Transpersonal Shamanic Understanding
Transpersonal Shamanic Understanding of Healing, Distress & Illness
Shamanic practitioners look at the spiritual, soul and energetic nature of illness or distress that may manifest on a psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, relational, communal and ecological level. From this perspective illness is considered as a spirit messenger and ally that speaks to us about the way we are living our lives. The spirit messenger is informing us that some aspect of our life is out of balance and attention is needed to re-address the balance or is outdated and requires a letting go of what no longer serves. When we choose to listen with the ears of our heart and intuition, illness and pain can informs us of the necessary adjustments that are needed to come back into rightful relationship with ourselves and life and re-connect to our deeper truth and the path of our heart. Illness as such is embraced as an initiation towards healing.
Healing and health from a shamanic perspective is attained when we re-store our balance, when we access more of our expanded awareness, personal power, presence, compassion and authenticity with respect for all of creation so that we each can live a fulfilled, purposeful and meaningful life.
In the words of Conrad Satala: “Shamanism does not look at illness as pathological but as something that is trying to emerge. Everything is letting go, a falling apart. The incrustation, the armour of our conditioning cracks open to reveal the Light within. The illness is transitory, allowing us to get in touch with our eternal essence”. Satala echoes how illness can come in the form of a dying unto ourselves, a falling apart, even what is called ‘dismemberment’ in shamanism, a sometimes painful letting go and dissolution of what we have come to treasure in our outward manifested life.
It is also the case that the integrative journey of rebalancing in health, wholeness and healing can at times involve addressing phenomena such as ‘spirit entity’, or perpetrator energy possession or occupation. Often this can be a frightening experience for people within the trance of possession, occupation or colonisation. There is a felt sense that there is something not of us within us. This is a skilled and delicate area of therapeutic facilitation involving clear understanding of what is of the Core True Self origin and what in fact has been ingested as ‘another’ from the environment, from ancestors, and people as introjects. Identifying these differences and their connecting points is vital to discern the mythology of treatment. Conventional psychological models often fall short of adequately understanding and addressing this phenomena.
Deep from within a place and process of allowing what needs to die, let go of and released, what needs to be integrated and rebirth comes a re-emergence into a new order, a new ground, a transformation and sometimes a transcendent experience. From a shamanic perspective there is honour and respect given to the innate intelligent self organising principle in our body whose purpose is to maintain health and movement towards wholeness – our spirit within.
Shamanism suggests that distress and illness can be primarily caused by one of three things:
- A loss of personal power. This can occur when we give away our vital life energy to unhealthy relationships, things or places, when we fail to listen to our instincts or take note of our deeper feelings about things, when we lose contact with our authenticity, when we are caught up in the family trance of conditioned ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, when we look to others to tell us if we are acceptable enough, and when we become ungrounded and disconnected from the natural world around us. It also occurs when we attack ourself by way of critical harsh inner judgements, and an attitude that is lacking in compassion towards the self or other. Personal power loss can also occur when we energetically, spiritually, and psychologically ingest an energy (entity/introject) that is not of our authentic nature, that has apparent ill intent towards us. We can often feel deeply confused, frightened by what is happening within or around us, lose significant vital energy, feel that there is ‘another’ alien to our understanding of ourselves living within and acting against our best interests. Ultimately the loss of personal power is a result of disconnection from the authenticity and fullness of our sacred embodied Self and the forgetting that we are in-fact part of a wider continuum of life giving energy that sometimes involves energies that appear not always to be in our immediate best interests. Restoring personal power includes listening within and addressing parts within that can teach us what we need to know and orient us towards healing. Personal power restoration is a consolidation of our true and authentic Self in connection with our precious earth and wider cosmos.
- Soul separation or soul loss (significant loss of vital essence or life force resulting in extreme power loss). This can occur when we experience traumatic or shocking events at a physical, mental, emotional, sexual, or spiritual level; through repeated acts of diminishment such as through severe and repeated criticism (including what we do to ourself), shaming or humiliation from another, abandonment, neglect and abuse, violence, and more extended disconnection from nature. Soul loss can also sometimes occur through immigration where we leave our birth and soul Land. Typically trauma, diminishment, and sometimes the separation from our birth and soul Land can results in part of our vital life essence – parts of our soul going into hiding, or continuing to reside in our birth Land. We then become separated from the fullness of our vital life force, from the fullness of our soul. Soul separation can also occur in utero.
- The experience of unhelpful, intrusive or stuck energies in our bodies and electrical magnetic human energy field. This can occur following a shock or trauma when the primary trauma survival responses of fight, flight, or freeze remain blocked in the nervous system; when someone intentionally communicates negative harmful thoughts, words and feelings towards us; or when we have had contact with a person, event or place and we absorb some unwanted and unhelpful (entity/introjects) energy. This process is intimately related to experiences of ‘power loss’. Intrusive unhelpful energies and can also occur when ancestral traumas have not been acknowledged, processed and more fully integrated. Ancestral memories live within and when traumatic can take the form of a phantom or ghosting like experience through our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. The unfinished business of the ancient past.
- Not having fully embodied our presence in this world. What this refers to is that sometimes the experience of ‘self’ is not grounded in the physical body. From a psychological perspective it is as if the experience of ‘self’ is completely dissociated outside of the physical body and has not sense of earth or ground. There are a number of reasons for this including extreme and severe trauma in utero, in early infancy, and or ambivalence about arriving spiritually to embodiment in this world.
Healing from a shamanic perspective is very different to the concept of curing. Curing is the domain of a medical practitioner. Healing however comes from deep within us.
Healing literally means to move towards wholeness. True healing involves connecting with our own energy resources and vitality, our deeper authentic and eternal soul nature and divine spirit, our kindness and compassion, intention, and ultimately having our own personal relationship with the Sacred which must as science is also now showing, include our connection and relationship with the earth.
Healing from a shamanic perspective is also about reclaiming the fullness of our humanity, where we become our own explorers to encounter the stranger within us, which is sometimes revealed to us in the form of illness. It is also about entering into the expanded presence of each moment of All That Is. Healing rests within the realm of our own personal power and responsibility. It is a choice that we personally make in undertaking a journey towards wholeness to allow what is waiting to break free within us to unfold and magnify our divine Light, Love, kindness and right relationship.