Shamanism, or Spirit Medicine*, is universal because it is a unique relationship between a person and their helping spirits. That relationship transcends cultures, ages, and epochs. It’s a completely individual experience, yet the framework for it has remained relatively unchanged for millennia. Spirit reaches out to those it wants to work with, those who are meant to walk on this path. There are a lot of us walking this path now, here to help humanity as it stands on this precarious brink of transformation to either an evolved state or annihilation of ourselves and our home.
When Spirit reaches out to a person, they know it. The calling to this path can be a profound one such as a near death experience or a severe illness. It can be a life-changing event like a divorce, or a bankruptcy or losing a job. It can also come from a natural psychic ability, or a deep affinity for Spirit. And it can also come in gentle nudges, moving you into contact with people and experiences that work like sudden pathways or doors opening up to you, calling you to explore.
In my own experience, it was an abrupt divorce. After 14 years of maintaining codependence in a difficult relationship, I suddenly had to gather and stand in my own power. At the time I was only working part-time and anxious about how I would provide for my 18-month-old daughter. I was also angry, mostly at myself, for letting myself get into this situation in the first place. Finding my empowerment was a slow process, but Spirit was there supporting me all the way.
We lived in a rural area in southern Arizona at the time, with miles of open space around us, neighbors few and far between. The land was my solace. Most days I would put my daughter into her stroller and the dog and I would wheel her down the long bumpy rocky driveway and dirt road to the mostly dry riverbed nearby. I felt comfort being offered to me from the giant cottonwoods that lined the bank of the river. I received healing from the changing river bed itself, full of water and mud in the summer and full of leaves in the fall and winter.
It was on one of these walks that a song came to me. It was short and rather odd, and kept repeating over and over as I walked rhythmically down the dusty road. I knew that it was a song of power. At that time, I didn’t know what to do with it. Even though I had always been interested in shamanism, I did not think that it could ever be my path. I filed that curious song away, and concentrated on finding a full-time job and taking care of my daughter.
Seven years later as I was studying with my first shamanic teacher, that song came back to me. I could understand it and begin to work with it. And today, ten years after that, that song is integrated into my being, wrapped around my DNA and woven through my energy body. And the calling blossomed into a relationship with all my helping spirits, full of amazing synchronicities, grace and ultimate trust.
I am so grateful for hearing the calling through the pain and chaos back then. That major turning point in my life was what brought me back to my true self, my purpose in this lifetime, and the path of my heart.
Whatever is happening in your life, keep your awareness honed. A calling, a song of power, a synchronicity is coming to guide you on your path. Be ready.
*Spirit Medicine is a term Hank Wesselman uses that I really like
I am passionate about bringing community together. I know that there is power in shared intentions. A few well-known writers and scholars have integrated science and spirituality to prove that point; Lynne McTaggart has demonstrated that with research outlined in her books The Field and The Power of Eight. But the best way to experience it is to participate in a group that comes together for a shared purpose, like a healing circle.
When community comes together to support one another on their spiritual paths, a solid container is formed for the work. It is etheric in its essence, but that container holds the energy and amplifies its focus. When the group consciously calls in the spirits of the directions and the helping spirits of each person present, we can feel them coming in, standing around the circle. We can feel the energy in the space change. Sometimes it’s like an electrical charge waiting to happen. Sometimes it feels like a comforting light blanket that a loved one drapes over our shoulders.
As is the case with our local healing circle, we settle into our seats in the sacred space we created, and each person gets an opportunity to request healing or to offer to facilitate healing for another. Often the people facilitating the healing energy for someone else find that in itself to be a healing catalyst for themselves as well. If we are a conduit for energy, we receive the benefit of the energy as it flows through us. There is also plenty of space for people to be there in a supporting role; drumming, rattling, grounding what needs to be grounded, joining in the intention for the best possible outcome for the highest good. Everyone supports, everyone benefits.
Three summers ago my friend Lawrence brought me along to a shamanic healing circle in Eugene facilitated by shamanic friends of his, Alida Birch and Reid Hart. I felt the power and grace in both the healing that was happening and in their service to the community.
Afterwards Lawrence and I found we both received nudges from Spirit to facilitate this kind of circle in Corvallis. We teamed up and invited all the people we knew who we thought might be interested and we started meeting once a month. Corvallis is not a large city, with a population just under 60,000, it has a diverse spiritual community with the shamanic portion of that mostly under the radar. We had no idea how it would go, or if anyone would attend. Now it is with a little awe and a lot of gratitude that I realize that that the Corvallis Shamanic Healing Circle just had its second birthday.
