Linda at Earth Works Festival in Fall of 2006.


The History of Shamanism

The word 'Shaman' originates from the Tungus people of Siberia, and has been used by the people of many cultures around the world for thousands of years. These ancient healers knew that the body, mind, emotions and soul were all important components in their healing, and that all these levels must be addressed holistically in order to bring the body back into a state of balance.

Archaeological and ethnological evidence suggests that Shamanic methods are at least twenty or thirty thousand years old. This Shamanic knowledge has been preserved and handed down by our primitive cultures over hundreds of human generations. The interesting thing is that similar techniques are used in many remote parts of the planet, including such regions as aboriginal Australia, native North and South America, Siberia and central Asia, Europe and Africa; and are used to cure illnesses of the soul and body, to gain knowledge, and to contact the Spirits. The Inquisition greatly reduced the use of Shamanism and sent it underground to a large extent, until recently. Within the last several years there has been a strong resurgence of these ancient techniques.

Helpful Hints

This is a brief overview of the techniques I use to Journey into the Spirit World. The most powerful gift you have to help you on your journey is your creativity, playfulness and ability to put aside your logical thinking mind.

1. Before you start, calm your mind by taking a few deep breaths, and ground yourself. Grounding makes your connection with the Devine and with Mother Earth much stronger. To ground, visualize sending roots down through the bottom of your feet into the centre of Mother Earth, and branches growing up through the top of your head, stretching up to the centre of the Universe.

2. Be in a child-like, curious, playful and innocent frame of mind. Leave your cares and your logical thinking mind behind. Be present with all of your senses. All of us are more gifted with certain senses than others, so use whatever works for you. Use your imagination as if you were a child, and before you know it your Journey will start to take on a life of its own. In this instance imagination is more important than knowledge.

3. State your intention for journeying four times, and send it ahead telepathically to the Spirit World. Then let it go. This will program your internal computer and give direction to your energy and your guides. Make your intention simple and from the heart, rather than the head -- this will have a large impact on your success. Ask yourself: What is it I really want out of this Journey?

4. Visualize your place of entrance, such as a tunnel, mouse hole, cave, or whatever place you have chosen to journey from, and that feels comfortable to you. The tunnel is a sort of passage, a transition into another world or dimension.

5. The Journey has three phases once the drumming starts.

* In the first phase, having said your intention, you begin to ascend into your tunnel. Visualize yourself going down, down, around and through the tunnel, until you emerge into the Lower, Middle, or Upper World.

* This begins the second phase of your Journey. You can now ask to meet your Power Animal or Spirit Guide, and if you have journeyed before, he will probably just show up to greet you. If you are alone, just start walking to see what you can find. This is when you will start to see events unfold. Allow yourself to be creative, and pay attention to everything, even if you think you are making it up. As Michael Harner says, "you are in charge of yourself riding on a train which is taking you to your chosen destination, but you are not in charge of the scenery and its inhabitants". Do not judge what is happening as either good or bad, but pay attention as an observer. If your attention drifts, and it usually will, gently bring it back to where you experienced yourself being last, or if you feel you are at a dead-end, or lost, just state your intention again and wait. Don't scold yourself or criticize the experience that is happening, or this will surely block you.

* The third phase is when its time to return to our dimension. Before you come back, go over the events that have unfolded in your Journey, as this is like a dream, and you will forget very quickly what has happened. I have found this is a very good time to go over everything so that it's fresh in my mind when I return.

* It is now appropriate to thank your guide or animal helper, and go back into the tunnel. You will travel back through the tunnel until you are back in this reality.

6. As soon as you return you should immediately journal your experience. Reflect on what meaning the events have in your life. Remember, this Journey is like a dream, and Spirit will communicate to you through this dream. There is often a very profound and meaningful message that will give you new direction in your life, and healing of your being. The more you practice this technique the more graphic and vivid your Journey will be. If you don't have success the first time, just keep trying until things start to happen. Remember, FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT!!!!!

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Soul Retrieval

Soul loss or fragmentation happens to all of us at some time on our earth walk, and usually occurs at times of extreme stress, physical and/or mental shock, anger, fear, hopelessness, abuse, surgery, or the loss of a close relationship. Soul loss occurs to ensure our physical survival -- a sort of pressure valve. This part of our soul that has left carries certain abilities, strengths, or traits, and the survivor will have lost those aspects of him or herself.

Common symptoms of soul loss include feeling spaced out, not being totally in your body, fragmented, numb or apathetic, memory gaps, chronic depression, anxiety, addictions, or trouble being in control of, or moving forward in one's life.

The job of the Shaman Helper is to move into an altered state and travel into the Spirit world to find and retrieve those soul parts that have split off. Restoring and reintegrating these soul fragments will help bring the person back into a state of wholeness and balance.

The drum is the horse (at 4 to 7 beats per second) that assists the Helper in achieving an altered state of consciousness, and to carry her into the Upper, Middle or Lower World. The drum, shaker, dance, chanting, and peyote, are only a few of the many techniques that can be used to help achieve this altered state, light trance, or dream state.

A Helper often works with power animals and spirit guides in the Spirit World, and is able to take on the abilities and qualities of these animals. We all have animal helpers and Spirit Guides to help and protect us, but often are just not aware of them.

"Our Universe is holographic, and intention and awareness can warp the fabric of space and time and present a very different world to be perceived, a hidden reality." "Every interaction with others is an opportunity to serve life -- a moment of sacredness -- each being and thing is a part of the Sacred Mystery of Life." - The Hathor Material.

Some excellent reading material on Shamanism and related techniques:

1. The Way of the Shaman, by Michael Harner
2. Soul Retrieval -- Mending the Fragmented Self, by Sandra Ingerman
4. Thornsons Way of Shamanism, by Leo Rutherford
5. Animal Speak and Animal Wise, by Ted Andrews
6. The Hathor Material, by Virginia Essene and Tom Kenyan

by Linda Heron


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