While I appreciate and follow the rational wisdom of stoics like Seneca and Aurelius, I have also been fascinated with the role of the Shaman, the healer, the medicine woman (and man) in tribes throughout the world. While throughout history these people have taken on the responsibility for the well-being and emotional balance of their villages, I ask myself, what is the role of a healer in today’s society and do we not all have the potential to heal each other?
A Shaman at The Soho House
My first encounter with a modern day Shaman was in the private screening room of The Soho House in Manhattan. Ridiculously ironic I know, but true just the same. Barnaby Ruhe leads an east and west cost circle collective to Shamandome at Burning Man every year.
From Woo Woo, to Wow, Wow
Just recently, I have been fortunate enough to have benefited greatly from a life energy and power animal healing session with Jennifer , a Life Energy Coach with a Masters in Natural Health based in San Francisco. I met her right here in the world of Word Press. It’s interesting to note that Jennifer is also a brilliant business strategist by day. She brings a great balance to the land of woo woo, which is exactly why I think her work bridges the magic of mysticism into modern day living so well.
As a coach, Jennifer helps people identify and integrate changes into their life through a variety of shamanic practices and techniques and the guidance of helpful spirits.
If you are interested in learning about the details of my experience with Jennifer, please comment below and I will be happy to go into further detail.
For this blog today, I asked Jennifer to answer a few questions.
MJ: Jennifer, please share some of the really amazing moments you had with the Mayan Shaman in the Yucatan that found you on your trip to Mexico. This, the beginning of your own shamanic journey.
JM: I had never heard of shamanism before my trip to Mexico a few years ago. That all changed on my third day of vacation. I decided to walk to the city square, but as usual, got lost. One of the local residents offered to help me find my way. We walked and talked, and when we got to the square, he told me that he needed to introduce me to someone. That someone turned out to be a Mayan Shaman.
There was an electric moment when we saw each other, a knowing that we were meant to meet.
The first thing the Shaman said to me was, “You have a very big heart.” He asked me what I did to make the energy of my heart so big, but before I could answer, he took my hand in his and curled his fingers around mine in such a manner that our fingers made a spiral. He explained to me that this was the symbol of the shaman, and went on to tell me about shamanism and how it heals.
He then said that he was going to perform a shamanic healing on me. He spent over 4 hours working on me – using stones, chanting, drumming and energy work. I knew he was the “real deal” when he explained that my energy was blocked due to two traumatic events in my life, and then went on to describe those events to me.
At one point, he took two raw chicken eggs. He had me shake them and then gently ran them over my body, many times. He told me they would remove negative energy. When he finished, he had me shake the eggs again. They were very heavy and sounded as if they were filled with gravel!
As he continued his healing work on me, I suddenly felt a huge opening in me. A wave of emotions swept over me—anger, joy, guilt, sadness—and I saw a vision of a snake slithering down the side of a pyramid. I felt shattered, but also felt an incredible sense of relief and peacefulness.
By the time he was done with the healing, he was covered in sweat. He told me that he normally would do this work over several sessions, but his spirit guides had told him I was coming and to do the work all in one night.
He began my shamanic training that first night and continued throughout my trip. On my last night there, he came with a gift for me: an 800+ year-old stone carving of Itzamna, the Mayan god of creation, writing, and divination. It had been carved from a million-year-old stalactite from a sacred cave and used in shamanic ceremonies since. Many people had wanted the carving, but it was not for sale.
When I asked him why he gave the carving to me, he said, “Because you are to become a shaman.”
Since then, I have gone back to Mexico several times for more training with him. We have traveled to many sacred archaeological sites together, where he has taught me how to increase my energy and power, read the energy of others, and how to heal.
MJ: Can you give an example of how your power animal has helped you discover yourself and grow with more happiness, self-love and power?
JM: My power animal works with me daily, for my personal healing and shamanic work. He shows up in shamanic journeys, dreams and visions. When I first became aware of shamanism, my power animal began teaching me shamanic techniques that were validated through training with the Mayan Shaman and others.
He will also bring in other power animals when I am dealing with a situation that would benefit from that animal’s strengths and wisdom. As I’ve been transitioning to doing shamanic work, my power animal has brought in Snake (transformation), Hawk (vision), Bear (strength), Vulture (purification and rebirth) and Crocodile (power and awareness) to share their life lessons with me. Years ago, my power animal brought Fawn in to help me through a difficult personal time in a beautiful, gentle way.
MJ: Why do you think more and more people are interested in Shamanistic healing now?
Shamanic healing has been around since the beginning of humankind. Society moved away from this type of healing with the advent of modern medicine, which typically has focused on the body part and not the whole person. I think more and more people are becoming aware of the fact that the body is a complete system that includes mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. Shamans focus on all these areas when working with clients. I also think that modern medicine is becoming more open to including holistic approaches to healing. In California, one hospital combines modern and shamanic practices for healing. While it is the first hospital in the country to do this, I would expect to see more integration between different healing approaches in the future.
Learn more about the meaning of your power animal – Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small