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.

 

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What causes the trouble in our lives?

16 02 2014

Dear Friends-
Welcome to those of you who are new subscribers to my website. I value the time you take to read this and hope you find the content helpful.

It has been longer than expected since I blogged last. A wedding, the flu, and now catching up on stuff I postponed while I was sick, have kept me away from my computer.

While I was sick I heard messages I do not hear when I am in the normal rhythm of my life. On one hand I wished to be available to do the things I love, and even some of the mundane chores like cleaning the house seem important and luxurious. On the other hand, I observed how well things went on without any participation from me. I considered a number of topics to blog about and found my thoughts trivial. I ruminated on the question: what does one really need to do to be a worthwhile member of society?

Then I recovered and rushed happily to catch up on cancelled appointments and obligations. Among these appointments I had a number of shamanic healing sessions. As is often the case, I saw clients with a variety of problems who seem to have one important thing in common. It is so common to see clients with a “theme” that I believe it is my focus and not something they bring. That, however, does not prevent specific and unique treatment for their individual conditions.

The theme I am currently observing is that clients seem to intently focus on their personal failings. The events currently causing trauma in their life are viewed as a result, challenge, or perpetuation of their personal failings. This become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But more important, it prevents one from seeing beyond their current perception and leads to them feeling guilty about and responsible for what is happening in their life. They often say something like, “I can’t change because I haven’t been able to in the past, don’t deserve anything better, am depressed and lack the energy.”

Their questions seem to be about how they got where they are, even though they are usually able to explain that to me in detail. There is probably shamanic help for their situation in so far as it involves things outside their control.
But something else is needed that they can only do for themselves.

Self Forgiveness
The important thing is self forgiveness. Focus less on how one got here and a focus on nurturing one’s self, forgiving one’s mistakes, and giving one’s self the loving kindness one would give to a beloved child. That is so easy to say and so hard to do. It is a practice worth a lifetime of work and one that will lead to so many good things.

So, begin this practice despite the difficulties, and keep giving yourself that forgiveness, kindness, and compassion as many times as it takes. If we even think we have mastered it, life repeatedly givens us opportunities to practice. As you practice this, also try to become the observer of yourself. With even a little detachment you may start to see other possible interpretations of your life events. Perhaps life is a still precious gift full of infinite grace if we can just lift ourselves out of our sick bed of self-criticism and see beyond our narrow focus. Treasure yourself. Somewhere within, you are a bright, powerful, important, worthwhile person even if all you usually see in the tarnish of life that has obscured that light.





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.





Summer Shamanic Events

3 07 2011

WHEN: Wednesday Nights, July 6, 13, 20, 27

6:30 for visit, start immediately at 7:00

Finish by 9:00 sharp

My summer is as crazy as anybodies but it gives us the change to do shamanism outdoors. The only way to get it happening is to make it fit. If you want to join my shamanic work group, RSVP and be here. As much as possible, these activities will be outdoors so dress accordingly. A shamanic work group isn’t about cleaning the yard, it is about doing deep personal work to prepare us to help others. No fee but donations accepted.

Experience not required in this specific work however basic shamanic knowledge is required. If you need to get up to speed email me with a request. I can do basic training with small groups for a small fee.

 





If you are a post menopausal woman with poor health, is a past life the reason?

3 07 2011

In past ages, the cure for menopause was death. When people talked about the wise elders they were usually talking about people at the advanced age of 40. It is a modern phenomenon having “baby boomers” reaching retirement age in great numbers. This is an event of great magnitude. What does it mean apart from being a significant result of the industrial revolution and ensuing breakthroughs in: reduced physical work, better quality of food, and modern medicine?

Metaphysical books from the past each claim to be at a pivotal moment in history. Our current aging population is one thing that sets this time in history apart. It has not occurred before. It is a part of the macrocosm of time in history and has a great potential for good. It may be a financial burden for society but it is also an amazing opportunity. I, for one, am proud to be here to see it. Great things are possible in a way they have never been before.  Why am I so optimistic?

