In this new age society, there is a rush to put aside conventional ‘medicine’ in favour of alternative, complimentary and spirit treatment. The reasons for this are varied; lack of trust in conventional methods, the seeming lack of efficacy in these methods, a misunderstanding of ‘healing’ & ‘curing’, a returning to natural process, the list is endless and all with some merit. However there is a tendency to ‘rush’ to some of these other methods in desperation or misguided expectation.
The true art of Shamanic intervention is not merely in the ceremonial and ritualistic ‘treatment’ but also in the holistic approach to the lamenter, which includes diagnosis and referral.
Beginning with the term holistic infers that the practitioner is as aware of as much as possible, the life of the person in front of them and not just a list of symptoms; the term Lamenter suggests ‘the one who cries out and implores’, therefore part of the intervention is to be present and listen to that ‘crying out’.
As spirit workers that ‘crying out’ is the basis for the relationship with the lamenter and at the very same time it is the gathering and bringing together that ‘story’ in all its presentation, onto the intimate relationship which the practitioner has with the spirit world.
The very basis of shamanic and animist healing is to be the means by which lamenter and spirit are brought, perhaps more correctly re-brought, into a forgotten or blocked relationship between them and the spirits. In this the practitioner, who embodies that relationship, is the means by which that lamenter/spirit relationship aligns. The practitioner’s relationship with the lamenter is not simply a reflection of that relationship, rather an actualizing of that relationship; far more than any bridge.
And yet the idea of a bridge does have a place here in the sense that shamanic practitioners are the not just the keepers of the bridge between the mundane world and the spiritual world, they are in fact the bridge itself, taut with tension holding the space between the two realities; as if the practitioner was the embodiment of the Universal Imagination.
It is this ‘tension’, this intimacy between the mundane and the spiritual that focuses the shamanic practitioner for it is they who always stand at the point of most tension, most confusion, and most doubt; is the point of creativity. When concrete mind can no longer sustain its grip on limited resources, and abstract mind engages will and enables that process of choice that moves the practitioner closer to their higher self.
In trusting intuition, and again for intuition we mean intimacy with the spirits, the practitioner stands midway across the bridge, in the centre of themselves neither one side nor the other, caught in the tension that releases spirit to be the instigation of healing and relationship.
Here in this moment we stand in the centre of the Universal Divine below us our incarnated divinity, above us the ultimate Divinity.
At this point the practitioner has simply to stand still and let the Divine through creation to touch them. As Creation moves forward and paradigm gives ways to paradigm, it seems that we end where we start.
We make the error of rushing on ahead staying with the deliberations of concrete mind. Then ideal for drawing together is to stand still and let the abstract mind, the soul create.
Thomas Moore in ‘Care of the Soul’, alludes to “……pausing; taking time; these could transform life, could allow soul to enter…..” [T Moore 1992]
The practitioner stands on the bridge of themselves and casts all limitations into the river, they stand before the altar of their being and present their fears and expectations to the sacrificial flame
In this process they see difference, diversity, possibility, serendipity and finally they see themselves and the truth.
It is in this humility they bring the truth home.
It is in this humility that we become not just the pathway between the lamenter and the spirits, rather the humility is in truth the intimate moment, the space of intimacy in which healing is present.
Healing is that action of gathering all together into the wholeness that has been fractured or lost and now presents as the ‘dis-ease’ of the one who ‘cries to us’.
Whereas the word cure, derives from caring or remedying s specific and there creating a dualism of ‘one who can’ and ‘one who can’t’.
In this wholeness of healing, the practitioner listen, observe, senses both in the intimacy with the lamenter and the intimacy with the spirits, a ‘knowing thoroughly’ is apparent and it is this ‘thorough knowing’ in it’s early Greek root the word diagnosis comes from.
Diagnosis for the spiritual practitioner is that intimate knowing, which is derived from this intimacy of spirit and lamenter.
The mundane tools for this sacred act are given in out five senses; to see, to hear, to feel, to smell, to taste. For the shamanic practitioner all five are brought into play. In our clinical world of nicety, tasting and smelling clients has been somewhat put aside, whereas our ancestral practitioners would not have considered any deliberation complete with all five sensory testings. These five senses where the interactive processes between the physical and the spiritual and every nuance in each of the five was never discounted, rather followed as if some invitation to deepen the healing relationship.
For the shamanic practitioner, diagnosis is not an action it is rather a sense of being, in which the lamenter and the spirits come together in the existing intimate relationship that the practitioner maintains and it is that relationship between lamenter and spirit that produces the signals, messages and awareness of the through these five senses within the practitioner, which some may call intuition.
Intuition is not some 6th sense, rather it is this surrendering to the humility of intimacy with the spirits.
‘Intuition’ that is seemingly spontaneous, yet without that intimacy or referral to all other senses, it is more than likely to be an ego or agenda based discernment, which could indeed be a part of sensing that should always be accepted as an invitation to immerse oneself into sensory intimacy with the spirits. In itself without the preparation spoken of, in can cause more distraction than focus.
At the heart of shamanic or spiritual healing needs to be that device of diagnosis, which is that ‘knowing thoroughly’. This knowing has to and must begin with a self knowing. The bridge is always a tension between our strength and vulnerability.
Referral is a place of honest surrender that this is as far as one can go with these resources or on one’s one. Surrender is an act of love.