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Shamanism


See Workshops page for specific training currently offered.

Shamanism is the oldest spiritual practice known on earth, dating back many tens of thousands of years. Although the term shaman comes from the Siberian tradition meaning, one who sees light in the dark, shamanism has been found in all parts of the world, including the Amazon, the Arctic, Europe, India, Africa, Australia, and North and South America. Shamanism can be defined as a series of ceremonies and practices that are done in cooperation with the Spirit World for the purpose of healing and obtaining knowledge. Shamanic “journeying” is the visionary method used to explore the non-ordinary realms, or alternative universe known mostly through myth, legend, and dream. The shaman is a man or woman who communicates directly with spirits in an altered state to address the spiritual aspects of illness, remove negative energies, perform soul retrievals, receive oracles, help the spirit of dead people to cross over, and provide ceremonies for community.

Shamanism has been revived in recent years – one could say has seen a renaissance – emerging as a popular “method” for healers and seekers to learn. However, for me it is a way of life with foundations in my connection to the earth, to the Ancestors, the forces of nature and my intention to bring wisdom and healing to my community. The core principle in Shamanism is that we are all connected to everyone and everything in all of creation – the web of life. It is not a substitute for psychotherapy or allopathic medicine. It is not a religion with dogma and set beliefs. Instead it is a functional and eclectic practice that is designed to bring balance and harmony by healing the spiritual aspect of disease or injury and by bringing us into relationship with Nature. No wonder that it has recently emerged at this time. We need to reconnect to our roots, to Nature, and discover a harmonic way of living for our very survival.

Go to topIntrusions and Extraction

Eagle in flight

When we experience a loss of power or a piece of our spirit, it leaves us vulnerable to negative energies intruding into our spirit body. We can become magnets attracting negative thoughts, friends, habits, tendencies, etc. Once a negative energy or thought form gets into our spirit body, it can create many problems on the physical, mental, or emotional planes by creating spiritual blockages. We can develop compensatory coping skills to deal with the intrusion which in itself can be destructive or exhausting and can lead to illness as well. The Shaman can perform an extraction ritual, working with the insight and strength of Spirit/Animal Allies first to see the intrusions locally in the body, then to remove them and return them to the natural world.

It is vital at the time of extraction to also return some power and soul to the client to prevent further intruding energies. Again I emphasize that Shamanism is the practice of healing the spiritual aspect of disease and illness. It is not a substitute for allopathic medicine or psychotherapy.

See Workshops page for specific training currently offered.

Go to topPower Retrieval

Eagle very high in th sky

All of us have experienced at different times a loss of personal power, following a traumatic event, an illness or operation, physical, mental or emotional abuse, violence, loss, or injury. This loss could manifest in chronic pain or chronic illness, addictions, depression, a run of bad luck, insomnia, neurosis, mental illness, or fatigue. The role of the Shaman is to journey to the non-ordinary world to find the lost power that has been left behind and to return it to the client seeking help. Bringing back power to a client is done by realigning oneself with Spirit Animal Allies who bring back attributes of strength and wisdom. By integrating this renewed personal alliance into ones daily life, the client moves forward in a stronger and more harmonious way of living, being, and doing.

See Workshops page for specific training currently offered.

Go to topSoul Retrieval

Eagle returning

In ancient times the Shaman was responsible for the survival and flourishing of the tribe or community or village. When an individual experienced a loss of soul, or spirit, after a frightening or threatening event, the Shaman preformed this ritual within a few days to insure the well-being of all by bringing back what had been lost to the sufferer. When we are traumatized or abused often our spirit leaves our body to protect us from severe shock or permanent injury. In modern times this process is called dissociation. However, sometimes in our recuperation, not all of our Spirit returns. A piece is left behind in time and space thus resulting in a loss of soul - a vacuum, a hole, or an inherent weakness that can result in chronic problems, neurotic patterns, a personality change, an inability to cope with loss or grief, terminal illness, drug addictions, depression, chronic fatigue, migraine headaches, violent tendencies, anti-social behaviors, etc. We all know someone who “has never been the same since…”

In the Soul Retrieval ritual, the Shaman journeys to the other world to search for any “soul parts” that are willing to come back to assist the client in their life - bringing back attributes that will help with the healing and the knowledge needed at this time. The Shaman finds the missing parts, brings them back, and literally places them into the client’s spiritual body. Thus begins the journey of integrating the returned spirit into all aspects of a person’s life.

