The Shamanic Healing Session
An essential part of shamanism is the healing of clients by the spirits and the shaman. In this article I am presenting some guidelines for conducting shamanic healing sessions, which are helping to avoid typical beginners mistakes. These guidelines are being tested by myself and many friends who follow the path of the shaman for years.
In recent times shamanic sessions are conducted by shamanists that have only basic ideas of what they are actually doing. The reason of this development can be located in the esoteric and new-age scene with its strange idea that everyone can be a shaman. With many limitations this line of thought is correct. Everyone can learn shamanic techniques and work with his allies, from the beginning. But not everyone should start to shamanize clients - especially not from the beginning on.
Today I meet many beginners that start to sell themselves and offering shamanic sessions after only few months of practice. Sometimes I am glad that the laws in germany control this flood a bit. Otherwise the frauds, plastics and charlatans would be many more then they already are. I ask myself sometimes what those people have in their minds when they call themselves "shaman" after some workshops. Maybe we have this flood of wannabe-shamans in our culture because we do not have any tools of ensuring high quality standards.
I do not ignore the monetary aspects of this development. How this part looks like at the commercial-shaman can be easily seen when looking at the prices for their shamanic deeds that imply a wealthy social-class that can afford it. The dark side of the coin are the clients that have to pay much too much money to those "shamans" and who do not get what they payed for. Instead their problems are not treated professionally, sometimes their situation is getting even worse. Shamanic sessions conducted by hobby-shamans or wannabe-shamans without any medical education I am looking at with scepsis. Those "shamans" naively think that they are fit for shamanizing clients after only some days or weeks of having actual contact to their spiris-allies and usually not versed in shamanizing, at all.
This lack of experience can have fatal consequences for the client. I personally recommend to all who are interested that they should look for more independent resources on the shaman they choose, to get a more complete idea on who this shaman is really. It is quite difficult to determine whether a shaman is a good one or one to be avoided. I myself always look on the power of manifestation of the person that claimes to be a shaman. You can receive wonderful visions of healing. As long as they manifest themselves in tangible successfull healing-rituals the person is a good shaman. That is usually difficult to verify because a wannabe-shaman would not tell you anything about his failures.
I have collected some questions that can help you finding a shaman. What are clients telling about him? How is the power of manifestation of the shaman? A shaman sometimes is refering to a teacher or a tradition. You can contact the teacher or representants of the tribe or culture he is claiming to be a part of to verify this claims. A personal meeting is mandatory in which you can get familiar with the shaman you want to shamanize you. What does this shaman tells you? Is he self-deluded or is he a grounded person? How long does he practice shamanism? What does he think? Does he tries to earn his living as a shaman? What is the relation between price and actual service? Are there pupils of him? How do they act and what are they doing? Are they simple, mindless followers and are they being exploited by him? Look at his time-schedule — what are his prices? Are they extraordinary high or just right? Search the internet on other voices about him. Tribal ones, if he is claiming to be a native-american "shaman" (native american tribes do not have shamans, at all).
At last you as a client are deciding whom you allow to shamanize yourself. The best advices do not help you in this point. So we better have a look at what is interesting on shamanic-sessions that I want to share with you.
General Informations on Shamanic Sessions
An excellent contact to your allies and poweranimal in the twilight is fundamentally for a successfull shamanic session. The spirits know exactly what your limitations and abilities are and usually are the best resource on any question you have. Of course there are a lot of "really good" shamans around, claiming that they of course have this contact. Most of them ignore the fact that it requires quite some time to be sure about this. The allies of the shaman are the ones actually responsible for any shamanic healing that eventually takes place. Here I am offering you some hints and ideas that can help you to avoid some traps and problems that may arise sometimes.
Before you start a shamanic session the client has to agree upon your involvement as a shaman. Clients that are not able to communicate because they are comatous, too young or already deceased are a different thing: You should ask your allies and the allies of the client to get the permission. Even if a client actually wants to be shamanized your allies can deny any session. So you must first be totally sure about whether you should conduct a shamanic session or not. So - ask your spirits!
You are sometimes encounter a special kind of client that actually does something I call "shaman-hopping" - this kind of clients run from shaman to shaman, presenting always the same problem and get shamanized. Usually with no success because their problems are not shamanic ones in the first place. Either you have a really good contact to your allies or your medical background and psychological background pays out in this situation. It is senseless to shamanize here. It is much more important to suggest a psychotherapeutic line of therapy instead a shamanic one. A client running several times against the same wall has a problem with his self-perception. It is much better for your situation and the client's one when the client is already under medical treatment. You should ask your client to talk to his doctor about the shamanic session. Unfortunately the medics are not that cooperative with shamanic practitioners - it would be a great improvement for the client when both - shaman and doctor - would talk to each other. Well, neither most shamans are educated enough in modern medicine nor the doctors are cooperative. That situation is changing very slowly.
