Elements of Shamanic Healing
by Roel Crabbé
The cure of the part should not be attempted without treatment of the whole. No attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul. Let no one persuade you to cure the head until he has first given you his soul to be cured. For this is the great error of our days, that physicians first separate the heart of our soul and the soul of our body. – Plato
Healing is undoubtedly the core element in shamanism worldwide. The shaman is also called the wounded healer: he or she has healed himself with the help of the spirit helpers and knows the nature of the illness. For that reason, he can rely on his own experience to help others.
The notion of healing covers many aspects: healing physical illness, finding inner peace, or resolving an inner conflict are all parts of healing. The shamanic healing model focuses on both the energy body and the soul.
The shaman will look for the cause of the imbalance in one of the 4 energy bodies: the spiritual body, the emotional body, the mental body, or the physical body. From a shamanic point of view, all physical illness is an expression of an energetic imbalance. After all, the soul and the 4 layers of the energy body form an inseparable whole and constantly influence each other.
For example, we all know that repressed emotional pain, stress, anxiety, or anger will express itself physically, even though all of these states are subtle. And we can see how someone can go through life with ‘a heavy burden on his shoulders’ and how this expresses itself in the vision & state of being (spiritual), the emotional life (emotional), and the beliefs (mental) as well as in the physical body.
However, the shamanic healer doesn’t focus on symptoms but searches for the cause of these symptoms. This is because spirit, body, and heart are not separated from each other. Therefore, to find the imbalance, the shaman will always work in close contact with the spirit helpers and power animals that assist him in finding the cause in the energy body or on soul level. For this, the practitioner will bring himself into a trance by, for example, working with the shaman drum or rattle, and then scan the energy body or listen to the guidance of his spirit helpers.
The helpers will also assist him in restoring energy or healing the soul. Sometimes this healing work takes place during the shamanic journey, but usually, it happens in direct contact with the person receiving the healing.
Power Retrieval, Energy Balancing, Spirit Extraction, and Soul Retrieval
There are 4 major categories within shamanic healing:
- Lack of power in the energy body: the energy body is weakened and therefore less resilient. In this case, Power Retrieval, the recall of Power, will be required.
- Imbalance in the energy body: the energy management of the person is disturbed and shifted. In this case, it is necessary to balance the energy body.
- Intrusion into the energy body: in this situation, foreign energy has penetrated the energy body and is harming the energy management of the person. This is called an “intrusion”. In this situation, the shaman uses Spirit Extraction to remove the energy.
- Loss of power or soul from the energy body: in more severe cases of trauma or emotional stress, a part of the soul may take a distance to protect itself from the pain and takes refuge in the other world. This is called ‘Soul Loss’. The shaman’s healing work to reclaim these lost soul parts is called ‘Soul Retrieval’.
There are many nuances in these 4 categories, often interconnected. For example, a weaker energy body can become more unbalanced in a person because the little life force available must be used, for example, for professional life. So other aspects of the energy body are malnourished and become further unbalanced.
In the case of Soul Loss, we often see that a part of the soul has left because of severe trauma or shock. However, this energy is usually still present in the energy body and must first be removed before the soul part can be retrieved.
The shaman or Western practitioner will mainly receive healing instructions from his teachers and counselors from the spirit world. The universal principles and healing techniques are also passed on from teacher to student. The true teaching in healing work stems from a personal collaboration with the power animals and spiritual helpers. They provide concrete insights and help diagnose problems and find suitable ways to recover.
In the words of Michael Harner: “We are not alone” …
© Roel Crabbé – 2012 – 2022