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Shamanism


A personal journey
By Sorrell Robins

Many of us will be aware of shamanism from reading the books of Carlos Castenedas. His accounts of training with the sorcerer/shaman Don Juan in Mexico gave a generation of inquiring minds an insight into the idea of what a shaman might really be like, whether we believed in it or not as an accurate piece of anthropological study.

We might think of vision quests, talking to power animals, taking hallucinogenic plant drugs, drumming, wearing feathers in your hair. When I first looked into shamanism, following my reading of Carlos books, I read a more scientific anthropological study which explained the traditional way to become a shaman was to die, then come back to life with gifts given during the journey to the spirit world which empowered the individual to act as a seer, a medicine man/woman for their tribe. I decided it wasnt for me!

My interest in the subject did not disappear and I soon met a woman who practised Shamanic healing in a westernised practice in South London. We discussed the practices she and other people used in the field in the more westernised practises of North America and Europe. I sat in on her clinic, and had many healing sessions myself.

As a trained Hypnotherapist and Medical Herbalist I saw links to the old ways of the shamans, sorcerers and witches to our modern more scientific approach of hypnosis, hypnohealing, visualisation and using herbs. I began to study with her and found these techniques really worked with profound and lasting effects. I found I could use the Shamanic healing techniques with success and sometimes where other healing techniques did not work on my clients shamanic techniques proved really worthwhile.

I have still not had a near death experience and I do not wear feathers in my hair. I have taken part in traditional ceremonies with traditional shamans from South America, and I have worked with many shamanic people from the western world. I have realised that the dressing up of rituals and the individuals taking part in the healing and ceremony are not important, the intention and the actual process is.

You may find there are many books out there which explain the details of ceremonies; suggesting for it to work you must have a yellow stone in the west, a green in the east, shake a rattle 6 times. This is not necessarily untrue, it may help you focus your intent but it is your focus and your intent that is important not how you focus the intent.

I personally believe we have all been born with the ability to perceive on different levels, the reality we see clearly around us assuming we are not visually impaired and the ability to feel or perceive other layers of reality. Similar perceptions would include dowsing for water, or the feeling you get when you walk into a room where people have been arguing and you feel you can 'cut the atmosphere with a knife'. This part of our psyche can be developed to become more in tune with our Shamanic nature, either as a healer or just to help us heal and cope with life, help us to make good decisions and 'know' what is right for us.

What is Shamanic Healing - a simplified guide
Shamanism states that there are two realities the ordinary world, and the spirit world or 'non-ordinary reality'. The two realities may overlap, and affect each other. It is the shaman's job to perceive these realities and move between realities and communicate with the spirit world, working with energy to create balance and harmony. Imbalance causes illness. This can be due to either a loss of personal power or energy, or the addition of inappropriate energy. The Shamanic healer will thus work in two main ways returning lost energy, known as Soul Retrieval and aid the release of inappropriate energy.

Shamanic Core Processing
This is a threefold process of receiving, giving and integration which is a powerful and effective method for self-development, enabling a person to move towards living a more productive and creative life. Shamanic Core Processing involves Soul Retrieval, returning stolen energy to others and a soul integration process during which the client is assisted on a Shamanic journey, given the opportunity to experience the subtle realities for themselves. The process may take three or four sessions spread over two or three months.

Soul Retrieval
Soul Retrieval is undertaken when a person has suffered soul loss. Soul loss is a spiritual illness that causes emotional and physical disease. Part of the soul or life force leaves the person due to trauma, accident, drug use or illness. The part may be unable or unwilling to return without assistance. This leaves the person lacking their vital energy.

People suffering from soul loss often feel fragmented, 'not all here', numbed or deadened. They may experience memory loss, chronic depression or physical illness (an extreme example of soul loss is coma). They may have a weakened immune system and have trouble resisting infections, or have had difficulty moving on in life after a divorce or the death of a loved one. Sometimes we can even loose a part because we just dont want to leave a situation, for example, I may find soul parts sitting on a beach sunning themselves, as they really didnt want to come home and face their ordinary reality.

Most of us experience soul loss in some way and we may yearn for stronger vitality and a deeper sense of connection to life. Soul Retrieval is a powerful method both in aiding the bodys return to health and in increasing ones personal power and ability to live fully.

Soul Theft and Giving Back
Without intending to, we take energy from others. We cannot actually use this 'stolen' energy rather it clogs up our own system as well as depleting the other person. We steal energy from others in various ways, including jealousy, judgement, hero-worship, idealising and over-caring for others.

When we return this misplaced energy we free ourselves to fully appreciate our own energy. This is done by assisting an individual on a shamanic journey to discover whom they need to return energy to. They are supported at all stages of this journey, and remain positively in control throughout. The journey is followed by a simple and effective ceremony to facilitate giving back the energy.

Integration
This process is also done through an assisted journey, during which returned soul parts may be fully integrated within you. This is always a beautiful and empowering experience. First you are made comfortable as you lie down on a couch or the floor fully clothed. Your Shamanic practitioner rattles or drums to create a protective sphere and raise power. Sweet smelling herbs may be burnt and you and the room are then 'smudged' or cleansed with the smoke. For soul retrieval the practitioner will journey into non-ordinary reality to carry out the necessary work.

In further sessions individuals may be guided or assisted on their own journey, and encouraged to connect to their ability to perceive on a Shamanic level. Journeys are tailored to the individuals needs and may involve meeting their spirit guides and power animals for example, at all times the individual's safety and comfort is taken care of.

One session may be enough, or sometimes three or four may be appropriate to deal with a problem. Each session usually lasts for one to two hours.

About Sorrell Robins
Sorrell is a fully qualified and experienced complementary therapist and healer. She runs a busy practice in St. Albans, Hertfordshire and works freelance in London travelling to where she is needed.

Sorrell also practices as a Medical Herbalist, Clinical Aromatherapist, Therapeutic Masseur, as a consultant in Advanced Hypnotherapy and Hypnohealing, and as an Advanced Reiki practitioner and shamanism. Should you wish to know more about any of the subjects mentioned, or contact Sorrell to work with her please telephone: 07814 430690 or email








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