Art by Pablo Amaringo
If you've read some articles in this blog you'll see a reoccurring theme which is that we try to take spiritual topics and make them practical for you in your daily life. Shamanism is one that we haven't dove into for a while and has been on my mind. Maybe even just one reader needs to hear this. When I read a books on Shamanism, it changed my life. Some people have an unexplained connection to it even before they know what it is. A shaman is a healer who sees the world, energy and our interconnectedness with nature, planets and elements. They are sensitive and can help move emotions or see why things are happening. Often they have precognition or knowing of what is really going on with someone outside of Western medicine's answers. There have been shaman's in most cultures, who were the medicine women or men, called upon to help make decisions, heal the sick and solve problems. But how does one become a shaman and where do you begin? It's not like a shaman will wear a suit and work 9-5 to make a living right? Well not necessarily. Shamanism is becoming more common and working professionals are using the techniques to work on themselves. A 'shaman' as it is depicted in the media may not look in person as wild as we are predisposed to expect. They may be very polished even.
The first step to understanding shamanism is to get education about it. Start by reading books on it and find classes. Check out a book called 'The Way of The Shaman' by Michael Harner or Earth Magic by Stephen Farmer. Nabeel offers a course on it every year at House of Intuition and we offer books about it as well as our Medicine Wheel Cards. He also offers healings and Naha does as well. Shaman's expand their perspective to see how environments affect people and how people affect environments. They see how major events can affect the psyche of a person and how a person can affect nature. There is no separation between the shaman and the client. They see the clients healing as their own truly. The healing of each person is yes a personal decision but when a shaman is willing to open themselves to see something within themselves, they are then able to help the other person. They operate in a plane of consciousness that is not easily accessible and they use drums as a means to get into trance. Recordings of drumming can be used for meditations.
Art by SpiritPervadesMatter on Etsy
But what's up with spirit animals? They come to you to show you the strengths you have within you or to develop untapped potential. It will not always be the same animal and sometimes you'll have reoccurring ones. Here is a helpful meditation to practice at home to get clarity from your guides:
1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply (play drumming music if you have any).
2. Envision yourself walking up to the edge of a cave.
3. Meet your spirit animal at the edge.
4. Follow them into the cave.
5. They will take you to meet someone and wait for you as you meet with them.
6. Whoever you meet will give you a gift as a symbol of what you need to know.
7. Allow your animal guide to take you back to the cave entrance. Thank them and say goodbye.
This meditation is always available to you and gets easier with practice. You do not have to use plant medicines to practice shamanism although some do. There are plenty of books on entheogens and the history of their usage that you can study as well. As with any spiritual practice, you should research a practioner's experience before trusting their guidance. Just as you wouldn't want a brand new yoga teacher trying to get you into a pretzel in yoga class without proper understanding of anatomy, you wouldn't want to work with a novice shaman either. When it comes to finding a mentor, you really do need to trust your intuition and notice how you feel when you meet someone. It's also fun to look up the animals that show up in your meditations, dreams or in your day to day life. For instance, a bee landing on your hand means money is coming or a shark chasing you in water in your dream does too!