Is a Shaman Scary?

12 06 2014

This post is about the shamanic practitioners you may come across in North America today. Most people who visit me come from personal referral, but a greater and greater number are coming from this blog. These folks often have little or no experience with a shamanic practitioner. I sense a lot of hesitance in them so I’m answering some of their questions here.

Like most of us, I was skeptical about shamanism before I began to study it. I also thought Tarot, Palm Reading, and Psychics were all foolish nonsense. It was only because I wanted to understand myself that I ever started to study the occult and eventually shamanism. I just knew stuff and didn’t know how I knew it. Elsewhere in this blog you can read about what brought me to this work.

I am a normal person. I’m probably not that different from you; with a family and obligations, struggles and bad moods, and everything else that goes with this earth walk. I learned a lot from shamanism and feel lucky in that. Because of it I am happier, kinder, and more thankful for my time on this precious earth. I’ve had enough experience with scary stuff through shamanism to try and answer this question.

Because of the shaman’s ability to sense information and call upon spiritual help the shaman can be a powerful friend or foe so is can be scary. With the information below you should be able to find a shaman who can be a powerful force for good in your life.

Good and Evil

My prevailing thought about this issue is that there is only power, which may be running with our desires or against them. Electricity can light our homes or electrocute us. Disease can grows in our bodies and ants can roam out homes looking to feed themselves. It doesn’t make them evil. Yet the source may be an evil intention somewhere.

Good and bad exist in each of us and sometimes there are outside influences which create strings of “bad luck”. Beyond seeking balance there is more to know.

Evil can be powerful, attractive, and easy, even if you aren’t a Jedi Knight. As long as that is true there will be people who have one’s best interests at heart and those who have their own interests in mind. Like a product that has been modified in a way that seems only to cost more money and deliver less, unscrupulous “healers” may put their interest above yours.

In finding a practitioner, as in finding a friend or adviser; look for one who has your best interest at heart. If you know yourself to be seduced by unlawful or unethical actions you may be attracted to unethical practitioner. If you have clear ethics you can probably trust yourself to reject unethical healers.

An unethical practitioner won’t only be the one with demonic symbols in the window or who offers black magic. Those are the easy ones to avoid.

Intentional or Unintentional Harm

Other healers may seem quite pleasant and knowledgeable and still be a poor choice. It is more difficult to detect healers who intentionally or unintentionally causing harm. By being aware of what this type of practice looks like, you can avoid it too.

An example of intentional or unintentional harm would be a healer who lingers with you in your misery. They may feed your victim status because it makes them the “superior” person in the relationship and gives them a sense of power. They may actually feed off your feelings of dependence. Their primary focus may be to create repeat business. A hands-on healing from such a person may feel like you are stuck in a circuit of remembered pain rather than making you feel a movement toward health and returning vitality.

Such a healer may consider him/herself a paid friend or councilor to whom you return again and again. If this is what you want it should be called a consultation, reading, or divination, not a healing.

Another practitioner may just go through the motions with the hopes of effecting change but have no belief in, awareness of, healing or confirmations of past success. They may or may not be successful.

What to look for in a healer

Happily, there is a lot of good news! By using the following tools you can find people who will be powerful forces for good health and a good life.

  • Ask for recommendations from people you trust.
  • Trust your own intuition.
  • Ask questions about the kind of work you seek. Elsewhere in this blog there is information about the many types of service possible.
  • Seek someone who has been doing the work for a while. I had successes early in my career but know I have gotten more knowledge and tools now. This goes a long way toward treating cause, not just symptoms.
  • Ask about their experience. They may or may not respond but it is appropriate to ask. Since time is valuable I have put this information on-line to educate potential clients.
  • A competent healer is usually modest, humble, and doesn’t sing his/her own praise. If they tell me how wonderful they are I would walk away.
  • The Foundation for Shamanic Studies, The Society of Shamanic Practitioners, and the website Shaman’s Portal are where I would start looking for a practitioner to refer someone to out of my area. While I do distance work at times, it may be easier to see someone is your area. Inclusion is these references is no guarantee but is a likely place to start. As you wade in you will learn more about questions to ask.

Don’t be afraid. I was lead magically to wonderful people at nearly every turn. I didn’t encounter anything scary until well into my journey into shamanism. By then I was prepared for it. I’m pretty sure there was a guardian angel watching over me. You probably have one too. Nearly any shamanic practitioner can help you learn to call on him/her.

 

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Is Shamanism Scary? Is this practitioner a Real Shaman?

