Tag: psychopomp

You Don’t Call, You Don’t Write… The Quiet Dead

As psychopomp is a critical role of my personal and professional shamanic path, I’m often approached by those who want me to communicate with deceased loved ones. In some cases a different scenario arises and I’m asked, “Why doesn’t my deceased loved one visit me?”

My immediate response is, “How do know your loved one doesn’t?” There is an assumption that because we are emotionally close to a deceased loved one that we are open to and will recognize a visit from that dear soul. It’s an understandable assumption, as our culture generally sensationalizes and romanticizes interactions with the deceased. In reality, it is often because we are so emotionally involved with the deceased that we don’t or can’t perceive their presence. Sometimes when loved ones are still actively grieving loss, they are too distracted to observe spiritual activity. In their haze, they miss subtle messages that a trained intuitive would intercept, or they are holding out for a grand entrance when a gentle presence is right in front of them. Consequently, sometimes when the deceased sense that their loved ones are not moving on, they do not visit them on purpose. The inability of living or deceased loved ones to accept death causes all involved to stagnate. Often the dead realize that their presence may only encourage the living loved one’s grief instead of soothe it.

Emotional involvement isn’t the only impediment to visitation from beyond the grave. Whether due to fear of the paranormal or the exclusion of such a possibility due to religious path or life view, these can be long-held beliefs that prevent spirit interaction. Often people haven’t really considered the possibility of interacting with a spirit until someone they love dies. Again, in that dynamic lies an assumption that the emotional bond will in and of itself reveal an active connection beyond the veil, and in this case trump institutionalized beliefs. I know it is entirely possible for someone who does not believe in spirits to have a spontaneous change of heart. However, in these cases there is still more than an emotional bond at work. Our consciousness is organized into beliefs and personal truths so that we can make sense of data coming in. At any point that we choose, we can change our beliefs, thus change the organization of our consciousness. In the case of those who prior eschewed spiritual possibilities let alone contact, it’s not likely that their beliefs will spontaneously reorganize to suddenly allow the perception of a visitation from a deceased loved one. If you fear spirits or have rigid beliefs that oppose paranormal life, the likelihood of experiencing such after the death of a loved one is slim. It is possible, though not probable. Naysayers who do experience unexpected spiritual interaction have generally gone through a rampant restructuring of their beliefs.

Another reason that the dead don’t visit is simply because they have no need to. They’re happy. They’re peaceful and they have genuinely grown beyond the concerns of the formed realm. It doesn’t mean they don’t love us or have abandoned us. It doesn’t mean you will never see them again. In fact, most of us repeat experiences of ourselves with the same groups of souls. It just means they’ve moved on to the next point of their destiny.

So what’s the magickal combination? Why do other people have full-on conversations with your deceased loved ones when you don’t seem able to? Remember that people who work with spirits likely demonstrated some innate ability to do so early on in life and/or had a life-changing experience that opened them to their ability, and have dedicated their lives to the skills and boundaries of that work. It’s not random or trivial. They devoted themselves to learning to read the signals and communication of spirits in subtle and profound ways. Moreover, they do so without an emotional charge. They are not emotionally involved with their work, and that enables them to stretch the limits of their ability. To people who interact with spirits doing so no different than interacting with the living. Venturing into the realm of the dead is as common place as walking into a crowded restaurant. In short, it’s not a big deal to them. They will it so, and so it is. Through that accomplishment, it’s always a miracle.

The thing is, there isn’t anything special about people who experience spirits and those who don’t. The only difference between those who do and those who don’t is willingness and the taming of cultural domestication to see life in a fuller, less prescribed way. If you are curious about how to interact with spirits, connect with a trusted professional who can mentor you in doing so. If you’re not but still want to interact with deceased loved ones, find someone who can do so and know that your bond is as intact as ever across the veil and it’s a blessing to have such. Moreover, find etheric ways to deepen your relationship to your loved ones now, and the opening for that greater interaction will always be there.

Soul Intent Arts – Ten Years, Ten Observations of an Animistic Soul #3

Soul Intent ArtsIn 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.

