About Shamanism 2017-12-14T04:05:29+00:00


Shamanism is one of the oldest healing methodologies on Earth. It has been practiced on every continent except Antarctica, and continues to be practiced around the world in many traditional cultures. There are people from various religious traditions who practice shamanism — there are Buddhist shamans, Christian shamans, Hebrew shamans, Hindu shamans, etc. and, of course, indigenous societies, each with their particular spiritual practices, including shamanism. In these cultures, the shaman provides a “bridge” to the spirits for the community.

A shaman is one who has trained for many years, and apprenticed with the spirits with whom he or she works. A shaman is one who enters an altered state of consciousness, at will, to travel to the spirit realms and, working with the helping spirits with whom he or she has developed a relationship, brings back information, power and healing to an individual or the community. A shaman may also be called on to bring the presence of Spirit to gatherings and rituals intended to mark significant passages in the life of an individual or the community. It is the community that bestows the designation “shaman” on one whose service to the community is true and effective; it is not a title someone claims for oneself.

Originally, shamanism developed as a method of healing, of gleaning divine wisdom and guidance for a community and its members. More recently, particularly in Western cultures, the “shamanic journey” (the process of traveling to the spirit realms to interact with personal spirit helpers) has become a practice for many people who wish to live spirit-led lives even as they may not be called to become shamans. Their interaction with the spirits is more self-directed — problem solving, personal growth, seeking guidance in their particular life circumstances — rather than dedicated to service for others. We at Sacramento Shamanic Center call these journeyers Pathwalkers.


Shamanic healing addresses the spiritual aspects of illness and works by “mending” the soul — retrieving for the client that part of the life force that may have been lost as a result of trauma or substance abuse, for examples; by “extracting” or removing from the individual any misplaced spiritual energy that is causing problems; and by reconnecting the individual to his or her personal source of spiritual power.


In the course of a lifetime, it is inevitable that one will suffer occasional, at least, emotional and/or physical traumas. At such times and in such incidents, it is not uncommon that a piece of oneself, a part of one’s life force, may “step aside” so that one can survive this experience. In fact, this is a marvelous defense mechanism: if one were wholly present to receive the full impact, the trauma might be unendurable. From a shamanic perspective, this separation from part of one’s life force is called “soul loss”. In addition to loss as a result of trauma, the soul may be “eroded” away by day-to-day emotional or physical abuse; substance abuse may also result in this type of soul loss; “giving oneself away”, a common behavior in this culture, may also cause loss of life force.

One who has experienced soul loss is no longer whole and may describe a feeling of being “disconnected” from life, a sense that “something’s missing”, or a lack of energy. Those with soul loss have said such things as:

  • “When we got divorced, I think my ex took part of me with her.”
  • “I feel like I never came back from the anesthesia after my surgery.”
  • “I just haven’t been myself since the accident.”
  • ” Somewhere along the line I lost my passion (creativity, joy, ability to play, will to live).
  • “This job just seems to suck the soul right out of me.”
  • “When my father died, some part of me went with him.”
  • “I have this empty place in me and I can’t seem to fill it up.”
  • “No matter where I live, I never feel like I’m home.”
  • “When I was a kid and my parents would start to fight with each other (yell at me, drink), I would just sort of leave.”
  • “That man who molested me when I was little stole my soul.”
  • “There are a couple of years in my life that I just can’t remember at all.”

Soul loss may manifest in the body as chronic fatigue, malaise, weakened resistance to disease, and other generalized disorders. Depression, forgetfulness, chronic fears, “spaceyness” — even chronic misfortune — are common complaints of people who have suffered soul loss.

Working with her or his helping spirits, the shaman can go in search of missing “soul parts” on behalf of a client. Usually, a lost soul part will be found at the age at which it left the client and, often, the shaman will be shown the circumstances that caused the soul part to leave. This information may be helpful to the client in integrating the part or parts of herself/himself that have been retrieved. The shaman places the retrieved soul part or parts in the client’s body, typically (but not always) by blowing them into the heart and the crown of the head. Sometimes the shaman “sings a soul home”; then, seeing that the soul has drawn near, called by the song, the shaman gathers it and places it gently in the client’s body.

Although soul retrieval sometimes brings an end to the client’s malady, more often it is the beginning of a new stage of healing. Being wholly present in one’s body greatly facilitates the healing process (and for many may be essential). Soul retrieval often advances the healing work being done in other, conventional modalities. As an example, many clients who are receiving psychotherapy report that their work with their therapists leaps forward, deepens, and progresses significantly following soul retrieval.

