The Ten Attributes of Shamanism

schotDear Friends,
I am just so lucky and blessed how the world works for me, i have to all the time share – in order not to burst ;-)!! After my last two posts about how a shaman works with the blessings of the physical body as divine temple of growing consciousness, and the “10 signs you are called to be a Western Shaman“, there have been a few comments that this ideas could be understood as racist or offensive to indigenous shamans. So lucky as I am, the minute I read the comments, I also pumped into this wonderful article. It describes perfectly how shamanic practices have not only been used for thousands of years all over the world, and therefor are not at all region or culture specific or limited, but also does it shows that shamanic working people all over the world – show the same attributes. I hope you enjoy her piece as much as I did!!
Blessings and Good Guidance on your Path!!
Edith

Article by Jone Forest Mage:
As a contemporary shaman living in the urban setting of Chicago, people often ask me, “What is shamanism?” and “How is shamanism different from other forms of meditation and energy work such as Reiki, chi gong, prayer or creative visualization?” Shamanism is an ancient form of spiritual healing that has been practiced by virtually every culture in the world throughout all of human history. Some people think of it as the origin of all other forms of spiritual expression and energy work. Your image of shamanism may be of indigenous peoples drumming, singing and dancing in rituals to create healing. There are cave paintings in Europe created 40,000 years ago which depict shamanic-style healing rituals, and it’s likely that shamanic practices are even older than that. Many people think shamanism is exclusively a Native American tradition, but it is actually found all over the world. In fact, the word shaman comes from the Tungus tribe of Siberia. Shamanic practices are well known in India, Korea, Africa, Britain, and Australia, among many other places. Both men and women throughout the ages have been shamans. Shamanic healing works on the principle of restoring the vital energy, or soul.
The classic example is when an individual has lost parts of his or her soul due to traumatic events in life such as accidents, major illness, physical, sexual or emotional abuse or the loss of a loved one. To remedy this, the shamanic practitioner performs a soul retrieval healing, by doing a shamanic “journey” meditation to find and return lost parts of the client’s energy (“soul parts”). However, shamanic healing is not limited to soul retrieval, or only to the healing of the individual person. It also includes mending the broken ties of community on every level: within human society, with nature and with the spirit realm. This may mean restoring the connection an individual has to her body; encouraging a dialogue among the various soul parts within an individual; introducing a person to his spirit guides; connecting a client to the more-than-human matrix of nature; or helping a person find her expressive “voice” through singing and dancing. Shamanism shares many traits with other forms of prayer and energy work, but we can identify ten characteristic ways of working in shamanism. Not every shaman works with all of them, but the more of the ten you see in a practitioner’s work, the more that practitioner is shamanic in his or her approach. 5The Ten Attributes are:
1.) Works with spirit realm and spirit guides – Shamanism deals with going into altered states of consciousness to find healing and wisdom. In this altered state, we perceive all existence as being a big energetic field. The world is filled with spiritual beings and energies: angels, ancestors, totem, animals, gods, goddesses, nature spirits. These helpful spirits guide us to healing and wisdom.

2.) Heals through shifting energy – As contemporary shaman Bradford Keeney says, “Shamanism has nothing to do with how many beads someone has on a costume. The goal of the shamanic practitioner is to shift energy.” Healing is accomplished through returning energy that has been lost or unblocking the flow of energy, which may happen through direct energetic healing or through gaining information.

3.) Solves problems in daily life – shamanic work is not about simply having visions of the spirit realm, but to help self and others gain healing and wisdom in our daily lives. We work in concert with the spirits to improve the whole Web of Life.

4.) Travel out of body to the 3 Worlds– shamanic work involves “journeying” out of body into the spirit realm to work with the spirit guides for healing and guidance. Journeying is done to three different Worlds or planes of existence: the Upperworld, Middleworld and Lowerworld. The typical vision is to go through a tunnel, come into a place of nature (Journey Center) where you meet your team of spirit guides to ask for healing or information.

5.) Empowers the soul – shamanism heals and empowers the soul, which is the vital essence or unique individual Self. Through healing and restoring this spiritual power, many physical, mental and emotional issues are resolved. Soul is in between ego and spirit. Ego is the surface and limited sense of self, while spirit is the Great Cosmic “Soup” of all energy that encompasses all that is. Soul is what you came to this lifetime to accomplish: all the talents and the mission you were born with to contribute to the world.
23a6.) Heals the Web of Life – shamanic healing is not only about healing the individual, but equally includes healing human society, the spirit realm and nature: the whole Cosmic Web of Life. Some shamans work almost exclusively healing nature, or with the spirit realm.

