Healing Body and Soul : A Return to Our Shamanic RootsOct 30, 2013 03:49PM ● By Deana Paqua, MA, LMT
“The shamanic path is the path of the heart and the soul. It is a path of beauty, wholeness, sacred living, oneness and connectedness with all things and non-things, awareness, mindfulness, respect, honor and gratitude…It is a path where the central focus of life is creating balance, harmony, impeccability, and wholeness. It is a path that requires integrity and honesty–with oneself and others.”
~ Colleen Deatsman, The Hollow Bone: A Field Guide to Shamanism
For thousands of years, shamans and medicine people have known about the connection between spirituality and health, personal growth and our connection to each other, nature and the cosmos. They believed that everything is alive and is connected through the great web of living energy. All of our ancestors practiced some type of shamanic way of life. They honored the cycles of the moon and the seasons and made offerings of gratitude for the blessings given to them each day.
Shamans heal through their sacred relationships with the spirits of trees, animals, stones and plants, as well as their ancestors, angels and spirit guides. Their lives and the lives of their communities have depended for centuries on these connections and living in balance and harmony with their environment. Modern times have led to a renewed interest in shamanism and a more spiritual, natural, holistic approach to health and healing based on these ancient traditions. Today, shamanism and the path of the shaman continue to support the deep healing and transformation many of us seek.
Shamanism is a diverse path, incorporating many different cultures, practices, rituals, beliefs and traditions. It is a spiritual path of direct revelation open to everyone. However, actually calling oneself a shaman is usually avoided, as it is a title that is traditionally bestowed by the community as a title of honor. Fulfilling the role of a shaman in one’s community, whether indigenous or in our modern culture, usually requires years of dedication, training and practice. Many shamans have been called to their healing and spiritual journeys through their own difficult life challenges from which they recovered, often miraculously, with the help of deep spiritual connection.
Thankfully, it is not necessary to wait until one experiences an illness or loss to follow the path of the shaman. It is not necessary to leave one’s home and family to study with a holy man for years to practice some of the shaman’s healing and sacred techniques.
One of the shaman’s tools and practices that is common in many traditions is the practice of shamanic journeying. A form of deep spiritually guided meditation and problem solving, often conducted to the repetitive beat of a drum or rattle, journeying can give one access to unlimited resources of knowledge and wisdom. During the shamanic journey, we can make contact with helping spirits, such as power animals and guardian angels, who can give us personal spiritual guidance, healing and restoration of our energy and vitality. They can accompany us as we explore other realms of consciousness to expand our minds and awareness. Shamanic journeying can be learned from a teacher, a book or a course depending on the individual and their level of interest and preference.
Another shamanic practice that is easy for us to start using right away is the practice of gratitude and honoring our relationships to nature, the earth, each other and the cosmos. How we do this is very personal but it can be as simple as taking time each day to notice the beauty around us. Simply spending some quiet time outside on a regular basis, acknowledging our connection to nature and life has unlimited benefits for blessing our lives.
If we work with a local shamanic healer or practitioner, we can go deeper in our journeying practice. We can learn more ceremonies and rituals to connect with the healing powers or resolve some of our deepest wounds with the practice of soul retrieval. These practices can help us clear our energy and our spaces so that we can think more clearly and live more peacefully.
Shamans are the doctors of the soul, just like physicians are the doctors of the body. Involving our soul and our spirit in our healing process and journey through life makes the experience more full, whole and rich. When we are open to these new worlds and possibilities we see the unlimited potential in all areas of our lives. Anything is possible.
Deana Paqua is a shamanic healer, Reiki master and spiritual teacher offering private sessions and classes in the Ridgefield and Danbury areas. Her website is EmbodyTheSacred.net. See ad, page 30.