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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Finding Your Truth with Shamanism

Aug 30, 2016 07:52PM ● By Cheryl Downey

Cheryl Downey

Shamanism is not a religion or system of beliefs. It is not knowledge borrowed from someone else's truth. It is a deep process of individual awakening—through personal experience—to the extraordinary worlds of energy and awareness unique to each person's being. To write about shamanic awareness in a culture dominated by the rational mind is difficult, for shamans know power disappears when we try to describe or analyze it. Ancient and modern shamans alike teach and heal by talking around power—through stories of wisdom passed down through generations of wise ones, through experiences of body and spirit, or dream journeys into the hidden dimensions of non-ordinary human reality. Ask any shaman, and they will have a power story to tell. So will anyone who steps into a healing process with them.

Explore a shamanic path for healing and you will find yourself looking deeply into your own reflection in a mirror created by ancient sacred tools. These tools empower energy shifts and include the sacred wheel, the sacred drum, rattle and other ancient sound vibrations, sacred plant beings and their wisdom, connections with the four-legged and winged ones, earth elements seen and unseen, meditation, dream journeys, spirit beings, sacred dance and storytelling. There are many more tools and even more teachings to help us move ever deeper into our own truth and beauty.

Shamans arise from the soil of their culture and are to be honored for their gifts and their culture or tribe's unique perspective on life and wisdom. Some are born with extraordinary personalities and power predisposed for a traditional shaman's unusual life. Some feel called to develop healing power through their own questing spirits, discovering a teacher from one of many, many paths who wakes them up to their own beauty and power.

I am a shaman awakened by the teachings of the Sisterhood of the Shields, a universal shamanism rooted in the ancient power of Woman and Mother Earth as taught by the modern shaman, Lynn Andrews. I have learned firsthand that shamanism is life-transforming but also challenging, unrelenting in its ever-deepening truth-facing. There is no room for the luxury of a victim mentality.

But there is infinite space for power to live within us. Even when we are experiencing profound life challenges, such as difficult hurts or changes, the pain of grief and loss, illness or other life transitions, we remain powerful creators of our lives—perhaps only needing some assistance to shift energetic knots or blocks and develop inner strength to withstand one's own true power.

Take a moment right now. Feel your body, especially any discomfort or pain. Open to the energy coming up from Mother Earth into you. Become aware of any emotions carrying information, any dreams calling you. Open yourself to receive help from your spirit connections that are using this moment to communicate. Listen! Become aware of the thoughts that create your life at this moment. Stand in the center of your Power!

As a hospital/hospice chaplain for 35 years, Cheryl Downey has empowered healing through life losses, illness, dying and grief. She is a shamanic grief practitioner, graduating in 2003 from Lynn Andrews Center for Sacred Arts and Training. She founded the Sacred Wheel Center for Grief and Healing in 2014 and Sacred Wheel Center Inc. in 2016. Her book, Emerging from the Dark: Grief Around the Sacred Wheel, is gestating. For more information on individual sessions or packages, classes, workshops and retreats, visit To schedule a session, call 612-272-3977 or email [email protected] For information on Lynn Andrews' Mystery School, visit

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