7.) Grounded in nature – the shamanic practitioner gratefully utilizes the powers of nature for healing, transformation and restoration of energy and to stay grounded in the physical plane.

8.) Grounded in the body– shamanic work is not just about having mental visions nor does it try to transcend the body. It addresses feelings and intuitions from within the body and heals what psychologists would call psychosomatic issues.

9.) Grounded in expressive arts – shamans throughout the ages have used singing, dancing, drumming, storytelling and visual art as ways of shifting energy, expressing their visions and creating healing. The healing that shamans perform encompasses the work done in such modern healing modalities as movement therapy, sound healing, psychodrama and color therapy.

10.) Face shadow side – shamanic healing often confronts the “shadow side”, drawing out the full range of energies and emotions including anger, sadness and fear to create cathartic healing.

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The Difference between Soul Loss and Dramatic Experience

11204973_10208158958714760_7817272964522624367_nby Edith Boyer-Telmer

Dear Friends,

the other day I posted an article about the three most commune spiritual reasons for the creation of health issues. As a reaction, I received many letters with questions about what it really means to experience a so called “Soul Loss”. And some speculations where mentioned, that I could mean a simple dramatic experience. So allow me to clarify with more details and examples.
It is easy to confuse any dramatic experience and true soul loss… as soul loss is kind of the follow up creation of our internal separation of a dramatic impact, when it turns into a constant coping mechanism. You see, whenever we are dealing with the psychological aftermath of a really shocking experience, it is natural to temporarily separate from the part in us that suffers the most. But, when a traumatic life experiences is serious enough, it can go further and result in the fragmentation of our vital essence, a loss of pieces of our life force and potential.
And the picture is much more complex than we might think, as Soul loss also can appears as the result of an experience that is so personal, no one else could see the impact that creates the traumatic experience. This is especially often the case, when the trauma is a karmic repetition of events and people meeting.
When we are dealing with real Soul loss, we experience feelings of being completely fragmented, we have blocked memory, some are not able to remember years of their life, have suicidal tendencies, struggle with addictions, the complex to be unworthy of being loved or long periods of depression.grSo allow me to share two examples from my work experience, for even more clarity:
About a year ago a man came to me, asking for assistance in his healing process. At that time you could categorize him as a 64year old man, from a western culture, highly educated, with an negative respond on his lips – to just about everything you could possible ask him and a grayish, dark Aura field. He told me about a massive car accident that he was involved in, about ten years ago. In this car crash he suffered such a major head injury , that he was in a coma for 2 weeks and had half a year recovery time to work true after.
When he came to me, he still suffered from regular blackouts, mental disorientation, problems to hold his concentration and physical instabilities when walking. He told me he had a vision once, that he was supposed to live a life of 84years, but there was no passion for life inside him.
After 3 days of mental, physical and emotional preparation, we approached his problem in a sacred ceremony – with the support of sacred plant medicine. During his Shamanic Journey he had the chance to experience the emotional impact of that night one more time. A courtesy of the sacred medicine to evoke healing and re-connection with the true essence of our higher-self; pure, blissful dancing light.
But that is not what happened…. because he had experienced this trauma as so profoundly life threatening, and had spend years and years of going back in his memory, remembering all the bad over and over again.. he nearly left…. what that means… three times during the ceremony, I was advised by his spirit guides and the Ascended Masters to call his soul back into the room and into his physical body – with the guiding songs of the medicine.
If I would not have followed this advice, he could have lost even more particles of his conscious awareness, to the emotional and energetic memory of the event. Or the energetic impact of the ceremony could have increased his negativity to a degree, that would have allowed him to manifest a physical illness – and terminate his life before it is his time (in 20years). This is thru Soul Loss…
Good news, my friend was back here already this year – for more shifting and changing of his mindset! He is strongly present, you can feel him in his body when you hug him, he walks without insecurity, he is friendly and writes songs about his eternal divine love potential. I am so proud of him for doing such an amazing job of self-healing!!20My second example is an Indigo Child,  a beautiful, powerful and magical woman, an amazon and true spiritual warrior. She is caring the power inside of her, to clear and transform thousands of years of feminine abuse for the collective human ascension.
But first things first.. when we met, she shared her story with me. A story of physical-, mental-, emotional and sexual abuse, by both of her parents. An abuse that started as early as with her 3rd life year and ended only when she took the first way out, when she turned 16. Again we approached with a healing ceremony and the following unveiled.
In order to cope with her horrendous experience, she had dissociated herself from particles of her true soul – as a natural reaction of her survival instinct. But because the massive abuse went on for many years, there was a point where she forgot that this original and whole center in her once existed. Indeed her separation was so profound, that she even thought of her own true-self’s memories as an entity –a completely externally existing being – trying to attack her mentally and push her to changes she feared. Because she did such an excellent job in her mental preparation, her physical process of release and internal shifting went on for weeks after our work together. She fund the strength to accept the entity as her own origin and reintegrate the former separated parts of her soul.
And by now, she is rocking the boat by giving lectures for women at shamanic tantric meetings! I read a beautiful article about the vulnerable power and beauty of being feminine and every picture I see of her, shows her beautifully shining inner light in her eyes.

