Shamanism and Power: Part Two

Part One of Shamanism and Power looked at ways in which we can give our power away to other people, to books, the internet, to crystals, even our pets!

So, what are the possible consequences of receiving or restoring power? We might think that it’s about becoming super-woman/man but it’s not, it’s simply about becoming our truest selves. The only consequence of having more power is having to live with it and remember that it is the power to be and to do, not the power over anyone or anything else. Once we experience the power of the spirits it’s no longer possible to live in the same ordinary way; it can oblige us to work for harmony, in ourselves and others, as harmony is the purpose of all shamanic power.

Sometimes students or clients ask questions about potential problems arising from accepting, or even rejecting, power. Occasionally people are anxious about what they may/may not meet when they make a shamanic journey about power. It’s always possible of course, to meet things you can’t handle if you aren’t prepared to face them. I have always understood and passed on to my own students, that the spirits never present us with anything we aren’t able to handle. What the spirits know a person can handle and what the person themselves think they can handle are not necessarily the same thing. Accepting the power of the spirits also means accepting one’s own power, both the dark and the light of it. It is only by recognizing the potential for magt, the desire to have power over other beings, within myself that I am able to contain and utilise it in a positive way, or sense when the opposite might happen.

Some students of shamanism, particularly those new to the practice, move to an extreme position, surrendering their own power, and hence their own responsibility, to the spirits, sometimes becoming unable to make even trivial decisions about toilet paper or food shopping without consulting non-ordinary reality.  In my own work for others I see my spirit helpers as partners, or as one client recently described it, my colleagues. I am, without doubt, the junior partner but it’s always been understood that my spirits want and expect me to carry out their wishes and suggestions and simultaneously use my own judgement. Shamanic work is about trust and power and working with the spirits, but we must never forget that we are in it too, it’s not about giving our own power away.

Dr. Zoë Brân

Find out about courses, events and workshops led by Dr. Zoë Brân.

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Dr. Zoë Brân has worked with creativity for fifteen years and is the author of eight books, which include travel literature, guides to sexuality, and fiction. Zoë was a Writer in Residence at London’s University of the Arts from 2004-2008 and lectured in both Creative Thinking and Travel Writing at City University in London. As a travel writer and journalist Zoë travelled extensively, focussing on troubled areas of the world such as Burma, Bosnia and most recently, Cuba. She has been a speaker, teacher and presenter at conferences, academic institutions, charitable organisations, companies and businesses and has worked with media on topics as diverse as AIDS – the subject of her doctorate – sexual behaviour, Vietnam and shamanism. She has appeared on BBC TV and national and local radio, including ‘Panorama’ and ‘Woman’s Hour’. Currently director of Shaman UK, Zoë has been involved with Core Shamanism since 1998 and is one of the UK’s leading practitioner/educators. She offers one-to-one shamanic counselling and healing and leads shamanic seminars and workshops on a range of subjects, including: Sex and Gender, Death, Soul Retrieval. Her weblog is among Europe’s foremost resources for contemporary shamanic practice and has a worldwide readership. Zoë lives in London with her lurcher, Arlu.

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