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Shamanic Healing: History, Practices and Benefits

Updated: Feb 27

Have you ever wondered how ancient cultures healed physical and spiritual ailments long before modern medicine? Shamanic healing holds some of the answers. 

But hold on, what exactly is shamanic healing, and why has it been capturing the imaginations and soothing the souls of people for centuries? 

In this blog, we'll dive deep into the history, practices, and incredible benefits of shamanic healing. From understanding the stages of shamanic initiation to exploring activities for spiritual growth and mental health, we'll discover the power of this ancient healing art. 

Table of Contents:

8. FAQs

Shamanic Healing

Picture yourself surrounded by the serene beauty of nature, the earth beneath your feet, and the gentle rustle of leaves in the wind. Suddenly, a figure emerges: a shaman, a wise healer, a bridge between the human and spirit worlds. This is the essence of shamanic healing, a sacred practice deeply rooted in ancient traditions and passed down through generations.

At its core, shamanic healing is about restoring balance and harmony to the mind, body, and spirit. Shamans, or spiritual healers, believe that many ailments - whether physical, emotional, or spiritual - are caused by imbalances within our energy fields or disconnections from our true selves and the natural world around us.

Shamanic Healing

Through rituals, ceremonies, and journeys into altered states of consciousness, shamans work to connect with spiritual guides, ancestors, and the forces of nature to bring about spiritual healing and transformation. They may use tools such as drumming, chanting, herbs, crystals, or sacred rituals to cleanse, purify, and restore energy flow within the individual.

But shamanic healing is not just about addressing symptoms. It's about addressing the root causes of suffering and helping individuals reconnect with their inner wisdom, purpose, and spiritual essence. It's a holistic approach to healing that honors the interconnectedness of all beings and acknowledges the profound wisdom and healing potential that resides within each of us.

What is a Shaman?

A shaman is a spiritual practitioner who serves as an intermediary between the human and spirit worlds, facilitating healing, guidance, and transformation for individuals and communities. 

Shamans are found in indigenous cultures around the world and are revered for their deep connection to nature, their mastery of ancient healing arts, and their ability to commune with the unseen realms. 

They embody the archetype of the wounded healer, having undergone their own spiritual initiations and journeys of self-discovery, which imbue them with wisdom, empathy, and insight.

What is a Shaman?

Abilities of a Shaman:

  • Spirit Communication: 

Shamans possess the ability to communicate with spirits, ancestors, and other non-human entities through trance states, journeying, and divination techniques. They serve as intermediaries between the human and spirit realms, channeling guidance, wisdom, and healing energies for the benefit of their clients.

  • Energy Healing: 

They harness the power of subtle energy to facilitate healing on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. Shamans work with the body's energy system, using techniques such as soul retrieval, energy extraction, and aura cleansing to restore balance and vitality.

  • Divination: 

Shamans use various divination methods, such as reading omens, casting bones, or interpreting dreams, to gain insight into the past, present, and future. They offer guidance, advice, and predictions to help individuals navigate life's challenges and make informed decisions.

  • Ritual and Ceremony: 

Shamans conduct rituals, ceremonies, and sacred rites to honor the spirits, invoke blessings, and facilitate transformation. These rituals may involve drumming, chanting, dancing, and the use of sacred plants or sacraments to create a sacred space and evoke spiritual presence.

  • Psychopomp Work: 

They guide souls through the transition of death and dying, helping spirits navigate the afterlife and find peace and resolution. They perform psychopomp rituals to assist deceased souls in crossing over to the spirit world and to alleviate spiritual disturbances or attachments.

  • Community Leadership: 

Shamans serve as spiritual leaders and counselors within their communities, offering guidance, support, and healing to individuals and groups. They act as mediators in conflicts, preside over ceremonies and rites of passage, and provide spiritual education and mentorship to the next generation of healers.

  • Nature Connection: 

Shamans have a deep reverence for the natural world and recognize the interconnectedness of all living beings. They work in harmony with the elements, plants, and animals, seeking guidance and healing from the earth and its inhabitants.

Abilities of a Shaman

Categories of Healers:

  • Shamans: Traditional healers who work with spiritual energies, spirits, and the forces of nature to facilitate healing and transformation.

