Shamanism connects us with the powerful forces of energy, spirit and our own soul-self by using our thinking machinery, wits and senses, awareness skills, and fact-finding abilities to shift our focus from ego to soul/spirit. In the beginning, a person learns about animism, the nature of spirit, navigating through the cosmology of the worlds, multiple effective methods to perceive and receive energy, and techniques that open the doors of the soul to power and energy. Shamanic initiates learn how to stand strong in their own personal power, and find that this power is soul power, not ego power. To advance beyond the basic level, the initiate must build a consistent daily spiritual practice, cultivate intimate relationships with their helping spirits, and use their mind, senses, and spirit connections to "see" the world with clarity and act accordingly. Initiates must also dedicate themselves to living from their soul, rather than their ego. This is not an easy task, and is where many initiates lose their way, thus rendering themselves less effective or even directionless. Dismantling the ego allows the shaman's soul to shine bright and their spirit connections to be clear and strong.
As we recognize, delete or re-write the programs/behaviors, conditionings, masks, and identities that we have unconsciously worn most of our lives, we learn to "get out of our own way" and draw ourselves into harmony with the natural world and its myriad energies. This important aspect of shamanism cultivates the deep work and enables us to take off these "masks" and link up with our authentic soul-self in order to be a clear channel for such things as healing and divination. This process must happen over and over again for the shaman to be free of their programming and clear the energetic, emotional, mental and physical muck out of the way so their soul can shine into the world.
Balance and healing takes place when the energy of the individual is in harmony with the energies of the natural world and the energy body is free of impurities, is whole and has good boundaries. The shamanic path is geared pointedly to this end. This is the path and the tool set that Colleen used to cure herself of fibromyalgia, CFIDS, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism and asthma.
Once a shaman has learned how to get out of their own way, harmonize with their world, and has become whole and healed, they can begin to effectively interact with the world by interfacing directly with the subtle energies that flow through it, known shamanically as the Great Web of Life. To do so, the shaman must be able to merge with and manipulate these energies through conscious focus and intent. This allows the shaman to perceive and utilize energy the likes of which others are largely unaware. That's why the shaman can "see" and affect what is going on with others, the world, and the Web of Life.
The great shamans are like the Yogis that have gained popularity in the Western cultures of late. They are simple but brilliant, direct, to the point, power-filled, powerful, free of their personal demons, and are radiant with pure life force energy which they are honored to share with others. The enormity of the shaman's art is not in the mystic spirit-worlds but in the bringing of the fullness of soul and spirit into this world. That's how miracles are created.
Shamanism will help each one of us come as close as we are willing to that state of inner peace and power by providing a process and a way of life that changes us. As time goes on, we learn that living peacefully and powerfully is not only about what we do, but who we become.
Colleen Deatsman is the author of Seeing in the Dark: Claim Your Own Shamanic Power Now and in the Coming Age (Red Wheel Weiser 2009), Energy for Life: Connect with the Source (Llewellyn 2006) and Inner Power: Six Techniques for Increased Energy and Self-Healing (Llewellyn 2005), is a Masters Degreed Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Social Worker, Shamanic Practitioner, Reiki Master, Certified Hypnotherapist, and Certified Alternative Healing Consultant at Circle of Life Counseling and Healing Services in Mason, Michigan. colleendeastsman.com