I have been working with the Connected Flow, the creative power that flows through nature, and asking it to come through my hands as I do hands on bodywork on horses. Totally amazing! But is it shamanic? Yes, because I am a bridge to the compassionate power, and I am connecting with specific things in the natural world. When I connect to the flow of the ocean washing onto the sand, or the sway of the birch tree, or the roots of the estuary, I am, in shamanic parlance, connecting to the Spirit of that natural thing. Everyone can do this, because we are alive and we are a part of nature. This connective power is naturally in our hands. When we connect into the natural world we are bringing in the wisdom and compassion of nature herself. That wisdom can augment our touch, and direct the compassionate healing power of nature in a way that is sweet and delicious. Shamanism is about being a bridge for compassionate Spirit to come through us, to help ourselves and others. It is a word from Siberia that anthropologist have applied to native tribal healers across the globe. Because the term is associated with tribal healers, shamanism can seem frightening or antithetical to some people of faith. But if we look at the term technically - rather than from any particular cultural system - we can see that shamanism is really about becoming a skilled bridge to compassionate healing power regardless of our religious framework. It does seem confusing though, because the term shaman is so often used to refer to someone who is reaching into tribal traditions.
And so I offer this dual way of understanding the word:
Technically a shaman is someone who has the skills to be a bridge to compassionate spiritual power, and the shaman uses these skills to to help themselves and their community. It is this technical aspect of shamanism that I am referring to in the practice of Creative Flow.
Socially a modern shaman often works with personal helping Spirits that seem familiar in tribal cultures, typically power animals, spirit teachers and ancestors, to bring healing and wisdom through for themselves and their community. Many modern shamans are often interested in the cultural beliefs and structures of their tribal roots or ancestry, and many are not associated with modern religions.
A person of faith can technically use shamanic techniques to be a healer, and have no interest or association with tribal Spirits of any kind. However, a person really must acknowledge this core idea: the compassionate life force coursing through all of creation is healing and beautiful. That power is to be respected and trusted. That's it!
As I teach Connected Flow, I ask that each person call upon their higher power to support their connection to the Connected Flow. I personally am a darn good technical shaman, and I am also a social modern shaman. I therefore call upon compassionate Spirits of my ancestors, my power animals and other beautiful ones to guide my Connected Flow practice. These Spirits are part of my higher power understanding - and because I have Christian heritage, I also call upon familiar biblical spirits for help and support. Each person reaches to the Spirits they know, trust and love to be their guides. And so we are all here to help each other in love.