Now, if this lines resonate with you in a way, that you feel like you actually experienced such a Soul Loss – start your journey of reintegration today!! To do so, we need to balance our internal forces (masculinity, femininity, divinity and humanity), find authentic expression for our feelings and live in general a truthful life.
Bless you and send Angels and Masters on your path of reintegration to wholeness!!
Edith

Woman is by nature a shaman…

This is a brief summary of a visual presentation, first shown in 1986, which was given in September 2005 at the Shamanic Studies Conference in San Rafael, California.

A Chukchee proverb declares, “.” (1) Yet the female dimension of this realm of spiritual experience has often been slighted. Mircea Eliade believed that women shamans represented a degeneration of an originally masculine profession, yet was hard put to explain why so many male shamans customarily dressed in women’s clothing and assumed other female-gendered behaviors. Nor does the masculine-default theory account for widespread traditions, from Buryat Mongolia to the Bwiti religion in Gabon, that the first shaman was a woman.
In fact, women have been at the forefront of this field worldwide, and in some cultures, they predominate. This was true in ancient China and Japan, as it still is in modern Korea and Okinawa, as well as among many South African peoples and northern Californians such as the Karok and Yurok. There are countless other examples, including the machi of the Mapuche in southern Chile and the babaylan and catalonan of the Philippines.
images
Images, oral traditions, and historical descriptions show women as invokers, healers, herbalists, oracles and diviners, ecstatic dancers, shapeshifters, shamanic journeyers, and priestesses of the ancestors. The Chinese Wu were ecstatic priestesses who danced to the music of drums and flutes until they reached trance, receiving shen (spirits) into their bodies, healing and prophesying under their inspiration, speaking in tongues, swallowing swords and spitting fire. The power of the shen gathered around the whirling dancers was said to cause objects to rise into the air, to prevent wounds from forming when the dancers slashed themselves with knives.
Similar descriptions were recorded by Greco-Roman visitors to Anatolia: “At Castabala, in Cappadocia, the priestesses of an Asiatic goddess, whom the Greeks called Artemis Perasia, used to walk barefoot through a furnace of hot charcoal and take no harm.” (2)
Shaman
Certain female burials from ancient Central Asia have been designated as shamanic priestesses by archaeologists Natalia Polosmak and Jeanine Davis-Kimball. The priestess of Ukok (fifth century BCE) was buried in a three-foot-tall framed headdress adorned with a Tree of Life, with gilded felines and birds on its branches. Similar finds have been excavated at Ussun’ in south Kazakhstan, and from the Ukraine to the Tarim basin, with recurrent themes of the Tree of Life headdress, amulets, incense, medicine bags, and sacramental mirrors. Such mirrors are also seen in the Bactrian region of Afghanistan, held facing out against the body, and they still figure as initiatory devices wielded by female adepts in Tibet. The overwhelmingly female mikogami of Japan also kept the “sacred mirror” of the sun goddess Amaterasu.
My visual presentation Woman Shaman includes a sequence of women shapeshifting into animal form or riding on the backs of shamanic steeds. These themes recur in many shamanic traditions, and are vividly illustrated in modern Arctic carvings. An Aleut ivory (circa 1816) shows a woman shaman wearing an animal mask. Other examples from the mid-20th century include “Woman Riding a Bear” by Cecilia Arnadjuk, Repulse Bay, Canada; “Woman/Polar Bear” by Odin Maratse, Greenland; a walrus-tusked “Woman Shaman” by Nancy Pukingrnak of Baker Lake; a half-woman, half-walrus piece titled “Woman Shaman Transforming Herself”; and “Medicine Woman” by Kaka of Cape Dorset.
shaman-tree
The darwisa or maraboutes of North Africa bear Islamic titles, but practice much older North African customs. Among the Tunisian cave-dwellers, the darwisa cures sick people from possession from the jnun. In the ritual, she plays drum rhythms to discover which jinn caused illness; when she hits the right one, the person begins to dance. Then the darwisa talks to the spirit about what caused the illness and what is required to cure it. (3)
Codices produced by Aztec artists shortly after the Spanish conquest show women presiding over the temescal (sweat lodge). One of the invocations sung by such a priestess was recorded: “Mother of the gods and us all, whose creative and lifegiving power shone in the Temezcalli, also named Xochicalli, the place where she sees sacred things, sets to right what has been deranged in human bodies, makes young and tender things growing and strong, and where she aids and cures.” (4)
