South American Healing
“Because it is not an organized religion as such, but rather a spiritual practice, shamanism cuts across all faiths and creeds, reaching deep levels of ancestral memory. As a primal belief system, which precedes established religion, it has its own symbolism and cosmology, inhabited by beings, gods, and totems, who display similar characteristics although they appear in various forms, depending upon their places of origin.”
Shamanism (/ˈʃɑːmən/ shah-men or /ˈʃeɪmən/ shay-mən) is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world.
A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.
There are many ways we gather our ‘tools’ over time, and for shamanic practitioners, these are often objects from the natural world that have come to us, gifted from the Earth, her trees, or any of her many aspects.
There is a deep relationship that builds between a shamanic practitioner and the tools she or he works with. When we realize that something in nature has been placed in our path as a gift and when we recognize this as one of our tools, we have truly been gifted, and we honour the Earth, the tree, or the mountain or animal that gave it to us. There is a deep relationship to the Earth.
The Drum’s rhythmic power is like the heartbeat of the Earth, and is deeply anchored in our shamanic practice. We journey on the drum beat to the Spirit world and return with power. The drum and the rattle are, on one hand, the tools of our trade, and on the other hand, our allies with their own power and soul.
Rattles are filled with power and at the same time act as power antennae. In many parts of the world they are used together with drums.
Sage ~ The Native American tribes were known to use sage for multiple purposes such as healing, clearing space and ceremonies. Many benefits can be gained in utilizing sage for smudging. If you’re not familiar with smudging, it’s Native American ritual that’s like a “spiritual house cleaning” or spiritual purification.
Sage burning cleansing rituals can be as complex or as simple as you want them to be, but it’s of the highest importance that your intention be clear before you begin. If you are burning sage to purify a space, or a person (even yourself) then this needs to be clearly planted in your mind before you the light the sage, and while taking the smoke around a home, or through a space.
The process is simple enough. If you have a heavy earthenware pot (something heatproof), then place the bundled sage into the pot and light it for a few seconds before extinguishing the flame and letting the smoke billow up. Really dry sage will catch fire quickly, so watch your fingers.
HOW TO DO IT Be careful not to breathe in the smoke directly, and not to fill the area too thickly with smoke—this is not a fumigation, just a cleansing, so no need to go overboard. Then slowly walk around where you are and take the smoke to each area you would like to cleanse. You can use your hands or feathers to waft the smoke. Concentrate on gateway areas, such as windows, doors, closets, as well as hallways. Also concentrate on the corners of a room. Most importantly, use your intuition. If you allow it, your space will usually inform you as to which areas need to be cleansed the most.
You may want to focus on particularly busy areas, both foot traffic wise (kitchen) and mentally (computer workstation). If you have a pet, be sure to sage them a little (if they allow it) and their sleeping area.
Try burning incense immediately after a saging session. Sage has a more masculine/yang aspect and is nicely coupled by the feminine/yin aspect of incense. Also experiment with bell ringing or hand clapping in between saging and incense burning for a total cleansing effect.
If you can at least burn sage in your living space on a weekly basis, then you are guaranteed to notice a lightness of energy and calmness descend into your home from this practice. It can be a way to cleanse the old energy from the previous week, and welcome in the newly beginning week and all the possibilities it holds.
Incense speaks to our soul and our senses, the smoke can both invoke, ritually purify and bless. Along with drumming, singing and rattling, smoke creates a powerful ritual. In various shamanic traditions you use different kinds of incense – discover yourself what works best.
Smoke plays an integral role in shamanic healing and is a medicine itself. Mapacho or organic tobacco is used to clear negative energy. It is often blown throughout spaces to assist in clearing energy and is also blown over parts of the body like the head, hands or feet. It is different for each person.
Other smoke that is often used is palo santo (the sacred tree), copal (the locust tree), sweetgrass and other resins like frankincense are common.
Curanga or Rapé is a sacred shamanic medicine that has been used by healers of the Amazon basin for thousands of years and has become an essential part of their tribal culture and history. Rapé is a complex blend of pulverized plants. A curanga ritual typically involves a mutual administration by two persons. The blend is blown high up into the nostrils with a pipe made from bamboo or bone. The intense blow immediately focuses the mind, stops the chattering, and opens the entire freed mindspace for your intentions. It also assists in releasing emotional, physical, and spiritual illnesses and eases negativity and confusion, enabling a thorough grounding of your mind. Likewise, shamans use it to re-align with their energy channels and with their higher self, and to intensify their connection with the world and the universe. It paves the way for detoxifying the body and cleans out all excess mucus, toxins, and bacteria, thereby, assisting in fighting colds and sniffles. It is a beautiful way to open the pineal gland.
How you can help us transform
This work, this path we have chosen to walk on is our mission and purpose in life. It goes so much deeper than just a career choice. It is our deep commitment to assist ourselves as we assist others. Our longtime vision to create a healing retreat centre was finally realized in 2010.
Nestled in the verdant hills of Melancthon county, an hour’s drive north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, our retreat space is surrounded by crystal ponds and 5 acres of towering cedar trees. Since then we have been hosting participants from all walks of life, across North America, who have been partaking in our healing modalities for a host of reasons; addictions, trauma, soul reclamation, integration.
Our first step to build a much needed studio space is now complete! This studio space will enable other facilitators including ourselves, to offer their work, in the transformational and healing arts.
Our vision is to assist in year-round use for practices such as yoga, dance, arts and ceremonial circles. The cost of building this space is $20,000 Canadian, which exceeded our original planned budget for phase 1 expansion. For phase 2, we are truly humbled in asking for any donations to enable this vision to become a reality; any amount is not too small nor too large. We also appreciate donating of your time and energy to help with land work, etc. In completing this project, participants and facilitators across North America will be recipients of ongoing healing and transformation.
Please feel free to view our page on Facebook and read the testimonials there as an affirmation of our declaration. In much gratitude; Nubia Solano & Zora Singh, founders of Crystal Roots Retreats, LuzEra Shamans. We express deep gratitude to individuals who have been a part of our journey thus far! To make a donation, click on this link ~ https://www.gofundme.com/crystalroots