Shamanism remains little known, while at the same time it is gaining a stronger foothold in the West. While more and more people are interested, called by an opening of consciousness and a need to find purpose, shamanism is much deeper than just banging on a drum as some may think. It is about giving us an internal compass, landmarks in our psyche to go through the cycles of life with confidence. Shamanism deals with all the themes of life. Like many other ancestral practices, the approach is very structured; it is this structure that allows anchoring, then emancipation.
The depth of shamanism is expressed in its link to nature, to the spirits, to the elements, to the cycles of life. It is an ancestral medicine, certainly the first one, that we find in almost all native societies, still today: in Mongolia, in North America as well as in Mesoamerica, among the aborigines of Australia and the African tribes. The shamanic way accompanies and initiates us to the invisible world, this dimension that we have forgotten, but which remains always accessible and can allow us to find meaning. It speaks to the soul, in its language - the language of symbols. Druids, healers, mediums, have this connection to the invisible and to the spirits.
The elements of shamanism
Animals are particularly present in the shamanic world. They are energies. They are our allies and will allow us to go and find small parts of ourselves left behind in case of injury and which have crystallized. These animal spirits will show us possible ways and act in another space-time. Each animal has its own capacities, which it lets us see.
The medicine wheel is also a powerful tool. Little known outside this shamanic world, it is however a reference, a compass, to find ourselves in what we go through, periods of life, emotions... The more I integrate it in my environment, the more I see its depth. And at the same time I regret that we don't have anything comparable in our modern societies, where we could really use these reference points in our lives where we are desperately looking for meaning and direction.
Shamanic trance is the way to open up to other dimensions. This word tends to frighten people. What a pity! Yet trance is simply an altered state of consciousness, like meditation, sleep, hypnosis. We now know very well that these states are normal; they are specific to animals (which we are), and allow us not only to live but also to access other dimensions of what we are; it allows healing. Sleep is one of the states of modified consciousness that everyone accesses at night. Without sleep, our health deteriorates. I think it is important to mention Corinne Sombrun's work with researchers in neuroscience, which will certainly allow for a better understanding of this state and the healing possibilities that go with it. France is unfortunately behind the Americans who have been studying these states for a long time... but it is never too late!
The drum is an essential ally! Because it is by playing, at a very precise rhythm, which corresponds to the rhythm of the earth, that one induces the modified state of consciousness, and that the shaman reaches another dimension.
The cycles of life are important elements to know and recognize, hence the importance of rites of passage, ceremonies. These rites that we have forgotten in the West, but not completely, because some people find a particular way to celebrate the events of their children such as turning 18 years old which represents the majority, the autonomy... therefore an important passage!
Connecting to Shamanism
Sandra Ingerman, an American shaman whose books I have been reading for several years, proposes different practices and exercises to bring us closer to these traditions: rituals and ceremonies, dreams, work with sounds and light, arts and creation. They are like a bridge that unites us to what we only perceive, like a way to transcribe it, to express it; an invisible world that cannot fit into the boxes of Cartesianism and so-called logical thinking.
Shamanism is a way to communicate with the other kingdoms, the whole of what is on this planet earth, the generations above, those to come, and everything that surrounds us. A way to transcend the 3 physical dimensions and time, to which we are subjected. It is also a means of healing, of understanding life on earth. It is a guide, one could say a "little posology of life on earth". This is why I find it fascinating and full of teachings and why I am keen to share it.
Shamans were the first healers, in connection with the world of the spirits, the world of the invisible. They were, and still are, deeply linked to nature, to the elements, to the living.
This approach is universal and is all the more topical as we are in search of meaning, in a pressing need to connect with that part of ourselves that we have neglected for too long. The first peoples who have preserved this wisdom are now transmitting it to us.
But I also see a need for this approach to be transmuted, to transcend cultural codes for us Westerners. Some will adopt Amerindian, South American or Mongolian shamanism and for others, there is no need to go so far or to adopt another culture. For me, I have always traveled and learned from so many amazing encounters. This world is within me, with its depth and diversity. But I do not wish to appropriate a culture that is not mine. There is a space for us to own this sacred compass, to adopt it by adapting it, so that it can have its full place and that we do not lose what we are.
Shamanism has all the more sense in our world, in which we often lose ourselves in the analysis, the rationality, the thought. We use the left brain without thinking that the right brain, the creative brain, not only has its place, but if it is there it is for a reason; we must use it too, otherwise we are cerebral one-legged people! This is how shamanism will help us: it brings us a particular lighting, with a particular language, the language of the soul. It puts us back in the ecosystem of the Being, and not that of the having.
It opens the doors to our inner world. This world that we all carry within us.
To me my services and approach in shamanic practices, follow this link.