Extraction by Jan Engels-Smith
“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” Warren Buffett
In our modern world, much of the efforts to renew the self are focused on “fixing” problems and piecemeal attempts to couple together a few positive elements to give the appearance of a new identity. Inevitably, we must confront the negative conditions of our current reality and endeavor to overcome these barriers to a better life, but often our solutions involve evading the negative energy rather than abolishing it. The shamanic principle of extraction is focused on identifying, removing, and eliminating misplaced energy.
Each of us is an energy system—holistic and fully integrated. Our energetic system was designed by the cosmos to operate perfectly and to be capable of constant regeneration, but in the context of our current reality we often suffer from the misplacement or distortion of our energy fields in ways that cause us to suffer illness, depression, pain, and a host of other maladies that require significant attention if we are to achieve a restoration of our perfect self. Extraction goes beyond simply fixing a problem to eradicating the source of the difficulty—the negative energy that sustains the problem. We may treat a malignant growth with drugs that mask the painful symptoms or we may remove the growth entirely. Such is the difference between a diminished negative energy and an eradicated one.
In life and in our interactions with our environment, we deplete our energies and in this diminished state we pick up energy from around us that is often negative in form and damaging to our wellbeing. These conflicting dynamisms create an imbalance in the vibrational energies that emanate from us and tend to attract other negative energy that leads to sickness, distress, and unhappiness. We may attempt to create positive energies and change our vibrational momentum but the existing intruding energy hinders our efforts.
This is where the shamanic act of extraction becomes critical to our continuing evolution to becoming our true and perfect self. The eradication of the intruding negative energy allows positive energy to flow more freely and we find ourselves emitting and attracting positive vibrations. Where negative sensations compounded our problems and promoted a negative dynamic before extraction, we now find after extraction the flow of positive vibrations multiplying the powers of our energetic self to heal and mend our damaged inner being.
We are each an energy system I often describe as gaseous, floating particles, a three-dimensional matrix of energy fields, a spherical spider web, and sparkling dust in a ray of sunlight. Every day we lose some of these particles by our interactions with each other and our environment, and we leave tiny specks of our energy field wherever we go. The same is true of all other beings and we are all susceptible to picking up these particles of energy and having them influence our lives. An example of evidence of these dispersed particles can be found in the Bushmen tribes in Africa. Many of the hunters of this indigenous culture are able to track animals across rough terrain where there appears to be no visible evidence of a trail or animal prints. The Bushmen see the energy imprint of the animal with the clairvoyant eye of their right brain. This exceptional perceptiveness to energy trails that are invisible to the eye of people in our modern culture exists because of an attunement with the environment and a connectedness to the life forms they are pursuing. The aura is energetic, so the tracker is not looking for signs such as broken twigs or erosion of the track but is getting the detailed message from the energy left behind.
Each of us has been at one time or another in an environment of excessively positive or excessively negative energies. In our spiritual work we feed off of each other’s positive energy and find our own energy enhanced and empowering. In a similar fashion, a negative energy environment can create adverse conditions and debilitating influences that sap our energy and power. In some work environments, for example, there might exist negative energies that are displayed prominently in energy-sapping staff meetings where everyone is aware of the negativity and non-productive nature of the conversations but ignores it and looks forward only to the end of the meeting. We often leave these meetings with our energies drained and our productivity diminished.
In families and friendships, we might also encounter negativity that focuses on judgment and criticism where each individual is diminished by the engagements and disempowered. In various settings we take on the negative energy and find ourselves suffering from the effects on our souls. These weakening energies are those that we must address and eliminate and the shamanic extraction process does so.
Because we are constantly leaving energy behind us in the conduct of our daily lives, we can become depleted and made more vulnerable. As a result, we pick up imprinted energies from everyone around us—energy that others have left randomly, that events have left in the air, and even from words and emotions that have originated from others. These bits of energetic information collect on us like dust and, if not removed, become entangled in our energy fields and are often problematic. Additionally, we lose much of our positive energy and we need to restore this or we may feel fatigued or even depressed. The extraction process aids in this restoration and revitalization by removing the encumbering weight of adverse energies.
