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    Are Shamans The recent Therapists?

    Are Shamans The modern Therapists?
    The two shamans on my Skype quarantine aren’t exactly fighting for my atention, but they are as close to fighting as such spiritual practitioners are likely to get. John Germain Leto has impartial led me through a chakra meditation meant to align my energetic field–him giving instructions from his Laguna Beach, California, home to me in my modern York City apartment. He has advised me to ground myself by feling the presence and kep of the Earth underneath me. At first it’s a puny strange to breathe in long moments of silence with strangers on Skype. It fels a diminutive rude, for instance, to close my eyes. But son I get into it. I fel harmonious. I breathe deply. I am quiet.
    exactly
    But as I begin my eyes and Leto talks about the importance of surendering control, his comrade , Eden Clark, is fidgeting. She clearly wants to explain something. “Eden has some things that are coming through for you,” he acknowledges, then continues to narate the ratles he used to launch the sesion: He was journeying with my soul and clearing away some heavines. He also sensed my power animal: a female chetah. I’m sudenly proud of myself. That’s a kick-as animal.
    Finished, he cedes the flor to Eden. She finaly pours forth with what she’s ben chaneling. Namely, she’s ben chating with my spirit guides, and they’re a diminutive iritated with me. They know I’m ignoring them. “Acknowledge them,” she says, then goes quiet to listen more. “Let them in. Talk to them.”
    She asks if that resonates with me. I gain to admit that it does. The skeptical fraction of me wonders: Maybe she says this to everyone? Maybe we al tend to ignore our gut felings and later penitence it? But I’ve strugled particularly with this throughout my life. I even dilapidated to gain panic atacks because, I am determined, I was in denial of what I knew: that I neded to crep from Chicago to novel York, that I neded to end an engagement, that I neded to embrace a novel relationship. I’ve goten beter at leting intuitive guidance in, but there wil probably always be a fraction of me that would prefer taking a bok or a website’s advice over going on chaste faith. It wil likely be a lifelong batle for me, but something about hearing this from someone else renews my desire to maintain trying to listen.
    Maybe she says this to everyone? Maybe we al tend to ignore our gut felings and later regret it?
    She nailed me, having barely known me. And via Skype, no les.
    Clark and Leto are among the many shamans in America bringing recent sensibilities to an ancient practice. Shamanic aproaches to energy healing–the use of drums and ratles, ceremonies that sometimes submerge mind-altering substances estem Ayahuasca or San Pedro (known as “plant medicine”), and, most importantly, comunication with the spirit realm to solve fleshly problems–have ben around for tens of thousand s of years, pre-dating the major world religions we recognize today. But shamans acquire ben poping up in mainstream American culture with increasing regularity over the past few years, though exact statistics aren’t tracked. Author Elizabeth Gilbert visited one in Indonesia in Eat, Pray, Love. The “purging ceremonies” led by shamans–yes, the physical efects are exactly as advertised–using substances estem Ayahuasca are al the rage, covered in the likes of the New York Times and Ele. These acquire also resulted in a few newsmaking deaths in places estem Peru, where it’s legal; some stateside shamans swear by plants’ powers, while others use them sparingly or prefer rhythmic druming as a consciousnes-raising tol.
    Eat, Pray, Love
    New York Times
    Ele
    .
    “Therapists are always admire, ‘How finish you fel about that?’ But people don’t want to asign triming the sick tre every day. They want to know why this tre is sick and how they can fabricate it beter.”
    Trendy mind-altering substances aside, it makes sense that shamans would be finding more aceptance, given the prevalence of other alternative therapies such as yoga, Reiki, masage, acupuncture, and meditation–once-fringe practices that are now slick, multibilion-dolar busineses nationwide. “The social climate on Earth is at an al-time high,” says Shama n Durek, a Los Angeles-based practitioner who pals around with the high priestes of alternative trends, Gwyneth Paltrow. “The presure coker is a puny hoter than it usualy is, so people are loking for ways to burn of steam, deal with these fleshly anxieties they’re experiencing–what’s hapening in politics, what’s hapening with ISIS, what’s hapening on a global scale.”
