Years ago, a shift occurred in the way I perceived the idea of healing. Several of us who provide Reiki and shamanic services for others were in a group with our mentor, Cheri, discussing the word “healing”. It’s loaded with programmed connotations that assumes a person needing healing is less than healthy, less than whole. Cheri told us that she prefers to use the word tending instead of healing. She said that tending is a gardening word. One tends a garden by pulling weeds, fertilizing the soil, planting seeds. When we work with people shamanically and energetically, that’s more along the lines of what we do. We help remove the weeds that take the form of blockages, intrusions, limiting thoughtforms. We fertilize their soil by balancing the energy centers, returning power and any lost soul essences. Then we plant seeds by giving practical tools that they can use on their own to grow and tend what they want in their lives. I absolutely loved that perspective.
On the other side of that, to say that one is a healer also gives the impression that you are the one healing your clients. This is not true. The return to health is actually done by the client themselves. I, and people like me, are facilitators – or tenders – helping that return to health happen. We can hold the space for the client, and connect them with their helping spirits who do energy work for them. We can bring back messages from helping spirits about what would return them to a state of perfection. We can also be the channel for universal Divine energy to flow through us to the client. But we are just the channel. Once the client receives that Divine energy, their Higher Self and Spirit helpers directs it to where it needs to go.
Using the term "healing" can also put the client in a permanent state of seeking health. As practitioners, we must see the client as already in a perfect state. Then we need to help the client see themselves as being in a perfect state of health and wholeness. This is not delusion. This is putting the power of their energy to work for them. Energy flows where attention goes. The mind is an amazing force. Asking the question, “What is the perfection of the situation right now?” opens the space for the Higher Self and Spirit helpers to come in and show them.
For me the definition of tend in the dictionary is the essence of what I am called to do for others. But the words “healing” and “healer” are the ones most commonly used today, especially in alternative or metaphysical care. I find myself using those words when I don’t want to - just to get my meaning across. But I want to shift away from those terms, which is why I called my website Shamanic Soul Tending.
There is a belief system that is prevalent in our society today that we need someone to fix us. A belief system that says we are not capable of, or do not have the power to return ourselves to perfect health. But a rising tide of scientists and new thinkers* are proving that we hold that ultimate power within ourselves. We will continue to reclaim our power and re-frame the idea of how we heal. We will realize that we are all always in a state of Divine perfection, and that we could all just use a little tending now and again.
*Just a few thoughts from those scientists and new thinkers to shine some more light on the subject.
By consciously working with the power of spring at the vernal equinox, we set ourselves to the rhythm of nature. Being in tune with the cycles and spirits of nature helps keep us in a state of receptive flow. In that state it is easier to connect with our guides and helpers and the spirit in all things.
We need to work with the energy of renewal and cleansing on all levels. Physically this means cleansing the digestive and lymphatic systems. It can be as simple as a one day fast, and then a shifting out of our heavier winter diet from fats and starches like nuts and squash to fresh greens, herbs and berries. Nature has made it so that what is growing seasonally now is exactly what our bodies need to detox. Stinging nettles for tea and miners lettuce for salad are abundant now in Oregon. I like to use red root tincture or tea to help flush the lymph, and a daily massage with sesame oil to move lymph from extremities towards the heart for re-circulation.
Emotional cleansing can come up while we are physically cleansing. We may find ourselves grieving with unexpected depth for someone or something we have lost. Anger may also come up, especially if we are adding liver cleansing herbs like milk thistle and turmeric to our cleanse protocol. The energy of anger is stored in the liver.
Mental cleansing is necessary as well. Going on a news fast may be essential for our reset, and we may find we like it so much that we never go back to it, at least not to the same extent! I also reevaluate activities and people I have been spending time with and decide if they feel like an obligation or a partnership. Is the giving and receiving between us reciprocal?
Energetic spiritual cleansing can be done by journeying to our spirit helpers and asking them to help us see what needs to be released at this time. They may do a dismemberment for us. This sounds gruesome, but it really isn’t frightening. This is a universal type of journey that happens at least once to all spiritual seekers and journeyers. It can happen spontaneously in dreams as well as shamanic journey. Our spirit helpers will take our body apart by chewing or pecking off our flesh and scattering our bones. It can also be facilitated by an elemental like water or fire that dissolves the body. It can happen in a myriad of ways, but the end result is the same; we become free of our physical body for a time. We may look back and see our bones - and what was in us that no longer resonates with who we are becoming - dissolving into dust. We will feel an exquisite lightness as we rise, buoyant, and expand without limitation. We become conscious of ourselves as pure light. We may find ourselves expanded into infinite cosmic realms, aware, and a part of all that is. At the end of the journey we are always remade anew, stepping into our lighter, higher vibrational body. It’s like a spring clean for the soul.
