So what is a Shaman anyway & why do we need them in a modern world?
When people ask me what I do for a living, I naturally feel a little like changing the subject because the answer to that question is "I am a Shamanic Energy Medicine practitioner and Initiated Mesa carrying Shaman" (try saying that 5 times fast)….. Yes, what I "do" is a whole sentence that generally leaves people bewildered, perplexed and intrigued. And since we've recently moved to a new area and are meeting new people almost daily, it is something I spend a lot of time explaining, or at least trying to.
So I've decided to write this to help us all remember who the Shamans are and the role that people like us play in communities:
The Shaman can be found in every ancient culture and creed of this planet. They may be given different names or descriptors, but fundamentally, all serve the same basic tenants and work with the same principles - because these principles are universal and not based on dogma. The Shaman's work is to make their home between the visible and invisible worlds, the worlds of energy and matter, witnessing the spaces between the material and the sacred to keep an active and open dialogue with the unseen realms. The Shaman understands that the invisible world informs, influences, and manifests the workings of our physical world.
Unfortunately, in our Western narrative, we have forgotten this very important and basic truth. We subscribe to a consensus reality that tells us that the invisible doesn't even exist - we go as far as the microscopic world and no further. Only believing that which can be seen.
The Shaman, however, strives to understand that the visible/material world is merely 1% and seeks to become a Master at journeying between these realms, recovering information from the invisible/Spirit realms in order to more deeply understand and influence what is manifested in the visible/material realm.
The Shaman strives to heal things before they manifest in time, to mend things before they need repairing. The Shaman sets and installs the vision in the invisible world to create an outcome for the highest good before it manifests in the physical world.
We all understand that there is a deep divide between Western Mythology and the beliefs and mythologies of ancient cultures of the Earth people's. They often stand in direct opposition to each other. Personally, the Western beliefs never resonated with me because I was born with the ability to move between worlds and see things that move through the world of Spirit and that of matter effortlessly. Having this ability, the beliefs of the Western world always felt a little funky to me. Although I really did try to get on board with it all for the longest time.
Fundamentally we must understand that our Mythology informs our reality and influences our worldview. What we believe is what we perceive, whether or not we are conscious of that. The work of the Shaman is to always be conscious of that. When we become conscious of that, this reality, however it may manifest for you, is simply a myth you haven't seen through yet.
In most of our cultures, we exist in the Mythology of the Patriarchal, masculine. In contrast, most ancient and Earth peoples mythology is Feminine, which is not based on separation but is rather participatory and interactive. The Shaman is deeply informed by this more ancient Mythology, focusing on the whole instead of the sum of its visible parts. Therefore, the Shaman's medicine is fundamentally informed by the Feminine principles and mythologies as opposed to Western allopathic medicine, which is informed by patriarchal mythology.
As a Shaman, I don't work with diagnoses; I work with healing because, from the perspective of the Shaman, all dis-ease is simply a disturbance in our luminous energy field. An imprint or wound carried and informed by our personal trauma, ancestral trauma, collective trauma, or perhaps even experiences carried from our past lives. The Shaman never diagnoses, and we never believe a diagnosis because you are not a dis-ease or a diagnosis; a dis-ease is merely an energetic state that has manifested into the material world. If we can clear the energetic state and the belief connected to it, then we clear the dis-ease.
From a Shamanic perspective, Western medicine is simply a science of diagnosis, placing labels on things and categorising them with assigned symptoms. Creating thousands of different ways to be sick and thousands more to be "discovered" every year - you can even put your name on one if you discover a new way to be sick. This whole system of diagnosis and categorisation is, unfortunately, not very effective in terms of healing. Because fundamentally, Western medicine seeks by its nature simply to define and describe but not to heal.
Shamanic medicine, all energy medicine, for that matter, does not seek to diagnose its only aim is to heal. It does not describe it intervenes. The Shaman seeks to move into the unseen/Spirit realm on your behalf to negotiate with the aspects of your being manifesting dis-ease and bring them back into alignment and health or what we term as Ayni. To reassemble your energy field so that you manifest a state of health as opposed to a diagnosis.
