The Hidden Potential of Spring

I love this day, commonly called Ground-hogs day. Tradition has it that the ground hog seeing his shadow reveals how far away spring is or how long winter will linger.

The many of you who know me, know I love the winter months. I love the darkness and all that it offers in life. I love to get up early in the morning while it is still dark, light my candles and do my prayers, meditation, journeys, or internal searching. The darkness lends itself to the quietness before the rush of business the day often brings.

But another thing that I love is change, and of all the seasons, I marvel at what I call pre-spring. The first days of February I celebrate this pre-spring emergence.This time represents the hidden potential. All the new life that is ready to emerge but still looks deadened in the cold stillness of winter.

Yet during this time, there is organization of cells, deep internal feeding, new hope. A readiness stirs under the ground, hidden from the eye. It is the result of the quiet, of prayers, meditation, and journeys ready to form; the hidden, the dormant, the barren that is planning to emerge. It is the plan that is well thought out, well laid out, and full of hope, inspiration, and faith.

The earth feels it and I feel it internally. I celebrate this time for it is perfect.

Heart to Heart



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Curses Spells Oaths

Curses Spells Oaths by Jan Engels-Smith

Spiritual intrusions are vibrational intrusions that invade your energy system and can inflict a variety of problems.  Some intrusions are minor and we are exposed to them daily.  They may cause us to feel tired, irritable, or sad.  Other spiritual intrusions can be dramatic and pervasive.  These intrusions are capable of having a lasting effect on a person causing great havoc in one’s life.  These spiritual intrusions are caused by curses, spells, oaths, promises, declarations, vows, or contracts.  These types of intrusions are often generated from words and great emotion.  In our culture there is very little awareness of the power of words. In fact most people are quite sloppy with their words.  Verbiage is not considered damaging like a physical attack, yet the effects can have devastating results with healing taking much longer.

An intention puts things into motion universally. Throughout history and in most cultures, sacrifices or blood ceremonies have been occurred to add extreme power to an intention.  Blood is seen as the ultimate “LIFE FORCE ENERGY”. Our current culture thinks of sacrifice as foreign and primitive, but many cultures still use a form of sacrifice to ensure the power and effectiveness of a ceremony. Chickens in Africa are used daily in ceremonial practice and then used to feed the community.  Even the church refers to the blood of Christ and the body of Christ in their sacraments, and Jesus is referred to as sacrificing himself to save others.

A person may seek many sources of healing by reading books, attending workshops, and making appointments with allopathic and alternative practitioners, but they find that their condition persists.  Chronic pain, misfortune, and failure continue.  One client I saw had chronic weight loss and was down to 118 pounds and no one could figure out what was causing this.

In these types of client situations, I find amazing success by looking into their other lifetimes.  Shamanism does not view lifetimes as linear: past, present, or future, but as all happening simultaneously. If a spell, curse, oath, promise, declaration, vow or contract was created in another lifetime, and still has a huge amount of life force, then the life force is still very likely alive and activated in the client’s energy system. In other words, the energy of the “contract” is still in motion and affecting the person in this lifetime. I journey into the client’s other lifetimes where the life force is still active and change the situation in that lifetime. This action literally changes the outcome that the client is living today.  I find this work fascinating and effective.

In the case of my 118-pound client, I found a curse that had been cast in ancient Egypt.  My client was involved in a power struggle in the Egyptian lifetime and a curse was cast to keep him small, ineffective and subservient to others of authority.  This crippled him in many areas of his life and often he found people taking control and advantage of him.  This especially became activated if he was trying to become independent in career environments.  With the unraveling of the curse, he obtained control over his life and regained the power to make decisions and become healthy and empowered.  He also gained weight and changed his stature considerably.

Curses and spells can be activated in many ways. All you have to do is watch a few movies to see how declarations, vows, and oaths were used in the past. Great ceremonies and rituals often sealed deals and put dynamic energy into motion.  How?  Imagine a scene where two men duel for the love of their lady.  They speak declarations of love, vow to fight to the death and declare their love for all eternity.  One of them dies after spilling blood and takes his vow of everlasting love into the afterlife.  Just because the person died, doesn’t mean the energy died.