  • Energy Healers: Practitioners who manipulate subtle energy fields to promote health, balance, and well-being in the body, mind, and spirit.

  • Herbalists: Healers who utilize the medicinal properties of plants and herbs to treat physical ailments, promote healing, and restore vitality.

  • Bodyworkers: Therapists who use touch, massage, and body manipulation techniques to release tension, alleviate pain, and promote relaxation and healing.

  • Traditional Healers: Practitioners of indigenous healing modalities, such as traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, or African traditional medicine, who draw on ancient wisdom and cultural traditions to promote health and well-being.

  • Holistic Practitioners: Healers who take a holistic approach to healing, addressing the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of health and well-being through integrated modalities and practices.

Shamans healers

Benefits of Shamanic Healing

The benefits of shamanic healing are manifold and encompass physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. By addressing the root causes of illness and imbalance, shamanic healing promotes holistic health and wellness

Here's a closer look at some of the key advantages:

  • Physical Healing: 

Shamanic practices can complement conventional medicine by addressing physical ailments at their energetic roots. By restoring balance and harmony to the body's energy system, shamanic healing may alleviate symptoms of illness, promote natural healing processes, and enhance overall vitality.

Physical Healing

  • Emotional Balance: 

Shamanic healing techniques can help release emotional traumas, past wounds, and negative patterns stored within the psyche. By clearing energetic blockages and facilitating emotional catharsis, individuals may experience greater emotional resilience, inner peace, and a deeper sense of well-being.

  • Spiritual Connection: 

Through shamanic journeys and ceremonies, individuals can deepen their connection to the spiritual realms, higher consciousness, and the divine. This enhanced spiritual awareness can foster a sense of purpose, meaning, and connection to something greater than oneself, providing solace, guidance, and inspiration on life's journey.

Spiritual Connection

  • Psychological Integration: 

Shamanic healing often involves integrating aspects of the psyche, including shadow aspects, fragmented soul parts, and unresolved traumas. By embracing and integrating these aspects of the self, individuals can achieve greater wholeness, self-acceptance, and psychological integration, leading to profound personal growth and transformation.

  • Energetic Cleansing: 

Shamanic practices such as energy clearing, soul retrieval, and spiritual extraction can purify and cleanse the energetic body, removing stagnant or intrusive energies that may be causing imbalance or disease. This energetic purification can restore vitality, clarity, and a sense of lightness to the individual's energy field.

Shamanic practices

  • Self-Discovery and Empowerment: 

Shamanic healing journeys often lead to profound self-discovery, insights, and revelations about one's life purpose, gifts, and challenges. By accessing deeper layers of consciousness and the wisdom of spirit guides, individuals can gain clarity, empowerment, and direction on their life path.

  • Community and Connection: 

Many shamanic traditions emphasize the importance of community, ceremony, and collective healing. Participating in shamanic circles, rituals, or group ceremonies can foster a sense of belonging, support, and interconnectedness with others on a similar path of healing and spiritual growth.

Overall, shamanic healing offers a holistic approach to healing and transformation, addressing the multidimensional aspects of the human experience - physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. 

The History of Shamanic Healing

The history of shamanic healing stretches back thousands of years, rooted in ancient indigenous cultures around the world. Shamans, or spiritual healers, played a vital role in these societies, serving as mediators between the human and spirit worlds and facilitating healing on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. 

In prehistoric times, shamans were revered members of tribal communities, respected for their ability to communicate with the spirit realm, perform rituals, and harness the healing power of nature. These early healers relied on various techniques such as drumming, chanting, dancing, and plant medicine to enter altered states of consciousness and access spiritual guidance for healing.

Throughout history, shamanic healing practices evolved and diversified across different cultures, adapting to local beliefs, traditions, and environmental conditions. In ancient civilizations such as those of the Mayans, Aztecs, Egyptians, and Indigenous peoples of North and South America, shamans played central roles in rituals, ceremonies, and healing arts. 

History of Shamanic Healing

During the colonial era and the spread of organized religions, shamanic traditions faced suppression and persecution as indigenous cultures were forcibly converted to Christianity and other dominant faiths. Despite this, shamanic healing persisted, often blending with syncretic forms of spirituality and folk medicine. 