Most shamanic and spiritual events I have been involved with are most heavily attended by women. A typical breakdown is 70 percent women and 30 percent male. Of the women, it tends to be more heavily post-menopausal women. I guess this breakdown is also 70/30 favoring post menopausal women. It appears that with their child rearing, household, and income producing responsibilities reduced, they are giving attention to their spiritual needs. For some this means helping out at their church. For some, it means looking at alternative spiritual practices.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that we meet our primary before reaching for self actualization and transcendence. I can only be excited by having so many people reach a time in their lives when their primary work is to achieve a goal of being their best selves. Rather than facing retirement as an end, it is possible to see it as a new beginning.

It saddens me to see so many women whose vitality has decreased at this crucial time. As a trained fitness professional and long time student of aged healers in other parts of the world, I can tell you that the perception that we are suppose to be old and feeble isn’t valid. There are many fit and vital older adults in this world. The ideas is to reduce the time between decrepitude and death through healthy living rather than accept that is it all over and sit waiting for the inevitable.

We have more older Americans. There is no coincidence that this is happening when the world is in such dire need of champions. You, my friends, are these champions.

If you see that your vitality is not up to the task, I challenge you to ask why. Many of us are defeated by the limited thinking that our beloved society has set for us. Once we pass the golden age of youth we may cling to it with the latest beauty products or give up completely. Many of us have given up on being able to change health issues, weight problems, bad relationships, or bad habits. It is possible and actually, it easier than you might think.  Yes, you know some of the common tools, such as:

  • Not denying the problem – facing it head on
  • Not trying to do it alone
  • Setting a reasonable time frame for results
  • Making changes in a way that you can stick with

 The Most Important Tools

There are other tools equally or more important in changing a downhill slide into old age. They involve getting to the root of your issues. This can involve some deep work. Many people are afraid of this work or don’t even know it is possible.

It is possible to address these problems in many ways. Even psychologists and other western trained medical professionals are now realizing the validity of shamanic tools in reaching and relieving these deeply held issues.

If you suspect you way have such issues, think about one issue that you currently have then remember back to earlier times in your life when you can see this issue. If you can remember to where it started, you are ready to start changing it.

I have seen people whose issues where so deeply ingrained that I suspect they came into this life with them. I don’t believe or not believe in past lives but it certainly fits as an explanation of what I see. Regardless of whether the issue is from this life, or a previous one, there are excellent ways to eliminate them. Eliminating these issue will not only change how you live your life but will made a great deal of vitality available for you to do other things in your life which you care about. Is there something you want to do but just can’t find the time, willpower or energy to start? We can change that.

I am not promising you will live longer, though you might. Even if we just face our deaths better prepared, we have gained a lot. Who knows, it may mean we don’t have to come back here and suffer the same pains again. We will all be together of the other side of the veil soon enough, lets live with joy and help others while we are here.

If you are interested in learning more, email me and I will invite you to an event to hear more on this important topic.





January Events

16 01 2011

Two Upcoming Shamanic Events: Shaman Experimenter (Free Introduction to the craft of Shamanism), Drop in Healing Clinic

Event: Shaman Experimenter

Date:  Thursday Evening, January 20, 6:30 tea and snacks, start promptly at 7:00 and finish before 9:00

·    Sit in the Sacred Circle

·    Bring your Drum or Rattle (or share one of mine)

This event is for those of you interested in learning more about shamanism in daily life, either to deepen your own spiritual practice or to use to help others.  It is called experimenter because shamanism isn’t a doctrine, it is about your personal experience. It will be different for each person. There will be an opportunity to sign up for additional classes.   Please RSVP for this event: lindanadeau33@gmail.com or 408-888-3245

Event: Drop-In Shamanic Healing Clinic

Date: Saturday, January 22 8:30 am to noon,

This event is for those who would like to have a shamanic healing session at an affordable price. No appointment is necessary. Just show up.  It is part of my community outreach to bring healing to those who feel that they can not afford a private session. It is also a time for those interested in learning about giving or receiving healing to participate. This is very typical of many indigenous cultures where healing occurs in community. Donations accepted.






