By the second day of my vacation at the luxurious Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California, I was still experiencing the chronic anxiety and irritability I had gone there to escape. I thought maybe a massage would help; however, as I perused the spa menu, my eyes immediately locked on ‘Shaman Session’ and something inside me whispered, ‘try it’, so I did.
My Shaman, Jon Rasmussen, explained that Shamanism is a healing art passed down for centuries through indigenous Native American cultures. Shamanic healing engages the forces of nature and ancient wisdom to address issues at their energetic source that affect our lives on the mental, emotional, or physical level.
Rasmussen explained that the negative experiences and stories I carried from not only my own life, but the lives of my ancestors, had become energetic blocks in my body that were perpetuating my unsettling feelings. As my Shaman, he would bridge the physical and spiritual worlds in order to track and extract stagnant energies.
The session started with Rasmussen inviting me to lie on the table, breathe deeply, and ‘stop thinking.’ After scanning my body with his hands, he placed healing stones on three chakras that he intuited were heavy. He opened our ceremony with an invocation; spraying flower essences while praying aloud to his invisible healing assistants, calling upon the earth, sun, moon, and all of creation to support my healing. I felt as if I stepped out of my life in California and into a sacred ritual.
Next, his powerful and nurturing hands cradled my head and applied pressure to release points in my neck. As he swirled a feather in circles around ‘stuck energy,’ shook his rattle while chanting and took deep, fiery breathes, I thought to myself, ‘Is this really doing anything?’ But then I felt a huge surge of energy move through me. My hands began to tingle and I experienced waves of heat followed by chills. Fear began to surface and my body tightened. Rasmussen sensed this and reassured me, “It’s just the energy moving. Just breathe and let it go.” So I put my thoughts aside and relaxed into the experience. By the end of the session, I felt as if I was floating off the table.
Rasmussen said the dizziness was a result of my body internally realigning my energy. He suggested that I go for a walk in nature to ground myself and said that in a few hours I would feel a sense of balance.
By dinner that evening, my anxiety and irritability were replaced by serenity. The knots in my stomach and tension in my neck had also disappeared. I struggled to understand what exactly happened in my Shaman healing session, but decided it felt better to simply surrender to its mystical powers.