In the two years since we started it, the circle has become a dynamic process. It has changed location several times, and its format flexes to fit the energy of the moment and as Spirit directs. We opened it to the public, and not only do we get shamanic practitioners, but now Reiki, Pranic, Attunement and sound healers attend to be in service. I feel like we have been able to evolve and grow our practice to become that solid container for healing to happen in our community.
In these chaotic times, we are all being called to shine our light and step into our authentic selves. When we hear the call that its time to offer our talents and gifts in service to others, we must take that courageous step and answer it, whether we feel ready for it or not. Trust Spirit to know when you, and your community, are ready.
The best helpful tool for an empath is knowing that you are one. And knowing that everyone else is too, to some degree or another. All humans are empathic in some way, and I think humans are wired to be sensitive, but we generally feel these things outside of our body. The definition of empath I am using here is someone who feels things in their body as if they were their own. Some of us were able to ignore or even dampen down our empath talent when we were younger and in overwhelming environments. But as we start on the path of healing and spiritual work, often our empath abilities come back on line. When we discover what our empath specialty is, we’ve discovered our super-power for being in the world.
You may intuitively know what kind of empath you are already. There are three main types; physical, emotional and mental, and yes, a person can be more than one type, and even all three.
A physical empath feels other people’s physical symptoms and conditions in their body. I’m a physical empath. Once I was traveling with a friend who was starting to feel flu-like symptoms but didn’t mention it. I had been starting to feel sick as well, and a little while later when she told me how she was feeling, my symptoms disappeared instantly. I realized I had just been feeling the symptoms she felt. They weren’t mine.
An emotional empath feels the emotions that other people are experiencing. This can be really weird to experience when out of the blue a strong emotion comes over you that has nothing to do with what you were thinking or doing. You may know when you are feeling the emotions of someone close to you, especially if they are experiencing strong emotions near you, but did you realize that you can pick up generalized emotions from your community, and even the collective? A common emotion that empaths pick up on from the collective is generalized anxiety. This is the diffused energy of fear that many people have due to the chaotic state of the world we now live in, compounded by the stress on our bodies from environmental and technological (radiation, EMF’s, etc.) pollution. Many people, especially children and teenagers, suffer from anxiety right now, and I am guessing that a lot of it is not even theirs, they are empathing it. The younger generations are coming in with super-strong empath abilities.
A mental or psychic empath can have other people’s thoughts pop into their heads. This may seem like intuition or being extremely perceptive, it can feel as a “knowing”. These empaths can often discern the character of someone they just met, and often know if someone is being truthful or not. This can put them in cognitive dissonance if they are hearing a person say one thing, but they “know” they are thinking the opposite.
These experiences can feel overwhelming and put you off balance, especially if you have not considered the fact that you may be an empath. As a healer, I tend to consider it a super-power, but being an empath in today’s world can also be difficult, as we are having to interact daily with large groups of people in schools, work and social situations.
How do you distinguish between what you might be picking up from others and what are actually your feelings, emotions or thoughts? Simply ask yourself “Is it mine?” If it is not yours, the intensity of what you are experiencing will lessen slightly. If it does lessen, then ask that question again, and again. It will lessen slightly each time you ask until it is gone. If it doesn’t change at all, what you are experiencing is yours. This is the most valuable and basic tool an empath can have. I know from experience that it’s so basic we can forget to use it when we need it!
If you are a strong empath and are sensitive to the point where being in crowds or buildings full of people are stressful for you, then boundary work is a great help. Set the intention to have a buffer around you to keep from picking up other people’s stuff. You can imagine a silver bubble of light or fine silver fabric mesh around your energy body, extending about one and half feet from your body all around you. Or you can ask the spirit of animal helpers to engage with you that have traits that might help in the situation, like hedgehog forming a prickly buffer around you that helps break up incoming energies. You can also picture your guardian angel standing behind you enclosing you within their protective wings.
As humanity evolves into its awakening, our empath senses are heightening. This will no doubt help us to open our hearts to heal our ancient human core wounds of victimhood and separation. But as we work our way towards that, learning how to manage our boundaries will also teach us about the sacredness of self-care and self-love.
To help you tend to soul issues that may manifest in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of your life, and to give you tools to empower your path to harmony and well-being.
-There are so many kindred spirits doing the work out there. I include these links to help our community connect with one another.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -
Energy Intuitive and Nature Communicator - Cheri Melton's work with Devas and Nature Spirits is profound. So happy to have her as a friend and mentor -