  • Between the time that a person schedules a session with me and when the session occurs, release has begun. In reality, healing goes on all the time, as a matter of perspective. The point that a client calls me and schedules a session is often a first point of becoming active in the healing process. Once that opening occurs, often the initial intention for the session has resolved by its date, and the client is ready to take that shift further. For this reason, I do not schedule same day sessions with the exception of psychopomp work. Becoming active in one’s livelihood thrives on incubation, and I do not interfere in that process. Minding that rich gap between initial contact and meeting carries deep personal revelations only the client can mine. Understand more about shamanic healing in the article What is a Shaman? What Can a Shaman do for Me?.

Conductor of Souls

I’ve been asked about the word ‘psychopomp’ several times lately, and it was suggested that a bit of explaining might do. Psychopomp is Greek for ‘conductor of souls,’ or someone whose role is to peacefully lead the departed to their next experience. Traditionally shamans are psychopomps, or deathwalkers, as others refer to them. In that context, there is a good bit more involved than escorting the dead onward and upward. In my childhood were several ongoing experiences that convinced me I was having a different go of things than most, and seeing dead people was one of them. It wasn’t until my late teens that I put the pieces together and understood that I was a natural deathwalker.

In order to be effective as a psychopomp, one has to possess reasonable skills in counseling, nurturing, protection, good boundaries, as well as the obvious ability to move between realms and know to where souls should be directed when they move on. My innate skills lay in seeing souls, but that was about it. I first had to learn not to be afraid of them, as often they were frightening and gruesome, in order to understand why they were coming to me. I gained initial insight into that dynamic on my own, then later learned specific techniques to help them transition. There are many ways to accomplish that purpose, some as simple as opening space and ‘pushing them’ up, or literally escorting them through in an ecstatic trance state. Others that I’ve found useful involve Middle World journeys to release them (solo energies and group), and a group Brazilian mediumistic technique called mesa blanca, which focuses on the release of suffering spirits.
Ultimately the goal is for the souls to move to their next experience of themselves peacefully. Life force isn’t created to be stagnant. It is progressive, evolving energy that needs to maintain challenging experiences to raise its consciousness. Stuck in place, that elevation of awareness can’t happen, and that’s when problems begin. Sometimes releasing life force goes more smoothly than others. Often souls who are invested in the chaos they create in the formed world are less likely to move on, and encouraging them to do so requires skill in counsel, negotiation, and protection. In many cases, the dead don’t realize they are dead, and that reality can be very upsetting to them. Again, finesse is required. On rarer occasions, they just refuse to move on, and this requires a mutual respect. As with the living, we can only be where we are; we can’t force ourselves or anyone else to be where they are not.
A caveat to releasing the dead is, sometimes the spirits in this realm aren’t of the deceased. There are different schools of thought on this scenario, of which I find souls that were never in form require a different approach to address their needs and release them. These usually are energies that have languished for centuries, or longer, if not are elementals and collective buildup resulting from the planet’s etheric grid being congested. Places, structure become entities separate from the people who dwell in them, and sometimes need to be cleared. Nature spirits sometimes need to be appeased and released. Sometimes people become attached to spirits or loved ones, and in the process of depossesion that spirit needs help moving on. The scenarios of psychopomp work are unique and possibly infinite.
It is our nature to keep moving, progressing. When any facet of our diverse souls doesn’t grow, All Things staggers under the weight of that stagnation. My approach to facilitating that has been to teach classes on how to die, as with all things, education goes a long way. In that way, education itself acts as a soul conductor. And in learning how to die, most of us truly begin to live.

The Dead Time Dawns – All in a Day’s Work

Raleigh Skyline

Raleigh Skyline

Every year for Samhain I publish accounts of my more charged, and in some cases creepy, spiritual pursuits. The Dead Time is a treasured journey to Solstice, and as it is a time of untime, the shadowed season presents a great opportunity to tell the stories that many who do shamanic work won’t tell–the occasions when things don’t go well or the unseen presents itself unexpectedly. You may recognize some of these accounts from my previous stories, while others are more recent. Enjoy the solitude of encroaching darkness. The light will return soon enough.