12 06 2014

In the past shamanism was the only spiritual practice or “religion” of most clans/tribes/nations of people. Today it considered a practice that can co-exist with whatever religion a person follows. For people who do not follow a particular religious path it may be a way to live in harmony in the world without giving allegiance to a large, centralized authoritarian institution.

Modern views of shamanism range the gamut from visions of a bucolic gathering of peace pipe smoking natives too one of a raucous fireside gathering of sweaty bodies dancing to the feverish music of drums. These both exist but the practice is much more diverse than that so the answers to the questions above are too.

Shamanism is alive today in many forms. I want to distinguish two of these; those practiced in cultures with a continuous heritage of shamanic practice and those available in the “West”.

Shamanism in Traditional Cultures

Shamanic practices are extremely varied around the world. For example, among the Kung people of Africa shamanism is a practice shared by all in the village. Within a healing ceremony all can offer healing to another. In other societies practitioners may work together or individually, publicly or privately. There is local knowledge of who is most effective for what type of work. There are specialists in the many different types of heaings or services such as divination, mediumship, ceremony, etc. If you find yourself in one of these places asking a few questions from people you trust will get you to an appropriate practitioner. Be aware that there is often competition among practitioners. With a few basic questions you can ascertain their prejudices such as a willingness to perform black magic.

Shamanism in the West

If you find yourself in the western world, the knowledge you need to choose a practitioner is a little different. The very fact that shamanic practice is decentralized, fairly unknown by most, and that any certificate or credential is meaningless (as far as efficacy of their work is concerned), you need to be cautions. Personal referral from a satisfied customer is a very good resource as is your own intuition.

Beyond that, what you are seeking help with will determine your choice of practitioner. There isn’t only one “best” or “right” choice. I see a curious lack of “specialty” among shamanic practitioners I have met. Perhaps it is because of the scarcity of practitioners that most will work effectively in a number of different areas and are reluctant or unable to make referrals.

What help are you seeking?

As I said, this will determine who you should see. It is a common phenomenon that a client/patient will come to see me after seeing many practitioners such as doctors, massage therapists, herbalists, yogis, etc. I do not consider these competitors though I do consider them capable of similar healing success with the client/patient. I find that all these forms of healing work together, just as all the things that have happened to a person in the past prepare them for healing in this moment.

I will simplify an overwhelming variety of reasons people see a practitioner into the following:

  • To learn and deepen their individual healing practice
  • To heal a physical, mental, and/or emotional wound, for help with a specific entity causing difficulty today, divination/psychopomp/ mediumship

I’ve made this simple, healing or learning. This isn’t a complete list but should do for now. I invite you to email me at any time if you need further information.

To learn and deepen their individual healing practice

There is a significant difference between doing the work and teaching wonderful shamanic knowledge that is needed by all. There are many fine teachers about. I encourage all to explore with a variety of these before chosing the tradition with which one resonates for them and then sticking to that path. Those who seek to brand “their” methods and find followers may make better teachers than healers. No one’s way is the only way.

To heal a physical, mental, and/or emotional wound, for help with a specific entity causing difficulty today, divination/psychopomp/ mediumship

I believe it is much harder to find an effective healer than it is to find an effective teacher. The work is difficult, often unrewarding, and low paying. The practitioner also has to recognize and admit when they can’t help a patient. There isn’t any glory, recognition, or even appreciation. Plus, and this is important, not many are really good at it. By good at it, I don’t mean they have any power except the power to be available to the power which does the healing.

There can be healing from anyone, whether or not they have studied, apprenticed for 10 years in a village somewhere, or come from a lineage passed from father to son for generations. There are many “so called” healer who’s only qualification seems to be that they were raised in a shamanic culture, though they never actually practiced shamanism in their home country or because they successfully completed someone’s course and have the certificate to prove it . But to repeatedly have success with more and more difficult challenges is a calling. One has to walk the path of the many unsung heroes who have gone before us. This isn’t a typical mindset of most Americans.

It is worth the search and for those doing the practice. It is done without expectation of adequate reward but in the hope that each client heals and also helps change the perception of what is possible.

 





December 2011 Events and First Quarter of 2012 Events

6 12 2011

Dear Friends-

Everyone seems to be learning from the same teacher, the economy. This forced letting go of our identities is sometimes harsh and difficult but also opens the door for learning and growth. As I let go of identities which no longer serve me new visions appear.  Chief among these is the desire, finally, after years of saying no, to step humbly into the role of teacher, mentor, and workshop leader.  I am happy to announce the following activities. Some are designed for those seeking tools for self-healing (Basic) and some are for those seeking growth as healers (Advanced).

