Teen Spirit Wise Voice – Sandra Ingerman – From Disempowerment to Spiritual Activism
Shamanism is an ancient and universal spiritual practice. Many anthropologists believe that the practice dates back over 100,000 years. Shamanism teaches us that everything that exists is alive and has a spirit. Shamans speak of a web of life that connects all of life and the spirit that lives in all things. Everything on earth is interconnected and any belief that we are separate from other life forms including the earth, stars, wind, etc is purely an illusion. And it is the shaman’s role in the community to keep harmony and balance between humankind and the forces of nature.
The practice of shamanism is more than just learning how to perform shamanic journeys. The practice of shamanism is a way of life. There are certain principles that go along with living a shamanic way of life. In a native culture from the time of birth each member of the community was acknowledged for the gift and the strength that they brought to the entire community. It was understood that every person contributed to the health of the community.
How did this work call to you? At what stage of life?
I was always a very spiritual child. I would sing to trees and the moon. I always felt the presence of the unseen worlds.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York in the 1960s. I was introduced to mind altering drugs at an early age and had amazing spiritual experiences. But I did not know what to do with the experiences. And I had no formal practice that would help me to understand how to bridge all the spiritual lessons I learned into my life.
While I was going for my Masters in Counseling Psychology, I was introduced to the practice of shamanic journeying. I took a workshop on the topic on Halloween of 1980. I finally felt that I had learned a practice to incorporate into my life where I could receive my own guidance on how to improve my life and create the life I wanted to live.
Describe your experience of spirituality as a teen/young adult. Discuss your blessings and challenges of that era.
As I wrote previously I always had a strong spiritual disposition as a child. I felt very connected to nature and all of life. I felt that we came here as human beings to experience a life of joy.
I loved my parents, loved learning in school, and had many friends. I liked to write, draw, and play sports. So on some levels I felt very blessed.
At the same time I did not observe adults as being happy people. And I was deeply effected by watching how hard life was for so many around me.
When I was a teenager I participated in demonstrations against the Viet Nam War as I felt it was an unjust war. No matter how passionate I felt that the war should be ended my actions and beliefs had no power to create change. For many years after this I felt disempowered that I could effect positive change in the world.
How does that experience speak through your work today?
Where I learned that I do have power is with the spiritual work I engage in. I became empowered by living a shamanic way of life. From a shamanic point of view the invisible spiritual practices we work with do help to create a positive way of life and help us become positive changemakers for the world.
I write about this work and teach people from all over the world the practice of how to use shamanic journeying to work with helping spirits to get answers to questions and find healing help. I continue to teach the practices I learned to gain empowerment from living a shamanic way of life. I also share how we can work together as a global community performing shamanic work together to help all of life to heal the earth.
Sandra Ingerman, MA, is a world-renowned teacher of shamanism. She is recognized for bridging ancient cross-cultural healing methods into our modern culture addressing the needs of our times. She has been teaching for over 30 years.
A licensed therapist, she is the author of 8 books including Soul Retrieval, Medicine for the Earth, Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide, How to Heal Toxic Thoughts, The Shaman’s Toolkit, and Awakening to the Spirit World. She is also the author of 6 CD programs produced by Sounds True.
To read short articles that Sandra wrote and for more information on her work please visit www.sandraingerman.com.
Available worldwide, Teen Spirit Guide to Modern Shamanism.
“Teen Spirit Guide to Modern Shamanism is a brilliant book! Kelley Harrell provides you with a wealth of tools to assist you in cultivating your own shamanic path. This is an important book to help readers create a life filled with depth and meaning. Great guide!” ~Sandra Ingerman