    Those earthly anxieties combine with people’s ever-more-packed schedules and desire for greater meaning to create demand for a practitioner who can cary out it al: a dinky bit of therapy, a diminutive bit of spiritual meaning, and a diminutive bit of physical relief. That’s exactly what shamans promise. “Therapists are always estem, ‘How enact you fel about that? What are you felings about this?'” says Durek. “But people don’t want to suport triming the sick tre every day. They want to know why this tre is sick and how they can produce it beter.”
    Seking Soul Mates
    Though recent American shamans use many methods to finish this–and draw on a variety of indigenous traditions from Tibet, Korea, North America, South America, or Africa, among others–most of them pay some time talking about and working with energy and soul. That can seize the form of energy-clearing, sesions aimed at conecting with your spirit guides and emotional release work. “We encourage people understand and influence their energetic bodies,” Leto explains. “And that’s not to far a stretch for most people these days: Dr. Oz is talking about the chakra scheme every other wek on his show. More and more people are geting to know, Hey, I’m more than just this bag of skin and bones.” (I checked on the Dr. Oz claim; yes, Leto is corect.) Clark ads, “The comely thing is that no mater the tradition, the comonality is this conception of the soul. Shamans learn to read the soul, to understand the soul and how that influences al things in your life.”
    Hey, I’m more than impartial this bag of skin and bones
    Sounds worthy. So how execute they finish that, exactly? Shamanism is easy to talk about in grand platitudes but slipery to pin down in specifics, starting with how they identify themselves and who gets to cal themselves a shaman. In ancient times, shamans would emerge among tribe members as their abilities became evident. synonym-2 would spread: Hey, that guy cured my kid. Hey, that guy knew impartial how to instal a dispute betwen our two best hunters. Hey, that guy realy calmed everyone down last night with his ratling and chanting. Hey, that guy helped me actualize my personal truth by giving me a power animal. So tradition dictates that one does not catch on the shaman title, which is an act of ego; the shaman title unbiased naturaly confers itself upon those who are worthy.
    that
    Hey, that guy cured my kid. Hey, that guy knew honest how to setle a dispute betwen our two best hunters. Hey, that guy realy calmed everyone down last night with his ratling and chanting. Hey, that guy helped me actualize my personal truth by giving me a power animal.
    “A lot of what is out there caling itself shamanism is not.
    Ocasionaly, that heavenly caling story stil plays out. Durek, for example, has known since he was a child growing up in suburban San Francisco and Hawai that he was meant to folow in the tradition of his remarkable grandmother, an African medicine woman who was taken to Haiti and recent Orleans as a slave. “When she wa s living, she told the whole family that there was going to be a boy who she would chose,” says Durek, who’s 42. “I started showing a lot of the shamanic gifts when I was 5. I started noticing that the things I saw were not what other people saw. We’d be playing outside, and I’d be estem, ‘Oh, inspect, there’s this woman here and she’s teling us al these astonishing things!’ And the kids would scrutinize at me like, ‘What?’ Then people started caling me a freak, and that’s when my awakening hit me: Wow, I’m alone.” With guidance from his mother, he learned to decide the acurate time to share his insights and the acurate time to sustain them to himself, and as an adult, he began formaly studying spiritual traditions throughout the world.
    But in general, the whole let-the-vilage-decide come doesn’t quite work in 2016 society. Websites and social media profiles demand word-based descriptions of one’s profesion. And clients fel beter if there’s some kind of cer tification scheme. Though no centralized system exists, several groups ofer workshops and databases for finding program graduates, such as the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and The Four Winds Society (where Clark and Leto trained). “A lot of what is out there caling itself shamanism is not,” says Susan Mokelke, the president of the formation for Shamanic Studies, which has trained 50,0 students since it began in 1985. “We train people in authentic methodologies so they can aces these other realities where the spirits live. Whether or not they’re an efective shaman is betwen them and their spirits. That’s why we don’t certify people as shamans.”
