Wednesday, June 2, 2004


I wish to comment on the article presented here by adding what I personally believe and have been taught.

The article does teach many good and true aspects of Shamanism, however, following the ways of Shamanism and being a Shaman are not the same.

Shamans are spiritual beings in human form with the power to heal, work with Earth energies and 'see' visions, among many other things.  One does not "up and decide" to become a Shaman by learning the ways of the earth energies, healing, herbology, taking vision quests, staying a "real" native sweat lodge, or any other aspect of the Native culture. 

Being a Shaman is not in the study of natural healing and wholeness, nor in it's "practice."  I have clarified on this site when it was started that the New Age practices and others belief systems, such as Wicca, are NOT the Natvie American belief system, which has existed longer than there are records of man on the earth.
  It is a spiritual heritage that is passed through bloodlines and taught from the ancients and the elders to those who are chosen and are younger. It is, to me, what maintains all of earth's balance in the physial world that we see and know with our five senses.

The power of the Shaman is not in a book with formulas and rituals that can be read and memorized and performed repeatedly so that after a few years one can "become" a shaman.
  Learning to follow the ways of Shamanism brings wisdom and healing to any who will study and learn. I do include this article to help us all learn more, but there are times we have to read things and sort through them for the balanced truth. Thanks.                                                                                                                       CheyFire



How Does The Shaman Heal?

 By Susan Keiraleyn, Ph.D.

The spiritual healing methods of shamanism are now receiving increased and significant attention in our culture as a result of the widespread search by many for effective, efficient, and non-invasive assistance in healing and personal growth. Because shamanic healing affects the energy field of a person, it may be appropriate in a wide variety of circumstances and can be used for problems throughout the lifespan - even during and after death.

To better understand how the shaman heals it is important to understand some of the fundamental concepts of what shamanism is. Some people mistakenly believe that shamanism is a religion. In fact, however, it is not a religion but a specific set of methodologies for accessing the spirit or energy field of anything or anyone. The shaman heals by working in unseen/inner/spiritual reality to create changes there, which in turn create changes in seen/physical/ everyday reality.

The essential perspective of the practicing shaman is this:

1. Everything is alive. Everything has spirit and awareness.

2. Energy and matter are the same. Everything is vibration. Everything that exists is an energy system within a greater energy system.

3. Everything that exists is connected to everything else in a web of energy or life.

4. Unseen/inner/spiritual reality affects visible reality.

Working within this system of perceptions. the shaman strives to create balance or harmony or free flow of energy or spirit. This work typically focuses on the individual human, but traditionally also often was applied to social groups such as an entire tribe. The same kind of healing energy work can be applied to anything that exists - animals, plants, geographical locations - even to ideas.

What distinguishes a shaman from other types of healers are her/his methods. The central technique used by the shaman is what has been called "soul flight" or journeying." To journey, the shaman enters a particular kind of trance state sometimes called the "shamanic state of consciousness" or SSC. Entry into the SSC can be accomplished in a variety of ways; drumming is one very widely used induction method.

While in the SSC, the shaman sends out part of his/her consciousness/ spirit/energy to obtain information or do work in the realm of spirit or energy. The information obtained by the shaman's journeying consciousness may come from a variety of sources, including communication with nonhuman beings and the shaman's own visions or "second sight." This information is retrieved and used for insight and healing.

The work the shaman may do while in the SSC has to do with directly affecting the presence or flow of energy in one or more energy systems. For example, a shaman might help a person heal a broken bone by opening up increased energy flow to the affected area; a shaman might help a person heal from emotional depression by restoring emotional energy lost as a result of a traumatic event.

In summary, the practice of shamanism involves making conscious connection with that which is spirit or life - that which is sacred - in all things. Healing can be accomplished through this connection by working directly to create greater balance and harmony of energy or spirit, and by bringing back to the "ordinary" world transformative awareness from sacred space and time.

To do healing work of any kind, a shaman typically will first make a journey to learn (through "seeing" or through communicating with helping spirits) the spiritual cause of a given problem. A particular problem in everyday life (such as depression) might have very different spiritual causes in different people. In other words, illness that looks exactly the same symptomatically in two different people might be the manifestation of very different underlying situations. In one person, for example, depression and fatigue might be caused by spiritual injury to the heart; in another person, identical symptoms might be caused by habitual thought patterns of intense rumination and worry.

The shaman seeks to address the underlying spiritual cause that creates observable symptoms. Therefore, treatment of identical symptoms might be very different in two different people, depending on the spiritual cause. This concept is similar to ideas of traditional Chinese medicine, in which it is understood that "anything can come from anything."

