In previous articles I have discussed the Shamanic healing practices of Power Animal Retrieval and Soul Retrieval. These practices address two of the three primary causes of Spiritual Illness: Power Loss and Soul Loss.
The third primary cause of Spiritual Illness in Core Shamanic belief is the existence of intrusions of inappropriate or negative energies that have taken up residence in the body. These intrusions interfere with the normal functioning of the Spirit body and need to be removed through the practice of Shamanic Extraction Healing.
Intrusions can become lodged within our bodies via conscious or unconscious thought projections. Like “curses” or psychic attacks they can have a strong negative effect on the Spiritual body, but they can just as easily be self-created thought forms that have become toxic over years of negative self talk and poor self image, or from living in a Spiritually toxic environment.
Intrusions are more able to take hold when there has been loss of power or if the Soul is fragmented and depleted through Soul Loss. In a previous article I invited you to imagine the Soul as if it were like a school of fish. We can see that if enough of the school is missing, the system is more vulnerable to further loss, and to opportunistic energies which may move in to fill the void.
These toxic and invasive spiritual energies may also cause illness, or pain, often of an inflammatory nature, usually in localized areas of the body, although they may move from place to place. The inflammation and pain may often be deemed by Western medicine to be psychosomatic or to have no identifiable cause.
It is the role of the Shaman to extract and remove these harmful energies from the body by performing an Extraction Healing Ceremony.
In Extraction Healing, the Shaman enters an altered state of consciousness and allows her Power Animal or healing spirit to merge with her and work through her body. Unlike spirit possession which is an involuntary spiritual invasion, the Shaman puts her Ego aside and invites the Spirit or Spirits in to perform the extractions.
A diagnostic Shamanic Journey is performed beforehand to ascertain the nature of the intrusions, and to receive instructions as to how best to approach the extractions. Sometimes there is a specific order or method that must be followed, and perhaps information about further ceremonies that are needed.
The Shaman must use her “strong eye” to see the intrusions, and each practitioner will use the diagnostic methods that work best for her, often enlisting the aid of her guides. There are also a variety of methods that can be used to perform the extraction itself. Any energy that is extracted is disposed of and neutralized so it will not return.
This kind of work can be dangerous to the Shaman if she is not well protected by her Guides and Power Animals. Some Shamans work by “sucking” the spiritual intrusions from the body which is particularly hazardous, and should never be attempted without proper training.
The extraction process is a hands-on healing, and can sometimes become quite rigorous. The intrusions, which have their own consciousness, may try to avoid capture and removal. After all, these energies have found a nice cozy home and do not wish to be disturbed.
The extraction ceremony is often supported by drummers and/or members of the client’s community who act as witnesses to the healing work. In Western culture, having this kind of Spiritual healing performed is so alternative to our usual model for healing that it is useful to have someone we are close to remind us of the power of the ceremony. Witnesses often or have a strong sense of the intrusions being extracted, and the more sensitive of them may clearly see the energy leaving the body.
After the extraction is complete, an additional ceremonial component may be performed to replace the departing spiritual intrusions with more positive loving energy. Each practitioner will have his or her favored ways of doing this.
For most people Shamanic Extraction Healing is just one part of the overall Shamanic healing process and often Soul Retrieval and other Spiritual healing methods will be necessary in addition.
Shamanic healing is a powerful and direct way to address the spiritual causes of illness, but is not a replacement for regular medical advice and treatment. It is up to each individual to be responsible for their healing journey and make the changes that are necessary for ongoing spiritual well being.
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