Primordial Healer – Shaman Woman

The oldest healing tradition in the world is shamanism. It is primitive. It is primal. It is a powerful practice. Today it would also be classified by such names as “holistic healing”, or “integrative medicine”. My beloved calls it “Harmonic Infusion.” I have been led to call it “Primordial Healing.”

Some time ago, I read an article entitled, Birthing as a Shamanic Experience by Leslie McIntyre. In the article, it was stated that when a woman gives birth naturally, she is between two worlds: the world of life and the world of death. This, in and of itself, is a Shamanic experience. It led me to do more research into the world of the female shaman, the one who is a Primordial Healer.

In her book Shakti Woman, Vicki Noble quotes Geoffery Ashe, a British scholar who specializes in shamanism, as saying, “Ancient shamanism was not an individual phenomenon but was something that was practiced by the female group. And the power of the female group is biologically rooted in menstruation and the blood mysteries of birth.”

I recently finished reading, The Woman in the Shaman’s Body by Barbara Tedlock. The book was most informative about women and shamanism. It let me know that the direction of my life is right and timely.

Most times when we hear the word shaman, we think of a man. This is because the patriarchal mindset had relegated women to a position of assistant or subordinate in this practice.

All over the world, there were and are women who are very powerful shamans. They are called by different names because the word shaman was primarily used in Siberia, whereas in other cultures the term was Sangoma, Curandera, Witch, Medicine Woman, or other names used to describe a woman of strong spirit.

Among shamans there are:

  • inspirational shaman – they are touched and initiated by spirit; and there are
  • hereditary shaman – who are trained and experience traditional initiation according to bloodlines.

A shaman is one who seeks knowledge. They learn about herbs, aromatherapy, midwifery, massage, oracles, charms, spells, songs and many other things that can help them in their practice. It is a never-ending quest to do one’s very best to assist in the healing process.

Many statues of women shamans exist throughout the world: in North America, Europe, Korea, Africa, Japan, Mexico, South America, Siberia, Taiwan and various other places. It was believed that women were the first shaman and were gifted naturally. According to the writings in Ms. Tedlock’s book, “The only way that men could become shamans was to kill the women and steal their paraphernalia and knowledge.”

In Siberia, the oldest Shamanic grave found was of a young woman. Mostly all of the graves of shaman were women! Cave drawing from Europe into South Africa show that female shaman were the norm.

One of the reasons that women have not been previously recognized as shamans is because in many other languages there are no gendered descriptions such as the “he” and “she” that we have in the English language where he is used to describe both female and male.

There is a Huchiol story that says women receive the call directly from the spirits and that men chose other men to be shamans. In many cases it is believed that women are the most powerful because of their innate abilities.

Many women have forgotten the powers of their natural ability to have their visions during their Sacred Moontime or during their Sacred Menopausal Years. It saddens me that more women are not aware of these most profound times in their lives but that is changing slowly but surely. When a woman does ritual during her Sacred Moontime it is said that this time is so very powerful that it can render weapons useless. I mention these Sacred Times because they are associated with the powerful energy that women carry naturally. Of course there are some women who are much more in tune with their abilities and because of certain dreams in the wake or sleep state, are then initiated into the Shamanic Traditions from an interpersonal, feminine perspective, which is having the client participate in their healing. Ms. Tedlock states that the male Shamanic traditions are more heroic, meaning that they are doing all the work for the client. In my practice I have found that when the client participates in their own healing, more is accomplished and they feel more connected to the power of their own spiritual being.

Shamanism is making a comeback in the metaphysical world. Many who are relearning and practicing are women. This is a good thing because… “When sleeping women wake, mountains move.” – Chinese Proverb

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