I believe that each of us is a shaman.
Shamanism is the oldest healing modality in the world, and shamans have been found in every indigenous culture. Shamans travel to and work with the spirit world to help bring about healing. Traditionally, shamans-to-be often had a major life changing event or near-death experiences that marked them as a shaman. They then began intensive training to be a shaman.
However, you don’t need to go through intensive training to incorporate shamanic practices into your everyday life. Many of the day-to-day components of shamanism can help you better understand and ground yourself, tap into the wisdom you have within you, and connect you with a higher power.
Here are eight easy ways you can do so:
- Spend time in nature: In addition to its beauty and ability to help calm the mind, nature can be a source of inspiration and insight. Pay attention to what catches your eye. Are you seeing the same animal over and over again? Are you drawn to a particular plant or stone? It may have a message for you that can help you with your current life situation. Reflect on the messenger to get the insight.
- Work with your power animal: Power animals are here to help us through life. However, like every relationship, your relationship with your power animal needs attention and cultivating to be strong. Spend time getting to know your power animal. Have fun with this! If you can, see a physical version of your power animal in nature, at a zoo, or at an aquarium. Put a photo or likeness of your power animal somewhere where you can see it every day. Have a feast in honor of your power animal and serve food that your power animal eats…even if you have to substitute gummy worms for real worms. Look at what sets your power animal apart from other animals. What characteristics does he have in physical form that you can apply to your life? Has your power animal been referenced in stories or folklore for having certain attributes that have meaning to you?
- Meditate: Shamans often use meditation to connect with the wisdom of the spirit world. Begin by finding a comfortable sitting position. State the situation you’d like guidance on, close your eyes, and clear your mind. Focus on your breathing and stay alert. “Watch” for words to come to you – these often are the answers or wisdom you need about a situation.
- Record your dreams: When I was training to be a shaman, my dreams increased in frequency and intensity. Dreams are one way that the spirit world speaks to us. Keep a pen and paper near your bed and write down the details of your dreams as soon as you wake up. Spend some time with your dream and the message that it might contain.
- Connect with your spirit guides: Much like power animals, each of us has specific spirit guides that work with us throughout our lives. Even if you don’t know your spirit guides by name, you can call on them to help you daily. Our spirit guides are here to help us, but will only do so if asked. Make it a daily practice.
- Learn to journey: Journeying is the cornerstone of the shaman’s practice, and it is through journeying that the shaman does his or her healing work. There are many resources that can help you learn to journey, including shamans, in person groups, books and online videos. Find one that you are comfortable with and begin exploring other worlds. Regardless of the resource you choose, I highly recommend you focus your journeys on the Upper and Lower Worlds, since these are filled with loving helping spirits.
- Join a Meetup or other group focusing on shamanism: There are many groups out there today – both in person and virtual – that help bring together people interested in shamanism and teach various techniques, such as shamanic journeying and how to find your power animal.
- Express gratitude: Underlying all aspects of shamanism is a sense of great gratitude for the love and support we humans receive from the spirit world. Feel and express your gratitude daily for them and each aspect of your life.
Depending on where you are on your personal life journey, some of these practices may appeal to you more than others. Whether you start with one or jump in and try all of these ideas, with regular practice and usage you should find access to greater insights and peace.