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On Power and Shamanism


This article is about the concept of shamanic power and how it integrates with shamanic healing, soul retrieval healing work, shamanism and psychology, shamanic energy work and how this work can assist in releasing trauma from the body, mind and soul.   This article was formerly a part of the article, 'What Is Shamanism?' and I expanded it due to requests on the concept of power.  This article also offers a real life example of shamanic healing with one of my clients. 


Working as a shaman or shamanic practitioner comes down to working with power. The power of the soul, the power of the chakras, the power of the mind and the power of the illusions we may hold. Working with power is a challenging and empowering honor, and one that all of us face on a daily basis.


Power, from a shamanic perspective, may be viewed as the amount of and way we hold our life/soul's energy and how we use it in our daily lives. Everything we do comes down to a choice of how we use this energy. How we interact with those we love, and those we don't feel love for. How we make decisions or don't make decisions. How we allow or don't allow others to treat us and those we love. Each time there is an action or lack of action we are choosing how we use our energy.  Think back on the last time you wavered for a while before you made a decision. It probably felt exhausting as you wrestled with your energy and like a relief once you made the decision.


One way that shamans look at illness, is as a depletion of one's power energy. Sometimes, illness is caused by a loss of a soul part, sometimes by a loss of a power part and sometimes by a choice that one made to give away their power out of fear.


Example of Healing with Shamanic Power


One example of this was an experience I had working with a young woman, Michelle (I've changed the name for anonymity, the experience is written as it occurred).  Michelle was a 35 year old woman with 2 children whose husband had recently died of cancer.  Michelle came to me because she was feeling stuck in fear, grief and a feeling she said felt like she was stuck in a void and spinning and she couldn't get out.   She said she didn't feel like she was here anymore.


In looking at Michelle's energy system, it was clear to me that a soul retrieval could be a valuable experience for her.  Yet, there was something else I was seeing and it seemed related to her power.  The void she spoke of looked like it was covering something.  While from a cognitive perspective, this may have seemed like a soul retrieval was required, my inner guidance and my guides confirmed there was something else here that needed to happen first.


We went through an exercise to go beyond it and and explosion of anger surfaced.   It was like she became another woman.  She began yelling and got off the table.  She was writhing and it was like she couldn't stop moving.  She wasn't out of control, she was releasing something.  I encouraged her to move in certain ways to release the energy and after about 30 minutes, she began to breathe.  We breathed together for a little while to bring her back to now and when she looked up, she smiled.  She said the void was now a pebble and she felt like she was in her body again.  She said she was ready now for the Soul Retrieval work.  My guides confirmed and we decided to go into it in the next session.


When Michelle came back for the Soul Retrieval, she was already changed.  She had regained quite a bit of her power and it showed in the way she held herself, her voice and her breath.   She said she still felt like a part of her was lost and wanted to do the session.  


In the Soul Retrieval session, I journeyed for her to the lower world and started by working in her chamber of wounds.  I saw a man hitting her with a whip.  He looked older and kept flashing back and forth with a younger version.  The younger version took me to a deeper chamber and we saw a man there sitting.  He looked like a Buddha.  Yet, when he looked up there was anger in his eyes.  I had the feeling this was a past life and asked if it was so.  My guide gave me confirmation and the boy left and I went to the chamber of contracts.


This chamber held a large vessel with a parchment paper in it.  I took it out and looked at it.  It was not a language I identified yet a part of it I could read.  Not this place, not here, not now.  Came through to me.  It felt like a holding back and I had to struggle to breathe.


It seemed that was something for another time so I moved on to the chamber of healing.  I saw Michelle dancing with a man with dark hair.  It seemed to be a scene set in the early 1900's.  She was in a beautiful gown and her hair was all in curls.  She looked happy and was being honored and loved by this man.  Then I saw the man come forward and he looked like he was coming forward to now in time.  I saw him standing next to us today and was told by my guides to move on.


I then went to the chamber of gifts and saw a torch there.  While I usually bring the gift back, this was a gift that held a light for her journey in this lifetime and her guide told me to leave it there and simply bring some of the energy back to link her to her gift and remind her of it.


That was my journey, on the way back to now a donkey came with us as her power animal.  I brought the donkey, the energy from the gift, the man and the information.


I blew the healed energy from the session into her chakras and asked her new guide, the man who had returned with us, why he was here.  Protection, he said.


When I discussed what I saw with Michelle, each part of the session hit a note for her.  That is a part of the soul retrieval sessions, the soul knows what needs to be healed and it doesn't need to make sense to the practitioner.  I simply tell what I see and experience and the person can understand it and interpret it.  My guides and their guides help when needed.


Michelle said she had had a guide when she was a child.  This guide would protect her from her father who beat her and her sisters.  This guide would tell her before he would come home drunk and she would let her sisters know and hide from him.  One day they did this and her father beat her mother instead.  Her mother nearly died.  The girl refused the guide after this, blaming him for what happened and feeling responsible for her mother's pain.


She lost her power then when she lost this guide.  The man who returned was the guide.  Michelle could feel him now and knew he had returned.  The healing this offered her was immeasurable.


Michelle had went on to marry her first boyfriend.   He beat her and she stayed with him.  They had 2 kids together and Michelle always made sure her husband beat her and not the kids.  One day, she came home and saw him molesting her youngest child.   She new she couldn't take it anymore and found a shelter for her and the kids for the night.  She called her mother and asked to come home.  They got a restraining order for the husband and she put in for a divorce.  Her father was much older now and much of his anger had depleted, yet he still said horrible things to her.  One day she heard him say something awful to her little one who had been molested and that was when the void started spinning.  It was her soul calling to her and she had to listen.


It had taken years for her to seek help.  By this time her husband had passed and she was ready to take her family into a new, healing stage of life.  I know she will do just that and now she has a new mirror for her children.  The mirror of a mother who healed herself and took control of her life.  What a powerful way to raise her children.


Thank you Michelle, for offering to share this story of healing.


It has been an honor to work with you.




Jenifer Shapiro, Shamanic Healer and Teacher of Shamanic Studies.  Jenifer is an intuitive shamanic counselor and coach with over 15 years experience integrative shamanic practices into her work with clients.  Her medical intuitive capabilities and her empowerment work have been publicized on television and radio and her shamanic certification programs train new shamanic practitioners in various forms of shamanic healing methods.  More on her programs in shamanic practices.


Note:  Many ask if I follow the Michael Harner (Foundation for Shamanic Studies) methods or Sandra Ingerman's work.  While I have studied with western shamans, including Alberto Villoldo (The Four Winds Society) and others, my work is an integration of my personal shamanic journeys since childhood and my work with western, European and indigenous shamans.  Rather than focusing on the work of a specific teacher, I work with my personal spirit guides and the intuitive of my heart and soul to offer the ability for the experience to unfold exactly as it should and always does, using ritual and the love for truth beyond judgment that I believe is the core of this work. 


Copyright 2000 |  Jenifer Shapiro and The Empowerment Centre, LLC

All Rights Reserved.  No reproduction of ANY type without written authorization.