If you drop into silence in nature, and allow your feet to sink into the earth, open your heart, and ask a question, you will receive an answer. The answer may take different forms, you may see a butterfly, a leaf, hear a message or you may just experience a knowing in your gut. The world around us is communicating with us all the time in different ways. The shamanic practitioner works in direct relationship with his or her inner guidance, and therefore, no two shamanic healings (or practitioners) are the same.

However, there are some common tools used in healings. It may be helpful to know what those are so that you have a sense of what to expect. I understand that receiving a shamanic healing for the first time can feel a bit weird or uncomfortable. Stepping into the unknown and having faith in something larger than yourself often is.

The best thing you can do to prepare for a shamanic healing is to get lots of rest, and drink plenty of water and prepare to give yourself time afterwards to sit by a tree, take a bath, journal and practice self-care. The most important thing you can do to prepare for a shamanic healing is to practice letting go, and imagining letting yourself receive. Often times using visualizations can help.

Here are a few examples:

  • Imagine you are a sunflower tracking the sun to soak in it’s rays.
  • Imagine you are dry moss in the rainforest soaking in the first rain
  • Imagine every cell in your body opening up to receive the gifts of who you are

Shamanic tools

The Drum
The drum will bring you immediately into a deep state of relaxation. The sound of the drum alters the brain waves so that enables the practitioner to enter an altered state of consciousness to retrieve messages from the spirit world.

Practitioners will often receive particular songs from spirit that help them connect to their guides.

Similar to the drum, the sound of the rattle can also be used to alter states of consciousness. The practitioner will often use the rattle as a tool to find energy blockages. After a Soul Retrieval or a Power Animal retrieval, the practitioner will use the rattle to seal the work.

Sage is a powerful tool for clearing energy.

The practitioner will merge with his/her power animal to remove blockages that are no longer serving the client. This may take the form of sucking in the energy and then blowing it out. Some practitioners may cough or even spit, to transmute the energy.

A psychopomp is an individual trained in helping spirits that are stuck in the middle world to crossover to the other side. A practitioner will do a journey to the spirit that is stuck and help them find their way back home.

Soul Retrieval
Shamanism believes that when there is a trauma and an individual dissociates, part of one’s vital essence will leave in order to lessen the impact. The shamanic practitioner journey’s to retrieve this vital essence and will blow it back into the client three times through their heart chakra and three times through their crown chakra. In shamanic cultures, the entire community would participate in honoring an individual to get back a part of their soul.

In our culture, a client may have a Soul Retrieval and then go back to work, or have to go pick-up their kids. It is important to know the power of this ceremony and to honor it, and taking time to be gentle with yourself and practice rigorous self-care. A soul retrieval is a powerful ceremony for someone struggling with depression or who feels like they “aren’t themselves.”

Power Animal Retrieval
In shamanic cultures, a power animal was considered an individual’s “guardian-angel.” Learning to cultivate a relationship with one’s power animal can be like getting back a best friend, a companion, a guide and a protector. A power animal retrieval is a powerful ceremony for someone who is feeling lost or having trouble connecting to their power and strength.

Healing with Spiritual Light
Inside every one is the spark of divine light. Through meditation and visualization, one can merge with the light inside and connect to the web of all of life. The energy of healing takes place with the wisdom and knowledge of the heart, and often takes time in silence to fully integrate. Expect the practitioner to make toning sounds.

Additional reading
Read this blog post from one of my clients about how shamanic healing has helped her after her father’s death.