by Kate Durda, M.A.

first appeared in “The Holistic Book”, Spring 2008

Shamanism is the oldest known spirituality in recorded history, going back over 40,000 years. Traditionally shamans serve complex and multiple roles in their communities, which over the centuries have included divination, healing, spiritual counseling, and leading ceremony, among others. They perform soul retrievals (restoration of our essence and soul energy), psycho pomp (helping spirits cross over after death), power restoration, extraction (removal of spiritual blocks in energy), and many other services.
Groundbreaking work in fields such as the 'new biology', quantum physics, and alternative medicine are validating what shamans and other wise spiritual healers knew and practiced thousands of years ago. We know that the mind/body/spirit connection is of vital importance not only in helping us to heal from illness, but beyond that, to truly 'thrive' and live in a state of 'wellness'. Shamanism has so much ancient wisdom and practice in working with energy. As we continually strive toward wholeness, recognizing that Life IS energy, it is clear that an understanding of how to work with energy is essential.
So what are some strengths of shamanism? Shamanic practice provides a most powerful and effective means for self-healing, self-understanding and for deepening your spirituality. We can learn through practice to shift our energy, our brain wave activity into more optimal states. For example, the benefits of one type of brain activity, the alpha brainwave, are the ability to relax and keep the mind on idle when not focused on specific task, heightened feelings of well-being and euphoria, increased creativity, and deep emotional healing. Yet it has been found that 20 % of the population does not engage in alpha brain waves. Many folks cannot turn off their mental activity for any length of time. They must always be thinking, tend not to be able to let go of emotional issues, but rather obsess relentlessly. They are more likely to become alcoholics or engage in some other addiction. The practice of shamanism allows individuals to easily enter into alpha and even more healing theta states, even those folks who “can’t meditate”.

Another benefit of shamanism as a spiritual practice is that it allows us to engage in deep levels of self-healing, particularly on the subconscious level. All of our experiences are recorded in our subconscious mind, which is a millions of times more powerful neurological processor that the conscious mind. If we only use our conscious mind to try and change our lives, but it is not in agreement with our subconscious experiences, we are doomed to failure. For example, if all your life you were told you were stupid, no matter how many times you ‘think’ positively “I am brilliant”, you will not succeed in changing your belief. The simple conscious thought cannot overpower the deeply rooted and remembered belief that you really are ‘stupid’. Through shamanic practice, however, we can and do heal on an energetic level, powerfully “wiping the slate clean.

An important shamanic practice is to hold precious and ‘allow’ the self you are becoming. Who are you becoming? From an understanding of developmental psychology, it is known that individuals are intrinsically drawn to becoming more complex, healthy, and higher functioning, under healthy circumstances. Shamanic practice powerfully allows and enables us to receive the healing and full integration of all our life experiences. Through shamanic practice, not only do we heal and integrate our life experiences, but we are able to open to even deeper spiritual nurturance and guidance. What we can then experience throughout our lives is an ever more vibrant life, more in tune with our soul’s path, allowing us to truly manifest the beautiful “Self” we came here to be!

To learn more about Shamanism, healing, wellness and how to actualize your “Self”, please visit Kate’s Profile page at Spirit Weavers offers a comprehensive continuum of services from individual healing sessions, community ritual and ceremony, and beginning to advanced shamanic training and workshops. Click on the category for Shamanism, and when you see Kate’s listing and photo, just click on PROFILE PAGE. Website: .