I’ve been asked several times why I tell people not to send “love and light,” Reiki, or “healing” when I express ill health.
Kelley, Last year my friend’s eighty-some year-old father went into the hospital for the fourth time in a few months. He had fallen, had a brain bleed, and other serious problems. She sent out an e-mail asking for prayers for her dad, saying she had been “shown” the possibility of his full recovery. I offered a prayer and sent energy from heaven and earth to be received as his higher self directed. I had no intentions beyond these. When I was praying for him, I “saw” him and experienced his presence. I also saw an etheric issue in his field, which I could imagine my guides shifting. I asked him if it was okay to allow them to do this, and his response was along the lines of, “Of course I want to be helped out of this! Anything you can do, do it. Let’s get started already!”
Our guides and some other angelic took charge of the energy. I don’t remember what they did, though the matter was handled. A few days later I heard he made a remarkable recovery and was released to rehab. Eventually he went home, though he never fully recovered. He had other medical incidents and passed away two weeks ago.
My question is, did I do something ill-advised? I have since read that one should never do healing work of this nature without permission from the subject on the physical plane. According to these sources, they need to say “yes” verbally or in writing. Believing that one has permission from that person’s soul or higher self is not adequate. Also, could I have retained any energy from this interaction that is damaging to me? Thank you, C.
Thanks for your note, C. What a great question, and what a great experience! I do distance soul healing as part of my shamanic practice, and I’m often asked about the ethics of it. For my professional work, I base my intentions from what clients inform me needs balance. I do a very careful assessment of the request and determine if I’m a good fit for that distance work. If not, I will say, and if so, I proceed with the client’s permission.
Working from a general request for healing is a very different approach. I am in the camp that you get the verbal agreement when possible, and that you don’t sit down and intend to do healing without someone’s knowledge of it. In cases like you describe, where it wasn’t at all your intention, I think you were at the right place and the right time for some other touch that needed an earthly vessel to work through, for him. Because you didn’t intend it, this experience is different. You intended the space. What happened in it was beyond you. You were likewise blessed by witnessing it.
As far as picking up things from doing healings for others… You always have to clean yourself after, even when the session went great, with no tension or distress–to you or the recipient. In the same way that you wash your hands before you eat at a restaurant, clear yourself before healing work. The same way that you wash them when you are done eating, clear yourself after. Part of what makes shamanic healing successful is the long-established relationship with one’s guides, as well as great finesse in traversing the spirit realms. That said, when doing healings, whether in-person or remotely for others or self, we pass through layers that are beyond our awareness. Even those of us who do such healings and soul interactions regularly don’t know every little detail of what’s in that space, what’s been there, ever. That’s why we do rituals before and after healings, to clear out what is not appropriate to the healing, and what isn’t appropriate for us to bring back from it.
Clearing yourself after directing healing can be as simple as, “I release anything from this experience that doesn’t bless me,” or “”I release anything from this experience that isn’t aligned with my wellbeing.” Use the wording that literally gives you a tingle or some clear sense of a shift.
C, you are wise to consider the parameters of ethical remote healing, as well as its potential to affect you. Thanks for probing thoughts we all need to consider as we become more responsible, responsive Universal citizens.
Kelley, The spirit of Tara, my ex wife and dear friend, has appeared to a new psychic friend. She seems to be warning me of something harmful that is coming. Three days ago was the seven-year anniversary of her passing, which was very unusual and unexpected in the jungle of Ecuador, while doing Ayahuasca with shamans. Any insight? Thanks, Flash.
Thanks for your note, Flash. The anguished aspect of Tara that I met was still in the jungle. You and I have done work around her death years back, though something that became evident this time was that this aspect of her was being held back on purpose, through no efforts of her own. I realized this as when I met her this time, she pointed behind me to a seething spiritual presence of indigenous magick that draws on the abilities of others. It appeared as a group of men dressed in plants, wool, and body paint.
