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Death and Dying from a Shamanic Perspective

Death and Dying from a Shamanic Perspective


Jan Engels-Smith, Visitor
Waking Occasions 

“Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by its breathtaking moments.” -Michael Vance

In shamanism, the assumption that there isn’t a dying is a idea grounded within the perception of the soul present in a endless means of regeneration. Our soul remembers our historic previous, engages with our present setting, and is aware of our future lives. We stay perpetually and our soul is immortal.

Our existence, nevertheless, is marked by quite a few transitions—each between our many lives and typically even inside the body of what we view as the present bodily life. Emotionally and spiritually, certainly one of our most dramatic transitions includes the leaving of this bodily vessel that we at present occupy and the passing to the subsequent realm of our everlasting existence.

For many individuals that is understandably a traumatic second and a transition that is perhaps fraught with worry and nervousness, however the classes of shamanism can present a perspective that differs considerably from the normal Western view of dying, which is characterised by the finality of an “ending.” The important thing to unlocking the mysteries of existence lies within the understanding of the continuity of life and the everlasting nature of the soul. Thriller—that fantastic realm of what we sense is there, attempt to know, and replicate in our creativity—is the defining nature of spirituality and definitely the essence of our transitional experiences. As Carl Sagan famous, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Shamanism gives a solution to know the soul as an everlasting form shifter, endlessly regenerating into limitless varieties—some human, some not.

One of many fantastic experiences of the shamanic apply is to see one’s existence within the context of a universe unified not simply in its bodily state but in addition in time. Time isn’t just a linear situation of loss and achieve, however a summative expertise that unifies all into a singular second of “here, now, and forever.” The transition that the restricted imaginative and prescient calls dying, the shaman sees as another of an infinite variety of transitions within the soul’s expertise. The lesson to be discovered is “how to see and understand the transition we call death and to experience its mystery as a revelatory moment in our eternal existence.” On this approach, we give attention to the constructive energies of the wonderment and great thing about existence and the guarantees of life.

The essential understanding of the demise course of from the shamanic view includes working with the souls which are transitioning and, within the course of, aiding others related with the transitioning soul to seek out peace in a troublesome time. There are literally 4 issues that I train that I really feel are essential to convey this understanding into full view.

* First, how one can assist a soul as it’s transitioning from its human type into its mild physique, which we sometimes name dying.

* Second, how a scholar may study to journey to his personal dying and see what his soul may determine to do and the way it may behave on this course of, depending on the person’s perception system.

* Third, easy methods to journey to the soul of a one that has died and to seek out closure with that individual or to ask him what he skilled in his course of.

* Fourth, learn how to assist a soul that’s caught between worlds, a discarnate being that has misplaced the bodily physique, however just isn’t but in touch with the divine—a dilemma that worry, attachment, or a non-defined perception system can create.

On this article, I’m going to focus on the primary lesson and I’ll write sooner or later concerning the different three practices.

Shamanism includes a perception that we create our actuality on the earth. You may be conversant in this idea and might nicely have skilled the life-altering results of adjusting your life by the best way you select to see your personal actuality. What chances are you’ll not have thought-about is that this altering of actuality by way of our change in angle and power extends into the afterlife. In different phrases, we create our persevering with actuality even after our soul leaves the physique. That is carried out by means of our perception system. Simply as our perception system determines our present actuality, it is going to additionally decide the course and nature of our future existence.

What I’ve discovered as a shamanic practitioner is that many individuals don’t have a very refined perception system, so there’s a lot of confusion as soon as the soul or the divine essence leaves the physique. In different phrases, it simply doesn’t know what to do. That’s the reason in courses we take journeys to expertise what our personal soul will do. These journeys permit a individual to take a look at what’s in present movement or the chance of what will occur and then make changes, in the event that they don’t like what they see.

One other factor that I discover as a shamanic practitioner in america is that there are numerous misplaced souls, or wandering souls, that haven’t made it to the sunshine. I personally really feel that Western cultures with their hodgepodge of perception techniques create this state of affairs. In indigenous cultures there are very distinct perception methods that your complete tribe believes in and adheres to. This not solely provides the soul a template to comply with, however there’s a collective energy in that the whole tribe believes the identical factor. This collective perception is like rocket gasoline to the soul of the transitioning individual.

For instance, the Lakota individuals consider that the identify of a person who has transitioned shouldn’t be spoken for one yr. This provides the soul loads of time to make its transition and not be referred to as again to the planet. A memorial is completed after a yr to honor the individual.

Additionally they consider that the trail the soul will take is thru the canupa (pipe), which is the constellation that we name the Massive Dipper. The Lakota consider that you’ll be met by your ancestors and ushered to the suitable place. Within the Celtic custom, all souls transition throughout All Souls Day (November 1st). Many individuals dance on the graves of the deceased and sing them throughout to the opposite aspect. There are additionally rituals and ceremonies that shamans assist with on this night time. One such ritual known as the Wild Hunt. The Tibetans have very outlined dying rituals which are carried out to the physique throughout its transition course of that guarantee protected passage of the soul to the opposite aspect.

These are simply a few examples out of a whole lot of practices that assist the soul transition safely to the opposite aspect. The essential facet of those examples is that there’s a widespread focus and a shared perception system that concentrates the facility of the various in creating a transitional passage for the everlasting soul. In our Western tradition, one not often finds this compelling energy generated from a collective perception. If one’s perception system accepts the existence of an immortal soul in a unified universe, it’s important that we make an effort to know the character of the transition from this life, convey our energies to the method to assist the one transitioning, and permit ourselves to understand that our family members are endlessly with us in a good universe.

