Shamanism is part of my being. I am often asked what my take on it is within our western culture. A question I have pondered for many years.
The first chapter of my book – Modern Day Shaman®. Find a deeper connection to life – explains colourfully how I came to call myself Shaman and details the known history of its philosophy. Here is an extract which I hope goes some way to explaining my view on this spiritual way of being and the spiritual information that comes through because of it.
Shamans existed in all ancient cultures far and wide around the world. In fact, my surname the word Negus means shaman or king in the language of Ancient Egypt and continues to be used today in Ethiopia. The shamans of Ancient Egypt were their leaders. The Pharaoh held the spiritual, physical and emotional health of their people and were initiated into the wisdom of the traditions passed down through generations. A good description for the role of the shaman in every culture.
Shamans were found all across Asia and the world. The word shaman was first translated into English in the 17th century when it was brought back by a Dutch traveller and statesman, and ambassador to the English court, Nicolaes Witsen, the first explorer to Siberia, the Far East and Central Asia. The word shaman was included in his 1672 book, Noord en Oost Tataryen/North and South Tatary. The word, as we know it, is said to have originated from the Tungus tribe of north east Asia. In English it means spiritual healer, one who sees in the dark or one who knows; a ‘doctor of the soul’.
The shaman traditionally was a visionary, prophet, healer, psychotherapist, ceremonialist and often an herbal doctor. He or she, cared for the health of their community by looking after the spiritual and physical health of its inhabitants.
For me, the word shaman means many things.
But the word that resonates most for me is ‘bridge’.
Shamans are bridges between the spiritual and the physical. They are able to travel through many realms to see into what appears to be darkness to find the light. I am forever grateful to the shamans I have worked with who saw the light in me and helped me to shine it more and more brightly.
Shamans see themselves in other people. They can expand their consciousness past what is proven and known and can telepathically communicate across vast distances, to people, animals and even to our planet Earth.
This understanding of the label shaman has come to me only after many years of experience. When I first began exploring this ancient art, I was curious and accepted what I was shown on a surface level. I did not question my insight when I was journeying. The experiences were real to me. More real than my physical existence and they were much more fun.
I wanted to find out how to translate that ‘fun’ into my real life. I began to decipher the energy of shaman. I wanted to explain to other people my passion for energy and my calling to share this philosophy.
I remember when I first set my stall out on the Internet, having decided that hiding away in Surrey in the United Kingdom was ‘playing small’. I began to join international groups online where I tentatively shared my spiritual gifts. Over the period of about 6 weeks, I facilitated 150 free hour-long sessions. Each session with a stranger. Each one on a conference call without the client physically present. Each one powerful.
I had been sceptical as to the shifts I could evoke in distance work with only my intention, my ability to travel in energy and my spiritual insight to guide me. The first day, I held 10 sessions and at the end of them, I was buzzing. Buzzing with energy, convinced I was on to something big. I knew without doubt that I was connecting with the spiritual energy of my client. Interpreting symbolism they saw in their mind’s eye. Bringing them to a place where they changed their deep beliefs about themselves. What was more, I understood that when I travelled with my clients, I was accessing more of myself. Inspiring my clients – unconsciously – to go the extra mile, to stretch a little further, to risk more of themselves. They broke down and shared secrets. They uncovered old unhelpful thoughts locked within them and witnessed the beauty of their soul in ways they never had before.
At that time, I was calling myself a spiritual mentor. It was not until a number of my clients began to describe me as ‘their shaman’ that I took on the description. This is traditional. I may not have been given the honour by an indigenous tribe, but by my own community, those people who knew me and had experienced my energy and my work. They understood what I was. My Western tribe of clients named me shaman. I added Modern Day because that felt aligned to working with modern people, facilitating change by accessing parts of their energy that they could not. A shaman is the bridge.
Channelled Poem: I Am the Bridge
“I am the bridge.
The way between now and what could be.
The arch of possibility.
The link between realities.
The place between conscious and unconscious.
The rainbow that connects to your pot of gold.
If you are curious.
If you feel you are more than you seem.
If you say yes to yourself.
If you are brave enough to be good enough.
I am the bridge.
The way seeker.
The door between all you have been and all you can be.
I am the bridge
Come journey with me.”
Shamanism is a philosophy, a way of being, a way of living, a search for knowledge of self and of the Universe through, and by experience.
Shamans can be found in Inuit, Amazon, Norse, Native American Indian, Mauri, Ancient Greek and Roman, Ancient Egyptian, African, Asian and Aboriginal cultures.
The Aboriginal name for their shaman is ‘clever fella’. A fella who sees what other people do not; who knows how to translate the energy of the divine and connects it to the world.
