Why does shamanism work? And how have scientists proven this is now fact?
Shamanic healing has often been named as superstitious and primitive, with no proof of reality. However, scientists have now recognised that there is a quantum mechanism behind these rituals and in fact, shamans know exactly what they are doing.
In a scientific way, the basic ‘behaviour’ behind a ritual is the use of repetition, which creates energetic waves. Energy moves in waves and when you engage a strong intention and human will, over a long period of time those energy waves work together and can change what is effectively a negative/dysfunctional dis-ease. The prayer is set and the intention is made, thus the energy, now created with the repetition, can begin to make those quantum changes in the energy field.
The process is connecting many stories and works through the imagination as well as the energy. The imagination being a portal to a higher expansion of awareness and as some would believe and see – a spirit world.
Shamans, when intently focused on that one prayer or intention, focused on the cure or on the gathering of information and connecting and working with their spirit guides, helpers and teachers, can effect change in local time and reality, when working at a quantum level. This is always achieved through ritualistic repetitive action. The use of movement, shaking, drum beat, rattle or song affects this change. There often needs to be some form of sacrifice for the rituals and healings, as in the past when shamans were gifted food, money, medicine gifts and clothing, so that there is an energy exchange, keeping the balance in harmony.
Shamanism, with its explanation based in modern physics, is a reality, but maybe not the reality that a shaman would believe, still it proves that their healing works, that it is not mumbo-jumbo and if used in the traditional methods and ways, can be extremely potent medicine.
It takes many years for scientific evidence to filter down into the mainstream of human consciousness, just like any other discovered theory. Some of these theories are hard to accept or believe, they take time to be fully acknowledged. Like accepting the earth is round or that man can actually fly in a plane. Scientifically it is impossible for a bee to fly and yet it flies! However for those who it has been a daily occurrence, shamanism is the normal approach to healing and has never been considered to be any different. It is simply those in the western world, who need more fact and information, possibly scientific proof, whether they are taking part in healing ceremonies, ecstatic dance creating expanded awareness, gaining wisdom for the community, or whatever the particular ritual is for, it is the art of repetition over a long period of time, with intense focus and prayer that creates, in a scientific term; the quantum mechanics rule.
The repetition of movement, as in movement meditations or dance, song and drumming, connects to these natural waves of energy, awakening and changing the consciousness, opening the third eye or expanding our awareness. When the drum beat (rattle, movement, song) is experienced, the mind will begin to adapt to its waves and the focus of the mind will draw on images as the body-heart responds. We are mostly water, and if we observe rhythm in connection with water, we can see how it creates patterns. If we are moving, the repetition becomes embodied, affecting the cellular structure within us and enabling the bodies cells to shift and re-position themselves, this also happens by simply listening with an intent to a drum beat. When something is observed and focused on for long enough, it changes the patterns and the waves of energy fields, (this was scientifically proven back in the 1920’s.) We still use many methods of prayer, focus and momentum to keep going with our intentions to create change and healing. What we give enough time and energy to, can over periods of time begin to change or manifest greatly. The rules of this ritualistic healing/expansion are that there is need for focus and a strong intention. In a shamanic healing or experience, the prayer that we are making needs a very strong ‘human will’ behind it, sometimes it needs more than one person to hold this, that is why healing ceremonies often need to include many witnesses and support for the shaman. The ‘human will’ is powerful and it can be hard to have that presence and determination to be with the will power and complete its intention. We see the ‘human will’ in runners and extreme sports, in the focus and determination to get a job done, in musicians and artists to perfect their work. To experience these arts of healing or creative endeavours, one must have a willingness to engage fully with the ritual/experience.
My own experience is that shamanic rituals need to be kept very simple for our western minds to be able to fully accept them, without getting too distracted or to find ourselves being skeptical. Skepticism at times can be healthy, it can also get very much in the way of the experience! Our modern-mind however, is much more sophisticated now and has an expectation for immediate results and for ‘having things done for us,’ expectations of doctors and medical people, somewhere forgetting that it is up to us to create our own rituals as well. We look for proof where there is none and want debates to argue our case, not recognising that the truth is in the effects not the previous thoughts about something. I have heard this be called ‘contempt prior to examination!’ The assumption we know about something before we have fully experienced it. It often comes about because it is hard to understand something we do not understand, rather than admit our ‘not knowing,’ or even our fear about it, it is easier to show contempt and set aside any possible examination for ourselves.
There is so much we can learn from the traditional shamans and bring into our own practices today. But if we use the word ‘shaman,’ we need to know that we are using a word that is derived from an old language and is about the connection to the spirit world and our own allies and guides. Maybe a new word/name is needed to engage with what scientists are now proving to be true and we can leave that name ‘shaman’ where it truly belongs, with the Siberian shamans, with those who are deeply connected to their spirit guides, and those who hold respectfully to those original beliefs.
Here are words from Sandra Ingerman: Traditionally it is not typical for someone to volunteer for the role of shaman or to self identify as a shaman. Rather someone is chosen by “the spirits” to become a shaman and to act in the service of his or her community. In shamanic cultures it is actually considered bad luck to call yourself a shaman, because this is seen as bragging, and the shamanic view about power is that if you brag about having it, you will loose it. Instead your community recognises you as a shaman based on the successful results that you achieve for the benefit of your clients and the greater community.” Sandra Ingerman Shamanic Journeying
In my dj’ing days, my dj name was CcEcstatic, I liked to call this role a ‘Mistress of Ecstacy’ She knew the art of repetition and its power, no matter who she played for. Now in shamanic journey rituals and ecstatic dance ceremonies I still respond to the calling, but just as myself and my own true nature, following rhythm, following the beat, opening the heart, letting Spirit in.
I am curious as to what we might name this ‘art of healing’ now so that this scientifically proven altered state of consciousness, awareness and healing can and will be accepted by modern western ears as an alternative to some of the medicines that are clearly not working or costing some people so much more than they can afford, financially as well as emotionally/physically. The pharmaceutical companies are difficult to be in competition with, but when you think a shamanic healing can cost so much less and be so much more effective, it is a wonder we have not adopted the world of the shaman a little more fully! And I am not saying that we should not engage with modern day medicine at all. Myself and some of my children have had our lives saved and I am ever grateful to the NHS, but we could bring the two together. Would it not be better, if there was a way for both to be in a respectful relationship, less skeptical and more in wonder of the traditions of humankind.
Middle Earth Medicine Ways