The Journey of the Shaman
by Fotoula Adrimi for Signs Magazine (January 2013 edition)
A shaman (or shamaness), is a healer, medicine man, and spiritual seer. He acts as the bridge, communicating between the physical world and the spiritual realms. All indigenous traditions include references to individuals who talk directly to the spirit world in order to bring healing, and transformation, to their community.
The difference between a shaman and a medium, is that a shaman journeys in the alternative reality of the spiritual realms; whilst in the case of a spiritual medium, the spirits come to them, or through them. Whilst the shaman’s body remains on the physical plane, his consciousness enters an altered meditative state, traditionally with the aid of drumming, or repetitive power song. In these realms, the shaman meets his helping spirits, who appear to him either in animal form (called Power Animals), or in human form, who are referred to as Teachers. He consults them on behalf of his client or his community.
Classic shamanism, also called core shamanism, is based on traditional, indigenous beliefs, that state that the reasons we experience imbalances, or dis-ease, in our world can be categorized into 4 main causes:
In the first instance, we have given away our power to others, or it has been taken away from us by force. The shamanic belief is that we have been born with a certain amount of life force, or power. We lose our power due to accidents, life circumstances, and/or controlling relationships. We give our power away to family members, our boss, our work, religion, the government, etc. In these circumstances, a shaman journeys to the alternative reality to try and find appropriate light-force for his client and places it inside the client’s body.
The second cause of dis-ease is that we have given our soul essence, or part of us to others, or it has been taken away from us. The shamanic belief is based on the fluidity of the soul. The body is viewed as a container, in which the soul resides. However, life and other people shake the container to such a degree, that the soul spills out of it. Sometimes, we give our soul away to people we love. There is the saying, for example, that when we lose a loved one, we say, “he took part of us with him”. In the shamanic belief this is true. Another case of soul loss, is when we experience a traumatic event. At those times, we may have partial or total memory loss, and operate in an automatic mode. We don’t know how and when we did certain things. This is a sign of soul loss. Part of our soul leaves because it would have been too traumatic to experience the full backlash of the event. In such cases, it is important to receive the soul back. Otherwise we are left with a gap within our energy system and the pain of being separate from our essence, as if there is something always missing. The shaman journeys to the alternative realities and to the times where the soul loss occurred. He gathers the soul parts, and brings them back inside the body.
A third cause of disease is spiritual intrusions, or thought forms in the body. When our energy system is weak, and there is a gap, because of multiple soul loss, we are vulnerable and therefore prone to the intrusion of other energies, mainly sent to us by others. In shamanism, thoughts and emotions carry an energy imprint. So if there is a gap in the system, another energy comes to fill it. This energy could be jealousy, anger, sadness, grief or other toxic thoughts from people. The shaman would then become possessed by his power animals and teachers and perform a shamanic extraction, which is a psychic operation to remove the intrusion from the body. In shamanism, localized illness is thought to be a sign of an energetic intrusion existing in the body. This is advanced shamanic work, as the shaman has to be experienced enough not to be affected by the energetic intrusion. Inexperienced practitioners have been inflicted by these intrusions when trying to remove them, and often end up in worse state than their client.
Possession by spirit entities is another cause of dis-ease. Sometimes when people are weak energetically through multiple soul loss, and may be prone to alcoholism, or recreational drugs, they leave themselves fully open and another spirit entity can come into their body. This can be either temporary, and people will behave out of character for a certain time, or permanent, when the spirit entity will possess them and their character will change substantially. In severe cases of possession, peoples’ blood type can change or they develop the condition of the deceased spirit. The possessing entities are generally humans who have died in traumatic circumstances, and their consciousness has not been able to transcend into the spiritual realms. They are not evil, or malignant. They are wondering souls, not knowing where to ago, so their only solace is to attach to another living human. The shaman’s aim is to act for the highest good,of both the spirit entity, and the living person. His objective is to help the spirit entity out of the body to the spiritual realms, and at the same time aid the living person be themselves again.
Shamans work with animals. They journey into the alternative reality and meet the spirit of the animal to ask them what they need. Many times, the unexplained behaviour of pets can be remedied when a shaman tells the owner what it is that is bothering their animal. Pets can take up human behaviors and equally experience soul loss, or power loss. Sometimes animals, can take on an intrusion and become ill, to save the health of their owner.
In addition, shamans perform planetary healing. In shamanism all life has consciousness. Trees, animals, plants, rivers, and rocks, have a spirit. The Elemental beings, also known as the hidden folk, are responsible for taking care of the planet. A shaman respects the spirits of the land and aligns with them to bring healing to the Earth, especially since a lot of the environmental disasters are caused by human activity.
Shamanism is a path of direct revelation, working in alignment with enlightened spirits for the highest good of all, both the human community as well as all living beings. It is a path of life, for the shaman is asked to be a pure vessel and lead a spiritual life. A common shamanic wish is “May you walk in beauty”, which means, may your actions and walk of life create beauty in every step you take. In walking in beauty we walk a beautiful path, healing ourselves, the planet and honouring All Life.
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