A ‘clever fella’ does not look at a person to see what they have acquired in life. They do not look to see how their personality translates to what they buy, their clothes, car, home or career. A shaman looks into a person’s eyes, the mirror of their soul, to see how deep their awareness of themselves goes. They look for distortions of energy and for emotional blocks that hide the person’s light. They understand how to side step the cultural conditioning that is part of our world’s physical reality. They look straight into the web of energy that connects us all and brings hope, acceptance and answers to problems so solutions can be found. They bring an invitation to become what and who you really are.
During the last 22 years, I have played with the idea of shaman. I am non-traditional, which means I did not become initiated in an indigenous culture before the age of 30. I do not have roots or physical ancestry that leads back to an indigenous elder, but I know I am shaman, The Modern Day Shaman®.
The way of a modern day shaman is to bring reason for the chaos of Western life. In coining this description of shaman I come with the knowing that spiritual information is to be shared. It is for all of us, so we can find a better way, if we choose.
A modern day shaman does not walk into the wilderness to find themselves as the ancient and indigenous people did and continue to do. They do not need to, for the life we live here in the West casts us into a jungle of its own.
I understand that jungle first-hand. It is the jungle that swallows you and highlights that you do not matter; that you have no value; that you must work your fingers to the bone to succeed; and that success is measured by how much money you have. That jungle is bogus. It is materialistic and it kills the spirit.
During my childhood, teenage years and early adulthood, I knew I was different, strange even. I thought this difference was a bad thing. I thought I needed to change, to fit in, to be normal, in order to be accepted. I thought I had to bury all the things I knew to be liked. I thought I had to please everyone around me and put my own needs, wants, and beliefs to one side so I could make other people happy.
I learned early on to hide what I saw beyond our reality. It was not acceptable. I learned the ‘knowing’ I had was not tolerated in a little girl. I learned to hide my light.
The truth I took on; the deep belief I carried lay heavy within me. I was wrong, phoney, an imposter, not good enough for love, not good enough for success, not good enough for anything. Only other people could be what they wanted, because they were liked and loved. They joined in among society easily. I did not and I decided I was delinquent.
That coupled with all manner of difficult experiences in my life further embedded this belief.
The thing is, stealth or hidden shamans, shamans who are not yet on their path, not yet aligned to their truth, experience life through a distorted lens, with disrupted energy and an inability to settle or find peace.
There are certain signs to watch for, signs that mean you are ready to explore shamanic energy for yourself.
When I first stepped on my spiritual path it was in search of healing. I had no notion that I did not need healing, after all I was a mess, actually a hot mess, but healing was not what I needed. None of us do. We need to be able to see our own truth and embrace our path and enjoy our journey. So often we are searching for a destination, a nirvana, that already exists within us. That beautiful heavenly place is in our own heart. It vibrates from our soul and is a part of our being.
As I realised my abilities to hold energy, to travel through dimensions and to match energetic frequencies other people cannot. I began to understand that my difference was my gift. That my gift was important, precious and something to nurture and grow.
Like a small child in a candy shop, I began to try all the different flavours available to me in the energetic realms. From vibrations that caused nausea and muscle tightness, to energy that flowed and moved like rivers, and frequencies that played out like beautiful music.
I heard the angelic choir, which translated into layman’s terms is a group of angelic beings singing love vibrations, which touch your heart and soul, and give you a feeling of completeness.
I felt the belly wrenching pull of gravity and grounding, which can feel so heavy and overwhelming when coming back from an energetic journey into the reality of our physical life.
I time hopped. To explore past lives and future selves. Finding myself in ancient places that held resonance for me and then transporting to hopes for my future.
I played in my mind’s eye with mythical creatures. Pegasus, the winged horse and mermaids who swam with me in the ocean.
I discovered how animals could come into my awareness both in my physical world and in the spiritual world to bring messages through. Black Panther is the spirit animal I associate with my sense of personal power. She walks by my side energetically and helps me find my courage. Once, I remember noticing hundreds of geese all grouping together in a farmer’s field. An invitation to be brave and stay loyal to myself.
I got to know my personal spiritual guides. These are energetic vibrations that come close to us to help on our life’s journey. It brought me great comfort to know I was never alone and supported in ways I did not understand or see.
I found emotional trauma, however seemingly insignificant or infinitely terrible caused different distortions in the energy of a person, rather like a knot in a ball of string left untended and tangled. Unravelling such trauma, following it back to its beginning, recognising it, understanding it and forgiving its existence weakened the power it held on life today. That, coupled with uncovering conditioned beliefs taken on from family, society, culture and experience, can unlock physical armouring. These are habitual postures adopted by the body as a protection from the drama of emotions. Once released, a new level of living can emerge and take shape. Not only in the physical body but in every aspect of a person’s existence.
That is the language of a modern day shaman. And, in shamanic tradition, I confirm my explanation with, “Aho”, which means to clear and is used to affirm an intention or declaration.
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