I wrote this piece several years ago, when my workspace started talking back. Indeed, the spiritual is never separate from the mundane… All in a Day’s Work.

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley Harrell

Read more spooky stories in “Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World,” my collection of true paranormal experiences as a lifelong intuitive.

Missing Person, Hidden Agenda

Kelley, a friend went missing last year, and the case has revealed nothing. Would you mind giving your thoughts on it? Thanks, BFF.

Thanks for your note, BFF. For my response to this inquiry, all personal information has been removed, and “Jane” is the missing woman. It’s very difficult to connect to the overall dynamic of how she went missing. As soon as I feel it, it’s as though I’m bounced away. Instantly, I feel a sense of self-culpability regarding her absence, but also regarding some state of her life well before she went missing. She’s making it clear that she doesn’t want me to see, which I respect. I can’t force anything. I would like to provide her loved one with info, if possible, however. Instead of trying to connect with her, I focus on the time and area in which she went missing. Instantly, I see the face of a dark man. When I try to read that further I get nothing, as if I hadn’t really seen it. I focus on her earthly consciousness, and feel that it is no longer in her body. When I focus on how it left her body, I find myself looking up through icy cold water into woods, where people rarely are. Attempting to read that experience further, the image of a head with a plastic bag over it is forced into my field. At this point I am perfectly clear that Jane doesn’t want me to know what happened to her. As I get a feel on something, she interferes and I lose bearings on the dynamic. A final attempt to connect with an aspect of her that is able to communicate with me renders a sobbing Jane. When I ask her if she is OK, she tells me that she’s fine. She doesn’t feel or present herself as fine at all, yet she insists. When I ask her why she is upset, she says, “I can’t breathe.”

I take Jane up for healing, and after, we sit on a rock in Spirit space. I ask her how she feels now, and she tells me, “Embarrassed.” Repeatedly she says this, but when I ask her to help me understand how to soothe her, she only attempts to redirect me again. I ask her to tell me about the embarrassment, and she goes silent. At this point along a deathwalk, it is unusual for a newly released soul still to be emotionally involved with the affairs of the living, not to want to facilitate balance. I tell her that I realize I’m being very intrusive at a sensitive time, but to show some compassion for those who are worried about her and give me something to report to them. Jane then tells me that she was involved with a married man, who when she said she was tired of hiding, became violent. She even gives me a name; however, when I hold the energy of what she is saying, I feel nothing. Perfectly flat. Understand that I am not a crime solver. I am not a details collector. I am a deathwalker. My job is to facilitate the released consciousness to the point that it can peacefully re-enter Source and move on to its destiny. It’s also my job to make sure there are no discordant connections left by the earthly consciousness, and Jane is intentionally impeding this healing. Anything that comes up along that process is incidental. That said, I don’t feel that Jane is telling me the truth. I feel without question that she is deeply ashamed about her death and having caused it, as well as the circumstances of some hidden aspect of her life leading up to it. My sense is that Jane was mentally ill and the people around her did not realize just how difficult it was for her to manage. That she may have intentionally created her own death would not sit well with them, and in Jane’s mind, that she led such a deeply troubled existence embarrasses her. She holds strong stigma around her mental struggles. I can’t force someone to tell the truth. All I can do is register if the vibration of what the being communicates matches its life force. Jane’s doesn’t. Despite that the details of her account don’t match up etherically, she’s been through a trauma and is expressing that she’s not ready to let go of it. Jane sits in a wonderfully peaceful space, so that when she is ready, she has the angelic support to move on well.

As I leave her, something odd happens. From a remote view, I see myself walking away from Jane, who is still seated on the rocks with the angelic beings. Jane turns into a large, bright green reptile and explodes, projecting herself toward me. The beings intervene and keep her from reaching me. Not common, though not unheard of, altercations with the disembodied occur. My sense of Jane’s aggression toward me is that she is deeply ashamed and doesn’t want anyone to know how her hidden life contributed to her death. For me that last act seals that Jane is mentally imbalanced, and was so at her death.

