Shamanic practitioners look at the spiritual, soul and energetic nature of illness or distress that may manifest on a psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, relational, communal and ecological level. From this perspective illness is considered as a spirit messenger and ally that speaks to us about the way we are living our lives. The spirit messenger is informing us that some aspect of our life is out of balance and attention is needed to re-address the balance. When we choose to listen with the ears of our heart illness and pain can informs us of the necessary adjustments that are needed to come back into rightful relationship with ourselves and life and re-connect to our deeper truth and the path of our heart. Illness as such is embraced as an initiation towards healing.
Healing and health from a shamanic perspective is attained when we re-store our balance, when we access more of our expanded awareness, personal power, presence, compassion and authenticity with respect for all of creation so that we each can live a fulfilled, purposeful and meaningful life. And in the words of Conrad Satala: “Shamanism does not look at illness as pathological but as something that is trying to emerge. Everything is letting go, a falling apart. The incrustation, the armour of our conditioning cracks open to reveal the Light within. The illness is transitory, allowing us to get in touch with our eternal essence”. Satala echoes how illness can come in the form of a ‘dying unto ourselves”, a falling apart, a sometimes painful letting go of what we have come to treasure in our outward manifested life.
Deep from within this place comes a re-emergence into a new order, a transformation and sometimes a transcendent experience. From a shamanic perspective there is honour and respect given to the innate self organising principle in our body whose purpose is to maintain health and movement towards wholeness – spirit within.
Shamanism suggests that distress and illness can be primarily caused by one of three things:
Healing from a shamanic perspective is very different to the concept of curing. Curing is the domain of a medical practitioner. Healing however comes from deep within us.
Healing literally means to move towards wholeness. True healing involves connecting with our own energy resources and vitality, our deeper authentic and eternal soul nature and divine spirit, ultimately having our own personal relationship with the Sacred which must as science is also now showing, include our connection and relationship with the earth.
Healing from a shamanic perspective is also about reclaiming the fullness of our humanity, where we become our own explorers to encounter the stranger within us which is sometimes revealed to us in the form of illness. It is also about entering into the expanded presence of each moment of All That Is. Healing rests within the realm of our own personal power and responsibility. It is a choice that we personally make in undertaking a journey towards wholeness to allow what is waiting to break free within us to unfold and magnify our divine Light and Love.