Five Beautiful Teachings of Shamanism
A Written Series of Five installments on Shamanism
By Gwendolyn C. Natusch, B.S.Ed., M.Ed., MSW
As a practitioner both personally and professionally of shamanism since 1989 I write this series on shamanic teachings because I am passionate about what shamanism is, its organic nature as a means to connect and transform in relationship with God/Source and it’s potential as a tool for inner transformation and healing. It is my hope that you will find inspiration and maybe even a new idea about the world and your relationship with The Divine in an active and “partnershipped” way! Read on oh courageous ones!
The first line of order is to speak to what shamanism is and what shamans do. Without this context the five beautiful teachings of shamanism, which varies from culture to culture, but maintains core, universal beliefs that define the heart of shamanism, has little meaning or connection. So, with the help of eloquent Mariah Molyle, I begin this series with just that:
What is Shamanism & What Do Shamans Do?
Shamans are mapmakers working on the energetic level, closest to Source, (a.k.a. – the Universe, God, Spirit, etc.) to help to dream our world into being. Problems are solved, healings occur and new perceptions are created by opening a dialogue with nature, utilizing the power of archetypes, and by journeying into realms of consciousness. The shaman develops this capacity of moving through levels of consciousness through deep focus and moving through states of consciousness like we do when we dream at night; only the shaman participates in consciousness in awareness and practice. Shamans do not wait to have a meaningful and potent dream every now and again or every 5 to 10 years. Shamans dream consciously by choice and in this way develops an intimate, active and informative relationship with The Divine.
Mariah Molyle shares, “We use the term mapmaker in shamanism, which is just a fancy term to describe the shaman’s ability to assist their clients with charting a new life map. Maybe the client feels like their current life map is limiting or has a lot of dead ends to it. Perhaps the desired destination isn’t even on the current map. The shaman helps create a new map, or a new route to the client’s destiny.”
The map that Molyle references is really the inner stories that serve us and the inner stories that do not serve us and instead limit us or create blocks that lead, often, to physical presentation in the body as disease. Shamans as channels for the Divine and through Spirit’s lead and healing energy, can repair and release long held imprints in their own or a client’s energy field that oftentimes lead to disease. The shaman assists in shifting the beliefs, which shifts the inner map we hold, and in this shift, new perspective have room to arrive and healing can potentially happen in the body because the story map has changed and when this happens the body follows the new story!
“Dreaming our world into being means being a dreamer, instead of being dreamed. This includes dreaming of and achieving outcomes, instead of letting life just happen to you, and seeing misfortune as lessons in strength and character-building instead of devastating pitfalls or victimhood”, says Molyle.
Shamans often walk on the edges of society because they do not buy into the mainstream way of being and doing. Shamans are visionaries with connections to larger realities and this connection allows them to see and do things that do not always reflect the thoughts and ways of the majority. It is often said that shamans have one foot in ordinary reality and another foot in the spiritual realm. It is the work of the shaman to refine their ability to see the physical world and the spiritual world in their every day, moment to moment experiences. This takes mental discipline and a committed spiritual practice and a committed willingness to continue to better themselves and heal all wounds and shadows within them that keep them limited, stuck, wounded and limited in their capacity to hold Divine Light, Love, joy and the ability to dream their highest and most refined dreams/visions into reality and physical manifestation.
The shaman also befriends benevolent spiritual allies in their journeys into the spiritual realm. These are referred to as archetypal spiritual beings. They are guided by Love and Beautiful Intentions. The work of the shaman is that of discernment of these energies. Shamans are also charged with the essential task of keeping their own energy, thoughts and bodies clear and perpetuating their own inner growth, healing and being a clear and integral channel for healing and visioning. Source meets us where we are through journeying in forms that are beautiful, safe and loving. These are the archetypes. They show us our beauty and our shadows that long to be transformed and they help us to heal.
When the potential shaman has walked their path long enough, they are ready to be called to help others heal because they have walked the path of inner transformation and healing and can be an experienced guide for others to walk through their healing journey.
“The archetypes are ancient forces of nature that live in our psyche. These can be a wide range of elements within us including the masculine and feminine, the creator, preserver and destroyer like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in Hinduism, or the victim, orphan, movie characters, perpetrator and rescuer”, describes Molyle.
Spirit or God meets us where we are and appears in the image that will open our hearts to healing, new perspectives and spiritual teachings and come as guides, animals, trees, a flower, a cloud, and also as archetypes. There are archetypes such as the Fool, the Princess or Prince, Jesus, Mini Mouse and the Generic Stepmother to name just a few. There are many, many kinds of archetypes and these are beings or ideas that we all know collectively.
“But the main archetypes that shamans work with, Molyle points out, are animal spirits. When journeying (aka meditation), the shaman calls in these archetypes as allies for guidance and healing.”
Molyle concludes with: “Shamanism is about seeing divinity in all living things and interacting with the spiritual realm. Shamans work with stones, plants, animals, archetypes and spirit guides, knowing every element in our reality has its own energy and potential. Shamans use dreams, plant medicine, drumming, rattling, singing, chanting and journeying to travel through and between the realms of Spirit and timelessness.”
A note about Mariah Moyle: Mariah is a shamanic energy medicine practitioner. She is passionate about her path as a healer and is dedicated to bringing these ancient shamanic teachings to the western world through writing and practitioner work.