Think Like a Shaman, Part 1

In our everyday lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the “plot” of life and forget that we really are spiritual beings having a human experience. After all, our senses are very convincing. And life can be highly distracting!

But if you’re reading this, I suspect you’ve had experiences in your own life where things weren’t as they seemed, where you “knew” there was more to life than meets the eye (or ear, or any other primary sense organ), and where you could have sworn you heard The Twilight Zone theme music playing softly in the background.


Welcome to the world of the shaman. Not all “shamans” are native Americans, btw. In fact, the word “shaman” comes from Siberia—and shamanic practitioners have been a part of almost every culture on the planet, performing healings and leading their tribes in sacred ceremonies.

There are many types of shamanic healers, but one ingredient common to all is that the practitioner enters an altered state of awareness and taps into universal wisdom and healing power to help his client. (The father of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, called this state the collective unconscious.) Shamans believe that all illness, dis-ease and dysfunction is a soul issue, and that the most effective way to induce healing is by working in the realm of the soul or spirit body.

The origin of the word “healing” is to make whole; the premise being that we are by nature healthy, that the body is capable of healing itself, and that when we’re restored to wholeness, we are healed. Hence the concept of “holistic health.” It’s not that simple, of course, but that is an underlying principle.

Shamans work with a vast toolbox, and experienced ones can perform amazing feats. Some literally defy belief—and yet the proof is in the pudding: People with intractable conditions get better. I’m not here to convince anyone of anything. I know what I’ve witnessed and experienced firsthand, and it’s my deepest and most sincere desire to facilitate your self-awareness and return to wholeness. I’ll talk more about some of these techniques in future posts.

To think like a shaman, we have to shift beyond our normal “consensus” reality and accept that there are forces we can’t see but that absolutely exist—in other dimensions. Do you believe in God? Angels? The power of prayer? The way that you “know” these things exist is the exact same way that shamans operate: It’s not magic or superstition, just a different spiritual operating system.

The shamans in the photo at the top of this blog are three of my Peruvian teachers in the incredible Four Winds program I studied with. They are some of the kindest, warmest people you’ll ever meet—and truly incredible wizards. In this photo, they are blessing a pile of “mesas,” or the “portable altars” we work within their Q’ero tradition, which is tens of thousands of years old and yet couldn’t be more useful or relevant today. I can’t wait to share more of this information with you!

Suzanne Gerber