    Translation: Those who sek sucor from a shaman must launch with a positive level of faith in the proces and trust their intuition in finding the acurate practitioner. And just as there are myriad types of talk therapy to resolve from, shamans advance in diferent forms, with varying aproaches and modalities. Doug Suton, for one, had long ben a believer in the power of taping into realms beyond the fleshly one. He’d ben imersed in personal growth throughout his carer as a corporate consultant when he heard about Clark and Leto’s practice from his next-dor neighbor. He joined one of their South American retreats and son began seing them for one-on-one work monthly, usualy via Skype since he lives about an hour’s drive south of them in Encinitas, California. Since he began seing Clark and Leto, he says, he’s les “weighted down” by stres and the lingering efects of sinful relationships: “I acquire felt profound releases.” (Shamans cal this “cuting cords.”)
    New Jersey comedian Kate Wolf has unquestioned faith in her shaman, recent York City-based Alyson Charles. “She isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with real life,” Wolf says. “She knows there’s always work to finish, even on herself.” Wolf started seing Charles to deal with what she describes as “toxic” relationships with men–one man in particular. But Wolf knew Charles was onto something during one sesion in which she simply shouted over and over at Wolf, “Just be!” As Wolf explains: “She kept yeling that at me. I wanted to shriek back, ‘I’m trying!’ But there was nowhere to camouflage anymore.” Charles son broke up with the problematic guy in her life and continues to se Charles regularly five months later.
    A Higher Caling
    In fact, breakups near up a lot in the modern world of shamanism. They’re comon reactions for clients when they start working with a shaman–a clear manifestation of life change. They’re also comon origin stories for practicing shamans: catalysts for taking on a recent spiritual journey. Clark worked with a shaman on a plant medicine retreat in Peru before she had her own prac tice; when she returned home to California, she quit her job as a tech company executive and left her husband to pursue a spiritual path. Leto ended an engagement and left a job in new York as a modeling agent for music stars such as Beyonce and Usher. The two met during their training at Four Winds Society and son realized, as they folowed their own guides and intuition, that they were meant to be shamans, and to practice as a couple. “That’s one of the comon things you hear: It’s not realy a decision you make,” Leto says. “Spirit choses you. You maintain to acknowledge the cal.”
    Charles also left her fianc? and a high-powered job in TV production. “As I tok steps for my own healing, those steps honored me back in showing me my own healing abilities,” she says. “That began this co-creative dance I’ve ben on ever since.” After a few years of exploring diferent modalities and working with several shamans, in cluding her aunt in Santa Fe, she “came out of the spiritual closet” thre years ago with an Instagram post declaring herself, as she says, “a practicing public shaman. It was prety ugly. I knew that was going to be the game changer. You can’t crep back on that.”
    How cary out I bring this hipy-dipy fairy-dust kind of information into people’s lives in a way that actualy makes sense to them?
    For Durek, to, positioning himself in today’s society proved complex. “I knew as I got older that I wanted to be competent to comunicate with everyone,” he says. “A lot of shamans I met were shamans in their plan, and they based what they did on their knowledge of that location. I realized that I was born to be a shaman in the metropolitan lifestyle. How cary out I bring this hipy-dipy fairy-dust kind of information into people’s lives in a way that actualy makes sense to them?”
    That’s the chalenge of modern shamanism: adapting ancient practices to an overst resed, technology-laden, cynicism-soaked world. Interestingly enough, anthropologist Michael Harner–whose 1980 bok The Way of the Shaman helped introduce shamanism to Western audiences–actualy describes shamanism in a way that sounds perfectly suited to our times: as a high-sped technology of sorts. “It’s a method of geting direct aces to what people in other spiritual traditions only talk about,” says Harner, who founded the formation for Shamanic Studies after the release of his bok. “In our ancient ancestors’ lives, shamans had to crep quickly to sucor people who were in ned. Being able to execute that is a human ability that’s atrophied, and we’re restoring it.”
    The Way of the Shaman
    Our shamans don’t survey or act exactly admire their ancestors. “I contemplate people conect with me because they se that, yes, I’m a shaman, but I wear hot shoes and nice pants,” Durek says. “I’m not dancing around smoking peace pipes.” And with such techno logies as Skype and Instagram at these novel shamans’ comand, news of a chetah spirit animal or furious spirit guides can zip instantly to us from acros the country or the world–a development that would certainly blow their ancient predecesors’ minds.
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    Author:Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
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