What is Shamanic Healing?
Shamanism describes indigenous practices that have been in place for millennia. The term shaman is from Tungus, a north Asian language, but the word has come to represent a broad range of cultural practitioners. Anthropologists believe that these practices may date back to some of the earliest humans on the planet. The fact that these techniques have survived all of the cultural, economic, political and religious changes that humanity has undergone, speak to their usefulness.
Shamanism is NOT a religion. It is simply a method of accessing a reality beyond the physical, measurable world; a larger spiritual reality. The Shamanic Practitioner acknowledges and moves in both the seen and unseen realities to promote healing and harmony.
There are two basic tenants that form a basis for shamanic practice. The first is the accepted belief that there is a non-ordinary reality that surrounds and permeates our everyday reality. This is sometimes called the reality of the spirit or the spirit world. The second tenant is the belief that everything is alive in the sense that everything participates in the grand communion with the Divine. The Shamanic Practitioner is one who at will and for a purpose enters an altered state of consciousness using “sonic driving” or drumming to visit the non-ordinary reality to obtain help and information.
The Shamanic Practitioner may use any number of methods to help a client. There is a belief in shamanism that illness of any type has at its core a lack of power. Therefore, the practitioner will seek information in non-ordinary reality as to where the client is lacking power. The practitioner will further seek out how that might be remedied and then bring a source of power back to the client in ordinary reality. Power animals, guides, soul retrieval, extraction techniques, psycho pomp, divination, spiritual counseling, blessings and dream interpretation are all methods of bringing power into the client or removing those things that keep the client from being “power filled”. The practitioner may use any of these alone or in combination. Every situation is unique and is treated as such. The client may also be taught to ‘Journey’ into non-ordinary reality to help find answers for themselves.
There is no given number of sessions for Shamanic Healing. Often a single session can successfully address a client’s issue, but there are cases where several sessions are needed.
The goal of Shamanic Practice is Healing not curing. Healing is finding a balance for the body, mind and spirit of the client. That sometimes means learning lessons from dis-ease and growing through it rather than simply removing the symptoms without addressing the root cause. A session with a shamanic practitioner will help move the client toward addressing the root of a problem on a spiritual level. This is NOT meant to replace medical treatment. Shamans around the world use all modalities at their disposal to promote healing. Medicine is an important part of the healing process. SEVERAL MODERN MEDICINES WERE DISCOVERED IN USE BY INDIGIONOUS SHAMANS AND WERE ADAPTED FOR USE IN WESTERN MEDICINE.
Core Shamanism is a practice developed by the anthropologist Michael Harner and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies (shamanism.org). It looks at those elements of shamanism that are shared around the globe and strips away things that are unique to individual cultures. This allows a contemporary western practitioner a way to practice this ancient healing art without usurping another cultures identity. Using Core Shamanism a practitioner may use cultural aspects to aid his practice, but overall the techniques are universal in their application.
Shamanic Healing is now available at our facility by appointment.
Michael Northrop, MFA, SSP is a member of the Society of Shamanic Practitioners and has studied both Core Shamanism and Celtic Shamanism. He has taken a number of advanced classes with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and hosts the foundation’s classes in the Southwest Michigan area.