I became interested in shamanism as I studied different massage and healing modalities. In general,massage and western medicine tend to compartmentalize. Meaning, this doctor will look at your bones but isn’t the person you need to talk to about your muscles and that person, by law, can’t have anything to do with your mental health. Everything is separate. Yet, as I worked on client after client who came in with physical pain that was clearly tied up in the mental/emotional stresses or traumas they were experiencing, the compartmentalized model made less and less sense to me. It was clear the human being is one organism made up of many parts whose parts interact on an intrinsic level. The cases I saw where patients had the best outcomes in their healing were always the ones where they were willing to address not just the physical but also the emotional and spiritual/energetic aspects as well.
he variety of shamanism I have learned is a conglomeration of many different cultures and traditions. My teachers looked to what practices were common cross culturally and what was at the core of those practices once local superstition was removed. Superstition has always been a way of connecting practices to the emotional/psychological core of what is really going on. It has been a way of explaining that which we don’t understand and often fear. But we have science to help us in these processes now so we can blend modern psychodynamic work with ancient healing practices.This makes the work much more potent for those of us who have grown up with the western mindset.
So what does this all look like? I may have a client who comes in to me saying they feel stuck in life. That the feeling of being stuck and not being able to move forward is contributing to depression, anxiety, headaches etc… My job as a shaman is to help the client get to the core of what is going on “what kind of stuck?” I might ask “What does that feel like?” We will seek out the original wound that set the client on this path in the first place. Often modern psychology stops here (although more and more psychological modalities are moving beyond the talk therapy model) saying “There it is! That is the reason you are this way. Now stop it!” But if we could talk ourselves out of it we would have already done so long ago. These core issues are layers and layers of years and years of trying to find ways to dance around a wound that never had a chance to heal. Here is where shamanism excels. Through a variety of practices we search for the mind body connection to this ongoing issue and begin the repair work, the true healing. Sometimes it’s as simple as affirming something that the client needed to hear but was never told. This repair work may include, Soul Retrieval, Energy Extraction, Sacred Drama, Guided Meditation, Journeying, Illuminations, Energetic Resets or a variety of other practices. Each session is tailored to what the client needs. I don’t know what sort of healing is needed until we are in the session in that moment. Shamanism is above all a practice of mindful awareness of being present with what is true now and helping the client to do the same.
If there is an issue in your life that other forms of medicine and healing don’t seem to help, regardless of whether it’s physical or emotional or life circumstances. Shamanic healing may be a new avenue for you to try to experience deep and true healing. I am excited to now be offering these services here at Body of Work Wellness.
Shamanism is a general term for the indigenous healing practices of native peoples. Much of our western medicine started here with the plants and insects and tinctures of these native wise men/women. There is another aspect to the healing these medicine women/men do which is universal across cultures. They not only look after the physical health of their people but also their emotional and spiritual health.
- Amber Van Winkle
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