This guest post is written by Ruth Cato. Ruth is a shamanic healer who we met whilst she was looking for ethical eye masks for her wellness space (our Wild Clouds eye masks were a perfect fit!), and once we checked out her website we knew we wanted to learn more about shamanic healing.
Shamanic Healing is an animist practise. Animism is the belief that everything has a spirit: that tree, instead of being an 'it' is a 'she' and she is alive with meaning, care, passion and teachings. Shamanism brings us back into relationship with the natural world and back into understanding with ourselves and each other. It is not a religion but the most ancient spiritual practice, once used on every continent except Antarctica. Archaeology has shown shamanic practises have been in use in some places for 300,000 years. The ancientness makes me tingle. As does the fact that the same practises were in place on different continents before there were trade routes between peoples. Practises such as drumming rhythmic beats to induce a trance state and spending time deep in dark caves to be reborn at transitional times of life as well as working with animal spirits to bring about healing or change. The variety of practises are wide but they always involve healing and divining.
Shamanism is a word that came from the Tungus peoples of Siberia and became known as the word to describe this set of practices all over the world. I'm keen to find the practises of my own land and lineage, rediscovering the old European ways of working with the weather, the plants, the land and the peoples. For example I use sage grown in my garden to dry and then burn to cleanse energy, rather than buying Californian white sage that is not of my lineage. Working with the seasons of the year based on our British seasons helps me connect the cycles of my body (that menstruates) with the cycles of the year, the growing in the garden, my life and death. These cycles are connected to everything - how we process things, how we create, how we navigate transitions, how we give birth, how we go through the menopause, how heal, I could go on! We practise these cycles in an online course you can find on my website called Sacred Cycles.
Shamanic Healing focuses on removals of energy that are no longer serving and bringing back of energy that has been shocked out of the system. It’s like a cleanse of your aura then a returning of those pieces of you that you may have thought were lost. Some pieces that I work with include lost soul parts, inner child, contracts that need changing, past life experiences that are still playing out and ancestral traumas.
A soul contract for example is the energy left over from when you (in this life or in past lives) cried out in moments of passion or anguish that (for example) “this shall never happen again”… so now things will always get in the way of that thing happening again.. Usually these contracts are not playing out as they were meant.. for example, one of mine is a past life memory of my children starving around me and me being helpless. Now in this life there is very little chance of that happening thankfully but it meant that when my children were first born I have had to physically stop myself a few times from feeding them food instead of milk, and in my son’s case I breastfed him nearly constantly as a newborn for fear he wasn’t getting enough. When I re-wrote that soul contract I had no more unreasonable urges like these. Shamanic healing can work with similar things in the ancestral realms too.
I bring in trauma informed practises to the ancient roots of shamanic healing. They fit together beautifully, as we are essentially working with healing trauma: of the body, the mind, the collective experience as well as ancestral and past life trauma. It’s also important because we don’t want to be causing more trauma when we work with someone, so guiding them from and back to their grounding in a session is really important or we don’t always bring the healing back in an embodied way.
If you are interested in working with me I work via video call or in person in Herefordshire, you can find my booking link at ruthcato.com. And if you want to discover your own Cycles, start to heal yourself deeply and connect to nature the online course ‘Sacred Cycles’ is available via the website too.