I don’t feel that anyone else was directly involved in Jane’s death. I do think that there could be a clandestine relationship on the periphery, though it was with a woman, not a man. I don’t feel that this woman was aware of Jane’s mental condition. I also feel that Jane is keeping her body from being found, and that’s why she’s not moving on. In her consciousness, which is not balanced, she equates being found with secrets revealed. I don’t feel that her body would reveal any foul play or evidence of an untoward lifestyle. Still, her shame over her death is deep. I feel that she is safely contained, though her earthly conscious is still very much engaged. I expect that she will move on when she feels safe to do so.

BFF, I’m sorry for your loss, and I hope that you find the mundane answers that you need to find your balance.

Charitable Neighbor

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley Harrell

Read more spooky stories in “Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World,” my collection of true paranormal experiences as a lifelong intuitive.

Every year for Samhain I publish accounts of my more charged, and in some cases creepy, spiritual pursuits. The Dead Time is a treasured journey to Solstice, and as it is a time of untime, the shadowed season presents a great opportunity to tell the stories that many who do shamanic work won’t tell–the occasions when things don’t go well or the unseen presents itself unexpectedly. You may recognize some of these accounts from my previous stories, while others are more recent. Enjoy the solitude of the darkness, and know the light will soon warm!

Feeling the death experience of another Being is not an odd occurrence to me. The sensation of my body’s systems shutting down, the pressure of hands wringing my throat, the aching chill of life draining from a fatal wound are rather familiar. Not to say that all deaths are so dramatic. Some are quit gentle in passing. Growing up, feeling others’ deaths were my most frightening spirit encounters. I did not understand that these beings didn’t intend to hurt me (for the most part), but were seeking acknowledgement, compassion, help in transitioning. With the help of my spirit guides, as an adult I rely on their support to help me experience others’ deaths and maintain my wits while helping invading spirits move on. There have been cases in which souls tell the story of their demise with my body but don’t want to move on and that’s when the efforts of my guides are most needed. Most of the time now I experience the deaths of others only within dedicated psychopomp rituals. However, it seems the most common time for me to experience spontaneous death moments of the clingy variety is in the wee hours just before dawn. Though I am accustomed to feeling my body be some soul’s last attempt at biological life, I found myself very disturbed by a specific soul that just couldn’t let its number be up.

This episode occurred a few years ago. A cultivated level of higher awareness kicks in during these death experiences, and it was within that altered framework that I knew instantly that I was not the only one in my body. I knew that I was in my bed, that it was still dark outside, and I was aware that I was convulsing. My heartbeat was scant, my lungs labored for the smallest puff, and my limbs were leaden. I registered that the sensations were exactly that—sensations–and not mine. I felt my guides scrambling in and around me, in what I call ‘cosmic triage,’ doing whatever it is that they do to hold the boundaries of myself in place while sweeping the extra life force to its destination. I attempted to speak with them, and when I got no response decided to just observe and wait it out patiently. The whole ordeal lasted probably 3-4 minutes, and when I felt my pulse regulate and my body calm down, I sat up and took a few deep breaths. I had just begun to do some grounding techniques and recoup lost rest when I felt the bed begin to shake. Looking over I saw that my partner was lightly convulsing. I’ve mentioned before that I‘m willing to walk a long line of allowance in the work that I do, but when it turns to real threat I get very angry and that’s when things get interesting. I knew the spirit had been evicted from me and hopped into my partner.