In a current lifetime this romantic couple can meet again. The attraction between them reactivates but with different lifetime circumstances and choices this lifetime entails.  This everlasting love declaration can end up creating drama and out of proportion behaviors.  Hundreds of scenarios can be imagined that illustrate the adverse effects of this potent vow that was put into place.

The Hatfield’s and McCoy’s are a classic example of feuding that is passed on energetically to the offspring. The descendants are raised in an environment that automatically sees fault and distain for the other family just because of their name and the history of the original feud.  Now, think of countries that have been feuding for centuries and how ramped up the intense feelings of hatred and jealousy between the two peoples because of the vows, the curses and the spells that have been cast.  These intense emotions mixed with enormous amounts of bloodshed can create a devastating outcome for the future lifetime incarnations of participating souls.

Blood, negative emotion, and fear are often used to control or exert power over others.  The fear of burning in hell has been a controlling devise for centuries and has proven to be effective, harmful, and invasive.  This tactic seems to work to control and scare people because fear builds enormous thought forms that can have a planetary invasiveness affecting others.  The human need to survive is a root chakra that may create an inordinate amount of fear.  If this chakra is out of alignment and dominated by fear, the foundational wellbeing of a person can be altered. With enough individuals expressing this fear, the foundational wellbeing of a culture can be altered.

Many people, perhaps all, have some sort of curse or spell on them.  Negative self-talk or family phrases can infiltrate into a person’s psyche’.  A simple comment from a teacher, coach, family member or friend can change a life path for some. Unconsciously self-imposed curses can bind persons energetically from creating the type of life they want or prevent them from manifesting their dreams. However just as spells or curses can be cast, they can also be unraveled. Healing can and does occur, often with profound results that manifest in mind boggling proportions.


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Shamanic Healing and Soul Retrieval

Shamanic Healing and Soul Retrieval By Jan Engels-Smith

Learning about shamanic healing and soul retrieval became imperative for me. I contacted Sandra Ingerman, the author of Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self, through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. I strongly felt that I needed to have a soul retrieval and the information about journeying stimulated wisdom that already resided in my soul. I remembered lifetimes of being a healer and my knowledge from previous lifetimes became available to me again. I not only reevaluated my counseling practice, I reevaluated my understanding of the concepts of God, Spirits, possibilities, and other realities-the meaning of life!

Shamanism is an ancient healing art, dating back at least 40,000 years and was used by most indigenous cultures in the world. This healing method emphasizes that all experiences affect your soul and that all healing comes through the soul. In shamanic cultures, the care of the soul is extremely important. In fact, it is the most important aspect of healing. The shamanic belief is that a human being is first and foremost a soul having a human experience, not the other way around. If the soul is cared for properly or is healed through the process of soul retrieval, other healings can then manifest in the mental, emotional, and physical bodies of an individual person.

We have doctors who specialize in everything imaginable except for the soul in our Western culture. To me, this care of the soul is the missing link in healing and must be cared for first. Fortunately, this is beginning to be understood in our Western culture and more people are seeking out individuals such as shamans for their healing.

Shamanically speaking, all things are energy. The movement or the transmutation of energy is part of the healing of the soul, which is itself energy. In a healing, the shaman moves out the energy that does not belong to a person and refills him/her with the divine energy that is the essence of that person’s true soul. The theory behind soul retrieval is that there is soul loss when an individual experiences powerful or traumatic situations.

Through individual experiences like some sort of trauma, a person loses part of himself as a survival mechanism to withstand the pain. In shamanic terms, this process is called “soul loss.” In psychology, it is called “disassociation.” Psychology does not ask where the lost part goes and how one gets it back. In the practice of shamanism, when a piece of the soul or energy leaves, it actually goes into another reality and is lost from the person. A void then exists in that person’s soul. Think of the soul as a giant jigsaw puzzle. When you experience a trauma, a piece of the puzzle is lost, leaving an empty space in the puzzle. When this soul loss occurs, a soul retrieval is necessary to restore wholeness. In a process called journeying, a shaman is trained to enter an altered state of consciousness and travel into different realities to find and retrieve the lost soul parts. The shaman then literally blows these parts back into the client via the heart and the top of the head, restoring wholeness to the client.

