Shamanism is probably the oldest form of spiritual practice. Throughout the world,from Australia to Greenland to the Amazon,shamans have acted as intermediaries between the human world and the world of the spirits. And everywhere the shaman’s job is to maintain balance. Without balance we become ill,mentally,physically,emotionally –but overall,spiritually. This can apply not only to human beings but animals and places.
Often the illness turns out to be caused by one of two things. Either something is missing that should be part of us or something is in us that should not be there. Of course,these two often go together.
If something has got lost –our power or a part of our soul,for example –this leaves a space. Other things can find their way in and get stuck -like a mouse in a house,or a stone in your shoe. Not evil,or even bad,but certainly not in the right place. In shamanic terms this is called an intrusion. The shaman’s job is to remove the intrusion (a process known as ‘extraction’) and return it to where it should be.
Or you may have part of you missing. This could be either a part of your soul or the energy that you need to be healthy. Soul retrieval is becoming widely known as a way of helping a person feel more whole. Often the soul part has been lost due to some trauma –indeed you sometimes hear a person say “I have never felt complete since…”. The shaman will seek out and return the soul part,restoring your loss.
Shamans,worldwide,believe that everyone has helping spirits who are necessary sources of energy for each of us. These may present themselves in many forms,but often as animals. Shamans can also return these lost sources of power.
This is necessarily just a brief description of shamanic healing. For more information on shamanic healing,read either Michael Harner’s,‘Way of the Shaman’or Jane Shutt’s,‘The Spirits Are Always With Me’. For more details on Soul Retrieval read Jonathan Horwitz’s article at www.shamanism.dk