Cherry blossoms symbolize the beauty and ephemeral nature of life. Shamanism is a spiritual path that deepens awareness and appreciation of the beauty of life. It also enables us to embrace the ephemeral nature of our lives – to move with the changing rhythms of our lives - with greater ease and grace. Shamanic practices assist us in letting go of those things that no longer serve us: those emotions, thoughts, and patterns of behavior that do not contribute to our well-being. They also help us identify and attract resources that support health and happiness for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
Do you remember Stevie Wonder’s song, “Superstition”?
When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer, Superstition ain't the way, no, no, no...
Shamanism is not about believing “in things that you don’t understand.” As a species we are in our infancy, in regard to understanding energetic dynamics and human potential. However, as a species, we have known for tens of thousands of years that certain spiritual practices are effective in restoring well-being to individuals and communities. We may not understand exactly how they work: but we observe that, indeed, they do work. I am not a proponent for believing in shamanism. I am an advocate for experiencing shamanism, and learning whether or not it is effective for you.
Shamanic practices may be used in conjunction with mainstream medical care, professional psychological counseling, and complimentary or alternative health care modalities like body and energy work. While other forms of care direct attention to the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of illness and growth, shamanism focuses on the spiritual aspects. Fundamentally, shamanism is the practice of working in relationship with compassionate spirits. It is a spiritual practice: not a religion. People of many faiths, as well as those unaligned with organized religion, seek shamanic counseling for healing and guidance.
And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy. Black Elk
Between Worlds: An Introduction to Shamanic Practice, August 10 & 11, 2019, One Yoga & Wellness Center, Hightstown, NJ
Shamanism is not about belief. It is about experience: and the knowing that comes from experience.