What Is the Role of a Shaman? By Jan Engels-Smith
I get asked these questions daily that hold a standard that has directed my life and beliefs and made me into what I am today. Images of masks, grass skirts, painted faces and witch doctor cures are conjured up with the word Shaman for many people. Some of these images are historically accurate however there is now the 21st century version of a shaman.
The Siberian definition of the word shaman is someone who “sees in the dark with his or her heart.” This “sight” caused me to found the LightSong School of Shamanic Studies and Energy Medicine and establish a healing practice that brings me joy, success and fulfillment. The Siberian definition of shaman is full of implications for me that describe the person who has a heart that yearns to be of service. The shaman believes in quality of life, happiness and love, and that everyone deserves the best, deserves to be healthy and is a radiant being of light. Seeing into the dark also means that often shamanic journeys will take us into unseen realms where there isn’t enough “light” to sustain life. Yet the heart guides us with such luminous radiance that it casts its own brilliance through the strong sense of love that emanates and helps manage these “dark” places.
Shamanism is an ancient tradition that dates back at least 40,000 years and was used by most indigenous cultures in the world. It is a healing method based on the understanding that all experiences affect one’s soul, and thus all healing comes through the soul. Once the soul is healed, other healings can manifest in the physical, emotional and mental bodies. I believe that this definition is more accurate than the mass population realizes. We are a soul/spirit having a human experience. When we start to realize this and address the soul in healing, we will be healthier in our mind, body and emotions.
Shamanic methods contribute to virtually any aspect of living and are especially useful for solving problems, fostering well-being and bringing about healing. Learning and living a shamanic lifestyle connects you to the worlds beyond, opens your mind to different realities, awakens the inner being and allows you to obtain and live a life that is full, awake, vibrant, and connected to Spirit. Life is a journey of becoming, and spiritual connection is everyone’s birthright. Dreams and wellness manifest through strengthening our spiritual connection.