I encourage my college students to take the time to mirror and to find out what they really consider about demise and immortality. That is a very private expertise for every individual. In my circle of relatives, we’ve got mentioned this as a group, to not argue about who’s proper however to have an honoring of every particular person’s perception system. I’ve truly written down our responses so if it ever occurs that one in every of us transitions, all of us left behind can envision that soul taking that path to its subsequent part. This manner we can be that rocket gasoline for the departing soul – identical to within the indigenous cultures.

We’ll all discover ourselves at a while within the presence of a person transitioning from this life into the subsequent existence. This train of sharing our ideas relating to a passing is essential for any liked one within the transition course of. Bringing the power of a constructive pressure relating to the everlasting nature of the soul can create an appreciation of our existence and the importance of our unity with the cosmos.

Conversations relating to dying are unusual in our tradition, and the discomfort across the topic leaves a void that is perhaps full of adverse power or worry. Within the shamanic follow, there’s the potential of creating a constructive power by recalling that mortality solely references the bodily physique, a fragile and momentary shell, and that the true self resides in a soul that’s endlessly in transition. This doesn’t low cost the importance of this second in existence, for the celebration of a life nicely lived demonstrates the importance of each particular person within the oneness of existence. It locations us within the context of the common fact that point is countless, that life is a situation of continuity, and that we’re all related in a single array of associations. Each delivery, each occasion of life, and each demise is linked endlessly within the universe’s grand design and every is however yet one more transition that all of us share and will all the time be a a part of.

Within the current previous I’ve skilled the dying of my father and, extra just lately, my mom. Every expertise was painful and troublesome, however I discovered a lot concerning the nature of our life on this second in time. My father had been sick with most cancers for a while, and I had created a Transition Blanket in preparation for his imminent demise. He appeared to wrestle in his passing and his expression appeared pained and conflicted. When my father died, he died with an expression of horror frozen on his face. My stepmother immediately succumbed to a wrenching worry that one thing terrible had simply occurred to her beloved husband on the opposite aspect and that he was now trapped in a horrible place, for eternity. She was inconsolably distraught. In my very own coronary heart, I knew how a lot my father had all the time dreaded demise and his final passage into unknown realms. As soon as this inevitable second was upon him, it was unattainable for Dad to hide his terror any longer. I felt sure what we’d seen on my father’s face was merely a lifetime of worry finally releasing itself; although realizing this introduced little solace. In my journeywork and prayers, I had imbued the blanket with love, peace, and serving to spirits for his transition. When it was positioned over my father, I continued my meditations of a peaceable transition for him. When the blanket was eliminated, his countenance was one in every of serenity and calm—the blanket had achieved its work. We do have the power to affect the soul in its transition to its subsequent actuality.

My mom’s passing was fairly totally different. Her grandchildren, a shut pal, my husband and I have been current in her room, and the spirit was certainly one of immense love and connection. She loved the presence of what she referred to as “my whole crew.” There was laughter and dialog about fond reminiscences within the hours previous her demise, and the shared happiness crammed the room with love. Her passing was serene and peaceable. I felt the lack of her bodily presence strongly, in fact, however I knew that she traveled to a different place within the spirit of affection and loving relationship, and that her persevering with journey was good. My mom and I had additionally achieved pre-transition journeys, and found that her “true love” was ready for her on the opposite aspect. He had not incarnated on this lifetime expertise, so their reconnection was enormously anticipated.

Woody Allen as soon as jokingly stated, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.” His humorous remark defines that selfish want that human’s should be self-perpetuating. Mortality has all the time been the central dilemma of existence and religions have all targeted on the query, providing many situations as to how we perpetuate ourselves. Whether or not in a heavenly paradise within the afterlife, a reincarnation into one other being, or a ghostly existence in perpetual suspension, our religions and perception methods supply us hope. Aside from our seeing the universe as fragmented and ourselves as separate entities in existence, we maintain no higher phantasm than that our life is however a temporary second in time and then is not any extra.

The magnificence of the universe as revealed within the astonishing actuality of a leaf glowing purple within the autumn sky belies any such existential sense of meaninglessness. We exist as a result of the cosmos wills it, and we shouldn’t be so inclined to disclaim its perfection. Once we are as one with the universe, we will additionally settle for our personal perfection and acknowledge the immortality of our good souls.

Concerning the Writer

Jan’s philosophy is to help people in gaining their very own private empowerment, which in flip promotes self-healing, higher communities, and a more healthy world. The LightSong Faculty of Shamanic Research is a end result of many years of expertise as a Shamanic Practitioner and Counselor and as a instructor. For extra info, see www.lightsong.internet.

Jan educated with the Basis of Shamanic Research, Sandra Ingerman, and with many particular person shamans. She shares her expertise and expertise by way of particular person therapeutic periods, programs and ceremonies that promote private progress and religious therapeutic. Utilizing shamanism and expertise similar to journeying, focusing the thoughts, self discovery and religious practices, Jan has constructed not solely a faculty, however a vibrant, lively group of healers, seekers and nicely beings.

Along with being a Shamanic Practitioner, Jan can also be an Usui, Tibetan, and Karuna Reiki Grasp®, a Licensed Skilled Counselor, a Chemical Dependency Specialist, and a Hypnotherapist.

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