Shamanism—the Quest for Wholeness and Holiness of the Self
A workshop in shamanic initiation and healing ceremonies
October 23—27, 2000

We belong to the ground
We must stay close to it;
We belong to our Soul
We must enfold it
Forsaking either
We will get lost
Maybe not find our way..
--Lakota Elder--

This experiential workshop will focus on shamanic methods for renewing and healing the Soul—leading to Wholeness of Self and acquiring tools for healthy maintenance of the Self. These methods include each participant's finding and building their own shamanís web of power, working with Ancestral Spirits, being initiated into soul healing methods, and tending the soul's coextensive relationship with other beings in the natural world.

The major emphasis in this workshop will be training in the following shamanic methods. All these methods will be interwoven with drumming, chanting, dancing, and ceremonies appropriate to those activities

Entering and sustaining the "shamanic trance state"
Learning different forms of the classical shamanic journey We will learn several methods for entering the shamanic Trance State. Participants are intiated into shamanic journeying, aided by druming and other techniques for experiencing the shamanic state of consciousness and for awakening dormant spiritual abilities. Shamanic Trance is one of the most remarkable visionary methods used by humans to explore the hidden universe otherwise known mainly through myth and dream. It is within various trance states and through the shamanic journey method that individuals find their own individual spiritual teachers, power animals, and helpers in nonordinary reality. These are the beings that become the source of power, wisdom, help with problem-solving, and assist the shamanic practitioner in their healing work. This is the first intiatory step in shamanic training and these methods can be applied beyond the workshop in contemporary daily life. power songs.

Shamanic Healing Methods:
Mending the Wounded Spirit Every human society has health pratitioners who use models that provide them with a basis for diagnosis and treatment of the ill and suffering. In shamanic cultures the basic model is that all suffering and illnesses have a spiritual component. The soul of a person encounters many challenges, and dangers just as does the body. The shaman is defined as one who is concerned with the soul's journey through all the realms in which the soul moves—before birth, during life in this world, leaving this world, and returning to the Source from which we came. Thus, the shaman's focus is on doing whatever is required to restore the person's spirit to connection with the wholeness of the Universe.

The shamanic model postulates that unless the spiritual aspects are addressed, there is an incomplete healing process which years of treatment and medical intervention does not resolve. The person may continue to suffer or to encounter other misfortunes. In addition to doing healing work with the suffering, they assist the person in linking up with their own sources of spiritual power. From this reconnection, other distresses may be resolved by the body's own self-repairing system, a healing system that is something we share with all of nature. We share it w ith the rivers, plants, animals: with everything that has this capacity to heal itself when disturbed.

Participants will be initiated into the shamanic healing methods. These methods are often referred to as "soul retrieval," extraction (removing spiritual intrusions), restoring lost vitality or power (power animal retrievals). I prefer to place all these, and other methods, under the general category of Soul Re-membering. Often people experience themselves as fragmented, dis-membered, and having lost their sense of Self. An elder shaman commented that "healing is remembering who we are." These methods focus on removing blocks to manifesting our own nature, and restoring the Soul to its true home within ourselves. . Some of these methods will be described in mini-lectures and others will be taught so that participants can apply these methods in their personal and professional lives.

Our Soul's Health is inseparable from Nature:

Working with Nature Spirits Shamanic peoples have many ways of keeping lively their sense of inseparable relationship with all Nature. They know we are part of Earth evolving and that somehow we partake (and remember) all that has ever been. We are the stewards for future generations. We cannot be "whole" apart from a vital relationship with the other inhabitants with whom we share this planet. Our workshop is located in a natural setting that provides opportunities to do shamanic activities with the other beings within that landscape. Some of our work will be outdoors and participants will learn methods for learning from the plants, rocks, winds, waters, sun and moon. In a world now out of balance, the way of the shaman can teach how again to respect nature, and our Planet at a deep spiritual level.

Learning the Art of Shamanic Circling
We have survived Because we have kept our Circle --Choctaw Shaman The universal shamanic symbol is that of the Circle. The Lakota say "we are bound in the Sacred Hoop—humans, the four legged, the living green things, the stones. Orbits within orbits, circles within circles, from the Great Hoop of the universe which, eons ago, dreamed itself into existence, to the blood circles within our own bodies. The universe and the earth are round. Round is camp Circle, round the tipi with humans forming a circle within it." The oldest and most powerful form for gatherings and teachings is the practice of gathering in Circle. Shamanism has always flourished where the Circle of the peoples is strong. Although many shamanic methods can be used by individuals, the deep learning and gathering of the Powers that initiate one into shamanic realms nearly always takes place in Circle. A Circle creates a Vessel, a huge container within which sacred activities are supported and manifested. Beginning with our opening ceremony, we ask the healing Powers to bless us in our work and for each of us to tend mindfully our participation as members in a Circle. A Circle thus empowered provides a place of safety, love, and strength so that each person is able to do their shamanic work and the healing Spirits have a strong container within which to dwell while assisting us. One of my goals as a teacher of shamanism is to help support the increasing growth of shamanic circle around the world. It is not always easy to form a shamanic, non-hierarchical, Circle in a world where competition, hierarchy, and linear thinking predominate. Part of our work together will be to work in Circle for when we do, something deep, profound and mysterious occurs that cannot be known in any other form of gathering....

Please note: All shamanic training provides most participants with a sense of greater vitality, and connection with significant spiritual resources. Some participants find they are called to do more extensive shamanic training. Although participants experience a greater sense of well being, this training workshop is not designed for people seeking personal healing but for people seeking to understand more about shamanism and shamanic methods. The workshop is also designed for people who want to bring shamanic healing work into their lives and possibly their professional practice with others.

The Old Ones are there for us.
They welcome us.
They recognize us.
They bring wisdom to us.
We are not alone.
We are not orphans.
We are not motherless or fatherless.
We have the Old Ones
All the grandmothers
and grandfathers of the world
From time immemorial.
They care of us
They teach us
They nurture us
They show us the healing ways.
We are loved.
---Lakota Elder--

Carol Proudfoot-Edgar, C.S.C., leads workshops throughout the United States and in Europe focused on shamanism, Native American practices, and the application of shamanism for people in the healing professions. In addition to her own workshops, she is a faculty member of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and founding member of the nonprofit, Tending Sacred Circles. Her teaching weaves materials from her Native American background, her training as a Psychologist, and both her practice and knowledge of cross-cultural shamanism.

For more information, visit Carol's web site:
and Tending Sacred Circles' website