(Basic)Self-healing and basics of shamanism

 

Basic Journeying – this is an introduction to the terminology and cosmology of the shaman’s world. Learn about power animals, spirit teachers, and nature spirits by experiencing them, not by hearing about someone else’s experience. Come prepared to participate. This is a six hour class being offered twice. Since this is a great preparation for the advanced program I am offering it despite the hectic season and will consider offering it at other times if requested to do so.

  • Saturday December 17, 2011.  9:00 through 4:00 with a one hour lunch break. $60

Or

  • Saturday January 7, 2012.   9:00 through 4:00 with a one hour lunch break. $60

Power Dance and Shamanic Healing

Experience a traditional community ritual including the opportunity to receive multiple healing in a shamanistic style.

  • Saturday, January 14, 2012 7:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. $10
  • Saturday, February 11, 2012 7:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. $10

(Advanced) An apprenticeship/mentoring program

This program requires a one year commitment to the members of this working group. Membership will be closed once the program begins. The three month sessions are simply a way to make the cost more affordable. Please do not begin if you do not intend to stick with it for the year.

This program will be a series of four Three Month Sessions.

The First Three Month Session is scheduled for:

Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 11, 2012 9:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m.

Residential

Friday March 9, 2012, through Sunday March 11, 2012

  • Friday March 9, 2012, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Sunday March 11, 2012, 9:00 to 12:00 a.m.

One working definition of a shaman is “one who goes into an altered state of consciousness at will to bring back information for the healing of others, the community and/or the planet.” This program includes instruction in typical shamanic activities such as extraction, soul retrieval, de-possession, curse removal, divination, psycho-pomp, space clearing, and working with nature spirits and other compassionate spirits to achieve these results.

Approximately one-half of our time will be spent outdoors and will include visits to local power places. We can’t learn what our shaman teachers have learned through a lifetime of living in harmony with nature on a Saturday afternoon. The weekend sessions will provide a time to be still in nature and go deeper into our lessons. At least as important as learning the techniques of healing is learning about the spiritual wholeness that makes it all possible.

While this is not designed as a program for those seeking healing, there is not a healer alive who does not receive healing through helping others. Be prepared to learn about yourself, your ancestors, your fears, and your strengths. Learn to trust and utilize your abilities and receive affirmations and validation of them.

Since this is Santa Cruz, I add the following. You cannot use mind altering drugs (including marijuana) and participate in this program ergo the words “go to into an altered state at will”. Participation is at my discretion.

Cost of Program:

$400 for each 3 month commitment payable in advance of the first meeting of each quarter.  In some cases there will be additional modest costs for camping or other accommodations for the weekend events.

Schedule for the three remaining quarters will be presented to participants at the first session. The schedule is somewhat flexible at this time but will generally be the second weekend of the months with a weekend event culminating each quarter.
Registration Form:

Event for which you wish to register: ____________________

Name: ____________________

Address: __________________

City: ________State:__Zip:___

Phone: ____________________

E-Mail: ___________________

Amount enclosed: ___________

Send Registration Fee to:

 

Fee will be cost of event except for the Advanced Program. For that program you can send $100 to hold your place with balance payable before first event.

Location will be announced. Instructions will be given once registration is received.





Highlights of Aama’s visit

14 11 2010

Aama’s pictures and December Schedule of Events to post soon.

I was able to have some truly fabulous professional photos of Aama and the group healing taken. I will post the as soon as I get them from the photographer.

I will also be posting some upcoming events although because of the holidays they are fewer than typical. If you sign up to follow my blog you can be assured of receiving notices of these events.

Highlights of Aama’s visit

Aama has left me with joy in my heart. It wasn’t until yesterday that I had time to contemplate her visit. Here are some of my observations.

What a joy to prepare breakfast while she moved through the house and yard chanting mantras and lighting incense.  My humble efforts to use my Nepali Phrasebook lead to lovely conversations. And when that was put aside, without the necessity for conversation, there were lovely shared moments. We had a few minutes to walk on the Esplanade in Capitola where she expressed joy at the sound of the surf. We laughed as she attempted to copy my placement of my feet on the seawall as we sat on one of the benches.  With her short stature this was much more difficult for her. Communication does not depend on language. Despite her longing to return to her home after an extended trip, I loved her ability to be fully present.

