I recently had an email exchange with a person who perceives they are under attack by an outside force, and wants shamanic help. The person has a diagnosed mental illness.
I am usually cautious about taking on clients with diagnosed mental conditions that involve hearing voices in the head. Maybe it is true that this is a sign of the "gift" (as some healers say), but how can we tell when the voices in our heads are from Spirit or from some internal manufacturing of our brain?
I am not a metal heath practitioner - and really I speak with no authority - and yet I have found that the sense of being under psychic or spiritual attack often comes from a lack of discernment - the key skill for any energy, spiritual or intuitive healer. Everyone has the capacity to connect to the spirit world, and everyone has the capacity to create in their imaginative minds. A deep exploration into the spirit world can be a very wild ride, but you are experiencing that ride in your brain, in your faculties of imagination. If a person can't tell what comes from their own ideas, and what is a spirit-journey-connected experience, or if the two overlap and blur, well, that would be really hard.
Here is a letter I could write in reply to most everyone who comes to me with this sort of trouble:
First of all let me say this: I believe you when you say that you are under attack, and that experiences you are having are real. The question is, which of your experiences are from the spirit world, and which are being generated within your own natural framework? In my experience shamanic work can help you, but it alone doesn’t clear up some mental illness. There is something in the brain mis-function that is real, and unfortunately modern medicine may not yet have found the solution for you.
In Shamanic parlance, intrusions are energy/entities that are attached to you somehow, and they are not helping you. Intrusions can definitely feel like they are an attack! Many intrusions come from the outside - from non-compassionate spirits we may encounter, or negative energy we may have been blasted by - but intrusions are also created by our own thoughts. We really need to develop discernment to know what comes from where. Intrusions may feel like an attack! But what if we are attacking ourselves?
The shaman can remove the intrusions no matter what their source, and refill the person with beauty and healing. And the shaman can also provide ongoing protection for the person by surrounding them with a Power Animal or other compassionate spirits who will help guard them from outside invasion. But the shaman is hard pressed to get a person to stop creating more internally generated intrusions, especially if the person can't understand that they themselves are creating the troubles. How can we teach someone discernment and self awareness, when to them, it all feels like an invasion from some alien something or other? I don't know.
If you are willing to work with me to sort out the internal from the external, and to learn some skills in discernment, we may be able to help you out of this scary place. I will join your helping team, if you are willing to try sorting it out as I work on protecting you and clearing you from intrusions, of all makes and models.
Blessings and love! Carla