“The Shamans attribute illness to soul loss, a loss of a sense of awareness of the sacred in us and around us.” – Rachel Remen, MD Kitchen Table Wisdom 10th Anniversary


This animal friend visited after a shamanic meditation

Shamanism is an ancient system based on the belief that shamans within the community are able to move between the spirit and human worlds, acting as intermediaries, and gaining valuable insights into the health of the community. The shaman is able to eliminate ailments impacting one’s spirit, often by realigning the soul, and ultimately healing the physical body. Shamanic Healing is a very open-minded, peaceful, and practical modality that was in use well before the developments of pharmaceuticals and technology overtook medicine. It honors nature and our animal friends.

You can practice shamanic acts, but you can’t choose to be a shaman. That is something that is chosen for you – your destiny. Shamanism is all about humility. “It’s not about you. It’s about your ability to bring through the power of the universe.” Shaman’s have a difficult life. They are wounded healers who never shut down to the suffering of the community. (from “Listen With Your Heart: Sandra Ingerman on Shamanism, Healing & Nature”).

Principles of Shamanic Healing

  • All things in nature have significance. The full moon is a time for letting go and releasing things, while the new moon is a good time for starting new projects.
  • Ritual is an important component in shamanic healing with most ceremonies taking place to honor nature and the seasons.
  • The animals and plants that we gravitate toward all have meaning [see the books Medicine Cards, Animal-Speak, Animal Spirit Guides].
  • Shamans don’t distinguish spiritual and mental healing from physical healing.*

*The Cartesian split between the mind/body and spirit that exists in conventional medicine likely manifested because it took the blame out of illness that had been attributed to bad behavior or sin. It also took pressure off of scientists as they only had to focus on the physical while the church focused on the ethereal. (Sierpina & Sierpina, 2004)

Shamanism Resources

Associations / General Information

Foundation for Shamantic Studies -A group trying to preserve the spiritual connectedness of Shamanism which has largely been lost due to religious persecution, founded by Michael Harner, author of The Way of the Shaman.

U.S. National Library of Medicine  – American Indian Health  – a portal of information on traditional Native American healing practices.

Shaman – a site featuring articles, videos, and forums on shamanism. *site also sells goods and has numerous sponsorships.

The Society of Shamanic  – “an alliance of people deeply committed to the re-emergence of shamanic practices that promote healthy individuals and viable communities.”

Shaman Sites

Alberto Villoldo Ph.D. – – Dr. Villolodo is a medical anthropologist and psychologist who provides training in the shamanism. See his perspective on the changes of 2012 in this video.

Embody the – the website Deana E. Paqua, MA, LMT and instructor for The Graduate Institute.

Sandra Ingerman – author and popular shaman.

Articles on Shamanic Healing

Medical Materialism, Shamanic Healing, and the Allopathic Paradigm By Shawn Tassone MD

Shamanism and the Medical Encounter by Cecile Carson, MD


Sierpina, M. & Sierpina, V. (2004). Chapter 14: Spirituality and Health in Integrative Medicine. McGraw Hill Companies.

Deana E. Paqua, MA, LMT Lecture at The Graduate Institute (April 15-16, 2011). Shamanic Healing.

[Last Updated: 7/7/12]

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