Not so long ago, shamans were being wiped out and oppressed in countries all over the world. In some places people couldn’t even own a drum. Today, many people do not understand what a shaman is or what shamanism means. There are misunderstandings within churches because religious leaders, not knowing what shamans do, may preach that shamanic practices go against Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. This is really based on a misconception. Healing is at the heart of shamanism.
Shamanism is not a religion. It’s not the summoning of dark forces. In fact, the role of the shaman is to help a person, or the people of the village, to reclaim their health. They are healers who call on spirit, (God, Jesus, Buddha, angels, Source, the Divine- you pick the word) for aid. Shamanic practices have been wiped out in our area of the world due to religious oppression. However, the trained eye can see where most modern religious, yoga, ti chi, qi gong practices originated from—shamanism.
As I discuss in Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle, autoimmune disease is on the rise in the world. In the United States it has reached pandemic proportions with over 50 million Americans suffering from diagnosed autoimmunity and most others are working on developing one. Why do I say this? Because it can take anywhere from 10-30 years to develop a full-blown autoimmune disease. Most people do not realize that their digestive problems, their fatigue, their hormone imbalances, their unexplained skin, eye, or joint inflammation, their mood swings, their food intolerances, their inability to cope with their stress and their weight issues are all harbingers of developing autoimmune disease.
Where Mysticism Meets Science
In Western science we like to be able to tell people that what we sense with our 5 senses is all there is. However, once a scientist really dives deeply into their field of study, they usually begin to scratch their head because things begin to get a little more mysterious than they initially thought. Quantum physics is a perfect example. Many great scientists became great mystics over time; think Albert Einstein and William Oslo. They began to write about non-ordinary reality, or the life that we cannot see with our eyes or measure with our instruments. In other words, they began to see and sense the Universe much as their predecessors of old did as they gazed at the stars and measured time and watched how all sentient beings interact with the forces of nature. These predecessors were shamans, only with different names depending on the culture.
In fact, anyone who calls him or herself a shaman is someone you probably don’t want to interact with much. Shamans don’t name themselves shamans any more than gurus say they are gurus. Shaman is a title bestowed by the village on the medicine man or woman who has helped enough people to be recognized as a healer. This is not a religion or a belief system. The methods shamanic practitioners use are available to anyone. If you have the discipline, you too can learn them. Once you learn the methodology of working with non-ordinary reality, you can then have access to spirit, who will then become your ultimate teacher.
How Shamanic Practices Are Used to Reclaim Health
Shamanism was first recognized by Western observers working among traditional herding societies in central and northern Asia, and it is from the language of one of these societies, the Tungus-speaking peoples of Siberia, that the term “shaman” is derived.
Shamanism is, simply put, healing based on generosity. Irrespective of our worldview, healing traditions share common traits. All forms of traditional medicine and spiritual healing can be traced back to one of the lineages of shamanism. “Shaman” means “one who knows or one who sees in the dark.” The method all shamanic practitioners use to know and see in the dark is the journey.
The journey is to:
- Get information from non-ordinary reality and spirit* and bring it back to be of service.
- The shaman then grows also.
*Spirit is an animate essence with intelligence and varying degrees of power. There are all kinds of levels of spirit. Some are ascended masters, such as great teachers who have walked this earth, enlightened beings, angels, God, Source, etc. One thing is sure, spirit can not be measured with our 5 senses or technology. It is not part of consensual reality. Consensual reality is what we all agree is “real” from a scientific view point. Shamanism includes non-consensual reality or non-ordinary reality where spirit abides.
There are 3 levels of reality. These are included in all cultures.
- Upper world and non-ordinary reality – The soul has a lengthy evolutionary process to get to unconditional love as a spirit. Upper world spirits are angels, ascended masters, saints, Gods, Goddesses, and archetypical figures.
- Middle world and ordinary reality or life on earth.
- Lower world and non-ordinary reality– Usually where power animal spirits are found.
Vitality, Spirit, and Health
Vital health and a powerful life force can be felt in the body, mind, and spirit as dynamic energy, motivation to live one’s life purpose, creativity, and vitality. This translates to a strong immune system, which will be able to ward off disease in the form of viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, and other invasive and potentially pathogenic organisms that can cause disease.
In the shamanic framework, a strong immune system means:
- You have full access to your whole soul in your body.
- You have regular access and work with spirit. A power animal, which you may have heard of, is simply an easily accessible form of spirit; of course there are many ways to access spirit, such as prayer and meditation.
It’s interesting that we give babies a stuffed animal (power animal) and a rattle when they are born… a power animal and a way of keeping the beat of the rhythm of the world that surrounds us. It’s also good parenting sense that repressing the spirit weakens the child. Being powered up or POWER-FULL means you will have resilience and be able to go through life safely.
One way to boost the immune system is to practice your Soul Song. When I traveled in Australia, I was introduced to the idea of song lines. A soul song is the rhythm, the sound, the beat, the cadence, the movement, the heart of your soul’s desire for expression. It’s the opposite of spirit repression. How do you find your soul song? You take some time to be quiet. Sit. Feel into your own heart’s beat and the rhythm of your breath. Then pick up a drum or a rattle or just strike 2 sticks together. Think like your child-self would; uninhibited. Completely free to move and to sing and to give voice to your soul in any way you are inspired to.
Begin to drum, shake your rattle, strike your sticks, and allow yourself to move how your body would like and then let any voice come out as it will. What does your body feel? What does it feel like to have your soul filling your body? What do you feel when spirit is in the room with you?
There is a shamanic group from Northern Europe still active today known as the Saami. They have a lovely song that you can borrow if you would like help getting started.
The sun is a circle
The moon is a circle
The earth is a circle
The drum is a circle
We are a circle
Helping spirits are attracted to harmonious circles of people. The more you can bring yourself and your environment and your relationships into harmony, the more help you will receive from Spirit. Being fully in touch with your spiritual power means you are soul filled. You have a strong bond with Spirit, which ultimately is your own divine Essence.
People sometimes ask “how do I protect myself” from “bad” or “evil” influences? The answer is you, that is, your ego, doesn’t. Your innate spiritual power does it, as well as any helping spirits you may feel a connection with. In order for that to happen, you need to:
- Keep your soul in your body at 100% power. This you do by regular spiritual practice, such as prayer and meditation, as well as “living an examined life” (in the profound Socratic sense; that is you live true to your essential Self), and doing right action.
- Stay in close contact with your helping spirit guides, with higher beings.
- Live with an intention to embody kindness, compassion, and service. Spirit, and the higher beings that assist us, are attracted to and support those who live these higher values.
How to Reclaim Your Health the Shamanic Way
Ayurvedic medicine sees us as 5 layers: physical, energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual. I work with people on all 5 levels, which means that as a trauma release therapist and medical provider, as well as someone supportive of you claiming your full spiritual connection, I am using “shamanic practices” only in a modern way. We dive even more deeply into this when you attend the Mystic Medicine Deep Immersion Retreats.
At these retreats, not only do you get all of your functional medicine laboratory work, a personalized detoxification program before the retreat, supplement and a nutritional plan, energy work, trauma healing, and mental rebalancing, you also become clearer to connect with spirit more deeply in whatever pathway you already follow. There is no religious clash, as you, and no one else, defines your relationship with God and spirit. The experience exists to deepen your relationship with spirit in a way that can profoundly augment physical and psychological healing.
You can find out more about these residential retreats on San Juan Island in Washington state at Dr. Keesha’s home here: https://www.drkeesha.com/mystic-retreat/