curanderaInvocatory chants have remained an element of Mexican Indian shamanism. One of the great master was Maria Sabina, “the woman who knows how to swim in the sacred,” whose incantations seem to have acted as a means of entering into deep states of consciousness. Laying on of hands was part of her healing practice. Further north, in California, Bernice Torrez of the Kashaya Pomo, healed by touching and removing spirits of illness from the body of the sick person. She was the daughter of Essie Parrish, the great yomta, a title which means “Song.” This prophet-seeress carried chants for ceremonies, healing, and control of the elements.
Chant and shaking a sacred rattle are important elements in the practice of Katjambia, a Himba medicine woman in Namibia. As she shakes the rattle, she calls out Njoo, Njoo, in a “secret language from Angola.” After absorbing the negative energies into her own body, Katjambia returns to the sacred fire of her ancestors, who release them. A song by the Chilean composer and folklorist Violeta Parra celebrates the powers of the Mapuche machi, describing how she presides over the guillatún ceremonies and how her shamanizing cures the sick and brings a crop-threatening rain to an end.
The healing power of female shamans was occasionally stated to have been so far-reaching that they were described as being able to restore life to the dead. So it was told of Pa Sini Jobu, great Tungutu of the Bosso people in the middle Niger region. Her method of dancing to ecstasy and shifting into the form of a great bird echoes the story told of Isis. Both the goddess and the Tungutu are described as beating their wings over the dead (a ram, in Pa Sini Jobu’s case) and bringing them to life. (The Colchian sorceress Medea is also pictured bringing a ram to life, using a cauldron, herbs, and incantations.) In western Africa, the sorceress Kulutugubaga has the power to heal all and bring the dead to life. She is the last of the legendary Nine Sorceresses of Mande.
drummer
Reviving the dead was one of the marvels performed by Yeshe Tsogyel, a foundational figure of Tibetan Buddhism. In Lady of the Lotus Born, she says, “… In Nepal I brought a dead man back to life… My body journeyed like a rainbow in celestial fields…” (5) This 8th-century poem is loaded with shamanistic content, recast in a Buddhist mold. The shamanic Bönpo religion is known to have contributed many elements to Tibetan Buddhism.
A Manchurian epic, Nishan Shaman, turns around the story of a woman who is the most powerful shaman in the country. She is called upon to revive the son of a rich man after countless others had failed. She beats her drum, chants, and sinks as if lifeless herself while journeying to the Otherworld, where she meets up with Omosi-mama, the “divine grandmother” who “causes leaves to unfurl and the roots to spread properly,” who is the giver of souls and protectress of children. It was she who ordained that Nishan would become a great shaman.
Of course, Nishan finds the soul of the dead boy. But she is pursued by her long-dead husband, who demands to be saved as well, but she calls for a great crane to seize him and throw him back into the city of the dead. The shaman is hailed as a heroine when she comes back to the upper world and showered with riches. Later she faces repression from Confucian authorities who accuse her of not being an obedient wife, and they burn her shamanic regalia and drum. (6)
KAKAO BILD
In much the same way, Spanish colonials persecuted women shamans in the Philippines, calling them “devil-ridden old women” and “witches,” and destroying their shrines and sacred objects. (7) Maya oracles and shamans faced the same treatment; the Tzoltzil priestess María Candelaria raised an insurrection in Chiapas in 1712 to resist the repression of the indigenous religion.
Several hundred years ago, the Jesuit Acosta wrote that Peruvian witches were shapeshifters who could journey through the skies and foretell the future “by means of certain stones or other things they highly venerate.” He and other Spanish sources agreed that the witches were mostly old women.(8) The colonials imposed their own preconceptions on Peruvian shamans, notably that of the devil and flying ointments, and persecuted these Quechua and Aymara women shamans as witches.
The Peruvian Inquisition forbade seeking knowledge through dreams or signs in the sky or through vision quests: “the said women other times go out to the country by day and at night, and take certain brews of herbs and roots, called achuma and chamico and coca, with which they deceive themselves and numb their senses, and the illusions and fantastic scenes which they experience there, they think and claim afterwards as revelations, or certain news of what will happen.” (9)

Inquisitors tried the curandera Juana Icha for healing with the power of the old Quechua gods. She had offered corn meal, coca and chicha to the mountain spirit Apo Parato. An Indian informer told the monks that she “worships the earth and the stars and cries to the water.” (10)

Source: http://www.suppressedhistories.net/articles/womanshaman.html