Understanding Shamanic Healing
Shamanic Journeying is the key element of shamanic practice wherever it is found, worldwide and throughout time. Journeying and Shamanic Healing is best described as an ancient way of contacting spirit in order to help oneself and others. Shamanic healing is spiritual healing. Shamanic Healing is not an allopathic medical technique, nor is it psychological or psychiatric healing, although it is often found to be compatible with and complementary to many other ways of helping people toward wholeness and health. Shamanic healing is not an exclusive approach to health. Further, although there may be prolonged discussions in communicating with a client about healing, this is not a "counseling technique” and the shamanic practitioner is not acting as a psychological counselor. Journeying is done in a light trance state, usually achieved through sonic driving such as drumming, singing, or rattling, and repeated movement such as dance. While in trance, one visits 'the sacred land”, sometimes called alternative or shamanic reality. When journeying, one meets and interacts with allies, teachers and guides to obtain healing information.
Shamanic Healing includes many possible techniques: ally retrieval, soul retrieval, extraction, energy healing, and psychopomp work, to name a few. Shamanic healers usually depends totally on the guidance of their shamanic allies and guides for selecting which technique(s) may be most helpful for each client.
A shamanic session begins with discussion with the client about the client's needs, and a brief description of shamanic healing and what the client may expect during and after the session. Next, a shamanic journey is undertaken to consult with the allies for their permission to facilitate the client's healing and their recommendations concerning what healing is most appropriate at this time. It is not unusual for the allies to begin the healing during this first journey by performing certain healing actions (such as an extraction or ally retrieval) on the client in the shamanic or alternative reality. The client is informed about the journey and the healing recommended by the allies. If the client agrees to the recommendations, the shamanic healer proceeds with the healing work. Often this journey is highly significant in and of itself.
Healing Advice received from the allies ranges from suggestions on lifestyle changes to insights on relationship situations. Specific foods and supplements may be suggested along with particular activities such as dance, exercise, rituals and worship. Such advice from Spirit may also accompany any of the following techniques.
All people have spirit allies throughout our lives but, on occasion, we may find ourselves dispirited, without the help and protection which an ally gives us. When an Ally Retrieval is performed, the practitioner journeys to locate a missing ally and return it to the client. Ally Retrieval is appropriate for the client who has low energy: who frequently feels ill; ungrounded; a lack of direction in life; or a lack of spiritual connectedness. An ally may also come to help a client with a particular task or during a particular time in the client's life. Ally Retrieval is often the first step in the healing process.
Soul Retrieval is an ancient healing technique, and one that is very helpful to clients. Found throughout the world in many shamanic traditions, the technique varies from culture to culture. All shamanic traditions agree that the soul or parts of the soul may be driven away by traumatic life events (physical, emotional or spiritual), by soul theft, or by giving away soul energies. The practitioner performs a special journey with the allies to find, bring back, and restore to the client the missing part(s) of soul essence. Similar to Ally Retrieval, Soul Retrieval is often helpful to the client who feels depressed, apathetic, chronically ill, "not all here", or is wrestling with addictions or other problems.
Energy Healing is the process of bringing the energies of our physical, emotional, mental, and spirit bodies into balance when any of them have become uneven, blocked, excessive, or inadequate. By direct sensing and/or shamanic journeying the practitioner can detect energy imbalances. Acting as a channel for universal energy the practitioner helps the client regularize the energy flow and achieve increased strength, comfort, and relaxation. Aria is also a Reiki master teacher and medical Qi Gong practitioner, using both modalities as independent healing techniques as well as within the shamanic healing journey.
Sometimes, difficult life events cause us to carry intrusions of energy in our spirit bodies. Extraction is the process of removing these intrusions of incompatible energy. They are seen by the practitioner during journeying and may be perceived as energy masses, objects, or even spirit beings. Removal is done with specific rituals. These may include rattling or drumming, cleansing with smoke or salt, or other purification.
Psychopomp or Soul Guide work is a journeying technique undertaken for the spirits of the deceased who may have gotten lost or had other problems in making the transition to the Afterlife. It can also be very helpful for the living, since such displaced souls may try to continue to interact with them, not realizing that they have died or holding onto other entanglements. Exorcism or De-possession involves helping haunting souls or other entities to leave a place or person to whom they have become attached.
The followup work for some healing work can be more fulfilling when the client is able to journey. Clients may be encouraged to attend classes on using the fundamentals of shamanism themselves. Journeying is a very meaningful tool for self-healing, self-knowledge, and empowerment, as well as a profound method of spiritual practice.
adapted from original text written by Bekki Shining Bearheart