Nature abhors a vacuum. Those of us who are all too familiar with drug addiction are also all too familiar with the “hole in the soul”. It can’t even be called a concept; it’s beyond that. There’s usually no other way to describe the agony that’s brought a resounding fair portion of us to that point where we turned to drugs to try to fill that hole. Our cure to said gaping wound was the drug until said drug didn’t work any longer and then the wound was just that much larger.
How do we repair that loss of Soul? Where is that piece of us? Can we find it? Is it possible to reintegrate it?
Okay, so, really, what is a Shaman and what is Shamanism? A shaman is a guide who works with and directs energies in order to bring about healing, many times acting as a conduit, sometimes referred to as a “Hollow Bone,” to bring forth that which has been missing or take pliers to that which needs to be extracted. Think of it like this… Imagine an airport at night with a plane about to land; they are the lights along the runway. They illuminate the path; they are not the path. They usher in and welcome the plane, they are not the plane. Unlike the runway lights, which are affixed to the tarmac, shamans work with the energy they are trained to “see” and sense. It is their gift. Shamanism’s goal is healing the whole person and, many times, beyond the person, so it may include working on healing their ancestry, as well as working on/doing a healing with their community, which in turn contributes to healing the world. Healing the whole.
Shamanism has shown up everywhere, from Siberia to South America, from Africa to Japan, from North America to Europe, and from Australia to the people of the Poles. In other words, where there were/are people, where there were/are tribes, there has been/is some form of Shamanism, language aside; its purpose has been the same, healing.
All indigenous cultures have their own way to go about healing, though it seems what needs to be healed parallels across the board. We all suffer from the human condition, be it Aborigine or Atlanta, Georgia Southern Lady Socialite (Do those still even exist?). The point is suffering of the soul is universal. In that, addicts, who are often people who would normally not mix, we understand that and in understanding that, we know suffering of the soul knows no borders, be it culture or space-time. It is truly blind and in perpetuate.
In addiction we are not whole, we are fragmented. We may be isolated, disconnected, lonely, and separate from. Shamanism addresses this fragmentation head on with a healing called a Soul Retrieval. There is an acknowledgement that some part of the soul may have been broken off which is where that oh-so-pesky hole comes in to play, a Soul Loss. The soul that’s suffering that missing piece, however it’s come to be removed, whatever the trauma, childhood or genetic propensity, needs to be reintegrated. Shamanism can help find and reintegrate that lost piece of the kaleidoscopic puzzle that is us. When we are missing part of ourselves, we are forever searching for a way to fix that. Shamanism and Soul Retrieval may very well be able to do that.
Shamans may start with (or may not) ancestral healing work because, perhaps the addiction, or whatever needs to be worked through, started long before even arriving to this plane. There could be a history of grief that needs to be released and the shaman may do body and breathing work, altering the energetic field in which the pain may be dwelling which is taking up valuable space where that missing part of the soul may be being smothered. Shamans may be adept at storytelling, meaning they may help you learn to retell your story so that instead of seeing yourself in the role of victim, if that’s part of where your disconnection may lie, you can learn to turn it into a story of triumph and victory because you not only survived since here you are but to count your accomplishments, seeing your battles won along the way. Perhaps the Shaman you see needs to do a cleansing with feathers and rattles and drumming to release the energy you keep locked inside of you because of your fear, fear that you don’t even know you are carrying or fear you are afraid to get rid of. Shamans may be able to do energy work with you to realign your chakras, balance you out, reestablish your connection to the world in a way that allows you that much more strength. Maybe there’s a shaman who runs sweat lodges where you and your family need to go and sweat it out, literally purge the hot button topics that aren’t working and start energetically healing those places of familial discord, (maybe add in some talk therapy with that– who can say). The shaman you see may need to do a vision quest to see how best to help you where you are. Maybe you need one visit and maybe you need seven. No matter the case, it is a partnership between you and another human being. Your energy and their directing of said energy. It is connection, it is bonding, and it is working with another human being on a very personal, nary I say on a very intimately, incredibly internal level.
At the end of the day, the more we reach out to center ourselves, in whatever way that is, the more of service we can be. If shamanism is one way we can rebalance our energy, find that piece of us that’s so painfully lost and start to Humpty-Dumpty style ourselves back together then we can be of better service to others and isn’t that what it’s all about?
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