In the modern era, interest in shamanic healing has experienced a resurgence, fueled by a growing disillusionment with conventional medicine and a reawakening of interest in ancient wisdom traditions. 

Today, shamanic practitioners draw from diverse cultural lineages and integrate traditional techniques with contemporary therapeutic modalities to address the holistic needs of individuals seeking healing and spiritual growth.

Réné Gaudette and The Wonders platform are part of this modern resurgence, offering a contemporary approach to shamanic healing that combines ancient wisdom with insights into consciousness, spirituality, and personal development. 

Concepts and Practices of Shamanic Healing 

Shamanic healing encompasses a rich tapestry of concepts and practices that address the interconnectedness of the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of human experience. Rooted in ancient wisdom traditions, these concepts and practices are designed to restore balance, harmony, and wholeness to individuals and communities. 

Engaging in activities for spiritual growth and mental health is essential for maintaining spiritual awareness and overall well-being. These activities can include meditation, self-care, breathwork, journaling, and spending time in nature. Additionally, practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong can help to cultivate inner peace, balance, and harmony.

Below are some key elements:

  • Interconnectedness: 

Central to shamanic healing is the understanding that all living beings are interconnected and part of a vast web of life. Shamans recognize that disruptions in one aspect of existence can ripple outward and affect the entire system, and they work to restore harmony and balance at all levels.

  • Spiritual Realms: 

Shamans believe in the existence of multiple spiritual realms or dimensions beyond the physical world. They perceive these realms as populated by benevolent and malevolent beings, ancestors, spirit guides, and forces of nature. Shamans navigate these realms through altered states of consciousness to access healing wisdom and guidance.

  • Energy Medicine: 

Shamanic healing operates on the principle that everything is energy, and imbalances or blockages in the flow of energy can lead to illness, disease, or spiritual disharmony. Shamans work with subtle energy fields, known as the aura or energy body, to remove blockages, clear stagnant energy, and restore vitality.

  • Journeying: 

Shamanic journeying is a core practice that involves entering altered states of consciousness to access spiritual guidance and healing. Shamans use various techniques such as drumming, chanting, breathwork, or plant medicines to induce trance states and embark on journeys to the spirit world.

Shamanic journeyin

  • Spiritual Allies: 

Shamans cultivate relationships with spiritual allies, including power animals, spirit guides, and benevolent beings, who assist them in their healing work. These allies provide protection, guidance, and wisdom during shamanic journeys and rituals.

  • Ritual and Ceremony: 

Rituals and ceremonies are integral to shamanic healing, serving as sacred containers for transformation and healing. Shamans conduct ceremonies to honor the spirits, invoke divine assistance, and facilitate healing for individuals, communities, or the Earth.

  • Plant Medicines: 

Many shamanic traditions incorporate the use of plant medicines, such as ayahuasca, peyote, or tobacco, to induce altered states of consciousness and facilitate healing. These sacred plants are revered for their spiritual properties and ability to reveal hidden truths, heal deep-seated wounds, and catalyze profound spiritual experiences.

  • Soul Retrieval: 

Soul retrieval is a core practice in shamanic healing aimed at retrieving lost or fragmented aspects of the soul due to trauma, illness, or spiritual disconnection. Shamans journey to the spirit realm to locate and reintegrate these lost soul parts, restoring wholeness and vitality to the individual.

Soul Retrieval

These concepts and practices form the foundation of shamanic healing, offering a holistic approach to wellness that addresses the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual dimensions of human health and well-being. 

Through their work, shamans help individuals reconnect with their innate wisdom, power, and capacity for healing, guiding them on a journey of self-discovery, transformation, and spiritual awakening.

The Stages of Shamanic Initiation

Shamanic initiation is a transformative journey that unfolds in several distinct stages, each marked by profound challenges, revelations, and spiritual growth. While the specific stages may vary across cultures and traditions, they generally follow a similar trajectory. 

  • Call to Service: 

The journey begins with a powerful call or summons from the spiritual realm, often in the form of dreams, visions, or spontaneous mystical experiences. 

The aspiring shaman may receive signs, omens, or messages indicating their destiny to become a healer or spiritual practitioner. 

