotherapist explains, anytime a person goes into a state of shock, a piece of life force leaves the body. A part of our soul splinters off and breaks free while the trauma is occurring as a form of protection. It is a natural defense mechanism for our survival. (Liggett, 2020).
Soul loss can be experienced from a loss of a loved one, a traumatic death of our own in a previous life, sexual, physical, or mental abuse, severe neglect as a child, addiction, or a life-threatening event such as a natural disaster or an accident. Anytime there is a need for us to disassociate from a shocking event, there can be soul loss.
Ingerman further clarifies that symptoms of soul loss may include a feeling of disconnection from the world, suicidal ideation, disengagement from life, or a distinct negative change following an incident. Once soul loss has occurred, these parts of the soul are often unable to reintegrate without intervention.
Shamans can provide this support. By traveling to the otherworldly realms, they can get direction from helping spirits as to where to find these soul fragments and can then reintegrate these pieces making one whole again. People can then live fuller, happier, and more meaningful lives.
Historically, shamans were highly respected in their communities and held roles of leadership and as teachers. They spent their lifetime studying and practicing their life mission work.
Today, practitioners come from all populations of society. There are no limitations. To become a shamanic healer requires extensive training but there are no formalized education programs. Those who choose the shamanic path typically feel called to it.
Shamanic healing starts with a diagnostic exploration of the problem being addressed, and any pertinent information connected to the problem. Healing sessions will then follow and will be determined by the condition of the individual, and the information provided by the practitioner’s helping spirits. Although some people will recover in one healing session, it often takes multiple sessions for effective progress to be made.
Shamanism may be used for an endless number of ailments and life challenges. It is often used in conjunction with other treatments such as physical healing modalities, herbal medicine, and changes to diet.
Liggett, J. (Producer), Ingerman, S. (Performer). (2020). Open minds with Regina Meredith: Shamanic soul retrieval with Sandra Ingerman. [Documentary] Season 15, episode 6, Gaia Television.