both contemporary and traditional shamanism, the shaman is called upon
to fulfill the role of priest, magician or healer. The shaman's greatest
is his or her knowledge of other realms of consciousness. With this
knowledge, the shaman is able to serve as a bridge between earthly awareness,
and the higher and lower states of altered consciousness. The ability
to move beyond the physical body is particularly linked to the shaman.
a shaman may exhibit a particular magic specialty. However, the most
common power manifested is that of healing. In a shamanistic trance,
the soul of the healer is thought to leave the body and ascend to the
heavenly realm, while the shaman maintains earthly consciousness. Frequently,
he or she will also engage the assistance of spirit helpers.
Juan Yu-Yunkar, a highly regarded shaman from the Ecuadorian rainforest,
describes healing a woman of her terrible headache.
invoke the healing energies of the trees, of the earth, the cosmos,
and the energy of all who are present. I put my hands on her head, close
my eyes, and focus all my power, all my energy and strength… power from
the plants, from the animals, power from the people… And that energy
flows into her, into the part that hurts her, that place where her energy
was low, or empty. She is charged up with new energy, and I feel it
passing into her through me, until at last I feel when the pain has
left her. I have energy called "Shunta Sinsa," a positive living energy,
given to me by the elders, that I in turn give to the sick person. Then
I begin to take in the negative energy-I capture the negative energy
as it comes out of them, absorbing it by swallowing it, but… it cannot
remain in my body. Because it makes me nauseous, it makes me physically
ill…So I use all my effort and power to pull out the sickness… The negative
energy that comes out, I blow on it, and disable it. It shoots out of
me into space, like rockets."
Ted Kaptchuk, OMD
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