Around our physical beings (as with all objects) are auras—subtle electromagnetic fields that emanate from our person and contain specific embedded programming. The seven chakras that many people identify with the crown, third eye, throat, heart, solar plexus, abdomen, and root are portals that move energy into and out of your body and create the aura that surrounds you. Through these chakras move spinning vortexes of energy that are programmed to affect your aura and generate and attract both positive and potentially negative energy. In an ideal state, the chakra system is open and thriving as it interacts with your surroundings and inner self and a positive glow of wellbeing emanates from your aura. We sometimes refer to such persons as glowing or radiant because they are emitting positive energy that we can all sense and feel.
On the other hand, a blockage that traps negative energy and inhibits the inflow of positive energy affects one’s aura and may lead to physical, emotional, and spiritual debilitation. The person experiencing the blockage may not fully understand the cause of their problems and it is the work of the shamanic practitioner to assist in the diagnosis of the negative energy, the locating of the source, and the extraction and disposal of the offending energy.
Remember that many inhibitors to wellbeing are fear-based and the shamanic practitioner must assist the persons preparing for the extraction to recognize their true power and perfect self. Comedian and lecturer Michael Pritchard once humorously wrote: ”Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.” We are all subject to occasional self-doubt and negative feelings and this is the source of development of the energy blockage that must be extracted. Setting aside fear allows for the subject to be fully receptive to the extraction. Establish a comfortable setting and make sure the person is relaxed and focused.
As a shamanic practitioner, one enters a shamanic state of consciousness that allows seeing and diagnosing the misplaced energy—often referred to as an intrusion. The shaman then attempts to merge fully with the their spiritual allies and power animals whom the shaman has an intimate working relationship with. It is important to draw on the energy of these divine helpers during extraction because this allows the shaman to use the merged energies to extract the energy block.
It is important in the extraction that the extracted energy be dealt with thoughtfully and that it not be allowed to pollute the surrounding environment and perhaps create problems in the future for others. Disposal with intention can be accomplished in several ways as long as the focus on intention remains constant and true. The intention must be set before the extraction so the process can be managed effectively. Either fire or water can be used as part of the disposal procedure. Bowls of water or lit candles placed on your altar may serve in the transmutation process. The water neutralizes the negative energy and the fire consumes it. If actual objects are not available, one my use virtual fire and water as long as your intention is clearly set and you can visualize the extermination of the extracted energy.
Another option is to open a virtual portal in the ether of your workplace in to which you transmute the extracted energy safely. Take care to close the portal to prevent reentry. As you develop your practice, you develop a relationship with the ether, with fire and water, as well as with any other elements and beings that may accumulate along the journey of your shamanic experiences. You will learn to pre-create ritual settings for the purpose of doing your shamanic work, replete with appropriate altar elements in the layout of your workspace. Thoughtful and careful preparation is essential to managing the extraction to insure that the process will be successful and bring closure.
Following the extraction, the shamanic practitioner should seek to fill the void left by the removal of the blockage with positive vitality. This may be accomplished by visualizing the restorative power of positive energy rushing into the body through the various chakras and the radiating of new energy back into the person’s aura. A person might simulate this experience by taking deep breaths and sighing expansively and physically feel the invigorating new energy and the sense of a surrounding blissfulness. There are dozens of filling procedures that the shaman can use; the shaman choosing the procedure that best suits the client’s need.
Extractions are intended to bring individuals back to their original blueprint. The blockage that is removed is the unnatural condition that inhibits the perfect self and the inflow of positive energy that follows the extraction restores the natural order of the perfect and true self. Since ancient times this has been the practice of shamans and we are discovering again in 21st century shamanism that we are energetically capable of healing and restoring ourselves.