Heart-Fire Healing
Tikkun HaNefesh  תיקון הנפש
Spiritual Guidance & Shema-nik Healing
Repair of the Soul

What is Shamanism?

Shamanism is a method of receiving spiritual guidance that dates back 30,000 years or more. It is perhaps the first mind/body healing discipline. It arose independently throughout the world and the practices are amazingly similar across cultures. Modern psychology, cognitive science, and neurophysiology seem to be confirming many of the effects. Shaman is a Siberian word meaning ‘healer’ or ‘one who sees in the dark’.

Shamanic practice can help people realize and maintain their spiritual connection which can be deeply healing because it brings us into wholeness (shalom) and balance — and this has direct repercussions on the health of the individual. The earth spirit (nefesh) of the body and the divine breath (neshamah) of consciousness are held in balance in the enlivened soul (ruach) of the heart.

Shamanism is concerned with treating the spiritual aspects of illness (tikkun hanefesh — repair of the soul) for a person, the community or the environment. The practitioner enters into an altered state of consciousness and travels outside of space and time — to non-ordinary reality — to meet with spirit allies, and acts as a vehicle for their healing help or wisdom. In Hebrew terms, the navi (one who brings) passes through the par’gawd (Veil of Illusion) to communicate with the malachim (divine messengers). Traditionally, the shaman is described as a hollow bone or shofar, an instrument for the divine breath.

A partnership is formed, based in compassion: the aid of helping spirits, the practitioner’s work on behalf of another, and the client’s opening to receive healing. Together, we meet at the threshold of sacred mystery. Shamanic ritual and ceremony help to quiet our voices and attune our hearing toward the divine.

The heart of shamanic perspective is kinship in a world where all things are alive and ensouled. People, animals, birds, fish, plants, trees, rocks, water, fire, air, are all partners in the divine structure of creation. Our ancestors and descendants are present members of the community. The sacred dance is found in the cycles of the seasons, day and night, the pull of tides, migration of birds, shifting winds of weather, waves lapping at your feet, the breeze caressing your face.

Shamanic practice, however, does not require belief. It is rooted in experience. Its effectiveness is in the awakening of what is already there — the primal soul that is inherent in our heritage — our sacred aspect that already knows our wholeness.


Shamanism is people directly helping others. It is a kind of spiritual activism in which one works with the powers that connect human beings to the incredible power of the universe — a work that involves journeying and shifting back and forth between realities.

Shamanism is a disciplined way of getting knowledge and help which is based on the premise that we do not have to restrict ourselves to working in one reality, one dimension, when we need assistance. There is a whole other reality to help us in our lives — a reality full of beauty and harmony that is ready to provide us with the same kind of wisdom that we read about in the writings of the great mystics and prophets. We need only to keep an open mind and to make the effort to follow the shaman’s path. — Michael Harner


The Magic of the Ordinary ... is the essence, the crux, of the Jewish shamanic tradition: to experience the so-called ordinary, mundane material existence as the carrier of the very mystery we expend so much of our life-quest seeking in other more transcendent realms. - Rabbi Gershon Winkler


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