This initial awakening ignites a deep longing and a sense of purpose, propelling the individual on the path of shamanic initiation.

Call to Service

  • Crisis or Ordeal: 

Following the call, the initiate undergoes a period of intense spiritual purification and transformation, often accompanied by trials, challenges, or crises. 

This phase may involve physical illness, emotional upheaval, or existential crisis as the initiate confronts their fears, limitations, and shadow aspects. 

These trials serve to strip away the ego's defenses and open the initiate to deeper levels of spiritual awareness and insight.

  • Training and Apprenticeship: 

With the guidance of experienced shamans or spiritual mentors, the initiate enters a period of rigorous training, education, and apprenticeship. 

They learn the ancient wisdom teachings, healing techniques, and ceremonial practices of their tradition, honing their skills and deepening their connection to the spirit world. 

This apprenticeship may involve studying herbal medicine, learning sacred rituals, mastering divination techniques, or undergoing shamanic initiations and rites of passage.

  • Death and Rebirth: 

At the heart of shamanic initiation lies the symbolic death and rebirth of the initiate's consciousness and identity. 

Through visionary journeys, ecstatic rituals, or mystical experiences, the initiate undergoes a profound spiritual death, surrendering their ego and attachments to the old self. 

In this ego death, they experience a dissolution of boundaries and a merging with the divine, leading to a profound sense of rebirth, renewal, and spiritual awakening.

  • Integration and Mastery: 

Following the death-rebirth experience, the initiate enters a phase of integration and mastery, where they assimilate the lessons, insights, and powers gained through their shamanic journey. 

They deepen their relationship with their spirit allies, refine their healing skills, and assume their role as a spiritual leader, healer, or guide within their community. 

This stage is marked by a sense of empowerment, confidence, and spiritual sovereignty as the initiate embraces their calling and fully embodies their shamanic gifts.

Integration and Mastery

  • Service and Healing: 

With their initiation complete, the shaman assumes the mantle of responsibility to serve their community as a healer, counselor, and spiritual intermediary. 

They offer guidance, support, and healing to those in need, facilitating ceremonies, rituals, and sacred practices to restore balance, harmony, and wholeness. 

The shaman acts as a bridge between the human and spirit worlds, channeling divine energy and wisdom for the highest good of all beings.

  • Continued Growth and Evolution: 

The journey of shamanic initiation is ongoing and ever-evolving as the shaman continues to deepen their spiritual practice, refine their skills, and expand their consciousness. 

They remain committed to their own personal growth and transformation, seeking out new teachings, experiences, and challenges to further their evolution as healers and spiritual beings. 

This journey of lifelong learning and growth ensures that the shaman remains aligned with their soul's purpose and connected to the guiding forces of the universe.


Shamanic healing offers a powerful pathway to healing, transformation, and spiritual awakening. Rooted in ancient wisdom and guided by the principles of balance, harmony, and interconnectedness, shamanic healing addresses the multidimensional nature of the human experience. 

Whether seeking relief from physical ailments, emotional wounds, or spiritual stagnation, individuals can benefit immensely from the transformative practices of shamanic healing. 


1. What is the difference between shamanic healing and conventional medicine?

While conventional medicine focuses primarily on treating physical symptoms, shamanic healing addresses the root causes of illness by working with the spiritual, emotional, and energetic aspects of a person's being.

2. How long does it take to undergo shamanic initiation?

The duration of shamanic initiation varies for each individual and depends on factors such as personal readiness, commitment to the path, and the guidance of experienced shamans.

3. Can anyone become a shaman?

While the path of the shaman is open to anyone with a sincere calling and dedication to the work, not everyone is called to become a shaman. It requires rigorous training, spiritual guidance, and a deep connection to the spirit world.

4. Are there any risks associated with shamanic healing?

Like any form of healing, shamanic healing may have potential risks, especially for those with certain medical conditions or mental health issues. It's essential to work with experienced and reputable shamans who prioritize the safety and well-being of their clients.

5. How can I find a qualified shaman or healer?

Finding a qualified shaman or healer involves thorough research, seeking recommendations from trusted sources, and listening to your intuition. Look for practitioners who have undergone extensive training, have a strong ethical foundation, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to healing.


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