A PATH OF FREEDOM
Shamanic practice is a path of Spiritual Freedom! I was drawn to this path because of how it let me create my own relationship with Spirit, and learn through experiential practice. I have been a Shamanic practitioner for over 4 years; I studied with the Four Winds Society with the lineage of the Q’ero, and with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in the lineage of Michael Harner whose life was dedicated to integrating Shamanic practices of the entire world. Ted Andrews exercises and teachings have also been very influential on my path. He echoed my draw to Shamanism by describing it as “an experiential growth process. It involves becoming the master of your own initation. In Shamanism the individual ulimately ansers to no human or totem and is alone with the supernatural.”
In addition to personal studies and training, I participated in Ayahuasca Ceremonies in the Shipibo lineage in the Amazon of Peru, as well as the plant medicines Sapo and Kambo. I had further cermonies with Humming Bird and San Pedro medicine in the Sacred Valley. Plant medicines were powerful ways of recieving transmissions and healing.
It finally feels time to become comfortable inhabiting this role and what it means in this day and age. I’d also like to start sharing some of my insights on the different Animal medicines I have worked with.
That said, if you would like to keep your personal relationship to an animal spirit free from input, contact me directly instead and learn how to create/deepen your own Shamanic practice!
WHAT IS A SHAMAN?
The Shaman is a universal archetype, akin to the Magician in Tarot decks. Coming after the Fool, the Shaman takes his harmony with the Divine and Spirit to bring into the physical realms through the expression of the four elements. In this way the Shaman participates in the co-creation of the universe with the Divine, being an intstrument through which the sacred is actualized in a practical way. I want to emphasize universal: Shaman and the terms has been tied up with Cultural Shamanism (such as the medicine men of the jungle or the dancing mystics of First Americans).
Traditionally the Shaman would be the one to bridge the spiritual and physical worlds in ancient tribes. Through his own inner work and journeys to embrace power and knowledge of the other realms, he comes back to daily life to share this healing energetically in helping people align their spirits with the One Spirit. This is done through holding sacred space and and acting as a catalyst for healing.
In this Modern age we are re-awakening to our innate Shaman, the healer within. This is available to all as the Shaman is a universal archetype. No longer do stereotypes and rigid traditions need to be adhered to in order to have a relationship with Spirit. You, reading this, are a Shaman. If that does not resonate this only means it has yet to be awakened in your life, or recognized beyond familiar terms.
WHAT IS CORE SHAMANISM?
I have studied with the non-profit Foundation for Shamanic Studies for over 3 years now, and I will direct you to their wesbite for the most thorough of explanations:
FSS-Core Shamanism. They do a great job distinguishing between Cultural and Core Shamanism.
In short: Core Shamanism are Universal ways of accessing and understanding the Spirit Realms for the purposes of healing, divination, psychopomp work, and soul retrieval.
I offer Shamanic sessions at a sliding scale rate of $60-90 per session. These sessions are done no more than once a month for proper integration and processing time. I do a Shamanic journey to consult the compassionate helping spirits for what work is needed, whether than be Power Animal Retrieval, Soul Retrieval, or Illumination of the Chakras. I also offer psychopomp work which helps guide loved ones who have passed over into the Light. This can also be done at your home if there is unwanted spiritual activity (ghosts or poltergeists, even disturbances from past arguments or inhabitants) present.
WHAT IS ANIMAL MEDICINE?
Working with Animals and their archetypes in an incredibly powerful way to tap into the potentials of your mind body and soul. They are easier to access and more universal as spiritual teachers than say the compassionate ones such as Buddha, Jesus, Kuan Yin, etc. While the latter all teach the same message, not every culture will resonate with other teachers.
Yet Animals are near and dear to every human-they are the primal souls that exist deep in our ancient memories. All cultures work with and integrate animal totems-even in our western society today where we are more and more disconnected from Nature we have the primal archetypes as mascots and protectors of schools. I went to NC State, where students call themselves the Wolf Pack-I have found most people I have encountered during my time there have a connection with Wolf medicine-even if only as a teacher.
Surely you’ve heard of the various forms of Animal Totems, Spirits, or Power Animals, as they are called. Animal Medicine is the broad umbrella that includes all the ways in which we work with animals-whether it be learning to interpret their messages or lessons for us or working with their traits and energiest to enchance and balance our lives.
The fact that there are so many types of animals including insects, aquamarine life, and reptiles-allows us to create and enhance our own spiritual lives by tuning into those spirits which we connect the most with. This lends itself to the uniqueness and freedom of Shamanism I described earlier.
As an example, it would not be benefical for me to work with Kangaroo medicine as it does not resonate with me at this time or my personality-even if Kangaroo is the most powerful totem one could have, it would be like wanting to drive a space shuttle to explore space rather than what is more suited for me.
This is one of the best lessons to begin with in Animal Medicine: Work on the mastery of the totems you have rather than what you may feel is best or most awe-inspiring.
The benefits of working with Animals is integrating the more primal aspects of our psyche. I have found it incredibly beneficial in the process of embracing all sides of myself to work with animal archetypes. Since the days of the Victorian era and Freud, we have gotten very proficient at supressing and denying aspects of ourselves into the Shadow/Unconscious. Animals provide a direct pathway to not only accepting these parts of ourselves but embodying them as part of our power to navigate through life.