FAQs

What is Shamanism?

Shamanism Shamanism

A basic definition of Shamanism is the practice of heart and soul healing through entering into a state of non-ordinary reality.

Historical Background

Shamanism is an old practice found at the roots of nearly every culture, and often joined to the religious practices of the culture. Modern day Western practice has been largely publicized by Michael Harner, Ph.D, who has used is various credentials in Anthropology to create his school, The Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Through his publications and school, Shamanism has been slowly growing more and more mainstream, and there are now a variety of people offering training.

In Colorado, an accredited state certified Shamanic Arts school has opened, Path Home Shamanic Arts School. As the first such school in the state offering practitioner certification, Path Home is seeking to establish and grow a community of Shamanic practitioners in service to their towns, country and the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why would you use Shamanism?

Shamanic practitioners seek to heal spiritual illness often caused by fragmentation or what is commonly termed "soul loss" in the shamanic community. This soul loss often results in repetitve, destructive patterns in one's life which have not responded well to other treatments and therapies. One would use a shamanic practitioner to help change what is keeping a person locked into these patterns.

Shamanic practitioners always work within Sacred Space and with "spirit guides". The process of creating "sacred space" provides a clean, reverent atmosphere within which to perform healing. Shamanic practitioners invoke spirit guides to ensure that the healing work is in the client's best interests.

2. What are the benefits of Shamanism?

The benefits are the ability to make the work of breaking out of a pattern of behavior successful. Shamanism is often successful where other techniques have failed. This is because the individual is participating directly in his own healing work. Modern day shamans come from all walks of life, clergy, medical doctors, executives and artists.

3. What should you consider regarding Shamanism?

You should consider whether you have patterns of behavior that you have always been unsuccessful at breaking, no matter what method you have tried. You should also consider whether there may be a physical explanation behind that behavior, and perhaps use shamanic work in conjunction with a medical practitioner. There are several medical doctors that refer their patients to shamanic practitioners.

Soul Retrieval

Soul Retrieval is the practice of entering a trance like state in order to find and heal wounds on the level of the soul. This is an old practice found in every tradition of shamanism.

1. Why would you use Soul Retrieval?

You would use soul retrieval, via a Shamanic Practitioner, to heal wounds of the heart and soul. This method helps you to re-connect with parts of yourself that you had dissociated from, and whose absence prevent the client from creating change in their life.

2. What are the benefits of Soul Retrieval?

The benefit of soul retrieval is to create the possibility for the client to create change in themselves and their life.

3. What should you consider regarding Soul Retrieval?

You should consider whether you are willing to face the reasons why you dissociated in the first place. Sometimes the reasons are a result of major trauma, sometimes the reasons are things that may seem - outwardly - to be minor, but in reality had a large effect.

Pattern Tracing

Pattern Tracing is the practice of tracking the root of a the client's behavior or injury, without entering into a full, trance-like state. This practice is a relatively new concept that has been identified and taught by Gwilda Wyaka, founder of Path Home Spiritual Healing Center and Path Home Shamanic Arts School, located in Boulder, CO.

1. Why would you use Pattern Tracing?

The practitioner uses pattern tracing as a tool to focus the client more into the root of the issue, before utilizing methods such as Soul Retrieval and Extraction.

2. What are the benefits of Pattern Tracing?

The benefit of Pattern Tracing is that it enables any other shamanic work to be more effective since the client has become more in tune with the root of the issue.

3. What should you consider regarding Pattern Tracing?

What you should consider about pattern tracing is that not every shamanic practitioner utilizes it as it is a relatively new practice.

Extraction

Extraction is the practice of clearing energies from the client which do not belong to the client. This is an old practice found in every tradition of shamanism.

1. Why would you use Extraction?

Extraction is used when the client has a negative foreign energy attached to them. Shamans believe that this is simply part of living in the world.  Sometimes it can be something as simple as someone once having said that you would never succeed, or driving down the street and having someone direct anger or swearing towards you.

2. What are the benefits of Extraction?

The benefits are that sometimes we are creating patterns in our lives, at least in part, because of these foreign energies, and freeing and clearing this energy can create tremendous change.

3. What should you consider regarding Extraction?

What you should consider is that these energies should be cleared when the wound that allowed them to attach in the first place has been sufficiently healed. For this reason, Shamanic practitioners seek to work on healing the source of the wound that is attracting or allowing these negative energies to affect one's life.

Drumming

Drumming is an ancient practice of beating a drum. The utilization of the drum is a tool to work with the client's energy. Percussion is likely the first musical instrument ever used by people.

1. Why would you use Drumming?

Drums create a natural grounding in the Earth, while simultaneously helping us to open. The use of the drum for Shamanic work is quite common for helping the practitioner to enter the state of non-ordinary reality. However, the drum can also be used as an aid in balancing the energies of the client, as well as in extraction.

Today, drumming is used in a wide variety of settings and occassions to effect change in the environment or to "set space". Church groups, corporations and some medically-based groups use drumming and drumming circles to influence and cleanse the energies of a particular area and to focus intent when working on a group effort.

2. What are the benefits of Drumming?

The benefits of drumming are numerous, from methods of raising and directing energy, to purely physical effects such as lowered blood pressure and stress levels. The benefits are those linked to the nature of the drum itself. Like any tool, the drum tends to make the work a little easier on the practitioner. In addition, the client receives the benefit of the grounding nature of the drum, which in of itself provides a host of benefits.

3. What should you consider regarding Drumming?

What should be considered is locating a practitioner that has been specifically trained in how to use the drum as a tool with which to work energy. It is not a matter of knowing rhythms, but rather a matter of understanding how to properly work the energy through this tool.

See our Holistic Care section for recommended practitioners.

References

1. Bittman, Barry Ph.D. Sounds of Healing. 1999. www.mind-body.org/mind-over-matter-Bittman.htm.
2. Harner, Michael. The Way of the Shaman. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1990.
3. Wyaka, Gwilda. Truest Nature Shamanic Practitioners Program. Boulder: 2006.

Additional information