When Harpers Bazaar, a fashion and beauty magazine, ran an article last January about women forgoing psychologists for shamans to help them find the key to happiness, we took note. And with turkey feathers, sage smudges and talking sticks currently sold alongside the Venice Beach Boardwalk vaporizers, temporary tattoos and Jim Morrison t-shirts, it’s clear that shamanism is more than just an emerging trend.
According to Sandra Ingerman, an internationally known Shaman teacher, it is “the most ancient spiritual practice known to humankind.” Archaeological evidence dates the practice dates back at least 40,000 years, with some anthropologists believing its more than 100,000 years old.
At its core, shamanism works from the essential understanding that everything that exists is alive and has a spirit. Shamans speak of a web of life that connects all of life and the spirit that lives in all things.
A shaman has the ability to see “with the strong eye” or “with the heart” to address the spiritual aspect of illness, retrieve lost power and remove spiritual blockages.
What does that mean for the modern day westerner looking beyond traditional psychotherapy to find mind and body harmony? While it’s effects vary from person to person, Ingerman’s research is intriguing:
Some people feel that they are more grounded in their body and feel more solid. Some people feel lighter and a joyful way of being returns to them. For some memories of the past traumas might be triggered bringing up a variety of feelings that must be worked through. And for some people the effects are too subtle to notice a change until further work to integrate the soul is done.
As people feel more present in their bodies and in the world, they become more conscious of behavior that might be out of balance and disharmonious. When we are numb we might be aware that things in the world are not right but we can easily distract ourselves from feeling a need to change. When we are fully “inspirited” there is no place to retreat to and we are more inspired to change our lives.
Any practice that jolts our creativity, speaks to a sense of interconnectedness and leaves us feeling a little, well, gladder, has to be worth exploring. Tell us about your shamanic adventures at: Glad.is/forum
Read the full description of Shamanism HERE.
Image: This is Nikolay Oorzhak, a practicing shaman in Russia. Your local shaman will probably not look like this.
To read more on Shamanism and Sandra Ingerman’s work, visit http://www.sandraingerman.com
If you’re in L.A. and would like to learn from one of Sandra’s local teachers, Glad.is recommends Val Farr: and check our healers directory for more Shamanic Healers in your area.