art by RAINA IMIG | SHAMANDALA SERVICES
What is shamanism ?
 
All our ancestors practiced some form of connecting with nature and the Spirits. You might say the practice of shamanism was both necessary and natural as the earliest peoples battled harsh living conditions, simultaneously being in awe and wonder at the generosity and power of Nature. Being aware of, even identified with, their natural surroundings, being in tune with the seasons, knowing how to anticipate dangers, feeling gratitude for the beauty and bounty of the planet, were natural outgrowths of humankind’s awareness of our dependence on the Earth. By providing safety, nourishment, and information, the practice of shamanism kept our ancestors alive, and thus we, their descendants, are alive today.
In modern times, descendants of our indigenous ancestors who keep these ancient ways alive, are still to be found in many areas of the world.
Most of us, however, have long since abandoned this legacy, and adopted ways known as modern, a very recent history of less than a few hundred years, barely the blink of an eye even in terms of recorded time.
Today, the world is going through some extreme changes. Awareness is rapidly growing of our interdependence on natural and Divine forces. Once again we find ourselves drawn to a need for a deeper communion with our inner selves, in our relationships with others, with our surroundings (the environment), with the greater reality of the cosmos, and with the Divine.
As this awakening process develops, we turn to those among us who practice a 21st century healing lifestyle, a rediscovery of the ancient ways.
 
How do you become a shaman?
 
It is said there are 3 ways to become a shaman. One is to be born into it. The second is to receive initiation by a guru or by life experiences. The third is to train with an experienced shamanic practitioner and teacher.
In any case, one never calls oneself a shaman, but can only receive that title from the community one serves. One can, however, call oneself a shamanic practitioner.

So how can one be born a shaman?
 
Of course you may have a shaman or medicine man or woman as a parent. But you could also be born into an ordinary family, yet have extraordinary abilities, such as clairvoyance, or the gift of second sight. In combination with life experience, wisdom, and training, this could lead to a life path of helping others.
 
What about initiation?
 
Certainly there are still tribes and communities where one can be initiated into shamanism. But there is another form of initiation, which may manifest as a spontaneous vision, or as what is known as a shamanic illness. Extraordinary hardship, a life and death situation, may also lead to shamanic abilities, although that is clearly not always the case.
And finally there is training, which hones our skills, offering us a toolkit of techniques, giving us depth of practice and confidence in the validity of our abilities.
art by RAINA IMIG | SHAMANDALA SERVICES
How can you tell if you may benefit from shamanic healing ?
 
Traditionally, it was said, that you needed healing if you found yourself singing, dancing, and laughing less. It meant you were lacking something and needed support.
These days there are two main categories of people who seek out shamanic healing. 
The first is those who have physical or emotional illness. It may be a catastrophic or acute condition, or chronic disease. While availing themselves of conventional medical attention, these seekers reach out to shamanism to complement that care, to help with the side effects of drugs, reduce stress, feel hope, get spiritual support, and to access deeper levels of healing. This group of people are looking for answers. Once they hear the answers, they begin to apply them to their lives, and their physical and emotional systems have a much better chance of achieving balance and wholeness.
The second category is those people whose lives seem to be going well, but there is something missing. A vague sense of unease plagues them, and they seek shamanism to find out what the questions are that they should be asking. Once they identify the questions, their healing truly begins.
 
What actually happens during a healing session with a shamanic practitioner ?
 
Your shamanic practitioner most probably looks and sounds like a regular person. They probably work out of an office or a healing space in their home. After greeting you, we do intake, taking notes on what you say, or perhaps sending you forms ahead of time. We have a conversation. After a while, the session begins. Drumming is a handy aid to focus the shaman’s journeying. An Invocation commences the session, that is, the practitioner calls in the directions and the spirits. This is the formal way in which we acknowledge those helping spirits that surround us at all times and the safe container in which the healing session is held.
The shamanic practitioner is not the source of your healing. Rather it is by a sustained practice of getting out of the way of the process, that the practitioner is able to receive messages for you from your helping spirits, and, by allowing themselves to be a hollow bone, to receive and transmit the healing that you need the most at the moment.
Throughout the session, the healer communicates out loud to you, the images, words and messages that come through for you. You are an active participant in your own healing. The shamanic practitioner can only offer you the healing that you ask for. We do not work without permission.
Healing modalities that may be combined with shamanism in any given session include Reiki and sound healing including the use of a rattle, bell, or the voice.
After the session, there is time to ask questions, absorb the impact of the changes, and reintegrate fully before proceeding on with the rest of your day.
art by RAINA IMIG | SHAMANDALA SERVICES
What are some positive effects people have experienced as a result of shamanic healing ?
 
Depending on what they came in for, people have variously reported:
a reduction in pain and stress, greater clarity regarding decisions, more joy, an uptick in creativity, better balance between different areas of their life, improved sleep, help with addictions, and in general a profound increase in self care, peace of mind and wellbeing.
For specific results they have achieved, we are developing an area for people to share testimonials.
 
What shamanism is not?
 
Shamanism is not magic, it is not a quick fix, and it is not a religion. It is not the same as paganism. Shamanism is not a short cut for hard personal work. It is not a substitute for medical attention. Shamanism is not a trend or a fad. It is not fortune telling nor is it a business for psychics. Shamanism is not from any one particular country, culture or tradition. It is not a placebo. Shamanism is not guaranteed to rid you entirely or immediately of your pain or suffering, or magically give you exactly what you want.
 
What if I don’t really need shamanism?
 
If you are completely satisfied with your life in all respects, health, wealth, relationships; or are satisfied with the resources that are already available to you, and have no interest in considering shamanic healing, then this is not for you.
 
Should I stop everything else I am doing to help my condition ?
 
We do not recommend that you avail of shamanic healing exclusively. Usually the introduction of shamanic healing helps your other methods work better, and you may also find it easier to identify new resources that help your condition.
 
How does shamanism work ?
 
Shamanism is energy medicine. It works by addressing your underlying energetic issues. Modern science is finally catching up with the mystics of all times in recognition of matter being mostly empty space, all solid matter including our bodies being held together by what must ultimately be acknowledged as a mystery. It is here at the interface between matter and mystery that shamans work. It is here that our remedies are effective in transforming lives.