The voids created by soul loss can actually fill up with energy that is foreign to the soul. This can manifest into all kinds of diseases or physical, mental, or emotional problems. According to shamanic definition, the soul is perfect and divine, and life should reflect this. If a person is not experiencing happiness, or if there are physical, emotional, or mental problems apparent within a person, then evidence exists that there is not only soul loss but also an intruding negative energy. Extracting this negative energy and restoring the soul through the process of a soul retrieval promotes feelings of wholeness and happiness. When a person stopped singing, indigenous people realized that a soul retrieval was needed. With the restoration of the soul’s wholeness, the person would sing again.

In a shamanic culture, care of the soul is part of daily existence. I believe that is why these cultures are notably contented, happy, and crime-free. People who are whole or feel good about themselves handle the ups and downs of life in a wholesome way. When people feel fearful, threatened, or fragmented, their responses to life are extremely different from those who feel trustful, optimistic, whole, and complete. In our culture, we have very little experience with sustaining trust and optimism. Our cultural system is based on a win-lose hierarchy. Someone is always gaining while another is losing. In shamanic cultures, this win/lose phenomenon is seen as soul stealing, or stealing away someone’s personal power.

Many people purposely steal personal power from others. A person can be the victim of this theft at any stage of life, but it often happens to children, especially if they are raised with authoritarian, controlling, or needy parents. The parents actually steal power away from their children. A resultant exchange of power occurs if a person is abused in any way: emotionally, physically, sexually, or mentally. The overpowered loses energy to the abuser. Children are easy targets to control and extremely vulnerable to soul stealing. The resultant soul loss leaves a void that is filled by negative energy (usually feelings of unworthiness) and the individual carries this energy for a lifetime, or until the lost soul parts can be retrieved. If there is no care of the soul built into the culture’s system, the result is a society of wounded people. Feelings of unworthiness can lead to all sorts of dysfunctional behaviors and attitudes that predominate in society. These feelings of lack can take generations to heal, but once the patterns are recognized efforts can be made toward healing. I have found in my own research that the core counseling issue for most people is the issue of unworthiness. People need to be genuinely loved and connected to a higher power. Once soul theft occurs, an effort must be made to recover it.

Cultural and family mores often create hierarchical gender structures, which establish male dominance. The result is socially reinforced losses of personal power for a false sense of social order. A country-western song like “Stand by Your Man” is an example of a gender-based system of control that suggests “appropriate” positions of power in relationships. Women have been taught to give away their personal power to the male gender to find love or acceptance. Other examples of this belief system abound in our culture, but in true love and acceptance one does not give away one’s soul. The void caused by engaging in this behavior can have extremely adverse effects.

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Soul Loss and Soul Retrieval

Soul Loss and Soul Retrieval By Jan Engels-Smith

A particular form of soul loss happens in relationships built on codependency, in which one person bases his or her worth in another person rather than in self. “To rescue another person or to collude in abusive patterns is to give away one’s soul in an attempt to hold onto the relationship” (Soul Retrieval, Ingerman, p.112). This is a false love that can create soul loss on both sides. True love augments the soul and is most present when the soul is whole.

Soul loss creates a fragmentation of one’s wholeness. Consequently, a person continually tries to fill the voids caused by the fragmentation. Attempts at “fulfillment” may include overt behaviors associated with drugs, alcohol, sex, faulty relationships, or more subtle behaviors of verbal and nonverbal communication.

Listen carefully to conversations and you’ll hear a definite exchange of energy occurring at all times. Questions about what you do for a living, how much money you make, what education you have, and where you live often establishes a hierarchy of energy. If the intention of the questions is to establish position, then a winner and loser is established in these conversations. When positive energy flows, people recognize and pursue their interdependence. Interdependent behavior is evident in mutually supportive relationships in which individuals retain their personal power and self-worth. In such relationships, a person is not striving for worthiness from external criteria such as wealth or beauty, but rather from a powerful inner sense of worthiness. This worthiness creates wholeness.

