Copyright © Shaman Elder Maggie Wahls. All rights reserved.
This is probably the most common question asked today. And you know why so many people ask it? Because we are brought up in a society that does not have Shamanism. Worse than that, we are brought up without community. In the old days we were raised with a strong community around us. We lived together, played together, grew up together and sometimes even died together. We had elders and doctors and teachers and medical advisors right within this strong close knit community. Part of the work for Shaman elders would be to watch the children and find what each child was strong in. Then that gift or gifts were encouraged and the child grew into whatever came naturally to him or her. It was the community, the elders, the teachers, and the parents who realized the blessings and were happy to help the child be what he or she was meant to be in life.
Today we have no such possibility for ourselves or for our children. For the most part, we are raised to fit into a box; to learn what everyone else learns and to ignore or abandon anything that does not fit into society’s box. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have a choice. It is not too late to look inside and find those special gifts we were born with by studying Shamanism.
What are these gifts?
Healing the spirit is the primary function of a Shaman.
Soul-retrieval is the gift by which the Shaman retrieves pieces of the person lost soul. This is often accomplished by journeying to the spirit world and requesting assistance from the spirits, ancestors, and guides that dwell in Other Realities or Worlds. These beings assist the Shaman in discovering what is wrong with the person and often help the Shaman fight a battle with the being now possessing those parts to win them back and bring them to the patient. Some of the classic symptoms of a person in need of soul retrieval would perhaps include those suffering from a mental illness; those abused as children, or those who sense that something is missing in their lives.
Soul restoration is the literally restoring of one’s soul. This occurs when a person is near death and his/her soul seeks to move on. This “death” could be the result of a psychic attack or an accident from which the body has recovered physically, but not spiritually.
Hands-on healing is most certainly a gift of a Shaman. This technique is still widely used today by Reiki masters, massage therapists, chiropractors and Shamans. Shamanistic hands-on healing involves the energy or spirit of the Shaman working with the energy or spirit of the patient.
Divination is the gift by which a Shaman can foretell the future, describe the illnesses of people and find their cure. Divination shows the path to the Shaman; which direction the patient should walk to receive healing. The most common shamanic method is journeying to the Otherworld and requesting information from elders, guides and spirits who live there. It is been said that Genghis Khan used his Shamans this way.
Herbal healing gives credence to the true belief that the Shaman is a medicine man or witch doctor. Herbal healing began with the beginning of the earth. Many of the hunting and gathering tribes had the ability to heal with plants indigenous to their area. Today this knowledge is fast disappearing and Shamans everywhere try to support the preservation of indigenous plantlife and the lore surrounding them.
Dreamwork or dream interpretation is another Shamanic gift for healing. Shamans will listen to the dreamer’s dream, sometimes for several days, until they fully connect with it. Then they will dream the dream themselves and resolve the conflict to the highest good of the dreamer.
Soul leading is the process in which the Shaman will escort the newly dead to their place in the Otherworld. This is done because the Shaman who is familiar and a frequent visitor to the Otherworld will be able to find the “soul” its proper place. What a Shaman is according to Eliade is a “Master of the Ecstatic.” This is true for it is in the mastery of the ecstatic that the Shaman garners his or her power over these gifts.
Each of us has one or more of these gifts buried somewhere inside our spirits. Can you imagine how beautiful this world would be if each of us studied and mastered the gifts we were given? Who would be left sick? Or poor?
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Shaman Elder Maggie Wahls is one of America’s most loved elder teachers of Shamanism for today’s modern society. Her classes are always ongoing online and she also offers free initial counseling to anyone who wishes it. Visit her site to learn more at www.shamanelder.com