The phenomenon of shamanism has elements of religion, healing, magic and mysticism. In practice, shamanism draws on the knowledge and techniques of these elements in a holistic and integrative manner which highlights the non-physical, spiritual dimensions of life in personal and organizational areas.
Shaman is a word of the Tungis people of Siberia which means, “one who sees in the dark.” In drawing an analogy between traditional shamans and modern organizational change agents, we use the shamanic practices and experience as part of the ‘diagnostic’ process.
The practice of shamanism teaches us that everything that exists is alive and has a spirit. Shamanic cultures recognize that there is a web of life that connects all that is alive. Everything that is alive is called the spirit that lives in all things. That includes all that is living as wlel as houses, brands, companies and so on.
As a shamanic healer we move into altered states of consciousness to access a different realities of the world with the purpose of bringing back healing, power, and information. Shamans believe that a inbalance in-between the physical reality of the body, the intellectual and social reality of the mind and the spiritual needs of the soul are reason for pain, stress and organizational issues.
While most shamans use their healing work on individuals, we focus on systems and organizations, as they are nothing more than groups of individuals. Therefore, it follows that the shamanic methods can be used to heal and restore organization/ teams issues on a more fundamental level to restore balance on a holistic and integrative level for sustained business success and a thriving company culture.
The primarily job of a shaman is to help their community – however you define that term
Credit to Nicholas Breeze Wood, Sacred Hoop Magazine, ISSUE 96 2017; www.sacredhoop.org
A shaman has an animistic world view. An animist understands that all parts of Creation are alive in some way, and have spirits. Nothing is dead in the animist’s universe – you and I have souls, and so do all the animals and plants, and likewise the rocks and rivers, mountains and clouds, stars, sun and moon, even an illness, or a relationship, or a concept, or a team, or an organization, or a product has a soul - everything has a soul, and we live within a vast network of interconnectedness.
A shaman is someone who goes into a controlled voluntary trance, and in that trance, they are either taken over by ancestor spirits - who were shamans before them - or they get taken over by local gods and spirits, such as the spirit of a rock or a team, or their soul leaves their body, and travels out to the other spirit worlds which are all around us - unseen - there to meet with spirits, so as to gain knowledge and power. Often all of these things happen within the same shamanic tradition.
For further insights I recommend the following readings:
- The Shamanic Perspective on Organizational Change and Development.
There are parallels between the roles of shamans in their communities and the roles which organizational change and development consultants can play in guiding organizational transformations
- Shamanic Healing: We Are Not Alone
An Interview of Michael Harner by Bonnie Horrigan © Shamanism, Spring/Summer 1997, Vol. 10, No. 1
- Soul Retrieval: The Ancient Shamanic Tool For Healing Trauma, Releasing Emotional Wounds and Letting Go of the Past
Exerpt of Howard G. Charing book: The Accidental Shaman: Journeys with Plant Teachers and Other Spirit Allies