Understand that interdependence is not the same as dependence. In fact, soul loss is often the result of dependence. This is why children are so susceptible to theft of a soul part. However, many adults are also highly dependent on others and subject to resultant soul loss. The journey to restoration of the soul part requires the individual to first move from dependence to independence.

This movement from dependence to independence is accomplished by regaining one’s individual power. Many confuse this transition with being selfish. They have been taught for so long to give away their personal power to meet the needs of others that this transition to independence can feel jolting. However, the acquisition of independence allows one to participate in the universe in a positive and personally powerful way. Once one’s independence is established, the individual is able to move from independence to interdependence and become a part of the wholeness of life without the loss of individual energy.

This movement from dependence to independence to interdependence is part of the larger universal shift to identifying with the web of life. The recognition that we are all part of one another enhances every individual’s personal power. We are capable of ending our personal fragmentation and the society’. In shamanic cultures, a soul retrieval is performed within three days after any major event in a person’s life. Traumatic or other dramatic changes such as; childbirth, marriage, death of a loved one, an accident, a broken relationship, an argument, were addressed immediately by performing a soul retrieval. It was assumed that anyone going through such an event would have a high probability of soul loss, and in order to instill proper healing, the soul was attended to first.

Unfortunately, in our culture, years and years of fragmentation and soul loss can accumulate for an individual, which creates the potential for a soul to become critically fragmented. We can see the results of this by looking at the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of our society. We have a society that is depressed and self-medicating with illegal drugs, alcohol, and over-the-counter or prescribed medications. Our youths have difficulty finding purpose and meaning in their lives. Relationships and families fall apart with ever-increasing frequency. The culture is not grounded in taking care of the soul.

We are plagued in our culture with people hurting-physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The issues that doctors and psychologists deal with on a daily basis are what a shaman would see as warning signs of soul loss.

Warning signs of soul loss can include:

• Chronic-fatigue, depression, misfortune, faulty relationships, emotional problems, suicidal tendencies.
• The inability to release some emotional trauma from the past such as a death, divorce, or other loss.
• Addictions of any kind-alcohol, drugs, food.
• Not feeling connected to the body or reality.
• Operations or difficulty in recovering from surgery.
• Repetitive sicknesses-colds, flu, and so forth.
• Major illnesses.
• No sense of direction.
• Shame or feelings of guilt.
• Feelings of unworthiness.
• Not feeling one’s personal power.

Our culture suffers dramatically from these symptoms. It is rare to come across someone who responds and lives life from wholeness instead of from the woundedness of his or her past. If a person has voids from soul unnatural fragmentation we have created in the universe. Not sure about the previous sentence what it means. Maybe if a person has voids from soul, it means we have created unnatural fragmentation in the universe? We can have wholeness of person and wholeness of life.


In highly interdependent societies, where the interdependence is recognized and appreciated, soul retrieval is a daily and accepted activity. The care of the soul is the first priority in health, both for the individual and for the society. If a person has voids from soul loss these voids act like magnets trying to fill up with any energy to become whole. If you are exposed to anger, fear, greed, anxiety, unhappiness and hatred repeatedly, your own soul will absorb these qualities. Extracting negative energies and bringing back the lost soul energy, and then teaching a person how to stay whole will not only heal the individual and restore personal power; it will begin to restore wholeness in our society.

Restoration of wholeness and an understanding of our oneness is the positive shift many of us are working to instill in Western culture. This work addresses the fact that everything is energy including us and that all energies influence one another. We must learn to maintain and care for our own divine energy-our soul. In such a climate of responsibility and openness, shamanism will find a welcome home.

All of us have experienced trauma in some form just from experiencing life. Because of this, I believe that most people will benefit from an initial soul retrieval. I have witnessed amazing results in healing using this technique and have also experienced it firsthand. Soul retrieval changed me, not only as a person but also as a professional therapist.

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The Goose Story

The Goose Story By Jan Engels-Smith

Next fall, when you see Geese heading South for the Winter… flying along in V formation… you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way:

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.

By flying in V formation the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.


When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone… and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.


When the Head Goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs with people or with geese flying south.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

What do we say when we honk from behind?

Finally… and this is important… when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshots, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.


— Source Unknown

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What Is the Role of a Shaman?

What is the role of a shaman

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.

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