In recent years there has been an avid interest in shamanism. A myriad of books, seminars and extensive training programs around the world reveal a keen exploration of indigenous cultures and their connection with Nature, their healing techniques (such as soul retrieval) and the role of power animals or totems.
Shamanism, in its classical sense, comes from the regions of Siberia and Central Asia and the term ‘shaman’ originates from the Tungusic word saman (masculine) or samana (feminine). The term shaman has been interchanged with ‘medicine man’, ‘sorcerer’, and ‘magician’ – but a shaman is so much more. The shaman is traditionally a central figure in the community: mystic, poet, healer, communicator with the unseen realm and psychopomp (leader of souls).
The more I work with Nature and totemism, the more church is everywhere ~ S.Kelley Harrell
Personal experiences in the realm of Shamanism are typically very euphoric and relaxing, and are often also described as dream-like, or an ecstatic experience. The divine calling of the shaman or shamanic practitioner manifests in several different ways:
• Divine calling from Spirit (ecstatic dream, sickness, or near-death experience)
• Hereditary through family lineage
• Individual choice
All of these means of being “called to Spirit” involves initiation and ritual in some form. Every clan, tribe or culture around the world pass on, through tradition, their teachings, rituals and creation stories. They all have a central theme, however, namely the ability to communicate with the unseen realm to gain knowledge, healing, the ability to ‘conquer death,’ and that we are all part of both the spiritual and physical realities.
As we practice Shamanism we traverse different realms in our altered state of consciousness:
The Lower World or Underworld is the realm where the Shamanic Practitioner will typically ‘journey to’ to lead the dead back to their ancestors, to the realm of the Divine Spirit. This process is known as being a psychopomp. The Lower World is also the realm where we typically introduce ourselves to our power animal or totem.
The Middle World is the realm of this physical reality. This is the realm where we journey to friends, family and on behalf of the community for answers to questions in the here and now. For example, journeying to talk with your dog in the kennel to see how they are doing.
Life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience that primordial shamanism is based on is life trivialized, life denied, life enslaved to the ego ~ Terence McKenna
The Upper World is the realm of the Divine Spirit. It represents the ‘heavens’ where we fly like the eagle to get a higher perspective. It is the realm where we often meet our other Spirit Guides, such as angels, ancient teachers, aborigine elders and so forth.
The three worlds can be metaphorically represented by the Tree of Life, where the branches or tree tops represent the Upper World; the roots of the tree represent the Lower World; and the trunk represents this physical reality of Middle World.
The three worlds are traversed by the shaman using the journey process, which can be facilitated in several ways. In the indigenous cultures it is historically achieved through fasting, prayer, ritual and mind-altering drugs, such as Peyote or Ayahuasca. A much more relaxed and less invasive manner is the drum, chant, didgeridoo or other monotonic rhythm to induce a trance state.
We use the term ‘journey’ since the shamanic practitioner is said to change their state of consciousness and journey out of the physical body to commune with the Divine. The monotonic rhythm of the drum shifts our brain wave patterns into an altered state of consciousness to the extent that we have an ecstatic experience. Each journey has a particular goal or purpose: healing, communing with the plants, divination, prophecy, releasing the souls of the physically departed, and so forth. Upon completing the task at hand, the shamanic practitioner returns to this reality with the necessary answers or remedies. Individual seekers may also create their own private rituals as part of the process of Divine journey communication.
A power animal is a Spirit Guide from the Nature realm that is available as protector, teacher, healing guide or medium. The same way a soul leaves the physical, these power animals retain their personality in Spirit. Our power animals or totems change as we go through our spiritual evolution, or when we need a specific Nature vibration in our life. Some consider themselves to have a primary power animal that was imbued with them upon birth and we simply haven’t connected with them. As we develop our shamanic techniques the primary power animal may have a less prominent role as we learn to interact with multiple species of Nature.
Our power animal represents the entire species of the animal that is protecting and helping you. For example, you don’t have the spirit of a specific eagle, kangaroo, or squirrel protecting you. Rather, you have the protection of the spirit of the entire species of eagle, kangaroo, or squirrel ~ Sandra
There is a ritual process, facilitated by the drum that introduces us to our power animals. We learn and grow spiritually by developing a relationship with our spiritual guides of the Nature form. So how do I know what my power animal is? It is preferred, in my opinion, for an individual to journey themselves to meet their power animal, rather than a shamanic practitioner simply telling them what their totem is. It becomes a more intimate and rewarding validation of the relationship and the connection in Spirit.
Statistically power animals, to whom we have not yet connected, may be in our lives through our fascination with a specific animal or through collecting pictures or statues of a particular animal. Common power animals include tiger, bear, eagle, hawk, wolf, snake, coyote and, from the less assertive species, power animals like the butterfly, deer, frog and dolphin. Trees and rocks can also be totems and serve as a source of Divine inspiration, but these are less common.
Shamanic healing is a very potent form of healing and is derived from the fact that in an altered state of consciousness the shamanic practitioner encounters death and returns with the knowledge of how to conquer death and the knowledge to facilitate healing. Note that as we facilitate shamanic healing we might shapeshift into that animal’s vibration.
Soul retrieval is one of the more common aspects that is being popularized in today’s shamanic practices. Soul retrieval is where the shamanic practitioner visits non-ordinary reality to bring back those traumatized parts for re-integration as a function of the healing process.
The primary difference between shamanism and mediumship is the Nature aspect for our guides and teachers. It is a very different kind of connection with Spirit and one that we would label as ‘paranormal’ or ‘supernatural,’ since for centuries the belief has been that animals have no real consciousness or ability to feel or communicate emotions. Science has proven that to be a fallacy, but most people still underestimate Nature and its communication process.
Learning shamanic practitioner tools offers a new dimension of metaphysical understanding based on inter-species communication. The shamanic practitioner visits the plant deva spirit to ask what it has to offer for healing. In fact, if you’ve ever had an ant problem in the house and you choose to ask them to leave, and they then leave within a day or two, then you have experienced a Middle World journey of inter-species communication.
Merging with your totem is a process of attunement to your Nature Spirit. As you attune you in effect are going into a light trance. As you merge deeper then there may be a transfiguration, while some see the animal or teacher they merge with. You can also begin to take on the personality and character traits of the power animal as you merge even deeper. The shamanic practitioner will typically respond with the characteristics and mannerisms of the teacher. This is when you also practice ‘not coloring the mediumship.’ This means that if your totem is in a place of strength or assertiveness in the Spirit realm you do not transfer that into this reality.
If Nature Spirits are of interest to you may wish to explore the world of Shamanism and the symbolism of Nature and animals, as they are messengers influenced from the Spirit World to be of support to us. We just need to understand their language of communication.
| PsychicAccess.com.Graham has developed a powerful connection with Spirit that he shares with the world, passing along valuable and detailed information that includes specific dates and time frames. His service to Spirit has allowed him to transform countless lives and it continually validates continuity of life. Spirit has even saved his own life! Colleagues have learned to trust his advice, even if they can’t explain how he does what he does. With many loyal clients around the world to attest to his talent, Graham continues to reach many more through his eight CD audiobook on Mediumship and other Metaphysical subjects. Graham was born in England but now resides in New England. He’s a certified Medium, Channel and Spiritual Healer, to name but a few of his offerings. He is also a teacher and has served on Spiritualist committees in the US and in Europe. He’s provided thousands of readings and also loves to give back to the community, offering his services at fundraising events, local hospices, churches and camps—wherever he is needed. If you’d like precise and accurate information on your life path, you can find Graham at |
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