shamanic healing: move beyond the individual

“In a world in which we can feel that our contribution is not “enough”, given the nature of the world’s problems, knowing we have made a healing difference to the whole can inspire and motivate us to live lives of greater love, depth and gratitude. And so the shamanic wheel keeps turning…” – Dana Mayer

Shamanic healing is growing in popularity as more people turn toward time-honoured healing traditions for grounded guidance and wisdom during these times. In this blog, triyoga therapist Dana Mayer speaks to this resurgence in shamanic healing – a type of healing that joins the individual experience with the healing powers of the natural world, ancestors, animal guides, non-linear time and humanity as a whole. Come to a better understanding of what shamanic healing is, what as session is like and the profound benefits available to both the Self and the collective. 

Traditional therapies focus so much on the individual – placing responsibility clearly on a single person to fix what’s not working. While in many instances this is a useful and ultimately necessary approach, it’s a heavy burden to carry and does not take into account our interdependence with everything around us. As we have collectively and suddenly been thrust into a time where we realise that everything has an impact on everything else – our environment, our social structures, our family structures, nature all impact us, and we impact them – shamanic healing, a return to the “old ways,” is also coming full circle, growing in presence and popularity. It’s time, again, is now.

Shamanic healing takes into account not only the individual, but the natural world and its potential for support and healing, ancestors as allies or as givers of gifts which may serve us or no longer serve us, and the potential for the present to heal the past and therefore the future. It is much more global and fluid in its reach than traditional therapy, and places the individual in a much larger social and natural context than many therapies born in the last couple of hundred years. Shamanic healing is a powerful ally to address the individual and collective wounds, and the interplay between them, that are coming up to be healed at this time. (The purpose of this blog is not to debate other therapies’ usefulness. Of course they are useful, and sometimes the most appropriate course of action, but to outline the holistic scope of shamanic healing.)

What happens during a shamanic healing session?

When a client comes to see me, one of my tasks is to work with my guides to determine if a) shamanic healing is appropriate (99 percent of the time it is) and b) what kind of shamanic treatment is appropriate during the course of the session.

We could find ourselves working with ancestors, with issues from a past life or a present life, with representatives of the animal kingdom, doing an energy healing MOT, and/or removing/shifting stuck energy which no longer serves using a variety of techniques, some of which are relaxing for the client and some of which are much more dynamic and participatory. Sometimes only one shamanic treatment is required in a session and sometimes I am guided to do more than one treatment in the course of a session. Each shamanic session is complete in itself, and clients are welcome to return should they wish to delve deeper into a multifaceted issue or a separate issue.

What makes shamanic healing unique is that the shamanic practitioner is guided to do a lot of work in a trance state, thereby having access to information and assistance which is not just in the here and now of what is called the middle world, but could be, and often is, also located in the upper world of spirit or in the lower world of dreams and the subconscious. Shamanic time is not linear, so we could access and learn from information and assistance in the past, present, or sometimes even future.

Shamanic healing and the natural world

Shamanic healing also has a very strong connection to the natural world, and respect for plants and animals. (While some shamans and healers work specifically and primarily with physical plant medicine, and this is a large part of shamanism, that is not my focus at triyoga.) Power animals who are healer and/or client allies may show up during the shamanic journey or trance state to assist during a healing. A power animal may choose to be with a client permanently, to be a friend and companion on an ongoing basis. Other totem animals may also show up with a message for the client or exhibiting a quality useful for the client to reflect on in everyday life. Clients are encouraged to connect with nature for grounding and for messages which may help them in processing the information from a session.

A-ha moments and a word on cynicism 

Often there is an “aha,” moment for a client when a root of a problem is uncovered when information from this life or another life is accessed. There is information and assistance in many worlds, and several possible ways to access it.

For those who are dyed-in-the-wool cynics, it doesn’t matter if you view shamanic healing as actually going to these places or a representation of these places in the spirit world (as a shamanic healer and other spiritual practitioners are mostly certain to) or simply view the work as accessing a larger sphere of a person’s consciousness, connections and resources than might be available working with a purely psychological model or solely on an allopathic physical level. In any case, the end result is a more rounded and complete picture, and, in these fragmented times, that is something we could all use a little more of.

Built-in gratitude 

I would like to end on a final note concerning thanksgiving and gratitude. Positive psychologists are amassing more and more evidence of the value of giving thanks, of gratitude and of helping others, in our own physical, emotional and spiritual lives. Shamanism is one model where, uniquely, this is built in!

When we give in the inner worlds (make an offering in prayer or in nature, or accept a gift given in love or apology) the healing consequences are not just ours to reap, or even the beings we are consciously connecting with too. They are received by, and benefit, every being, “All Our Relations.” In a world in which we can feel that our contribution is not “enough”, given the nature of the world’s problems, knowing we have made a healing difference to the whole can inspire and motivate us to live lives of greater love, depth and gratitude. And so the shamanic wheel keeps turning…

Dana Mayer is a healing practitioner who brings together her knowledge of shamanic and energy healing, psychology and tarot to deliver a treatment unique to each client. Her shamanic approach and training incorporates aspects of Native American, Celtic, South American and core shamanic work. She is a certified practitioner of the Hakomi Method, which uses mindfulness and somatic awareness as a basis for the client’s assisted self-discovery, and holds a BA in psychology. Dana has been reading tarot professionally for close to ten years. She is also certified in Usui Reiki and weaves this into her practice. 

Dana offers shamanic healing sessions, tarot readings, a combined session of both shamanic healing and tarot reading, reiki and Hakomi online. You can also book in a free ten-minute consultation with Dana to learn more about her offerings. Click here to view Dana’s schedule and to book a session. 

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