My understanding from the altercation that transpired between myself and the men was that Tara wasn’t being held only for her intuitive abilities to be usurped by them, but everyone who energetically reached back to the point of her death in an attempt to understand what happened to her or do release work around her death, was being wicked of their abilities, as well. I don’t pretend to know what this presence was, it’s particular method, etc. What was clear is that they were a local force that had long-mastered the ability to draw on the spiritual abilities of others for their own use. They recognized Tara as a powerful intuitive, and they decided to keep this aspect of her soul there for good, to continue using and attract other intuitives to come find her. As these innocents came to help Tara, they would be leeched of power, possibly rendered unable to help Tara. In other words, this magickal force attached to those who have attempted to help Tara, and remained attached, drawing on power from many people over the years–including you. Especially you.
My guides intervened and took over the whole situation. They bound that presence to Nature, such that it can be gradually healed and released. It didn’t feel right to just yank it out and remove it. There was a need for this presence to come to know a more connected, balanced way of holding magickal power. Until such time, it is bound to Nature. Healing was done for Tara, whose final words upon her deathwalk were, “Heal Flash.” All healing that could be done for you and those who have attempted to help Tara over the years was given, and rooted into all present lives.
For you this means a steady return of power you haven’t felt for a long while, or felt but couldn’t hold onto fully. What was being taken from you is now able to be fully possessed by you. There may be emotional healing needed around this, as its return could stir some echoes of grief and longing. Overall, nothing is coming, Flash. It was already there, and needed to go. A light you’ve needed to see for a long time is flickering to life.
Edited to add: This article on ambiguous spiritual tourism and the use of ayahuasca just came out this week.
In shamanic work is the concept of soul loss, or when an aspect of the soul has become distanced (I describe it as “shelved”) and can’t re-engage with the earthly consciousness. Souls are infinite, made up of limitless soul parts that travel in and out of our awareness. This soul traveling is the natural progress of growth, widening our awareness, expanding our consciousness. In times of trauma, when a soul part leaves and can’t return to the earthly consciousness, that’s when problems arise: chronic illness, feelings of depression, lack of motivation, feelings of not being completely present. Such is the path of soul loss in an individual. When considering collective soul loss, these factors plus another comes into play, making mass soul wounding more challenging to heal.
Horrific, heart-wrenching tragedies, such as the killings at Sandy Hook, in Nigeria, China, Portland, Colorado, at Virginia Tech, Columbine, 9/11, cause collective soul loss. Natural disasters such as Katrina, Sandy, the 2004 tsunami, the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, result in mass soul wounding. As a population watching tragedy from afar, once we can process beyond our instinctive reflex to assess self and realize we are physically unaffected by the disaster, our hearts go out to those who were. We grieve for those lost. We mourn for those who lost loved ones and survived. We devote compassionate support to the affected community, through donations, prayer, providing manpower. We watch through the haze of the media circus, judicial process, and/or legislative attempt to prevent future disasters, seeking release, perhaps even hope, vindication.
Somewhere along that road we begin to realize that we are more affected by the tragedy than we realized, and we feel guilty for that fact. We feel that because our lives were not directly impacted by the disaster, we shouldn’t be disrupted in the daily honoring of life. We shouldn’t be stunted or disconnected from our joy. We shouldn’t feel it as much as we do. We feel selfish for thinking that we need healing, and for turning that heart focus to ourselves, rather than those in the immediate community.
Guilt and ego are the key inhibitors to healing collective soul loss. To devote healing to the whole dynamic, to treat the wound of collective soul loss, we have to include ourselves in honoring what happened, how it left us feeling, and in the healing offered. We must grieve the dead, even if we didn’t know a single one of them. Have compassion for the survivors, and all of the dark days ahead of them as they put their lives back together. Support them and their community in the way that we best can without depleting our own resources. Then repeat that whole process for ourselves.
