Through my daily routine as a Shamanic practitioner and teacher, I find myself answering the question, at least to the best of my ability! “What is Shamanism”? Various different people ask this question and I need to find different ways to answer it all depending on who is asking. By saying this I mean at what place are they at from a spiritual context.

Sometimes the person asking the question may be on a certain Spiritual path and are looking to broaden that path by connecting with the Shamanic energies, some others that ask may be curious as to what it is butmay be on a more contemporary religious road, and that is fine too. Through religious oppression and a somewhat brainwashing, some individuals may deem it as a cult, a negative witchcraft, dark work of the pagans.

We find ignorance within society today. Maybe not from a bad place at all, but from a type of force feeding with a very wrong message being sent out when it comes to the ancient practices and traditions that took place here in Ireland and indeed around the world.

Nonetheless, for our readers who understand Shamanism, you know the score, and from our readers that may not have an idea what Shamanism is, then we are going to give you the bones of it, a simple definition, all be it from my own personal perspective through experiencing it and its power.First of all let me explain that the actual word “Shaman” comes from the Siberian Tungus tribe. It has many abreviations such as Saman, Samhan (etc) This word is now used widely across the globe to identify this sacred practice.

So what is a Shaman? A Shaman is a person who works with energies, a person who works with Spirit, a person who works with the otherworlds. In Shamanism everything holds energy, energy is what we are made of, it is what everything is made of. Energy makes us healthy, energy makes us sick. Understanding and connecting with these energies is one of the jobs of the Shamanic practitioner. In modern society we tend not to understand the importance and prominence of energy in our daily lives and routines. Blocked, stuck, and compressed energies in Shamanic philosophy is what makes us ill, in every sense, Spiritually, mentally and psychically. The removal of these energies is very important and more so to protect ourselves from these energies is vital.In modern society we have disconnected with the energies of the land, the energies of the earth and this disconnection is in my opinion why we may become sick and why we suffer far more now with certain conditions. We have lowered our vibration, the very vibration that gives us protection,gives us a healthy immune system and a healthy Soul. When our very core vibration is lowered through the disconnection with Mother earth and the natural earth energies, then we may see illness and dis-ease set in to our lives.A story I always tell my students when starting Shamanic practitioner training with me through the Irish school of Shamanic studies, is the story of the elderly native American grandmother. A boy who lived near a native tribe who became friends with one of the young boys from the tribe. The neighbouring boy, who was not a member of the tribe came to play and went in to one of the tipis to let the boy know he was there. The boy sported a new pair of runners and was very proud of them, however the elderly grandmother told the boy to remove his shoes or else he would get sick. The boy had no idea what she meant when she said this but out of respect and manners he did so. Later in life the boy understood exactly what she meant. If we wear shoes and in particular rubber soled shoes, we make an instant disconnection from the energies of the earth and as a result our vibration lowers. When people come to me for Shamanic healings I look to raise their vibration, right from a cellular level and the chain reaction begins. The feeling of inner strength and lightness often is a common theme. We do this through meditation and sound healing.Shamans use tools in healing practices, The drum, the rattle (etc) We call in Spirit with these sacred tools and we work with the energies they help create. Tibetan bowls, Gongs,bells (etc) can be key tools to use. The pendulum for divination and communication with Spirit.

The journey. The Shamanic Journey is something that I am asked about all the time. “What is the Shamanic Journey” ? Well the Shamanic journey is the place the Shaman goes to connect with Spirit, the Spirit guides, the power animals, the ancestors, the ascended masters, gods and goddesses, archangels (etc) In typical Shamanic philosophy there are 3 co-existing worlds around us that over time and correct guidance we can visit these worlds through the Sacred Shamanic journey. The journey can be compared to a meditation if you like. The Journey is as the late godfather of core Shamanism, Mr Michael Harner would explain as the non-ordinary realities. It is a place where over time we can visit at will, and journey to these realms, these otherworlds. It is a trance, it is a soul journey. Across the world in tribal settings they would use dream plants and other substances to help journey and get in to a euphoric trance like state to allow these journeys to take place. In Michael Harners opinion and indeed my own opinion, we don’t particularly need dream plants or other substances to journey. The Shamanic drum will help you to get to this sacred and amazing level. Journeying to different worlds will be set by Spirit through the Shaman and depending on the particular intention behind the journey. he will decide or Spirit will decide for him as to which world you will visit, upper world, middle world or lower world. When we journey, it is our Soul that travels to these Spiritual realms, meets our Spirit guides, Animal allies, Archangels (etc) in these realms we will be given guidance and wisdom, we communicate with Spirit and Spirit communicates with use, it brings this healing energy, wisdom guidance and knowledge back to the ordinary reality when we complete the journey. It helps remove blocked energies, strengthens our Souls, helps with fear, helps with confidence, self esteem (etc) it helps answer questions, helps with the removal of deeply buried traumas and a way to retrieve Soul parts that have been lost(etc) It is a truly magical journey and allows us to step back in to our power as humans beings, Just like it should be, taking back our power. This is just a tiny tiny glimpse of how powerful the Shamanic journey is and I would need 20 pages in this magazine to truly give you a bigger picture on it. The journey is sometimes verbally guided by the Shaman practitioner.

Shamanism is across all cultures one way or another. It is as old as the mountains , lakes and rivers and in some estimates its practise can date to between 30,000 and 60,000 years old. It is very prominent in the Americas and particularly south America. It is deep in the veins of Australia through the aboriginal tribes, Siberian and Mongolian tribes, native American tribes and African tribes. But as deep as it is in the few places I mentioned, it is equally deep in the veins of us Irish. The ancient Celtic and pre-Celtic tribes practised Shamanism as a way of life. Everything was about Spirit and the energies, the ancestors and the land (etc) I find a huge upsurge in people who are connecting back in with the ancient ways. The majority are not certain what they are looking for, but after some info being provided to them a light bulb moment occurs and it hits a spot deep within. It is amazing, it is a calling and as I say myself, the seed that is within us is now at the perfect time to grow. Remember, Shamanism is not a religion, it is simply a way of life. Remember we are no lesser than the Sun and no greater than the insect. If we can go through time with this mindset that we are all equal then we are in a perfect place to help ourselves and others. No ego, no hidden agendas. In Shamanic practices we look to transform ourselves in to the hollow bone. The hollow bone means we have dealt and continue to deal with our own issues, we look at Soul retrieval and bringing back parts of our Soul we lost over time, we look to have the attitude of dealing with our own baggage before we can attempt at helping others with their baggage. We are nothing without Spirit help, the help of our guides. We are simply the channel in which Spirit works. If the bone is hollow, then healing can transmit through us clearly and purely. If the hollow bone is blocked and messy, then the healing transmission is impure and we pass this on to the person we are helping. In healing work I can tell you that a lot of the healing is done through the person that needs help, as Shamanic healers we look to help the individual back on the path after the losing their way. If I can give that person just 5% of my healing energy then that is enough for the ball to start rolling within them and for self healing to commence through our deep connection with Spirit. Soul retrieval. Past lives healing. Psychopomp. Ancestral healing / family tree healing are some of the core Shamanic practices. As a teacher with the Irish school of Shamanic studies I firmly believe that it is our birth right to be free, free from oppression, free from illness, free from modern slavery and for us to remove to the best of our ability the fears that we carry that do not belong to us, the fears that were instilled upon us. To round it all off, Shamanism is about dealing with the past to work freely in to our future, to work with Spirit guides and power Animals as our allies, to create as strong a bond with them as we can, to work with the energies and to understand them, there are positive and negative energies. To work with the ancestors and work with the land. All is energy, all is Spirit.We need to re-connect with the land, the tress, the rivers lakes, the animals (etc) This is all about harmonising with the natural energies.Lets walk free, as it was meant to be….. I do Shamanic one to one healing @Atlantis holistic giftstore and therapy centre, Linenhall street, Castlebar , Co Mayo by appointment only. We also run regular 12 month, monthly Shamanic practitioner training, drummining / journey circles every fortnight and lots more. Call the  number below for our next practitioner training dates, healing dates and drumming dates.

Check out our website www.irishshamanschool.ie

Facebook page Irish school of Shamanic studies.

Tel 094 90 28630 / 086 3750 250.

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