What is shamanism?
For me shamanism is when you switch off your "monkey" mind and let your consciousness journey and connect. Your mind and body remain still and your consciousness explores and interacts with guides, archetypes and others.
"The shaman is someone who has woken up to the reality behind apparent reality, the reality of the imagination. The commonplace statement "oh its only imagination" is a gross denial of not only the whole realm of magical, but any understanding of how the universe really works. This is where the shaman works; in the realm of cause, in the imagination, the thought or dream realm where all is conceived and of which this familiar third dimension of gross material reality is but a reflection." Leo Rutherford
Who can be a shaman?
I think anyone can walk a shamanic path to connect to their guides.
It does take practise, experience and the breadth of experience that working with others brings to lead/heal others on a shamanic level.
How can it help me?
Shamanism helps you to understand yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. What has hurt you in the past, and where you have not healed from past hurt.
Where you give your power to others- and where you take power from others.
It helps you to be more "whole" to step into being really you- appreciating your gifts, and being aware of your weaknesses.
It allows you to appreciate your physical, emotional and spiritual selves- and allows them to work together for your own higher purpose.
It is empowering, energising, healing, euphoric and honest.
It is not a therapy, and should not be used in a group situation by anyone in crisis.
If life seems overwhelming it is best to start in the mind, body & physical realities, not the shadow lands.
A little about my journey to shaman...
I discovered the "alternative world" aged about 22, and jumped in with BOTH feet. I tried almost everything; Wicca, Druidry, astrology, tarot, free masonry, energy healing, ley lines, paganism, crystal healing.....
For several years Druidry seemed the best fit, though I dabbled with energy healing and shamanic journeying with friends.
And then my journey really began...my husband at the time was involved in a Nordic martial art/pagan philosophy called Stav which I know he valued highly.
One of the Stav teachers lived in Orkney, and we went to see him as part of our holiday. Meeting Shaun was a clear turning point in my life. As he talked about the Norse Gods and Stav I felt as if I had come home.
I found something (and somebody) who could join all the dots into one coherent whole.
The short story is, I sold my car to buy a small property on the remote island Shaun and his family lived on. Left my job (and everything else), moved to Orkney and learnt Stav. Even as I write this it sounds completely mad, but it was the best thing I ever did.
I immersed myself in the life philosophy that is Stav. Through a combination of martial training, runelaw and shamanism, I found myself again.
Life moved on, I met my present husband, we had children and enjoyed life on the island. In time we made the heart rendering decision to move to England for the sake of the children and I forgot for a while that I ever intended to teach shamanism.
As the children grew older I decided start a business reading and teaching tarot. I was drawn to tarot as it is far easier to put down as a mum of young children than the peace and time needed to work shamanically.
Then last February as I looked at a students tarot spread I saw the Hanged man in the centre. I knew then that I would be teaching shamanism. Later that month I started teaching two students, learning how to hold the energy, understand the individuals as they journeyed, and tweaking the techniques to help them connect to source.
Now over a year later and I run three shaman sessions a month and it has changed my life. I have connected with some wonderful people, made strong connections with my own guides, and have a deep contentment about who I am.
I am still a flawed human with the same fears and stresses that I had before my shaman's circle, it's just that I have a greater sense of joy about me, my life, and others in general.
I have come to realise it is called a "spiritual practice" because regular practise does make a big difference. I am not so bold as to say practice makes perfect though....
If you are interested in my shamans circle and monthly shamans workshops, you will find more details on my website
(photo; www.bellkipeg.com )