The pioneering work of Michael Harner, PhD, brought shamanism to the West. In 1979, he created the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, the world’s foremost shamanic training center. It was the work of Harner that I studied with in the UK when it became very clear to me that it was a pathway I very much needed to follow. I didn’t fully understand why but ‘I knew’ why. Like a deep sense in myself that this was right and that my heart was telling me so. There were things ‘I knew’ that I could not have known, or ever been taught, I simply knew them. During my training’s I began to be awakened to the occurrences throughout my life that were being affirmed as shamanic experience. I had had no idea at the time.
Even now I find myself sharing particular ways, offering what feels so natural to me, knowing I had never actually been shown that in a human realm, but my spirit guide is there showing me, laying it out in front of me saying ‘here you are, here are the tools, here is the information.’ And then I find myself reading a book about some ancient tradition and there it is in black and white, staring at me from the page. ‘Oh, that is why that was shown to me in that precise moment!’
In shamanism, ‘seeing’ or being a ‘seer’ involves seeing with the heart, knowing in your heart that what you are perceiving is truth. The visceral connection that our hearts have to our bodies, to our muscles and our bones allow us to sense what is right and to sense what is wrong, when we are in touch with that part of ourselves and we literally tune in to it, we are truly ‘listening in’ and getting the information that is of most importance in the moment. So we pay attention to our hearts, becoming friends with all of our emotions and accepting them as gateways into understanding who we are and what we are here to do. Our hearts may challenge us, but it is part of our greater growth in the spiritual world, to pay attention and to accept.
My heart I consider to be my greatest teacher alongside my spirit guides and the greater spirit. If I can trust my own heart to be my guide, then the deeper my experience as a human will be, the richer will be my connection to love to joy and to the release that grief can give to me. I will hold more humility because I know my shame and my guilt, I will honor my anger because it ignites my passion and fuels my intentions and my fear will be that personal guide that protects me from danger, but reminds me of the frailty of being human.
On my path I continue to learn how to adjust my own consciousness, to expand my understanding and to reach the other worlds of time and illusion, to meet the realms of the known and the unknown and to be able to live not just in one world but in many. To alter states of consciousness, to heighten our senses, and to expand our consciousness are attained through techniques involving a monotonous percussion sound, as in the beating of the drum, or the shake of a rattle, or the repetitive patterns of movement within dance. We understand this like the majority of others who work with shamanism that this experience brings the innate and innocent nature within us alive, if we simply listen, very deeply to them, we get to realize it is calling us home, home to the origins of our humanity, to the ancient ones, reminding us where we come from and where inevitably we will return. Their messages will flow through us as we journey, as we dream, as we dance.
Listening into nature we will be shown what needs to be seen, if we trust in the ancient ways, allowing them to come to us and knowing that we are being dreamt. Dreamt to inhabit the old ways, because they work, they are without a doubt the most time-tested system and practice of healing with the purposeful integration of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. Our teachings as Michael Harner says is spirit led, the teachings have come via spirit.
Working with shamanism means that we can restore wholeness and power to ourselves. Power-filled human beings have the ability to heal them selves, to use the tools available and to become that fully empowered light. Knowing one self, being connected to the heart and understanding what it takes to listen, creating that deepening connection to the spirit world, to a greater power than our own, yet a knowing that when we become empowered our true purpose becomes clear and we know the steps we need to take to offer to others what we cannot fail to know – to really know.
The soil and rocks hold messages from the spirits – the drum beat vibrates the wisdom of an eternity and we are reminded of days gone by when we knew how to align ourselves with the spirit world, where ever we are in the world, what ever our situation, when we can tap into that history there is a universe awaiting us, asking to connect with us and receive its knowledge.
The traditions are alive, an entity of their own, we simply need to tap in and listen, allowing them to remind us of who came before, and the medicine that comes from spirit, not of our own egos.
When we can trust our own spirit guides and our heart and know – fully know – that they are there to support us, it can bring us insights and inspiration, support as well a sense of not being alone. When we make a decision to remember, we will never be alone.
Middle Earth Medicine Ways
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