Shamanism worked for me
As a professional wellness spa consultant, in the past 25 years, I’ve been in touch with innumerable healing practices, such as chelation therapy, hydrotherapy, Ayurveda, qigong, reflexology. And then there was one I’d always thought was a little “out there” and was too hesitant to give it a try… Shamanism. It was just too weird in my mind.
But when certain events in my life made me realize I needed a reboot, I remembered my long-standing friendship with Elizabeth Alanis, a professional and fully accredited psychotherapist who also happens to practice the art of shamanism. Two sessions were all it took for me to change my view of shamanism.
Although centuries-old and brimming with mystique, shamanic treatments can be administered online, even easier than meeting in person.
My Experience working with a shaman
Elizabeth discovered shamanism in her native Mexico. A young family member of hers who was suffering inexplicable medical problems was taken to a curandero and cured after a variety of procedures including prayers and an herbal bath. This account and others convinced Elizabeth to add shamanism to her skill set.
I confess Elizabeth’s background in traditional western healing made it more comfortable for me to seek her help. Her blue-chip credentials include a psychology degree from City College of New York, masters in social work from Fordham University, psychoanalytic training at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies of New York and postgraduate certificates from the Centre for Applied Jungian Studies in Johannesburg.
Not much ‘woo-woo’ there. And in fact, Elizabeth’s approach was quite disciplined, starting with a two-page form for me to fill out to clarify my situation and goals. To prepare for each one-hour Zoom session, she told me to drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep, and take no alcohol or other intoxicants. While I relaxed on my couch at home, we explored everything related to the issue I wanted to address including:
- Imbalances or blockages in the flow of inner feminine and masculine energies
- Imbalances or blockages physical, mental, emotional or spiritual
- Imbalances in one or more of the different energetic centers of the body (chakras)
The experience was a revelation. After just one session I felt very relaxed and (unexpectedly enough) very aware of my dreams. Elizabeth also recommended at-home practices to sustain and expand the changes to my energy, which I dutifully performed.
When Elizabeth reminded me of a simple truth it was a real ‘aha’ moment: we have the power and courage to curate the life we desire. Whether this was common sense talking or shamanism, it was just the impetus I needed. I felt I had regained my balance!
A path more spiritual than chemical
Healing in Western society aims to treat the symptoms and not the cause of illness, using chemicals. In contrast, shamanic healing works in the spiritual arena, with the goal of restoring balance and wholeness.
According to Elizabeth, a shaman is a person familiar with the visible (material) and invisible world (spirit). Shamans understand that, within a person, everything is connected – the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental. And, if one of these areas is out of balance it can affect the whole person.
Shamans are conduits of wisdom and healing power to be aimed at the roots of the unease that someone is experiencing. They have various tools to choose from when looking to restore balance for a client.
If one is willing, a shamanic healing can catalyze a person’s own spiritual and self-healing capacities, which are often overlooked or pushed aside by traditional therapies and modern medicine.
Benefits of shamanism:
- Feeling grounded and confident when dealing with life’s challenges, learn to tap into and trust their inner wisdom.
- A profound sense of wholeness, aliveness and joy as you learn to love and integrate all the parts you have rejected.
- A deep sense of freedom, self-love and mastery as you reclaim your power by setting appropriate boundaries and renegotiating old agreements.
- A sense of expansion and authenticity as you overcome the fear of expressing your needs, values and expectations.
- Experiencing reciprocal relationships that are genuinely loving and supporting.
- Feeling empowered, energized and fulfilled as you create a life of meaning and purpose that enriches you and the world.
What conditions do shamans help?
According to Elizabeth, the most common conditions that shamans help are:
Energetic imbalances: in our
- Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual body
- Feminine or masculine energies
Power Loss: often shows up as a lack of vitality or zest for life and can stem from:
- Violated boundaries
- Sacrificing our own integrity to get certain needs met
- Internalizing limiting beliefs about ourselves
- Anything that disconnects us from our true divine nature.
- Other common symptoms of power loss include chronic illness, depression, fatigue, low self-esteem, poor boundaries, suicidal feelings, or ongoing misfortunes
Soul Loss: often feels like
- Loss of vital essence after a traumatic event
- Feeling different after a trauma
- Memory loss
- Difficulty staying present
- Chronic depression
- Weakened immune system
- Chronic illness
Intrusion of negative energies: can stem from painful past experiences, other people, the environment and may show up as:
- Physical pain
- Emotional stress
- Localized illnesses in the body
What to look for in a shamanic healer
Although there is no professional association of shamanic practitioners, those who have undergone serious training spend several years studying at a reputable shamanic school under the guidance of a master. Students also need to have engaged in service to the community to practice what they are learning under their teacher’s supervision before they gain the skills and knowledge to begin practicing on their own.
“Every reputable school requires that the student start by working towards Wholeness and Oneness herself,” says Elizabeth. “We work on our own alignment with the Divine, all parts of us and all in creation – continuous spiritual work to face our shadow and to experience our real self rather than the many voices of our wounds and personality. We apply the healing techniques on ourselves or other students, our teachers or their assistants, then practice serving our communities to refine our skills and knowledge.”
The best shamanic healers abide by the Shamanic Code of Ethics, located on the website of the Society for Shamanic Practice (shamanicpractice.org). Shamans and shamanic practitioners have undergone as well as facilitated training, and have participated in healing circles and other healing events. It’s a good idea to ask if the shaman you’re considering is a member of a shamanic community and ask about their training and contributions.
If you’re interested in contacting her, Elizabeth can be reached through her website: loveintowholeness.com