Animism teaches us that we are all connected in the web of all things. As trauma in our personal lives creates perceived fragmentation of our souls, so collective trauma results in the perceived tear in that web. Only by remembering that we are all connected do we heal. Nothing heals in isolation, but through the combined efforts of us all. We must do what we can to express support for the immediate community, then our healing efforts must turn to our own wounds, knowing that what we heal in ourselves generates healing for others. This is the shamanic narrative. Through the creation of our own healing stories and sharing them, we inspire others to speak their stories. We create a bond focused on collective healing, assuring wellbeing for all.
Take time to reflect on your healing story. Write it down, if it helps, or draw it, paint it. Express all of the feelings wrapped into your experience of the healing process, and know that in doing so, we all heal. We all move closer to wellness.
Originally published on The Huffington Post.
Gift of the Dreamtime – Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma
Available on Amazon.
In the 8th year of its journey, bestseller Gift of the Dreamtime is now available in its second edition, in several ebook formats. With a foreward by shaman and founder of The Last Mask Center, Christina Pratt, the second edition of this fantastical memoir chronicles a modern shamanic journey from pain, to healing and accepting a calling to work as a soul healer of others. Groundbreaking at the time of its first publication in 2004, still no other modern shamanic work shares an experience of soul healing told from within the shamanic narrative, bringing relatable and credible insight to contemporary shamanic healing. Through that rare glimpse into her experiences traversing the spirit world, Harrell’s story becomes the reader’s adventure.
Not always easy to read, there are unflinching passages examining hurtful childhood memories, confrontations with overzealous spirit guides, and challenging personal obstacles she must overcome in order to heal. The book combines Harrell’s personal journey with instructions for creating similar soul journeys to help the injured child in all of us look at the hurt, understand it in a spiritual context, and forgive both ourselves and others.
Gift of the Dreamtime has remained a bestseller in modern shamanism since its publication, and has stayed in the Top 100 New Age Bestsellers at Tower Books since its publication 2004. Enjoy Gift of the Dreamtime in ebook for of various formats, print from Amazon, or order it from your local bookshop.
“Too many times we confuse motion with progress.” – Albert Einstein
A growing pain in the maturation of neoshamanism is the instinct to heal everything, that where there is energy imbalance it must balanced. Imbalance can occur in a person, a place, an animal, or an era. The inclination to heal at all cost can be viewed as a proactive model of health and wellbeing, no doubt the mindset many modern shamans bring to soul work. To indigenous healers, the ‘must heal’ mindset is very modern, and it embodies fear, isolation, even aggression. Because of its emphasis on the healer, the instinct carries with it arrogance, presumption, and idealism; thus is incomplete. It perpetuates the notion that imbalance is something to be viewed as broken, something unnatural, ideas that disregard the constantly changing state of Earth consciousness and experience. We are always in flux, and most of us realize profound growth not from balance or being out of balance, but in the process between the two. A task of the modern shaman is to embrace the full circle of Life, and in doing so, to impart that while perhaps uncomfortable, no facet of it is unnatural. More…
Several readers have asked for a summary list of my ten most poignant observations of personal shamanic work and maintaining a shamanic practice. In celebration 10 years of Soul Intent Arts, thank you to all of the readers, clients, students, confidantes, comrades, and spaceholders who have contributed to its sustaining life force.
In 2000, I created my neoshamanic practice, Soul Intent Arts. I’d worked with others for two years, and had crafted a personal animistic path with strong shamanic influences for ten years prior. Making the transition from spiritual seeker to committed shamanic practitioner was a huge step. Twenty-two years of experience seeing life through a shamanic lens and working with others has given me insights that feel right to pass along at this auspicious time. To celebrate Soul Intent Arts’ presence in this plane and this exceptional dance we’re doing toward this Winter Solstice, I’m closing this momentous year by listing my ten most poignant observations of personal shamanic work and maintaining a shamanic practice, and will present them over the next few days.
Thank you to all of the readers, clients, students, confidantes, comrades, and spaceholders who have contributed to Soul Intent Arts’ sustaining life force. Bless all of your dear hearts.
And one more, because I have never been good at math: