Empaths and Shamanism
If you have read one of my previous articles “Are you an Empath?” then you can see how this applies to the healing arts of shamanism. I prefer to use the term Medicine woman as I am of Native Cree decent and a lot of my learning has been from my culture. The word Shaman is widely known so though it originates from the Tunis shamans as well as in the Andies, the word shaman has become an umbrella term for one who practices the medicine ways of spirit.
Empaths are uniquely suited to be healers, in fact its my belief that due to the unique abilities of empaths that we were designed to be just that. As both an empath and a medicine woman I suppose I have a unique perspective on it. I have used my abilities as an empath to discover illness both mental and physical in a person and facilitate healing in that respect.
Empaths have a unique way of connecting with an individual when trained the empath can feel the emotions, physical issues, mental issues and spiritual issues and not take them on as their own. This takes a lot of practice, meditation and self work to get to the point where the empath doesn’t feel everthing as if their own.
When I was young (fifteen) I began to blossom as an empath, I was able to understand what people were saying when they spoke in other languages, I also began to feel the emotions of those who were close to me, I didn’t really understand what was happening the way I do now. My path has always been one of healing but this can be entirely overwhelming for the average empath, people will instinctually want to unload their problems on to the empath, (happens to me a lot) and that’s because we act as a sponge absorbing what the other person is letting go and it’s a burden we take on whether we want it or not, this is another reason a lot of empaths are called down the healing path.
I suppose this is where the connection with shamanism comes in, I was lead to this path by spirit, not everyone is guided the same way it’s why many paths differ. The call by spirit to become a healer is a long path as I have found, one must heal the self before one can heal others. I know that sounds a little kitschy but it is nevertheless true. When one is called by spirit and we receive this call in a myriad of ways. Some from a position of chronic illness, this is kind of where it began for me though I had been learning since the age of eight. At some point I had become disconnected, that was probably the point where my life with the good job and the car and the practically free rent on an awesome apartment in a great little tourist town, it all went to crap and suddenly I was homeless and jobless and forced to move to the west coast of Canada. Though my life at that point didn’t get better in fact it got worse I became sick but the doctors couldn’t find out what was going on I gave up on going and finding out what may be.
I began to fall into depression the worse my physical symptoms got, it got to the point where I could barely use my arm and it forced me to be almost bedridden if I overexerted myself. I stayed in that kind of state for years, I couldn’t work I could barely go to classes at university, it took me three years to finish a two-year diploma. It wasnt until one evening on my way to class I was nearly hit by a car, I had the right of way, but I was still almost hit, less than two feet between me and the car when it had stopped, I had a breakdown on the sidewalk a few moments later. Though I can say it was true that life tends to flash before you in the nanosecond that you realise your about to die. This event happened in the few weeks before Samhain, the time when the vales between this world and the spirit world thin.
From that point I began to recognise the call of spirit, my art began to reflect that call, and I began to work on my self. Now don’t think that all this happened right away because it didn’t, I began to read more and more on the shamanic teachings, remembering what I had been taught as a child. I began to work on my self and delve deep into shamanic journeys performing soul retrievals on my self and healing ceremonies, as well as rituals of release. All this delving into my past to heal very old wounds from my child hood, I began to get better, though a few years before I had been diagnosed with severe fibromylgia and I was on a lot of specialised painkillers but as I worked on my self and began to heal myself I began to get better now I am completely drug free which is a huge accomplishment for someone who just a few years ago ended up bedridden at least once a week.
My story may seem unique but it’s not it’s actually fairly common among those who need to heed the call of spirit and follow down that path. For a long time I had forgotten who I was, I am still remembering that but everyday when I follow my path I remember more and more.
The call of spirit can be one of the most life altering things in your life, it’s as though spirit has picked you up and put you on a new path and your old life just cannot fit on this new path. When you’re an empath you are uniquely gifted for the path of the shaman as your more open to receiving the teachings of spirit. I have found that when I accepted my new path avenues of learning became readily available to me, resources opened up and books that I needed to learn from were readily found.
Empaths and shamans really are uniquely bound and because of the nature of the empath, the ability to sense and feel things in others as well as the way a shaman uses these same things to determine the health of a client in order to help them, these abilities allow the shaman to feel/sense the correct direction to go for the client as well as make it easier for the shaman to connect with both spirit and the client. The call of spirit is also entwined into this as well just being an empath alone doesn’t always push one to become a shaman though the two are connected. Not every empath will be called to become a medicne woman/man or shaman.
Are you an Empath? Are you an empath who has been called by spirit? Or have you just been called by spirit, tell me your story in the comments