By Shaman Sandra Chestnutt 8-24-18 

At its core, Shamanism is a set of precise protocols used to interact with the compassionate spirits in the spirit world and the world we live in. It isn’t guided by beliefs of a particular culture, religion, or intertwined with the honoring of a pantheon of gods. Tens of thousands of years old, Shamanism is the oldest known form of spiritual practice—most certainly prior to being given the identity of Shamanism. 

Shamanic practices have been adopted into many cultures over time. These practices became part of the traditions woven into deep levels of spirituality and spiritual healing. Proven results show that when the spirit (soul) is healed, the body follows. 

Shamanic initiations and pathways are rooted not only in Native Americans cultures, but in Celtic and Siberian cultures, throughout Mexican and South American cultures, Europe—Australia, likely just about everywhere. Michael Harner, respected Anthropologist and founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, made it his life’s purpose to experience and explore many of these culture’s medicine ways (shamanic ways), discovering that they share common protocols he identified as Core Shamanism. From these core techniques, each culture seems to build outward integrating additional techniques unique to their Life Way. 

Popularity has risen with vigor in all things Shamanic. It’s true that anyone can integrate practices from shamanic teachings into their personal Life Way, but sadly only chunks of information are being grouped together by many, utilizing only what they like best and tossing the rest of the teachings aside. This smorgasbord effect can lead to inadequate techniques and processes opening an individual up for vulnerabilities with them delving into spirit realms unprotected with absence of the knowledge necessary to know they are in trouble. 

It has come to my attention that there is a careless trend to take these smorgasbord techniques and turn out workshops where varied teachings are presented, experimented with, and then applied with no authority to do such things. There are no authentic protocols in place and damage is happening to individuals receiving healing from what is called “Source” or “The Universe.” This convoluted healing energy has no identity other than oddly being trusted as good because it’s coming from “Source/The Universe.” Healing practices are popping up building off of these smorgasbord techniques derived from cannibalizing the medicine ways of authentic shamanic practitioners. 

Trustworthy shamanic practitioners come into this work as a Life Way, a dedication to the work with the highest of authority, regard, and integrity. They have been trained in depth by an experienced shaman (or shamans) with the teachings, having a clear understanding of what protocols they have permission to use, how and when to use them, and what limitations they have in sharing the protocols with others. 

In this Life Way one is in relationship with all things; to walk the blessing way of the shaman is to immerse oneself in the wholeness of all that is. 

May the blessings pour out upon you for complete wellness, wholeness, happiness and joy in all you do. 

Shaman Sandra