Five Golden Rules for Shamanic Healing

By Ishtar Babilu Dingir

I’m not really one who goes in much for shamanic healing. I’ve noticed that if you give someone healing, they tend to need it again a few months later. That might be good for building a client base … but that’s not really what I’m about. My approach is more along the lines of ‘if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day, but if you give him a fishing rod and teach him how to fish, he’ll eat for the rest of his life.’ Except in my case, I give him the cannery too.

It’s more about self-empowerment than healing… and it’s the path of the initiate, rather than the path of the healer. The healing profession – both alternative and conventional – is famous for attracting those who need healing themselves. In my experience, some of them have a saviour complex to such an extent that they appear not to consider themselves good enough to plant their feet on this Earth unless they are busy saving someone from themselves. This is a considerable weakness, and it will lessen the power of any healing they want to facilitate.

All in all, I prefer the path that I teach, that of the initiate… the path of self discovery which leads to self empowerment and enlightenment. When people ask me for shamanic healing, nine times out of ten, I tell them about this path in which they can learn how to get their own healing and guidance from their own spirits.

However, for those who wish to go down the shamanic healing route, there are a number of useful protocols, which I was taught in my training, that help to stave off the worst of the ego problems that can arise from journeying for other people, and I’d like to share them here.

  1. Wait to be asked. You can offer to journey for someone, but then at least wait until they agree to it. Otherwise you will be considered to be invading and trespassing into their sacred, secret inner spaces unasked and uninvited. Psychic healers often do this, and call it shamanism. It’s not shamanism… and it can sometimes be a kind of psychic vampirism. Respect for each other’s boundaries is just as important in the inner worlds as in the outer.
  2. The spirits communicate via symbols and metaphors – a sort of picture language – but they are symbols and metaphors which are gifts to be carried back lovingly to the recipient, the person you’re journeying for, because the meaning they hold is for them to unravel. Even if you are absolutely convinced that you know the meaning of a symbol or metaphor, telling the recipient is tantamount to opening their birthday present for them. It takes all the loving power out of it.
  3. Never ever discuss a journey that you did for someone with a third party. It’s not your information to share. You have been entrusted with a sacred contract to act as go-between, and you have no right to act outside the contract for any reason.
  4. Just as in any contract, the recipient should pay for your services in some way or another, so that there’s an equal exchange between you. If they can’t afford to pay money, it’s acceptable to give a gift of something you want or need to a value commensurate with the time given them. What you charge is up to you. Some people in London charge £400.00 an hour, which I think is outright extortion. Conversely, for giving up your time to render a service of such great value, you should expect to get more than the minimum wage, currently £6.50 an hour. Unfortunately, we live in an age where people only value something according to what it costs them, which is partly why giving it away for free is not an option, even if you want to, because it devalues shamanic healing in general. The other reason is that you are not Jesus going round getting the blind to see and the lame to walk – and actually, neither was Jesus!
  5. Before and after – create sacred space by petitioning your spirits before journeying, and then close it down afterwards by thanking them. It is they who do the healing… we just give our time and learned skill to facilitate it. It’s good to remember that when the saviour complex comes a-knocking!

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