Once the shaman gains an understanding of the spiritual cause of a given problem, she/he may use a variety of healing modalities to resolve it. Although there are a number of specific techniques employed, they generally fall into three broad categories:

1. Taking things out of the energy field that don't belong there.

2. Restoring lost energy or power to the field.

3. Altering the balance or flow of energy within the field.

In all of these methods, the shaman is a mediator between physical and non-physical reality, between the seen and the unseen.

We will consider each of these categories in greater detail in Part 2 of this article.Susan Keiraleyn, Ph.D., is a counselor and shamanic healer in private practice in Portland. She is a former research faculty member at Oregon Health Sciences University, and has taught, guided and done clinical research on shamanic journeying techniques and related processes since 1978.


Power Animals

Power Animals

The concept of a Power Animal is universal to all cultures. Tribal cultures will recognize a Totem for the tribe, one for the clan one belongs to, and one for the family that one is born into. In the United States, and in other countries, the Tribal and Clan Totem still exists, although it is thought of in a slightly different manner.

There are also totems for our adopted cultures, such as clubs or societies which we may belong to, such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Loyal Order of Moose, and the Lions Club.

Even Christianity, the prevalent religion of this country, has maintained two Totem animals, these being the Fish and the Lamb. Specialized Totems are also seen in organized sports, their names being reflected in the team names. Example: Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Falcons

The next type of Power Animal or Totem is that which is personal for the individual. These Totems are protective spirits which help us in our everyday life. Everyone has such a Totem. Even today most parents give a special protective Power Animal to their children and tell the child that it will be protected over night by that Power Animal. 

We often unconsciously recognize the Power Animal affecting someone, and use terms which give away our unconscious recognition.

The first item of business is to learn your power animal. It may entail learning deep inner relaxation so your spirit self can speak to you, and then while in that peace-filled state you can  discover your Power Animal. That knowledge is necessary in order to start the long process of learning.

Power Animals are usually a reflection of your deepest self and also represent qualities which you need in this world, but which are often hidden or obscured. A mistake that people often make is to be dissatisfied when they find that their Power Animal is some non-ferocious animal like a mouse.

We tend to think that a mouse is not very powerful - that it is meek and afraid. What they forget is that spirits are not limited to physical reality and that size is irrelevant. Your Power Animal may be a tiny mouse, but in times of need this mouse can and will change its size and deportment to that which is appropriate to the occasion.

There is nothing weak of meek about a 500-foot tall mouse! Your personal Power Animal (as opposed to your family, clan, or tribal spirit) may change several times in your lifetime, depending upon your specific needs. If you are dispirited, your animal is far away from you and needs to be brought back, or a replacement found.

When you make your first exploratory journey you are likely to encounter spirits which may represent themselves as being your Totem or Power Animal. If you are already aware of your spirit that spirit may greet you and give you additional power.

All of creation has positive and negative energy. It is the individual who chooses to use that energy wisely or selfishly. Any animal spirit may be your Power Animal. Your Power Animal may also be a considered by some to be a mythical animal, such as a unicorn or Pheonix.

                                     Meeting Your Power Animal

We all have power animals - spirit animals - that are connected to us as protectors.

Many power animals are our spirit guardians that exist in other realms.

Some animals were with us from past lives but may have been another physical form. Example: We might have had a wolf or other wild animal as a friend or protector. In this timeline the animal incarnates as a dog.

Time to find your power animal.

Find or quiet place or just relax at your computer. . .

Relax your mind . . .

Feel the muscles in your body relaxing . . . your head . . . your shoulders . . . your neck . . . your jaw . . . the torso of your body . . . your arms . . .

Close your eyes . . .

Take 2 long slow deep breaths . . . breathing in through your nose . . . holding the breath as is comfortable for you . . . exhaling slowly through your mouth . .

Still your thoughts.

You are going to watch the screen just behind your eyes . . .

You may see a pretty color . . . or shape . . . coming into view . . .

Telepathically ask your power animal to show itself to you on the screen in your mind.

Be patient! Your third eye (pineal gland) must open before you can see images.

Soon the image of an animal will appear.

It may - or may not - be the animal you are expecting - so have no expectations.

The image may come all at once or appear to move towards you.

You may see the front view of the animal or see it at another angle.

The animal may not be your favorite animal!

Just allow the image to manifest before you!

Once you see the animal - watch it carefully to see what it does.

Listen with your thoughts to get a telepathic message from the animal.

It may seem funny to get a message in a human language - from an animal - but it can happen.

Your animal may appear in a scene that is significant for you.

Focus as best you can . . .

Note the colors around the animal - colors have significance.

When the image fades . . . slowly open your eyes and write - or draw what you have seen.

You may see more than one animal.

You may see an animal that seems mythological vs. animals in our reality.

You may find that another day brings a different animal with a different message.

The material above was taken fromthe site CrystalLinks and may be read in it's entirety there.I have individualized many aspects to apply for Native belief system as I have been taught  and not for other faiths or beliefs that may also use relaxation techniques and mental imagery.