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February 20

The Shaman and Illness


Norman W. Wilson, PhD.

The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms of the human being are all within the purview of a practicing shamanic healer. These four realms fall within three general shamanic categories: Energy Loss, Spirit Possession, and Soul Loss. For the shaman, generally speaking, the first area of examination is, however, spiritual rather than physical. The shamanic question is what is the cause of the spiritual disharmony being experienced by the client?

Spiritual disharmony may involve negative Spirit Possession or as it is sometimes called, Spirit Loss. Please note I have said ‘negative’ Spirit Possession. There is Positive and Neutral Spirit Possession and these are a topic for future consideration. General malaise is symptomatic of negative Spirit Possession. Other symptoms of negative Spirit Possession include a preponderance of negative thoughts, low self-esteem, anger, frustration, and continual sadness. Negative Spirit Possession may show itself as constant pain in a specific area of your body such as a hand, shoulder, or foot.

Energy loss will involve physical diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, heart issues, respiratory, and stomach issues as well as those of a muscular nature. As with some issues of the physical realm, there is a blockage. This means the body’s natural energy is not getting through. The shaman’s job is to change the energy flow pattern so healing can take place. If, however, the issue is soul attachment then an extraction is executed.

Because of the political unrest in the world, the unemployment, and the pandemic many people, especially teenagers, are experiencing high degrees of mental and emotional distress. In The Increase in Suicide During the COVID-19 Pandemic, it states “Previous epidemiological studies of similar outbreaks supported evidence of mental toll and increased suicide risks …” (Psychiatric Annals. 2020). The role of the shaman is two-fold: First, decide if the issue is emotional rather than mental, and second, to change the energy flow pattern. For me, emotional refers to feelings and mental refers to the physical operation of the brain.

In addition to extraction, soul retrieval, psychopomp, and death rites, a shaman may use what is called imbas, an old Druidic practice of releasing stagnant energy.

A cautionary reminder is necessary: Shamanic treatment is not a replacement for modern medical treatment; it is supportive. Further, if essential oils or crystals are used the client should be informed beforehand and should check with her or his medical doctor. The shaman acts as a conduit for healing to take place.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

©Norman W. Wilson, Ph.D. 2021

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