Humans, just like the other animals and the plants, the water, the rocks, soil and sand, and the air itself, have always known change. Day turns to night and back into day, the tides advance and ebb, summer fades to autumn, and autumn gives way to winter. Winter ends and spring comes. Our nomadic ancestors understood the lack of permanence, but “civilized” peoples walled themselves in with rock and wood and tried to stay put. We have separated ourselves from the natural cycles of change, hoping that we can have growth without ever experiencing death and fallowness. Unfortunately, it is that disconnection that keeps us from knowing the ground is crumbling beneath our feet.
The modern revival of ancient shamanism and nature-based practices is an invitation to reconnect. Although the word “shaman” is believed to have originated with the tribal people of Siberia, shamans, or medicine people, existed in almost all indigenous cultures, including the Celtic people of the European continent. One common practice today is shamanic journeying – entering into an altered state of consciousness to receive messages from Spirit – although the envelope of modern shamanism also includes herbal medicine, various energy healing modalities, movement and dance, and even environmental activism.
Armed with these techniques, we can feel our way into our place in nature. We can breathe with the trees, receiving the oxygen they give and releasing carbon dioxide back to them. We can learn from, and be supported by, the non-human animals and plants we exist with. We can view the natural cycles as sacred, and therefore open to change as an expression of living energy, to be revered rather than feared.
The world will be healed by those who, instead of retreating from the precipice, run to it and past it into the wild holiness of change. If you were drawn here, you are being called to be a healer – for yourself, your family, your community, your nation, the wild beings, or the world. Take my hand, healer, and be welcomed into connection to nature and the living energy.