What Shamanism Means To Me
Shamanism is an ancient and universal method, using simple tools and techniques, for connecting with the universe—both seen and unseen worlds—and moving beyond the limitations of rational thought into realms of sheer awareness. It helps us forge powerful relationships with the world around us—both seen and unseen. It helps us rediscover our links with our ancestral energies, power animals and helping spirits, all of which can enable us progressively and efficiently to come into alignment with our own soul energy, our destiny and our place within the order of the universe. Shamanism is useful for healing, for creativity, for visioning and for nurturing all life.
HEALTH AND SHAMANISM
At its essence, health is nothing less than a process of unfolding which enables a human being progressively to become more and more who he or she truly is, and to express the unique divine spark of their soul more fully in day-to-day life. I have seen this happening again and again, as participants in my Journey to Freedom workshops apply the skills they learn to their everyday lives. I continue to marvel at the exponential growth that takes place for them. When core shamanic techniques—which are tens of thousands, more probably hundreds of thousands years old—are applied to self development and the expansion of consciousness, this invariably results in improved health, joy and discovering one’s life purpose. The way in which this happens is not through a steady process of change, but through a series of quantum leaps which resemble the metamorphoses of caterpillars into butterflies—or the mythological phoenix, whose body is consumed by a fire of his own making, out of which a new being emerges in full beauty and glory.
In physics, the word quantum has very specific properties; it means a bundle of energy. Quantum leap is the term used to describe the movement of an electron from the orbit of one atom to another in a very special way: It moves from one place to another not by a linear process, as we expect change to take place, but by a discontinuous jump. In other words, it leaves one place and arrives at the next without passing through the space in between. By doing this, a quantum leap transcends the rules of time and space, as well as negating some of the linear laws of Newtonian physics—which for so long, scientists believed to be inescapable restrictions of reality—in the process.
The kind of quantum leaps in growth and total health I witness among those who learn core shamanic techniques, and then apply them directly to the unfolding of their soul’s purpose (like the quantum leaps recorded sometimes in the lives of great mystics, artists and scientists), are similar in nature. The transformations they experience in their lives are discontinuous—progressive ‘rebirths’, which cannot be described either by the laws of mechanistic science or classic psychological theories. They are changes that take place from within in an individual way—changes which do not depend on following any external set of values, or on following any religious or philosophical set of beliefs. These are changes of the soul.
TRANSFIGURE YOUR LIFE
Although the changes which take place in a person’s life from working with these tools are unique to them, I have noticed that they all have certain things in common. First is their discontinuous quantum leap nature. Second is the fact that the major shifts I witness are not simple changes, for simple change implies the ability to change back again to one’s previous state. They are true transfigurations, which can only be described as passages out of a more limited way of operating in and experiencing reality, into another ‘reality’ in which health, creativity, joy, and their capacity to give and receive love have made a quantum leap. This kind of change, rather like leaving the womb to be born, is a leap to a higher order of being.
SHAMANISM AND ME
My work with shamanism developed as a result of my immersion—for many years—in intensive shamanic training, while I was teaching courses in core shamanism in Britain and Ireland as Guest Faculty on the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. By then, I had spent some thirty years studying meditation traditions and methods, and experimenting with other techniques for self-development. My Journey to Freedom workshops grew out of my conviction that shamanism, properly taught and directed towards the expansion of human health and creativity, was the most efficient method I had ever found. Practicing shamanism demands two things: First, a clear focus of intention—knowing exactly what you are wanting Spirit to bring help with—and second, deep compassion for all life. This makes it unique as a spiritual practice. The shaman is a spiritual activist, and shamanism is very down to earth. Its gifts are immediately applicable to day-to-day life. It is neither a religion nor a philosophy.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
The shamanic process has been described by various cultures using different names. The name is not important. What is important is this: Each of us appears to have encoded within our genes the ability to access personal power for healing, wisdom, divination and creativity. Following a series of severe accidents to my lower body, which took place over several years, I had to set aside my Journey to Freedom workshops. I could not travel—for quite a period, I could not even walk more than a few feet, and then only with a lot of pain. At last my lower body is almost completely healed, so I will be able to begin teaching again before long.