What is Shamanism?

Each person who answers this question is going to give you a different answer, as shamanism is largely an umbrella term for a variety of practices that involve connecting with helper spirits, natural, energetic, and spiritual realms to bring about healing in a person.

I can only tell you my own experience with shamanic medicine and how it has evolved in my own practice. For simplicity's sake, I also will say upfront that there is some controversy surrounding the words shaman and shamanism, particularly as it relates to cultural appropriation. I am not going to go there in this post, especially because I am still working out my own thoughts and feelings surrounding that issue.

As of now, I know that shamanism, as we know it and as it is named in our language, exists and has existed in pretty much all cultures, all over the world. My personal ancestry and the lineage through which my own shamanic gifts have passed down come from Eastern Europe, particularly, Romania. I personally channel and bring through the shamanic medicine of my own ancestry, and as of this writing, there is no other name for it, that I know of, in the English language besides shamanism. This is how it was introduced for me, so regardless of the drama, out of respect of my own ancestors who call themselves Shaman who practice shamanism, this is how I will refer to it.

K? Okay, moving on.

For me, shamanism is about helping a person become whole again and to see parts of their whole selves under the lens of integration, acceptance, and love so that no parts are separated or feel separate.

A shaman, or a shamanic healer, or a shamanic practitioner, or whatever you want to call it, as I see it, is someone who connects with Spirit (collective term for guides, angels, animal spirits, once living people, fairies, plants, crystals, and anything or anyone else who takes a spiritual form), the natural world, and the energetic and spiritual bodies of a person and the world around them, to help facilitate healing in someone. They act as a mediator and as someone who can translate Spirit, transmute energy, and illuminate areas that have been darkened so that the healing process can be opened.

I was once told that a shaman is someone who opens the door, and the person receiving the healing needs to step through it in order for healing to occur.

A shaman is a facilitator of the healing process, helping bring a person back to wholeness and their own pure energy. 

Shamanism, in my experience, is the practice of communicating with helper spirits and connecting with someone's energetic and spiritual bodies (past, present, future, parallel) to see where wholeness does not exist and to help bring wholeness back.

When these pieces come back, and wholeness starts to return, in many cases, this can mean the return to wellness, emotional and physical. (But not always!)

For example, if someone experiences a traumatic event, something like soul loss can occur. This can lead to the loss of parts of the soul and the energetic body, which can then lead to emotional or physical dis-ease. Returning these parts, facilitated by a shaman, can help bring wholeness and ease back into the life.

The premise of shamanism is that all/most emotional and physical disease starts in the energetic body and the spiritual body and that these bodies, the energetic, physical, and spiritual, are all connected. Dis-ease in one can lead to dis-ease in the others. 

In this time, with so much energetic, physical, and spiritual pollution all around us, part of the job of many shamanic healers is to help bring someone back into more communion and connection with the  natural world, so that they can start the process of purification, returning to true energy, and again wholeness.

This is not just a spiritual process, but also, can be a physical process for many to clean their diets from pollutants, synthetic additives and chemicals, their clothes from artificial fabrics and pollutants, and their environments.

A shaman helps shift the entire environment - energetic, spiritual, and physical, in connection with the natural world, with the goal of facilitating healing. 

Every-thing is connected here. There is no separation. Energetic is spiritual is physical is your entire experience. 

Shamanic healing helps bring clarity and illumination, returning you to yourself, your true self, and helping you find what that is and who that is. 

Many people experience profound physical and emotional healing through shamanism, but not everyone.

With this comes a caveat, which is that not all can be cured via shamanism. Not all physical diseases, for example, are because you did something wrong or because something traumatic happened. Sometimes, a dis-ease is the teacher. And sometimes the progression of the physical process is too late for an energetic or spiritual shift to turn things around. And sometimes physical healing is not what your soul needs
(I'm sorry, I am just the messenger, I don't make the rules).