Immediately I called in the directions and began to track the spirit. As soon as I specifically located it in my partner’s form it leapt from him and vanished, though I could still sense it around our house. As my partner lay still and breathing smoothly, I projected myself through our entire property looking for the transient. I started in the attic and worked my way through every room, cabinet and closet, even the gaps around the appliances. When I found nothing I walked the perimeter of our yard, then crawled through the mailbox to no avail. I could feel that the spirit was still there, but I couldn’t track it. It was dodging me completely. It occurred to me then that I had not checked the chimney. Diving down the brick length, I found nothing and came to rest in the living room facing the fireplace. As I stood with my back to the room pondering my next move I realized I wasn’t alone. I felt movement in the back of my hair. Something was touching me, then I felt a very large body press into my full length from behind. My whole body broke out in chills and I turned to see a transparent mammoth creature partially in my physical space. The Being was easily eight feet tall and four feet wide. It reeked of everything dysfunctional and offensive and I was immediately repulsed. Even if this entity hadn’t been still trying to attach to me, the predatory aspect of its nature was enough to make it harmful to anyone. Having felt that, I had a vivid understanding of why my guides had worked so furiously to move this entity out of my form. He had a very fond connection to darker aspects of human nature and he wasn’t ready for that part of his biological experience to be over. He had no intention of going quietly. In fact, he had no intention of going at all. I was appalled that after having tracked him and experienced his disposition, the Being was still trying to crawl into my form.

Thoroughly disgusted, I told it point blank that it couldn’t stay in my house and I entertained no dissent on the instruction. The Being did not want to move into Spirit space. I coerced it as far as the divide between our house and the neighbors’ but couldn’t get it to budge from our property. I knew I couldn’t move it the rest of the way and I couldn’t just block it out of our etheric space. The Being was revolting and I couldn’t just leave it there to turn up on the neighbors’ doorstep. I called in my guides to deal with it the rest of the way, then watched, trembling, from my vantage point in our bed while my spirit teachers lifted the wayward spirit.

No sooner had I returned fully to my body and opened my eyes than all around our cul-de-sac home security alarms went off in tandem. Over the din my partner sat bolt upright in bed and asked me what had happened. All he recalled was having a bad dream, though as I recounted the series of events he nodded. Then, as we settled back to bed the screeching siren of an emergency vehicle pierced the night, its flashing lights coming to a stop at a house in the cul-de-sac behind ours. My partner and I looked at each other eyes wide.

I don’t know what happened that night. I don’t know if indeed a neighbor in the other cul-de-sac died, or if a sinister visitor was making house calls. I know that I’m eternally grateful to be able to do the work that I do, and for the support and wisdom of my spirit teachers.

All in a Day’s Work

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley Harrell

Read more spooky stories in “Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World,” my collection of true paranormal experiences as a lifelong intuitive.

Every year for Samhain I publish accounts of my more charged, and in some cases creepy, spiritual pursuits. The Dead Time is a treasured journey to Solstice, and as it is a time of untime, the shadowed season presents a great opportunity to tell the stories that many who do shamanic work won’t tell–the occasions when things don’t go well or the unseen presents itself unexpectedly. You may recognize some of these accounts from my previous stories, while others are more recent. Enjoy the solitude of the darkness, and know the light will soon warm!

For several years I’ve worked as a technical documentation specialist for a state agency housed in a renovated old hospital in Raleigh. The hospital itself was functional in the mid 1930s through the late 1970s, becoming the agency I’ve worked with in the early 1980s. When I first came to work at the complex 13 years ago I did not know that it had been a hospital, though the greeting of trauma energy as soon as I entered the building was a profound clue. My tension was confirmed within my first hour there when I was told that it had been the largest hospital in the area at its inception, and shortly after I received my orientation hazing with the ‘ghost stories’ of the spirit nurse in Elevator 1 who likes to play with the buttons and skip floors, the murmuring crowd that can be heard when alone in the building, doors opening and closing on their own—the usual paranormal fare. Of course accompanying those stories were ones of the collectively marked infant graves in the courtyard, various rumors about blood in the morgue (though I never saw that), and just general mumblings of uneasiness in certain areas of the complex from a grounds keeper.

