The Rough Side of Shamanism

Spirituality tends to be associated with peaceful, soft, bright and calm scenarios. In the fast pace world we operate it in, it makes sense we’d need a sanctuary from all that commotion, right? Well…

Very often you get exactly the opposite in a Shamanic Session. The Shaman will “shake things up” with the drum (or some other tool) and locked toxic emotions will be released. This creates sensations of stress and uncomfortable intensity. From my perspective, I can perceive alien energies desperately holding on to my client as they are being evicted out of his/her energy field. It is the actual disentangling and releasing that stimulates the emotions that were constantly lingering to increase their effect on my client as they are torn away for good.

This is also why a crucial aspect of Shamanic Initiation must include learning to remain centered as very stressful emotions are induced into consciousness.

Here in the United States, I do not include any sort of physical contact with clients, but I have witnessed Shamans in the Andes, hone into a specific area of the body and tap, slap or nudge certain areas to immediately burst toxic pockets of accumulated energy. This will create an emotional effect on the client that lasts from hours or up to days before the body naturally regains its inner balance.

When I have discussions with psychologists (usually of Jungian discipline) they understand very clearly what happens in this process. Some define this as working with the “Shadow Aspect” of the self. This could be the reason that Shamanism is so successful in treating psychotic disorders. When we address a client we don’t waste time with the “masks” the ego will use to hide its perceived weaknesses. We are only interested in the purest form of the Self and will relentlessly hunt down what does not harmoniously belong within it.

For more information or to book a session with me, please email me:

The Shadow in Shamanism

Although I greatly respect Jungian Psychology (and have been an active member of the International Association for Jungian Studies for many years), their assertion of the “Shadow” seems limited from my experience as a Shaman. This is part of what Wikipedia says:

“In Jungian psychology, the shadow (also known as idshadow aspect, or shadow archetype) is either an unconscious aspect of the personality that the conscious ego does not identify in itself; or the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. In short, the shadow is the unknown side.”

If you do a little research on books written about Shamanism and their relation to the Shadow, you’ll find that most authors don’t veer very far from the above psychological definition.

I’ll quickly break it down for you, as one of my Master Shamans (without any college education) did. As a Human, you walk this Earth and at the same time you walk inner worlds (your thoughts, feelings, impulses, etc.). Within these inner worlds there will be many allies and foes, some will be very alien to you and others so intimate that they might as well be you. As long as you know who, where, when and what you are; your thinking is clear and your heart is pure; none can influence you (for good or bad) without your consent.

This is easier said than done, but at least it gives you a target to center back into on a regular basis. Where the scientific mind wants to understand and analyze the components and pieces of the “Shadow”. The Shaman seeks to communicate and negotiate a win-win Path for the person and his shadow. We, Shamans, understand that there are no negative energies in the Universe, but there can misunderstandings, miscommunications, misplacements, etc. We also know, that it is in the darkest recesses that the largest treasures are found. For us, encountering the “Shadow” is an optimal and promising pursuit.

The “Shadow” will roughly usher us into what seems like an uncontrolled state of being as a way to help us evolve and grow. Initiations, tend to follow a very similar process. To the average working citizen this will feel like a breakdown. To a Shaman it will be a time of evolution and awakening…

If you’d Like to know more about the Shamanic approach to the Shadow, for sessions or training, please contact me:

Flavio@ Healer