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Trauma Healing Through Shamanic Practice

Updated: May 23

I asked this exact question years ago when the idea of modern-day Shamans was presented to me. My first thought was very old, wrinkled, and wise man with a bone nose ring. Given my immediate interest in Shamanism, I was happy to discover that my imagined vision of a Shaman was completely false!

Many modern-day Shamans look just like everyone else. We wear the same clothes, work the same jobs, drive the same cars, and travel the same way everyone else does. The majority of the differences are deep on the inside with some visible outward changes as well. A fun one is the anti-aging effects I have noticed! It’s a wonder what less stress, worry, and anxiety will do for your skin. I call my Shamanic practice my “modern-day fountain of youth”. 😊

Even with that reference to the fountain of youth, my all-time favorite changes I see in myself are definitely on the inside. It takes some time to integrate and live the 12 principles of Shamanism and truthfully, it is still something I continue to practice daily. It’s kind of like Abraham and the Law of Attraction, you can’t get it “wrong” and you’ll never get it done. 😝 When you choose to walk the path of the Shaman you step onto the medicine wheel, with each of the directions of a compass corresponding to a particular area of growth, certain “problems” that we as humans face, and brings with it the medicine to change those areas of your life.

My reasons for stepping onto the Medicine Wheel and integrating Shamanism into my life were completely selfish. After years of relationship trauma, a PTSD diagnosis, meds for all the things, and 3 failed suicide attempts, I was ready to make a drastic change. I couldn't keep on living how I was living. Either something was going to change or I would be no more. I could see the benefit my partner experienced from his time on the wheel, so I thought, "Why the hell not?" I was willing to try anything at that point.

A year on the wheel changed the trajectory of my life, in the best ways! No more panic attacks, no more medication, I even retired my service dog. Now I have the great honor of leading others through the journey I took and guiding them through the murky waters of their trauma, to come out the other side with all the tools, techniques, skills, and resources required for a life of love, joy, peace, passion, and freedom. For more information on how the Medicine Wheel and Shamanic teachings may be able to help you, please click here.

Photo of Melody Morris: Modern-day Shaman
Melody Morris: Modern-day Shaman

More about Shamanic Practice

There are so many different native tribes with their version of Shamanism that are all a bit different. I am trained in a Peruvian tradition and plan to visit my ancestors one day. I love seeing the images and hearing the stories from my teacher of her time in Peru. Amazingly, these native traditions are still applicable today, especially with our modern-day conveniences like social media. They may be more applicable today than they were thousands of years ago.

Part of the medicine wheel training is learning about Shamanism's 12 practices/principles. 12 principles that lead and guide us in action and thought. This part also takes time. It’s natural for humans to need time to adjust to new concepts, and the 12 practices are no different. Below I will outline a few that hold special significance to me.

At the beginning of the medicine wheel training, I learned about the Practice of Non-Suffering. Where we no longer write stories about our pain. Seeing the wisdom in this and integrating it into everyday life is a process. It is so easy to be very practiced at telling our stories to anyone who will listen and often we convince ourselves that since we can talk about it without any negative emotional reaction, we are “over it”. When we re-tell the story it keeps the pain alive in a way that can be controlled. For me, the Eternal was sending a message to let it go, stop talking about it, and stop re-wounding myself. The idea that telling those stories over and over was cutting the wound back open is something that many of us have to sit with for a while.

Another practice that I believe particularly applies to our society today is Not Colluding with the Story or the Consensual, which means that Shamans are practicing being amoral, we are not meant to collude with our Families, our Friends, the Societal happenings that we experience. Not colluding is about owning our stuff and doing our work and when working with clients, not colluding in their story and staying off of their drama triangle. Our society is so entertained by collusion that this practice also has special significance for me.

The last Practice I will mention here and probably my favorite is the Practice of Simplicity. Living in simplicity is practicing approaching our world from a place of innocence and wonder. To start each day fresh without holding onto yesterday’s experiences or allowing them to taint today’s vision. It reminds me of my favorite quote from Anne of Green Gables. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.” It truly is.

These are only 3 reasons why I believe Shamanism to be so important and why I am so delighted that I was introduced to this path! The 12 Practices truly teach us to live life to the fullest and to create a life that we love living.

For more information on the 12 Practices and how you can integrate them into your life and experience, please send me a message here!

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