The Cost of Being Weird

6 01 2011
Are you afraid to be considered weird by your family and friends? Or do you relish the idea?The time of burning witches and medicine men is not so long past that it can be completely forgotten.   I frequently hear snickered remarks in the workplace about anyone who admits to metaphysical interests. 

Who are these People?

Modern shamanic practitioners come from all walks of life and at first glance seem to have little in common. They are often healers looking for ways to expand their services.  Some folks are vagabond drop-outs wandering the earth happily experimenting with odd traditions. More commonly they are nurses, plumbers, housewives, farmers, or shoe salesmen who are not looking for drama, a guru, or the latest new age workshop. They are simply people trying to understand their place in this universe.

What will my Friends Say?

Many of the people I have met exploring the shamanic path are concerned with what others think of them. Many friends and family members will find the practitioner’s interests weird.  The practitioners may be embarrassed or afraid of ridicule, especially as they experiment to learn more about this path. Some friends will present themselves as happy test subjects while others silently move away.

The more I learn, the less I feel weird.  In fact, people who don’t question their lifestyle choices, who feed on drama, and those who define their life with many common pursuits, seem weird to me.

As I learned about non-ordinary reality I realized how much of what I previously considered real was related more to my view of things than the things themselves. As I became an observer of my actions I stopped, for the most part, blaming anyone else for my choices. I am working on forgiving myself for the difficult ones. No, my choices aren’t perfect.  Some aren’t even rational and I continue to make frequent bad decisions. Still, I find myself to be happier, more compassionate, and less judgmental. I no longer suffer depression of the sort that marred my youth.

While my family and friends may not understand my obsession, I believe they realize it has value and meaning to me. Some friendships have fallen away. Among those that remain strong they have accepted me as I am. Other friends and family members are noticeably more comfortable to avoid the topic.  I am hopeful that with time they will come to trust that I haven’t joined a cult or become a fool. Meanwhile, my growth is more important to me than their judgment.

Yes, you can still hold a job

Unlike a monastic life, shamanism is practiced in conventional societal and economic rolls in one’s customary environment. You don’t sit in a trance 24-7.

The shaman is a master of the two realities, ordinary and non-ordinary. A practitioner’s ability to function in non-ordinary reality in no way hinders her ability to function in ordinary reality.  In traditionally shamanic cultures the shaman joined her community workforce just like everyone else. She slipped into her shamanic roll only when it was called for, by someone’s illness or other triggering event in the community.

Drastic Change

Students of shamanism often fear the loss of important relationships. Why? Most likely because they realize they are changed by what they learn.  Change is hard on relationships. Most people can look back and see that as their life moved through cycles their primary friendships changed.

I experienced great upheaval in my life.  My exploration of shamanism coincided with these changes and helped me make them. However, the desire for change was already there. This desire for change is one of the characteristics many shamanic practitioners have in common.

Common characteristics of shamanic practitioners

I have observed that many people on this path where already set outside the mainstream of society by something. Perhaps it was an aspect of their temperament or a lifestyle choice. Often their intuition has made them aware of things others don’t notice.

While shamanic practitioners vary in many ways I see some commonality in the following areas:

  • Open to change
  • Introspective
  • Independent thinker
  • Intelligent
  • Self-directed
  • Resilient
  • Creative
  • Empathetic
  • Honest
  • Disciplined
  • Nonconformist
  • Strong Intuitive

Interesting Times Ahead

I remember my mom saying to me one day, “your friends are certainly interesting.” Her tone of voice suggested that interesting covered a lot of territory, some of which she wasn’t comfortable with. Her remark was loving and undoubtedly true. My friends are interesting. So, dear friends, welcome. There are interesting times ahead.