Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2019

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technique ENERGY WORK 98 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a y / j u n e 2 0 1 9 Soul Healing The Work of the Shaman By Cyndi Dale SHAMANISM EXPLAINED Even though the subject of shamanism can sound esoteric, the fact that you are a healer suggests you are actually a shaman of some type and variety. After all, shamanism is the oldest system of healing across time, which means your practice is based on it. Shamanism is based on the knowledge that a challenge must be tracked to its origin within three basic worlds of existence. These planes are frequently grouped as natural, human, and heavenly. However, each of these domains is multidimensional. The shaman's job is therefore to serve as a mediator between these layers of reality; this is why shamans are usually called "priest-healers." What's common among all three planes of existence? The fact that our soul dwells within each. We hear the word soul a lot. Sometimes it's used glibly; other times, seriously. We speak about the hurt or joy in our soul, our soul's attraction to another's soul, and movies and songs that touch our soul. We hardly ever define the term, however; maybe because it's not politically correct to cross the wavy and vague line between spirituality and religion. In this article, I'm not stepping onto a religious plateau. The idea—and reality—that every living being "has a soul" is a universal truth. There are few people who won't acknowledge that there is something ineffable that makes them unique. And most of us apply that sense to all natural beings. As a bodyworker, it's important to realize that almost any issue presented by a client involves the soul, which holds that person's immortal and mundane secrets. Of course, you get to interact with your client's soul in the way that is comfortable to you and your client. I'll give you a few tips about how to do this in a bit. But for a moment, I'm going to digress and tell you what it's like to receive a healing from a shaman whose community supports the fullness of shamanism. A SHAMANIC EXPERIENCE I've studied under—and been treated by—shamans around the world, in sites including tropical jungles, dry deserts, windy savannahs, and barren mountaintops. The first time I worked with a shaman was decades ago in Peru. The event was incredibly memorable. I'd traveled from Minneapolis to Miami, where I met my group, which was organized by a Hopi shaman. After a night in a rather luxurious hotel, we jetted to Lima, and then waited six hours for our puddle-jumper to Iquitos, a town on the Amazon River. The small plane was four hours late, and very loud; I couldn't help but wonder if it was losing an engine. As healers, our roots lie in the shamanic universe. Regardless of our professional healing style, we're always, if perhaps unknowingly, drawing on shamanic traditions. What is shamanism, and why is it so vital for the contemporary bodyworker to understand and reflect its basic concepts? This topic is so important that I'm devoting two articles to it. In this piece, I'll briefly explore the definition and practice of shamanism, revealing its emphasis on soul healing, as well as two particularly important ideas: karma and dharma. I'll then share a few tips to help you easily integrate your shamanic aptitudes into your client sessions. In the follow-on article, I'll delve into additional shamanic mysteries. In the end, I think this knowledge will add significant depth to your client routines.

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