What is Shamanismstress and anxiety scotland

A basic explanation of Core Shamanism

Before jumping into the fray, it’s a good idea to understand shamanic healing and what it strives to do.

Shamanic healing is a form of healing that goes back thousands of years and is practiced in most cultures around the globe. Although the names for certain beliefs and ceremonies are different, there are threads of striking similarities that run through most traditions, including my own Scottish traditions.

I learned Shamanism in a cultural Indigenous setting in Toronto, but the form of Shamanism I practice is not traditional. It’s called Core Shamamism, and it was popularized by the late Michael Harner and my teacher’s teacher Sandra Ingerman in the early 1980s. While I have my own cultural teachings, I appreciate the core shamanism approach because it’s accessible to everyone, regardless of creed or culture.

At its most basic level, shamanic healing seeks to restore power to a person. When we refer to the word ‘power’, we refer to that living light that resides in all living things. Some may refer to this as a soul or spirit, others refer to it as energy. Whatever we choose to call it, all living things are brought into this world with this great power.

>But as we go through life, sometimes we lose parts of this power. Core shamanic practitioners refer to this phenomenon as ‘soul loss’, and it can happen due to illness, violence, upset or hurt.

Often when we heal from a traumatic event, our power returns to us, but sometimes, it doesn’t.

When power doesn’t return, we are left with gaps in our spirit and these gaps make us more vulnerable to the ravages of illness, depression, jealousy and hurt. It’s that feeling of numbness and dissociation that doesn’t go away with time, and it can be the root of harmful behavior, addiction, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, etc.

The job of a shamanic practitioner is to restore your power to you, so that you may heal from your traumas and realize the joy and purpose of your life to its fullest degree.

In Core Shamanism, some of the ways we help clients restore their power include power animal retrievals, soul retrievals, extractions, etc.

There may also be times when we feel heavy, frustrated and that things just aren’t going right despite our best efforts. This may be because we are carrying energy that doesn’t belong to us or serve us in a positive way.

Shamanic practitioners who walk the Core Shamanism road can remove those energies that do not belong to us through spiritual extraction and drum healing. Clients often feel that a weight has been lifted and things flow more easily once their power balance is fully restored.

Continued reading to understand what is shamanic healing

If you’re interested in learning what is shamanic healing and shamanic healing from a Celtic perspective, there are a number of books I’d recommend:

The Way of The Shaman by Michael Harner is the quintessential guide on Core Shamanism written from a combined anthropological and first-hand practitioner perspective (HarperCollins)

Anything by Sandra Ingerman (who studied under Harner but eventually went her own way) makes for a wonderful read including Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self, which is a great read for better understanding soul retrieval work in general (HarperOne)

For information on the origins of Celtic shamanism, I’d recommend Celtic Myth and Religion: A Study of Traditional Belief, with Newly Translated Prayers, Poems and Songs by Sharon Paice MacLeod (McFarland Publishing) 

Fire in the Head by Tom Cowan is a wonderfully fun and inspiring book on shamanism and the Celtic soul (Harper Collins).

Anything by the late Fairy Shaman Tira Brandon-Evans is a wonderful – and wonderfully unique – read. Tira combined elements of history with her own personal experiences in the spirit world to create a practice that is beautiful and inspiring. Unfortunately, Tira self-published her work, and her estate rescinded my permission to share it back in 2020. To my knowledge, it’s not available elsewhere, but if you can find a copy of The Green and Burning Tree (Elder Grove Press), then count yourself lucky. (I google search it every now and again, but so far, have had no luck. If I can find it, I promise to link it here.)