Intent on my writing gig, I left the woowoo at home. I showed up everyday, did my work and called it a day. I never had any intention of mixing business with… well, business. Of course it wasn’t long before I started having odd experiences. Starting out innocuously enough, I heard my name yelled out in an empty room (I had a huge office to myself for about a year), heard the door to my office open and shut followed by the footsteps of someone walking up behind me, though no one would be there when I turned around, and had an ever persistent feeling that someone was standing behind me while I was working. Events reached a crescendo when I felt an unseen hand linger on my shoulder one afternoon. I’ve set the intention fairly clearly that I will allow spontaneous spirit communication because that is part of my job as a deathwalker. However, I’m not receptive to being randomly touched by any stranger, living or spirit. I completed what I needed to do for the day then went to my car. I sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes holding space for the dead to move through. They came in droves. I’d never experienced a mass psychopomp event before. They never stopped coming. The only reason that I ended the session was because I was tired and it was dark outside. I felt bad for truncating the session, but I had to respect my own boundaries. Nobody loves a tired deathwalker.

I sat with the memory of that session for a long time, and as a result became more tolerant of the spirit interactions of my day job. I no longer separated my jobs. Part of my arrival routine became to greet the dead much as I do the living when we pass in the hall—which, by the way—on several occasions I’ve passed random people in the hall, brushed right up against them, only to glance immediately back to find no one in the corridor but myself. It has truly become the norm. When I softened to the regularity of spirit visitors they began to interact with me more, particularly after my office was relocated to the 4th floor.

Raleigh SkylineI don’t know what the 4th floor was used for in the hospital, but as soon as I moved up there I began to see a few spirit regulars. One in particular was a young African American woman in her early 20s standing to the far left of the sinks. She was dressed in a very simple peach colored shift with a tiny hat the same color. She wore white gloves and clutched a white pocketbook tightly in both hands in front of her. Her gaze was toward the floor, and she didn’t seem happy. She was not interested in talking with me but she did let me know that she was not a patient at the hospital. She had been a guest visiting someone who had died there. The understanding that her loved one was no longer in the building did not occur to her, but she was afraid to be released. I did not coerce her and went on my way. I saw her several times, always in that same spot, and we would greet each other amicably.

One afternoon I was sitting at my desk when I felt her come into the office. Her mood had brightened considerably and she wanted to be released. She passed easily on to Spirit when another soul came. I held the space for that one to move through, when more continued to come. I sat for maybe 15 minutes as spirits moved through. However, even with all the movement I observed something unusual. There were hundreds of them observing the parade of souls, some even venturing to come up very close to my face, as if I was an oddity to them. In that session I felt that these were not all souls of those who had affiliation with the hospital. In fact, some of the souls I was sensing had never been human at all. Some had never even been in form, but were discarnate wafting entities. When I closed my eyes and visualized the complex from above it appeared as a vast vortex extending deep into the ground with thousands of souls meandering in it. It felt like a stagnant thinner area in the veil, when it should have been a free-flowing Grand Central Station of souls, easily sliding Here and There. Despite the number of souls I sensed in the space, those seeking to pass through had dwindled. Many were lingering just to watch.

Having spirits converge at a focal point then not facilitating some kind of release for them isn’t the smartest idea, but it’s also futile to try to force one to move on when it doesn’t want to, let alone to try to force hundreds. Yet I felt that this stagnancy was happening for a reason and I needed to honor it even if I did not understand it. I had my guides call on the guardians of the land there, to create the safest most supportive atmosphere possible for all souls inhabiting the space—living or discarnate. I figured if I couldn’t move them through the default was to make the veil there comfortable for us all. I checked on the situation fairly regularly, though, holding brief sessions to release those who were ready.

That was more than three years ago, now, and I continue to work with the space. No matter how many sessions I hold, souls never stop coming to pass through my openings for them. I have come to regard the complex as a haven for souls who indeed have endured some sort of trauma, even if that trauma merely was not passing peacefully into What Comes After. I’ve also concluded that there is something about the land itself that attracts all of these souls. What was built on it in modern times as place to care for others was merely focusing the land’s innate power to do just that. Perhaps with time and attention the land will give up more of its mysteries.

