Shamanism, Power and Protection

We all, in different ways, surrender power throughout our lives and are not always directly responsible for the loss of that power. There may be soul loss in childhood, or power may be taken from us against our will as adults. We readily give power away to self-help books, encyclopaedias of dreams, tarot cards, doctors, practitioners of all kinds and of course to our family and friends. Lost power leaves a vacuum, a space that requires filling and just as Nature abhors a vacuum so does Spirit. An empty space gets filled, and it can be filled with anything, from the spirit of an illness to a disincarnate spirit looking for a new home. From a shamanic perspective the quickest way to disempowerment is fear, giving in to fear. I sometimes think of the great quote from Paul Herbert’s ‘Dune’, ”Fear is the mind killer”. As soon as we open up to fear we open up to disempowerment.

The issue of power loss often raises the question of ‘protection’; some people are concerned to protect themselves against malign influences, others may be concerned to protect themselves when working as healers. I am always astonished and concerned when I hear of people using or ‘sending’ their own power or energy to others. The first rule of shamanic healing is never use your own personal power, doing so automatically creates a drain which leaves you open to power loss and possible intrusion. Our power is finite, that if the spirits is not. By working with spirit a healer’s own power remains untouched and whole, preventing such problems. Of course, compared with the spirits, our own power is miniscule and I know which I would prefer to receive!

Some students or clients describe envisaging themselves in golden light, or surrounded by an energy bubble which repels negative influences. The problem with this is that it can create an attack/defence situation which becomes a protection against life and you can end up being in your bubble, not in your power. One cuts you off from life, the other helps you engage with life to the fullest. If you stay filled with your own power and that of your spirits nothing can harm you.

Virtually every person I work with is experiencing some kind of power loss, whether through ill-health, soul loss, relationship problems, family issues or bereavement of some kind. One of the first journeys I might suggest to a student once they are able to make a shamanic journey for themselves could be, “Show me how I give my power away to my family/partner/job/ children …”. Such journeys are often very clear and frequently, moving. Seeing, experiencing, the actions which produce loss of power is itself a powerful first step to the recovery of power. Asking for and receiving help from the spirits while experiencing their unqualified compassion is however, the most re-empowering thing I have yet experienced.

Dr. Zoë Brân

email [email protected].

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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