What is Shamanism?

Many people believe that shamanism is the sole domain of Native Americans. That is what I used to believe before I started to have "shamanic experiences" and begin my journey into this beautiful modality of energy work. Shamanism is in fact a worldwide phenomenon. Most cultures have had some sort of shamanic tradition in the past - in some cases, the distant past. Recent scholarship (David Lewis-Williams, The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art) attributes the well known 25,000 year old cave paintings in France to ancient shamans. According to Tom Cowan in his book Shamanism As A Spiritual Practice For Daily Life, the term “Shaman” is a Tungus word from Central Asia; Wikipedia states that: “The term "shaman" is a loan from the Turkic word šamán, the term for such a practitioner, which also gained currency in the wider Turko-Mongol and Tungusic cultures in ancient Siberia.” In any case, shamanic practices have been around for centuries if not eons, and have a part in the foundations of most world cultures.

Core shamanism, a term applied to what is often taught today in the field of shamanic arts, was introduced in the United States in the 1970’s. This body of knowledge was compiled by anthropologist Michael Harner, who studied shamanic traditions throughout the world, then distilled from that study the common or core elements among all of the traditions. In the 1980's he established the Center for Shamanic Studies (now called Foundation for Shamanic Studies). His students, as they became proficient in practices of core shamanism, became known as shamanic practitioners – those who practice shamanic arts. This term is now applied to any practitioner of core shamanism as taught by a variety of teachers.

Today there is a wonderful mix of traditional shamanism and evolved shamanic practices based on core shamanism available to us. We have more opportunities than ever before to have a healing session with a shaman from Peru, Tibet, the Navajo Nation, and other cultures. We also have choices of healing sessions with shamanic practitioners trained in the arts of core shamanism, and of using shamanic arts to heal ourselves.

What is Shamanic Journey?

A shamanic journey is a way to intentionally visit, communicate and interact within the spiritual realms. In a shamanic journey, the shaman or shamanic practitioner enters into an altered state of mind that is similar to deep meditation, but is done in a very specific way. Some call this a “shamanic state of consciousness.” I like to describe it as “meditation on a mission.”

While in the shamanic state of consciousness, a shaman or shamanic practitioner follows a ritual protocol or practice to enter into spiritual realms, or “nonordinary reality,” on behalf of self or others. A shamanic journey usually has certain elements such as stating an intention for the journey, calling in power animals or helping spirits for guidance on the journey, and entering into nonordinary reality from a special entry point such as a tree, well, cave, or other location that the practitioner chooses. Usually, the entry point is a place that exists in the physical world and the shaman or practitioner imagines that location to begin a journey, but it can also be a place that is purely imaginary.
When a shaman or shamanic practitioner journeys on your behalf, he or she states an intention to journey in your best interest, and then allows Spirit to guide the journey. Sandra Ingerman, psychologist and author of Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self, describes shamanic journey as an “interactive dream.” In his book, Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life,” Tom Cowan describes it as “a combination of intentional and non-intentional experiences and sensations.” In other words, the journeyer is “making it happen” without “making it up.”

Shamanic Energy Healing

Shamanic healing is a form of energy healing. The purpose of the shamanic journey is to receive information and energy from the spiritual realm to assist in the healing, growth, and greater wholeness of the client. Sometimes energies are collected and delivered to the client in the form of power animals, helping spirits, gifts from Spirit, or soul parts. Sometimes the journeys include instructions for removal of energies that are not part of the client’s natural energy field, and not in the client’s best interest.

Shamanic rituals and tools are used to work with energies. Ritual is a powerful way to deepen and ground intention. People and Spirit are responsive to ritual. Shamanic tools are used to strengthen and embellish rituals as well as for practical use. For example, energies can be retrieved and delivered without tools, but use of a crystal to retrieve and deliver energies strengthens the intentions of the ritual. Rattles also strengthen the intentions of ritual, but on a more functional level serve to “shake up energy” for removal or re-balancing.

Shamanic Techniques Include:

  • Soul Retrieval – Accessing fragments of your natural energy system that have split off due to life stresses such as physical or emotional trauma, negative energies directed at you, cultural enchantments, or expectations that are not in your best interest.
  • Power Animal and Helping Spirit Retrieval – Restoring your loss of personal power by connecting you with your spirit-helpers.
  • Spiritual Information, Gift, and Symbol Retrieval – Bringing back spiritual information and symbols from the shamanic state of consciousness for use in your healing. Extraction – Removing energies that do not belong in your natural energy system such as negative thoughts directed at you by others, energy “parasites,” or disincarnate entities.
  • Cord Cutting – Detaching energetic cords connecting you with people or energy sources that are harmful or not compatible with your natural energy system.
  • Divination – Journeying on a question or concern in your life to explore options and assist you in making life-enhancing choices.
  • Integration Techniques – Using flower essences, essential oils, stones, and other techniques to assist in integrating shamanic energy healing sessions.
  • Psychopomp – Assisting departed loved ones with crossing over.
  • Shamanic Energy Work on Pets

Reiki Energy Healing

Reiki is a system of natural energy healing first introduced in Japan in the 1920’s by Dr. Mikao Usui. It is based on the belief that there is a universal life force energy available to all of us that can be used for stress-reduction, relaxation, and promotion of wellness. During a Reiki session the practitioner channels energy to a fully-clothed client through a series of hand positions. It is a very safe, relaxing, nurturing experience.

What Happens in a Healing Journey Session?

Both shamanic healing and Reiki are based on the premise that healing begins at the spiritual level, moving more slowly to the denser energy fields: mental, emotional, and finally, the physical. Sally brings together her training and experience with both traditions to provide you with information and healing energy to assist you in your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing and your soul’s growth.

Sally usually begins a session with a shamanic journey to determine what is in your best interest at the current time and receive energy and instructions from Spirit on how to proceed with the session. As we journey together into shamanic states of consciousness you will experience and begin to understand your path to healing and to the manifestation of your soul’s desires and purpose. Sally uses a combination of Reiki and shamanic techniques to assist you in becoming energetically whole and balanced by accessing parts of yourself that are “lost or misplaced.” She also identifies and removes energies that are not part of your natural energy system. This work can be done in person or in a distance healing phone session.