Intentional Insights is a Q&A column inviting you to look inside yourself. If you have a question that you would like for me to address in my column regarding a brief Soul Reading or questions about spiritual healing and shamanism, please send them to me at Kelley at soulintentarts dot com, or contact me to schedule a full-length Soul Reading. Intentional Insights is a production of Soul Intent Arts. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Phone Calls from Beyond

I have been receiving restricted phone calls that are not normal. My cell will ring once, maybe twice and when I answer there is this strange static. The phone calls have been happening only when I am sleeping. Today however I received calls while at work. I truly believe someone is trying to contact me or tell me something. I am not sure if it is my guide or my parents that have passed away in the last few years. Is there someway for me to figure out what and who these calls are about? I am both curious and tired. Thanks ~A

Thank you for your note, A. When I ask for the spirit of who is making these calls to come I am greeted by a matronly woman. She appears to be in her mid fifties, has curly, dark blond hair, and is wearing a navy blue printed dress that is somewhat out of date–late 70s, early 80s. She has a very maternal feel about her but she tells me that she is not your mother. What troubles me about her is that she is constantly wringing her hands and her face is lined with worry. Other aspects of her form tell me that she is deceased and that she was murdered. She was never given a proper burial. Her body was more or less dumped and buried in a shallow grave under a tree in a very boggy area a few decades ago.

When I sit with her I realize that she will not be able to speak without fear until some healing is done for her. When that healing is completed she tells me that at the time of her death she had a daughter that was 7-8. She was killed by the daughter’s father. My feeling is that she was pregnant when she was killed, and that pregnancy was the reason she was murdered, even though she child feels to have been her husband’s. I learn no other specifics about her death.

I asked her how she was connected to you and her reason for contacting you. She indicated that she was attracted to you through your wonderful relationship with your daughter and because you have a very kind heart. I do not have a sense that you knew her in life, in fact, I feel that she is connected to the area where you currently live–not necessarily your exact house, but that community, that land. I also feel very clearly that the husband’s crime was never found out and that the mother was concerned for her daughter unknowingly in contact with her mother’s killer. The daughter is not in physical danger, in fact the father is quite elderly now, if not dead, himself.

It seems that this mother saw you as someone who could understand her pain, and someone she wanted to help her move on. The fact that you realized something besides a technical glitch was happening is an indication of your own awareness and potential ability as a deathwalker. If you have ever had any inclination to develop your own intuitive skills, it would seem there’s plenty of support for you to do so. Be well, A!

What is a Shaman? What Can a Shaman Do for Me?

I’ve observed that the Universe seems to send out memos on topics, as I will go ages without an inquiry about a particular theme then receive several at once. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve encountered people curious about shamanism. On the whole people do not stumble into shamanism, whether that is feeling led to study it or to receive shamanic healing. Even in the world of energy work and holistic medicine shamanism still seems to elude many. In hopes of addressing this spiritual curiosity I am reworking a hand out I give to new clients, information that is also on my website. That information is: What is a shaman? What can a shaman do for me?

There are all kinds of academic, even poetic explanations of what shamans are and what they do. In fact, a very detailed FAQ on shamanism can be found at various locations on the web. Detail or no, the questions from most people are, “What is a shaman? What can a shaman do for me?”

Siberian Shaman, Lake Baikal

Siberian Shaman, Lake Baikal

A shaman can help you heal whatever you are open to healing. Shamans are intermediaries with the spirit world, not just links to the spirits but explorers of the spirit realm, itself. “Aren’t we all?” you ask. Yes, we all have the potential to be, though not all of us readily know how. We are not all active participants in the worlds within and around us, though we all have the ability to be.

Shamanism is not a religion; rather, it is a perspective entailing that everything is alive. A base shamanic view holds that everything, everything has a soul, and is connected to every creature and energy. Through that connection we are able to travel out of our bodies beyond our egos to communicate with souls of the dead, ourselves and other humans; plants, animals, Earth, the elements; even “higher” spirits, such as guides, helpers, our own High Selves, and our Higher Power. How shamans accomplish this act is perhaps most telling, and most individual.

