Shamanic Healing and Animals

Published In: 

The Edge

March 2009

Shamanism is the oldest spiritual practice known to humankind with estimates placing it anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 years old. Shamanic healing techniques are still practiced world wide by both indigenous peoples and others who are called to this work. Sometimes known as spirit doctors or medicine men, shamans view illness as disharmony in a person's life on the spiritual level. This disharmony can lead to mental, emotional, and/or physical illness if left unresolved.

A shaman addresses the spiritual aspect of illness by making journeys outside of time and space into what is called "non-ordinary reality" or a universe parallel to our own. There the shaman meets spirit helpers in the form of animals or human teachers. It is these compassionate spirits who perform the healing work with the shaman only acting as a conduit or ‘hollow bone'.

Shamanic healing is very effective with animals as well as people because animals' souls can suffer from the same type of disharmony as human souls. For example, soul loss is a survival mechanism that takes place during painful or traumatic events. Parts of the essence or soul may leave during trauma in order to help the psyche survive the experience. These parts are lost in "non-ordinary reality" (also referred to as the spirit world) and need to be brought back to the animal or person so they may feel whole again. The universe does not like voids, therefore soul loss can be an invitation for pain, illness, and/or spiritual intrusions to enter and fill that space.

During soul retrieval the shaman journeys on behalf of the client to find lost soul parts and bring them ‘home' again. This process is the same for both animals and people although many times sessions with animals are done remotely. The resulting ‘wholeness of soul' can have many beneficial effects at the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical levels.

In addition, people and animals alike have one or more of what are termed ‘power animals'. These animals are in the spirit world and represent the gifts and powers of that entire species. In exchange for being able to live again on the earth plane through us, they offer these gifts and strengths to help and protect us in our daily lives. Power animals may choose to leave and this results in a loss of power for the being affected. A power animal retrieval restores a power animal to the client which then brings its gifts and strengths that will be of particular assistance to the client in her/his life. Forming a deep relationship with power animals can have a profound affect on day to day living.

Typically the need for a shamanic healing session will come up during an animal communication session. In one case a cat's behavior had changed abruptly and the person had no idea what had happened. During the communication session the cat described and sent pictures of how he had narrowly avoided being severely attacked by a neighborhood dog and suffered soul loss as a result of the shock. After his soul retrieval his person called two months later saying the cat was well on his way to becoming the cat he used to be. She also thought she could benefit from the same type of healing!

Shamanic healing provides a solid foundation for the success of other healing modalities in animals as well as people. For rescued animals much is accomplished by simply living being in a safe home with a loving, caring family. The retrieval of lost soul parts allows the animal to go beyond the "tender loving care" healing and live life to its fullest potential.