From the moment I announced Aama’s forthcoming visit, many wonderful and generous individuals came forward to help. I feel so blessed and thankful to them all. You know who you are and I thank you. My biggest thank you is reserved for Larry Peters who has a lifetime of service to Aama and the other Nepali and Tibetan shamans who are now family to him. He is responsible for making this event possible. I also especially appreciate the support and help of Icasciana Barrs and Diane Wilson from Samadhi Life. I have had the great good fortune to attend one of the Grandmother’s gatherings and can only hope to have more such opportunities. I offer my profound apologies to any who’s needs were not met in the unexpectedly hectic schedule that surrounded Aama’s visit.

Tuesday evening’s healing session was such a joy. Those of you who were present certainly felt the joy, hope, and loving kindness present in the room. Despite long waits and uncomfortable seating, people were so kind and patient. My desire to provide more chairs was squelched in an effort to make the experience as much like it would be in Nepal as possible. I hope those of you with physical discomfort were able to accept it as part of the pilgrimage. It truly saddened me to see your discomfort.

Here are a few mental notes I made during the healings. I share them here in the hope that they might help your understand Aama’s healing process.

  • Some problems have physical causes, some karma or life patterns (astrology), and some spiritual. Aama treated the spiritual component which can also positively affect other causes.
  • Aama has the wisdom to know which problems she can help and which ones she can’t. That sounds a little like St. Francis, doesn’t it?
  • She doesn’t sugar coat bad news while leaving open the possibility of improvement.
  • If Aama prescribed that you do some sort of healing ritual, it isn’t as important that you do it perfectly as it is that you hold the proper intention, focus and humility as you perform the ritual.
  • Many of those present have their own healing gifts. It is up to each of them to discover how to use those gifts. Regular meditation is one of the best tools available to strengthen those gifts.
  • Great comfort is available to all through meditation.

A couple hours into the evening, a lady said to me,” when is she going to start doing healing?”  My eyebrows raised in surprise. I recognized her as a local healer and said, “Aama is doing healings with each person who sits in front of her. These are spiritual healings, not the energy healings you are more familiar with.”  That is a subject I will blog about at another time and only one of several subjects to explore as a result of this event.

At the end of Aama’s visit Larry Peters told me, “In Nepal there is great spirituality but little money. Here there is great wealth but we are hungry for spirituality. It is a good exchange.” I use Aama’s practice of accepting donations rather than setting a specific fee for shamanic services.  It requires a lot of faith in abundance to do so as the cost of living here is about 50 percent higher than it was in Portland. But that is nothing compared to Aama’s situation.

Tibetan refugees in Nepal experience none of the rights of citizenship we take for granted. Even though Aama was born in Nepal, she is still a refugee. She is Tamang, an ethic group from Tibet.  A refugee can never take a job from a citizen nor can a refugee own land. That means there are few sources of income available to refugees. Beautiful Thanka paintings, carpets, and jewelry are traditional Tibetan crafts that provide much of the income of the refugees.

Aama alone supports 14 people.  In addition, in the small refugee camps, as in many poor cultures, there is much sharing with the community. People know that if they don’t share, when they are hungry no one will share with them.  This shared experience draws people together much more closely than any coffee klatch.

I thank you all for your generosity to Aama.  Your money will go into the world and do much good. I also must say, that as an initiated healer in Aama’s tradition, I was able to observe much during the healings that might not have been visible to everyone. I can say for sure that the value received by many of you is much greater than the money exchanged.  So, dear friends, as Thanksgiving is almost upon us, I am holding a prayer of gratitude in my heart and looking for ways to share what I have with those in need.   I encourage you to do the same.

 

 

 

 





Basics of De-possession

3 01 2010

De-possession is the act of exorcising attached discarnate human spirits or nonhuman spirits, which are attached to living people.

Effects of possession may include unexplained mood swings and behavior, chronic pains and illnesses, mental illness, suicidal urges, suppressed hostility or guilt, and/or drug and alcohol abuse.

Possessing spirits are deceased humans who have not yet departed the earthly plane (see information on psycho-pomp). They attach themselves to a family member or a person who is weakened by substance abuse, hostility, or severe illness, or who has unresolved past-life karmic issues. They may also be nonhuman spirits including elementals and confused or un-evolved entities.

Results of de-possession may include: a relief of symptoms, a sense of empowerment. the ability to make progress in one’s life, and make improvements to present relationships.  It can be an opportunity to see life from a new prospective if one is willing to do the work to integrate a new self-awareness.

The method of de-possession I utilize, through the intersession of compassionate healing spirits, is a Tibetan bombo method. The possessing entity is lured from the victim to a place which is better for the entity, rather than forced or shocked. It includes the opportunity to gain insights as to why the possession occurred and how to avoid a recurrence. Each ceremony is unique and may include elements from other traditions.