There are some basic tenets of shamanism that pervade ancient, indigenous cultures, and neoshamanic practice such as we all have animal guides and spirit guides; the concept of soul retrieval; extracting an illness or entity from the body for physical, emotional, mental or spiritual healing; psychopomp work, or death walking–guiding the dead to Spirit; and divination. Beyond the basic functions a shaman performs the similarities across cultures largely stop there. Shamanic cultures are diverse, as every cultural history records a social role of a person performing some facet of the role of shaman. Called medicine men, wise women, skywalkers, nagual, and many more titles and roles, today the purpose of the shaman is no different. Neoshamanic work draws on these same primary tenets creating many outlets for learning indigenous and contemporary shamanic practices for daily life.

Given the range of techniques shamans use, it’s important to understand how these skills apply to everyday life. In the most broad perspective, shamans promote healing. Opening communication with the spirit realm can open you to your own healing ability, body, mind, soul, and emotion. Bear in mind that no shaman, doctor, surgery, or medication can heal you. You heal yourself. You make the conscious decision to allow whatever healing modality you receive to actually heal you. Healing is your personal agreement between yourself and Spirit. Know that when you interact in the journey state, which is the theta brain wave level of deep cognizant deep dreaming, you are in the space to directly access yourself at the central levels of being. You can reshape your physical and spiritual DNA, taking command of the creative ability with which Spirit blessed you. With shamanic healing you are an active participant in your wellbeing. Through understanding your ability to co-create your own life with Spirit, you not only improve your own quality of life, but that of All Life.



What a shaman can do for you depends on your reasons for seeking one. Perhaps you have a chronic illness that doesn’t seem to abate. Perhaps you are depressed, or want to be rid of a disruptive pattern, relationship, belief, or habit in your life. Perhaps you feel you have unlimited potential, but can’t seem to manifest it into what you need in your life. Perhaps you just want to find meaning in your life, or want insight into your own abilities. Maybe you want to meet your spirit guides. The reunion with your guides can help in each of those things, as well as the reunion with your High Self. Remembering these relationships allows you to reconnect to Spirit, empowering you, and giving you intimate knowledge of your own strengths, abilities, and love. You will never feel alone again once you have remembered your spiritual allies.

Additional work could also help, such as a soul retrieval, in which spirit aspects that left due to trauma are returned and integrated, allowed to heal and age to your current maturity. In some cases soul aspects aren’t returned to the Earth consciousness but move on to Spirit. The effects of this technique usually include ending the pattern of chronic illness, depression, or other pattern that you have become locked into. In some cases, memories are returned, and certainly abilities that you may have missed as you have aged.

Another way to specifically address patterns, thoughts, or habits that have become harmful, such as addiction, obsessive behaviour, a disruptive relationship dynamic, or even chronic illness is life regression and progression. Often seeing the origin of these patterns helps one to clear them, as well as talking with a future self to see the healing as it has manifest and carried through one’s life.

In some cases, an extraction of an intruding entity is needed to release a pattern or offending condition. Some refer to this as depossession or exorcism, though it is rarely theatrical as it is depicted in fiction. It is, however, quite profound. In the most base terms such interferences are merely energy that is no longer functional in its current place. Symptoms of this may be physical issues, radical shifts in mood or temperament, an imbalance of power in a relationship. When the energy is removed and health flow to the etheric form restored the flow balance on all levels can be better maintained.

DIY Totemism

DIY Totemism

Another way to bring about balanced flow in your life force is a technique called “dismemberment”. In this technique, your animal guide is asked to do the dismemberment, and allowed to completely destroy your physical body. The animal may “re-member” you immediately after, or it may recommend that you take time in this re-membering. The end result is your body fully re-membered, without the affliction. It is new.

These are just a few of the techniques shamans use, and only a vague description of the reasons that you may feel led to a shaman. Wildspeak is a great resource of articles on shamanism, animism and a quite extensive animal totem dictionary. As well, for insight into working with helping spirits, Lupa’s DIY Totemism: Your Personal Guide to Animal Totems is brilliant.

Gift of the Dreamtime

Gift of the Dreamtime

My book, Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma gives a thorough presentation of shamanic healing in a useable modern context and may be very helpful in determining if shamanic work is appropriate for you.

I wish you deep healing and prolific power!