To understand how we got here in our society and manifested this consensus reality, we need to look at one of the most fundamental myths informing Western mythology; and this applies to you whether or not you subscribe to any of the religions in which this myth is portrayed because it forms the underpinning foundation for our patriarchal social construct - The Garden of Eden, the only mythology on Earth where the masculine gives birth to the feminine. Through this, so much of our belief is shifted into an unnatural attachment to the masculine patriarchal structures. The feminine and the natural world is portrayed and seen as dangerous, manipulative and even predatory. This mythology has made us believe that we are separate from nature, so we've lost our ability to dialogue with the natural world. We were cast out of the Garden, making our home, this magnificent life-giving feminine realm, into a dangerous and predatory place. This belief also assigns a hierarchy of life so that we may further integrate and absorb these embedded narratives of separation and materialism.
The Shaman, however, still lives in an animate/animistic Feminine world where everything's alive. The rivers, the trees, the stones all speak to the Shaman. The Shamanic perception of the world is not that it is inherently unsafe or predatory. In this world, evil only exists in the hearts of men and women who invite and make a home for it within their own hearts.
The Shaman believes and lives in a benign/benevolent universe that will go out of its way to intervene on your behalf, understanding that the universe only turns predatory when you're not in proper relation to it. The Shaman understands that there's no difference between being killed by a microbe or a Jaguar and that neither bore any ill will towards you.
We must be in right-relation with both microbe and Jaguar; otherwise, both will see us as lunch. When in right-relation, neither one enters into a predatory relationship with us.
The way of the Shaman is to come into right-relation with ourselves and with all of life. So that the body's natural healing system can keep us in proper balance with the environment. So that we don't begin to perceive our environment as predatory, and therefore it doesn't become so.
This again informs and highlights the difference between Western medicine and Shamanic medicine. Western medicine is constantly vigilant and on guard. The narrative of the best defence is a good offence. Always anchored in the battle against - the patriarchal war for peace principle.
The feminine principles of the Shaman run contrary to this as they seek healing and transformation and a participating role in the Alchemy of evolution. We are never in a fight against because the Shaman understands that making war on anything will only bring you more of what you're fighting. Where attention goes, energy flows.
Western mythology tells us that on the seventh day, creation was complete, so God rested. Science takes this myth and expands on it by stating- "On the seventh nanosecond after the Big Bang, all the laws of physics and the universe were created now all that was left was discovering and naming these laws - in order to eventually come up with some form of Unified Field Theory." Once again, classify, diagnose, label and be done.
The ancient and Earth people's mythology says we don't inherit a world that's complete, but rather that we have both the ability and personal responsibility to continue Dreaming the World Into Being. Being informed by this belief, the Shaman knows, even the laws of physics are transforming and evolving because creation is never complete.
So we seek to come deeply into the understanding that MYTHOLOGY INFORMS REALITY and our Western mythology predisposes us to a hostile relationship with the feminine. To one that has kept the feminine disempowered, victimised, relegated to the minor and insignificant tasks and roles in the social construct. This belief system impedes us from ever fully stepping into our creative sovereign selves and thus prevents us from stepping into the Beauty Way / The Medicine Way; breaking free from these Western mythologies is essential that we break free from suffering and separation.
In the West, we learn that Spirit does not inhabit matter. We learn the principles of separation that matter is devoid of Spirit. Even the word matter stems from the root word mater meaning mother. Because of our separation and mythology towards the Feminine, we learn that the ways of the mother are not the ways of Spirit. But this is a construct designed to create a deep identification with the beliefs and mythologies of the Western patriarchy, who have forgotten how to speak with the stones and listen to the voice of the wind. This mythology has forgotten how to Dream the word into being - it is the work of the Shaman in every society and every community to be the memory of this ability and to remind those that have forgotten that they too Dream and speak their worlds into being.
I hope that you have found this informative and that it may have answered some of your questions - if it has left you with more please connect with me and ask away or book a session if you feel ready to begin to Heal.
Isa Ka Ra - Gisela is a mother, wife, oracle, teacher, medicine woman & creatrix of The Alchemy Movement - on a journey to discover how to best channel her goddess energy and be of service in the most powerful way.