Please read the excellent article written by Sandra Ingerman about Soul Retrieval.

See Workshops page for specific training currently offered.

Go to topPsychopomp

When the body dies, the spirit begins its journey by leaving our ordinary world behind – processing many aspects of our lives along the way. Sometimes because of unresolved conflicts, because of negative beliefs about ourselves, because of our attachments to our loved ones or our property, or the suffering and attachment that we leave behind, the transmigration out of this realm can be difficult. Sometimes a death can be so violent, so unexpected, that a person does not know they are dead. They can remain suspended here, a spirit without a body, confused, lost, or paralyzed. They can “haunt” the earth or loved ones. The Shaman knew that for the well-being of the community and the departed Spirit, it was best to assist the Spirit on its journey out of this “middle world” into the Upper or Lower Worlds to continue its soulful journey to repair, recycle, and perhaps, be reborn. The ritual of Psychopomp is designed to assist that journey. As in all shamanic rituals, permission must be granted by the loved ones left behind and by the spirit that is departing.

See Workshops page for specific training currently offered.

Go to topDepossession

Ceremonial objects

Sometimes a trauma or injury can be so severe that the resulting power/soul loss can create a giant hole or vacuum in the individual. If a person happens to be in the vicinity of lost souls, he/she can actually attract a disembodied spirit entity or thought form into themselves. Locations where disembodied spirits are often found are bars, hospitals, cemeteries, roadside scenes of accidents, battle fields, etc. The possessing spirit enters into the vulnerable person, taking up the slack, presenting with personality changes, sudden illnesses, unusual tendencies, the onset of full addictions, even a change of artistic abilities or way of expressing themselves, etc. Over time, the possessing spirit integrates into the whole being of its host, often not aware of what it is doing.

There are many traditions of depossession work, which do not resemble what has been portrayed by Hollywood. The Shaman who is trained in depossession work will perform rituals to first contact the possessing entity or thought form, then to assist it on its way out of its host, using psychopomp to send the disembodied spirit onward to its natural transmigration out of this realm. Then the Shaman will bring power and healing back to the client to strengthen their spirit body, often teaching ways to purify their homes and their bodies, thus cleansing their environment from any negative debris left behind.

Possession is more common than we would like to think. I believe our mental hospitals and therapists’ offices are filled with people carrying around a possessing spirit or two. Yes, you can carry more than one at a time. And that is the key thing to remember. We as human beings are meant to have one and only one spirit within us.

Depossession work is gentle and holistic and done with respect for the client as well as the possessing component.

Go to topDrumming Circle

Powwow Drum

It is common to find a regularly scheduled gathering called a Drumming Circle, comprised of members of the community who come together to practice shamanic ceremonies for the well-being of the circle, their families, and the larger community. It is essential that participants have some journey experience and bring a drum or rattle, the instruments that help create an altered state for journeying into the non-ordinary worlds where healing and wisdom is accessed through connection with spirit.

A typical Drumming Circle might look like this:

To begin there is a ceremony to call in the Four Directions and to smudge or clear each individual from the daily negative/unnecessary energies we all are prey to. That might be followed by introductions and brief sharing around the group including local community announcements. Then there would be drumming, rattling, and dancing, calling in more power and spirit to raise the vibrational level of the Circle. Next might follow a journeying ceremony led by a member of the Circle for all to participate in. Afterwards there might be an individual healing ritual for someone in need with the support of the Circle. There would be a closing ceremony. Often a Drumming Circle can include a pot luck supper or picnic outside.

Of course, every circle determines its format and intention with all members participating equally.

It is my intention to form and to facilitate a Drumming Circle in the Sulllivan County area of New York State which may meet monthly. There is no fee for this event. If you are interested in attending a Drumming Circle or how to learn journeying skills that will assist you in the circle, please contact me.

See Calendar for Dates of Circles.

Go to topSweat Lodge

In one form or another, the sweat bath is practiced in some form by every culture in the world, from the Alaskan Eskimo south into the land of the Mayans, from the ancient Celts, to the North American Native Peoples. The sweat lodge ceremony, older than recorded history, was established in order to facilitate healing, purification and relaxation in their lives. Read more...