A shamanic healing session usually involves a shamanic journey, a meditative, trance-like state where a shamanic healer journeys through spiritual and energetic realms to connect with your energy and commune with your spirit helpers. During this time, shamanic healing techniques such as soul retrieval, power animal retrieval, past life healing, cord cutting, and the like may be performed as it relates to your concerns. These techniques are called spiritual surgery as much of your energy and spiritual body is shifted and moved around in the healing process. Usually, your spirit helpers give insight and guidance on these matters and the shamanic healer can (usually) transmit that to you.

My shamanic healing work involves a great deal of shifted energy, shamanic journeying to various locations in your soul history and in the spiritual realms, spiritual healing and integration work, and messages from your spiritual team.

Many people feel tired after a shamanic healing, again, because it is a kind of spiritual surgery.

What are some shamanic healing techniques?

  • Soul Retrieval - bringing back parts of the soul that have been separate from Self, usually as the result of a trauma, small or large
  • Power Retrieval - bringing back parts of the energy/soul that have been lost as a result of power loss
  • Power Animal Retrieval - connecting you with your power animal, a part of yourself that takes animal form and helps you maintain, and stand in your power.
  • Spiritual Attachment Release - releasing earthbound spirits from your energy and spirit, who can attach to and at weak points and drain your energy. Generally also includes a crossing over of these spirits, a power retrieval from them, and also a cord cutting from them, energy clearing, and sealing/healing of energy
  • Cord Cutting - releasing energetic connections that are connecting you to a person, place, or thing that is no longer serving your highest and greatest good.

These are just a few, there are many, many more.

What types of Spirits does a shaman connect with?

That depends on the healer, where they are in their journey, and which specific vibrations of beings they are connecting to. 

There are countless types of spirits, so much that there's a whole book on it, called the Encyclopedia of Spirits. (*affiliate link)
  • Spirit Guides/Spirit Helpers - who can take any form
  • Animal Spirits
  • Fairies
  • Angels
  • Ascended Masters
  • Dead People
  • Earthbound Spirits
  • Crossed over Spirits
  • Demons
  • Reptilians
  • Galactic/Star Beings
  • Trees
  • Plants
  • Crystals

The list goes on. . . 

For me, right now, I am primarily connecting with Archangels, Ascended Masters, a select few Spirit Guides, Star Beings, and fairies.

Do I need shamanic healing?

Personally, as someone who has been doing this for a bit, I think everyone could benefit from shamanic healing work . . . when it calls to them. 

If it calls to you, and you're reading this at all, yes, you probably do. 

Find a healer that calls to you, ask your Spirit Guides (everyone has them) to put that person in your path, and look for one. 

But a tip - do not limit yourself to finding a healer in your area. While you may be blessed to find one who practices locally, many of the best healers do not and they practice remotely via telephone, distance healings, video conference, and more! Shamanic healing is an energetic and spiritual medicine that occurs via a shamanic journey (kind of like a meditative trance state). Physical presence, while some prefer it, is not necessary for it to work. 

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Before I close, I want to mention a few things that people often get mixed up with shamanism when they hear about it. 

What shamanism is not:
  • It's not a religion. Shamanism operates without any ties to religion, though it can be performed under the umbrella of one. It is not, however, connected to or belonging to any religion. Many shamanic practitioners connect with their own religious deities to perform the healing work, under the framework that shamanism is a gift given to them by God (or whatever lexicon they choose to describe the concept).
  • It is not a cure, or a fix all. Shamanic healing may lead to a resolution of physical symptoms, but it may not.  My work specifically is not intended to heal physical symptoms, but to work with the energetic and spiritual bodies and to heal on that level. It is one step of a journey. Do not go into a shamanic healing expecting all your problems to be solved. This is not how this works. I see shamanic healing as the key to a door, that you then have to walk through. It is a piece of the puzzle. It is not a guaranteed solution, and nothing really is. It is a healing modality that can be called upon to help you find missing pieces, find your way, and to help you regain your power. Those things may lead to an overnight solution, but most of the time, the healing takes time.

Want to learn more about shamanism? Check out my Shamanic Basics eBook on Etsy!






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