Willow Wise Woman
What is Shamanism?
Shamanism is an ancient practice that believes humans are deeply connected with everything in nature and that everything (people, animals, trees, rocks, etc.) has a spirit. Shamanism can be found among the world’s indigenous cultures with strikingly similar practices, beliefs and rituals being performed since prehistoric times. It is not a religion. There is no god that is worshiped, but there exists a strong feeling of being connected to Mother Earth, the elements, deceased ancestors and strong invisible forces.
The shaman is the spiritual and ceremonial leader within a community, along with being the resident healer. He/she has the ability to access and interact with the spirit world in order to assist both individuals and the community as a whole. The word ‘shaman’ is attributed to the Tungus tribe in Siberia, but most indigenous cultures had some type of medicine man/woman who could speak with the spirits and channel messages for healing and spiritual growth. Through the use of repetitive drums, rattles, singing, and in some cases psychoactive drugs, the shaman enters a trance to journey to the supernatural realm. With the help of power animals, spirit guides and other helping spirits, the shaman acts as an intermediary between the physical world and the spirit world and seeks guidance for pending issues.
Role of the Shaman
Within shamanism, it is believed that there are often spiritual reasons for physical ailments, emotional distress and psychological disturbances. Shamans help to mend the soul to bring about healing and restore wholeness to an individual. The shaman would consult with the spirit world to gain knowledge about what plants to use for illnesses, to retrieve lost soul parts, to extract foreign entities and to balance energies within the physical and etheric body. They are also concerned about the health of the community and environment, as well. In primitive times, they were responsible for affecting the rainfall for crops and locating herds of deer or buffalo for meals and clothing.
A shaman generally travels within three levels of the spirit world (the Upper World, the Middle World and the Lower World) and will have specific guides in each area to assist with finding answers in these mystical realms. He/she may have visions, interpret dreams, perform divinations and have astral projections, and then bring this wisdom into the physical world in order to heal and transform. A shaman has a great responsibility for maintaining a serene balance between humanity, nature and the spirit world.
There's been a resurgence in the interest of shamanism in the last decade or so. Many shamanic practitioners combine practices of several traditions (Native American, Nordic or Quero) and possibly learn new processes from their helping spirits. Often, people will consult with a shamanic practitioner when traditional medicine has failed them or their progress with a counselor/psychologist has become stuck and they're looking for alternatives. Shamans also provide guidance for a person's spiritual growth. The shaman can peer into the spirit world to see what else may be causing the problem and find solutions to end the imbalance.
My Shamanic Work
I have found in my work with clients that shamanic practices, such as soul retrievals and compassionate depossessions, are very effective in dealing with cases of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), alcoholism/drug abuse, depression, anorexia and cutting. Adults and teens dealing with stress and anxiety have been significantly helped with the use of shamanic methods. People seeking assistance with their spiritual growth gain wisdom from their helping spirits during shamanic journeys. It's a humbling experience to see my clients grow from these sacred experiences.