The general structure of one of my shamanic sessions is as follows: At first I am banishing and thus preparing the client and myself for the session. Usually I do this with drumming and the unfolding of the mesa. In the middle of this mesa a candle symbolizes the central fire as well as the center of the universe. Then I am calling my allies, the spirits of the location and the allies of the client for assistance. After this we are trying to find a question the client asks to the spirits. I prefer to make a shamanic journey without this step. I describe the journey and its results to the client and I explain what I am going to do next. Usually the client agrees with the actual shamanic sessions contents. After the work is done I am closing the ritual and thank the spirits for their help. A short walk outside or something to eat I use as grounding - if no other works are to be attented after the session that do not require the presence of the client. Something important: There is no guarantee for success. Anyone telling you something different is clearly an imposter. There is no binding of the client to you as shaman. The client should have the possibility to go to another healer, if he wants to.
You also can work with the client to get a precise question for your journey. This way the client is realizing what he actually wants you and your spirits to do fot him. This finding of the question is already part of the healing-process itself. Sometimes a really long talk with the client is requires. With your help the client then is illuminating many aspects of his problem. During this time you are keeping to yourself, trying not to influence the client too much. During this talk you may find some tendencies towards one shamanic problem or another. Some clients know exactly what problems they have and during this talk they have the opportunity to describe what they know. Your own journey to his problem should be untouched by the clients ramblings, which is quite difficult for the beginner.
The Shamanic Client
It is better to limit the informations you get via shamanic journey to the things you can do here and now. Most of the time shamanists tend to forget this limitations and it can happen that the client is overstrained - be it because things are mentioned too early or unimportant at the moment. Spirits to not have a linear time-sense as we do.
Clients usually have some expectations on you as a shaman. It is useful to clear this up before you actually begin to shamanize. It is important to do this step to avoid problems. Frequently a client needs to learn that a shamanic session is not a psychotherapeutic one or a visit at the doctor.
As I have mentioned already a shamanic session deals with shamanic things. Many times I have watched shamanic sessions in which the shaman was trying to give psychological diagnoses or advices because the shaman is unable to draw the line between shamanism and psychology. If someone with psychological problems knocks at my door for a shamanic session I usually reply: "I have learned how to deal with spirits and not how to deal with the psyche." — A shamanic session of course does have influence on the psyche, sometimes even strong ones. Therefore it is very important to talk with the client's therapeuts (if available) before a shamanic session takes place. If such a therapeut is a spiritual ignorant it should be considered to go to another one, more open to these things.
On the other hand clients usually do not know what a shaman actually is doing. Ask ten people on what a shaman is doing and you get twelve different replies. Once, back in the 90's, a client called me on the phone and asked me: "You are a shaman - thus you conduct sweat-lodges." - back then I did not know at all what a "sweat-lodge" should be, neither I did know the idea of the client on what shamans do with it. I learned more about this opinion when I studied some native-american religions which use the sweat-lodges as a part of their spirituality. Shamans I did not found in there, by the ways.
We have various possible ways to get informations. Usually you and the client have worked on the question the client has - in my case this is rather uncommon. The following methods do not require a question from the client. You can make a shamanic journey to the question: "What can be done within this shamanic session for N.N.?" The F.S.S. teaches the tunnel-diagnosis wherein the shaman is entering his own tunnel or the client's one and tries to deal with the things he encounteres there in order to help the client. During this kind of journey the healing is already included and when you describe the journey to your client you already can include the healings you and your spirits performed. Within the tunnel you can find items, animals or obstackles, other spirits and so on that you as a shaman have to deal with in order to help your client.
You can also make a journey into the client's body. As in the tunnel-diagnosis in this journey it is possible to do healing-work. Usually this kind of journey is best for finding physical problems as well as energetical ones. My own approach is rather easy. I look at the client and "see" what is going on. You can also place the client on your starting-place in the twilight (or anywhere else) and ask your spirits for help in finding the diagnosis.
Working with animals is much easier then with humans. They do not ask silly questions and a shamanic session can be performed much more dense and straightforward. Animals do not need a show. They are reacting quite interesting on shamanic sessions. Outside in the nature I often see wild animals watching me shamanizing.
There are three different roots of shamanic problems, appearing in combination or sometimes hidden: The soul-loss, the possession, the enchantment. The third root is rather seldom, even if many clients claim to be victims of black-magic. 99 of 100 clients do not suffer from such sorcery. Three factors have to be in place for such a possibility. At first the client must be known to magicians or shamans that are capable of conducting such magic. That is extremely rare, even when some egomaniacs are crying out loudly now. Then there must be a really good reason for these magician to do such a ritual - a very important point. And at last the magician actually has to perform this rituals. Many so-called "attacks from magicians or witches" are nothing more then self-delusional reactions to compensate the own inferiority-complex.
Geopathological problems I do not count to the problems that can be resolved easily within a shamanic session, except I am at the location where this problems are existent. Help from the spirits is seldom required, but regional spirits very well can be part of a shamanic session.
It is illusionary to think that a client's shamanic problem can always be resolved within only one session. Without the client's own activities after the session the whole work can be useless. A client frequently has to change habits or even surroundings to reach permanent healing. As I have already mentioned it would be the best solution when the client is also in psychotherapeutical treatment and sees the shamanic session as a suplementary path and not as the one-and-only wonder-maker medicine. So it is quite important for the success of a shamanic session that the client himself is active, too. In some cases one or two shamanic sessions are sufficient for a healing to take place - but do not rely on this to easily.