First, I want to tell you shamanism is not a religion, so you can be any religion you want and still practice shamanism. Shamanism is a spiritual practice which embraces the aliveness of our world. The fundamental, core belief is that everything that exists is alive and has spirit: trees, animals, rocks, soil, sunlight, you name it. And so do we, we are spiritual beings in physical form. Because of this spirit in all things, we are not separate from nature, but rather we are part of nature - at one with it. Through spirit, we can communicate and live in harmony with all things, if we choose.
Shamanism dates back 40-100 thousand years and is therefore the oldest spiritual and healing practice known to humankind. If you go far enough back in any culture around the world you will see we all come from shamanic cultures, it is not just Native American. In fact, the word Shaman comes from the Tungus tribe in Siberia and means “one who sees in the dark.”
I came to study shamanism when I was still in Acupuncture school. A shaman/herbalist/acupuncturist by the name of Eliot Cowan, author of Plant Spirit Medicine, guest taught at our school. In his class he taught us all how to do a shamanic journey. A shamanic journey is an altered state of consciousness where one can connect with spirit with an intention. Before you all get “freaked” out, altered states of consciousness are things we all do all the time. When you are sleeping you are in an altered state of consciousness, same for daydreaming, meditating, or hypnosis. We are set up for this because we are spiritual beings by nature.
Since graduating from acupuncture school (1993) I have studied shamanism continuously, first with the Foundation for Shamanic studies (FSS), then with Sandra Ingerman, and Tom Cowan, and a shaman in Philadelphia named Two Moons. I have taught many one or two day workshops, and eight two year programs. I have authored a book, which I am in the process of publishing where I use shamanistic techniques to connect with the acupuncture points. And yes, acupuncture has its roots in shamanism according to the Nei Jing (Ancient Chinese medical text).
In case you didn’t know, I am an ordained minister and so I practice shamanic healing under my minister’s certificate as in Maryland it is not covered under the acupuncture scope of practice. For that reason, when I do a shamanic healing session it is always separate from an acupuncture treatment, and I don’t do it in the spa where my treatment room is. I offer shamanic healing either at my home or I go to my client’s home. If you want to know more about shamanism, I am offering an intro workshop on Sunday November 2nd 1-5 p.m. You can also visit my shamanic website: www.heartfirejourneys.com