As I work with new individuals, I am often asked, "What should I expect on an appointment with you?"
Each shaman usually has his/her own routine, that can give a basic structure to the ritual (but also allow room for spontaneous changes/additions). Most of the time, I am able to follow this structure, but sometimes, the Spirits flood my brain with images and I end up doing something completely different!
After I welcome a new client into my home/office, I take care of a few hospitality issues (Water? Need the restroom? Nervous-type questions?), and we make our way into my altar room. I will have my drum, rattle, stones, plants, etc. prepared, as well as a soft mini-bed for the client to lie on. I'll also set up a few pillows for the friend/loved one who has come to witness the Healing, and give moral support for the client (bringing a friend is always welcome, and can take away a lot of the anxiety!).
Once everyone is as comfortable as can be, I begin by honoring all the Spirits that will bear witness to the Healing Ceremony, as well as those that are protecting it. I have songs for different types of Kindred (Gods/Goddesses, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits/Genus Loci), and invite Everyone that I think will help out the client's healing process. I then call to my own personal Helping Spirits, and merge* with one (or more!) of them.
Of course, I'm doing all of this with my eyes closed, which I'm sure makes for funny faces while I'm singing! But once I've set up this ritual, and I've reached that point of Grace & Sacredness, I'm ready to See What's Really Going On.
Sometimes, clients will tell me what they think is wrong with them, or what causes them the most stress. Other times, clients won't say a word. In the end, it doesn't matter which happens, as I'm directed to the areas that need specific healing for that specific day.
So, after all that prep, I open my eyes, and take a Look at the client both physically and in my head. Sometimes I drum over them, to help clear away the shadows that can appear to try and trick me. Essentially, I am looking over areas that are filled with pain or dis-ease, and removing the "spiritual gunk" that is there. Once I've removed all that is to be removed for that day (and it can be a completely different area than the client mentioned!), I return the client's power to him/herself, in the form of Soul and/or Power Animals. The returning of Power is one of the most important parts of the ceremony for this reason:
Nature abhors a vacuum-- if a shaman takes something away, but doesn't refill it, something Else will fill it. And it won't be natural...
After I have brought back the client's Power, I seal him/her up with stones, crystals, plants, etc. Anything that speaks to me in that moment, that will resonate and amplify the client's own personal power.
And that's about the bare bones of it! Sometimes, a Helping Spirit will hijack the Journey I'm taking inside my head, in order to deliver a personal message to the client. And sometimes I'll do things in reverse order, so that I can increase the client's power before I take away any shadowy-gunk. As many of my clients know, sometimes I will See something so powerful and inexplicable that it takes a bit of stuttering before I understand the message that's passing through me (but I'm getting better/clearer as I gain experience)!
Many of my Healing Appointments take place in my home, as all of my tools and materials are there, and I am centrally located to many people. However, I do also offer Skype (online) healings, as well as "Traveling Shaman" healings, in which I drive to you in your home. How do these differ? Is there any change in the effects?
Nope. None. Nada.
The magic of shamanic healing is not in the physical presence of the shaman, but in the ability of the shaman to petition the Spirit World for Healing on the client's behalf. As that petitioning happens in the Spirit World in my head, I do not need to physically be there, or to have it occur at a "sacred space." The songs & invitations to the Spirits make any place sacred, whether it's someone's home, or the constructed space of the Internet!
I hope this article answers some of the questions that many of you may have, and feel free to email me with any more!
*merge- What is merging? A shaman merges with his/her Helping Spirits in order to stay protected when battling shadowy-gunk and searching for the client's Soul/Power. This work can be draining and dangerous without merging, as we are only human animals Journeying in a magical Spirit World!
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