As a kid I loved the spring clean feeling that came with the first mild spring days after the harsh New York winter. We opened all the windows in the house, letting the breezes sweep out stale energy. In line with the traditional spring cleaning of our homes, I clean my altars. I take all the dried flowers and herbs from last year’s ceremonies and offerings and give them back to the earth. In their place I put pussy-willows, daffodils, and camellia blossoms. I re-dedicate my altars to focus on what I want to grow in my life this season.
I hope you’ll take a pause for a reset this season and see what ceremonies, rituals or self-care exercises come up for you. Feel free to share your methods of renewal in the community comments below.
Stinging nettles, Miner's lettuce, daffodils
The subject of power often comes up in shamanic practice. Power within comes from the knowledge that one can respond to situations from a place of inner strength and integrity. Power is also shared as a partnership with helping spirits, as in with one’s power animals. It’s very common to hear about and to have power animal retrievals. A shamanic practitioner can work with helping spirits to retrieve a power animal for a person who may have been separated from theirs. We can also track where we may have lost power in other ways and retrieve it.
Just about everyone has experienced giving power away or having it taken from them. Often this comes with a feeling of being victimized. With assistance from helping spirits we can go back to those points on our timeline where we felt like we gave away our power to another person or circumstance. We can work with our helping spirits in non-ordinary reality and gather up our lost power.
This week I recently had a major power retrieval situation come up for my own healing. I went back to Arizona for the holidays to visit family. Driving in Tucson I turned down 22nd street, instead of another road I had planned to take. My arms moved the wheel while my mind was occupied with something else. I realized I was going by a duplex where I lived for three years back in my early 20’s. There were many painful points in those years, coming up from the deepest rock bottom I had ever been in my life. Pluto was just coming out of conjunction with my natal sun back then, its depths obscuring my brightness and bringing many of my shadows up for me to deal with in a harsh way. What I remember most from that time is feeling like a victim; of relationships, society, and circumstance. Now almost thirty years later my shamanic self is finding this route not accidental, but a meaningful nudge from helping spirits.
I did a check in. Am I coming back by here because there are still cords to cut to disconnect me from the energy of this place? No, not cords, but I’m seeing that there are threads of power that need to be reclaimed and brought back home to myself. An Ah-hah moment! Then later due to road work, I had to detour and drive through another neighborhood where I lived before the duplex, which was the point where I began my slide down into that lowest, darkest time of my life. Ahh, now this is getting very interesting.
As I’m heading south on the interstate, I’m thinking about the timing of revisiting so many places I used to live. And I’m thinking about all the times and places in my life where I have lost or given away power. I realize that I need to do a journey to reclaim and gather back that power. Right after that thought, a semi-trailer comes into view, and painted on the side is a green lightning bolt and the word SKY. Power, Sky. I laughed out loud. Sometimes Spirit wants to make sure I really get the message!
The day after I got home from my trip, I sat before my altar and went into journey. My helping spirits took me to the places in non-ordinary reality where my lost power was waiting for me. We visited five places. In each case my lost power was being looked after by guardian spirits who were glad to return it, and told me about the gifts that were returning with it.
This kind of work is profoundly personal, but my helping spirits want me to share a little of what I experienced to help others understand this kind of healing. In one part of my journey a gray-green swirling water whirlpool appeared. There was a tunnel going down through the middle of it. Suddenly from out of this tunnel rises a big beautiful dragonfly, iridescent with water droplets. It flies around me sprinkling water on me, its presence full of joy which rains down on me. I feel the joyful iridescence infusing my energy field and into my cells, and especially my eyes. I was shown that this related to a time thirty years ago when the water company shut off our water for non-payment. I remember the feeling of helplessness and anger as I was pleading with the water company employee that there had been some mistake as my husband had told me he had paid the bill (he hadn’t). The gift in this power return was primarily joy, but also the ability to see through illusion.
I have had plenty of joy in my life since then. This gift was related to the power of joy and trust that I had lost in this one incident. Its loss in effect was a small hole in my energetic make-up, that is now filled in and repaired. It was apparently a nexus point of some kind for me that required this attention. Not every power loss is going to require this kind of specific healing.
Being open to the messages that our spirit helpers send our way will help us track what kind of work needs to be done to return us to wholeness. The more we can achieve wholeness, the more inner power we can hold. That makes it easier for us to do our work, to help others, and to shine our light in the world.
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 -