All the practitioners of the Sacramento Shamanic Center are skilled and experienced in soul retrieval and offer this service to those in need of this healing.


If a part of one’s life force is gone, an opening or “space” is available into which an “intrusion” may enter. Spiritual intrusions are not evil, but are simply energy that is misplaced. Intrusions are often experienced as localized problems in the client’s body. Headaches, breathing difficulty, cysts, tumors, rashes, cancer, chronic infections, localized pain are examples of problems in which intrusions may be playing a part. Emotional effects of intrusions may include chronic rage or fear. Sometimes an unhealthy idea, a skewed belief or, perhaps an erroneous self-image that another has “planted” in the client has been “taken to heart” by the client and needs to be removed and released.

To remove an intrusion, the shaman calls his/her helping spirits and the spirits, working through the shaman’s body, do the extraction. Typically, once extracted, the intrusion is “disarmed” or transformed by being placed in water, or is carried away to the spirit realms by the helping spirits. Depending on the size and/or tenacity of the intrusion, extraction may need to be repeated.

All the practitioners of the Sacramento Shamanic Center are skilled and experienced in shamanic extraction and offer this service to those in need of this healing.


A third source of illness, from a shamanic perspective, is loss of power. One who has become disconnected from his or her source of personal power is “dispirited”. Power loss may bring about many of the same symptoms as soul loss.

To restore power to the client, the shaman will go in search of an animal spirit, either one who has been with the client in the past and is willing to return, or one willing to become this client’s spirit companion. The role of the animal spirit, or “power animal”, is to provide spiritual, emotional and physical protection. A power animal may lend its particular gifts and powers to the person whom it has chosen so that the person may be strengthened to better cope with the particular challenges of his or her life.

Frequently, in the course of soul retrieval an animal spirit comes forward offering to be with the client, and is returned to the client along with retrieved soul parts.

All the practitioners of the Sacramento Shamanic Center are skilled and experienced in animal spirit/power retrieval and offer this service to those in need of this healing.


It is not uncommon for troublesome patterns of thought or behavior to have their origin in one’s ancestral line. A trouble that began generations ago may have become a part of the “family culture,” and may be so deeply rooted as to be considered a part of one’s spiritual, emotional, or even physical DNA. Healing in such a case may require Ancestral Clearing, in which the shaman travels back into the family’s past to heal the original affliction, “re-wire” the dysfunctional patterns, and to remove any energetic blocks that may have been present for generations.

Some, but certainly not all, indicators that a client may benefit from Ancestral Clearing are:

  • A reoccurring pattern of failed relationship; lack of intimacy
  • Scarcity mindset, fear of poverty
  • Feelings of not being good enough, “less than”, downtrodden
  • Sexual abuse, physical, emotional, mental abuse
  • Illness/addiction – alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, work/busyness, etc.
  • Unrelenting competitiveness
  • Social confusions such as sexism, racism, class issues, homophobia
  • Lack of motivation, generalized ennui

Not all family members may be infected but may still carry the family affliction in their DNA. These patterns may be fairly new to the ancestral lines, or ancient. In some cases, patterns started as survival strategies, responses to the circumstances of the times and places, but with the passage of time the survival need was lost, yet the family may unwittingly continue to think and behave as if the original threat were still present, perhaps not understanding their own behavior, as it is the family “norm”. In other cases it may be a simple matter of the fact that addictions beget dysfunctions and abuse begets abuse.

The following practitioners of the Sacramento Shamanic Center are skilled in Ancestral Clearing and offer this service to those in need of this healing: Seamus Ann Malone, Paula Denham, Nikki Garner, Jeff Gota.


Shamanic Counseling is not shamanic healing, per se, but instead consists of a series of sessions in which the client learns to become his or her own shaman for purposes of receiving guidance or solving personal problems. In this process, the client learning to shamanic journey has the opportunity to come to know and develop a working relationship with his or her own helping spirits. Through this interaction with the helping spirits, clients overcome inhibitory fears, grow their self-confidence and acquire heartfelt wisdom. The client commonly experiences a sense of empowerment and a new-found joy in life.

The trained shamanic counselor instructs the client in reaching the spirit realms; lends shamanic expertise by identifying classic shamanic experiences to let the client know he or she is on the path and that this path has been traveled by others before; and intends in all interactions with the client to support the client in becoming empowered to make these journeys and work with the helping spirits independently. The shaman/counselor is a counselor of method only — the actual “counseling” is done by the client’s helping spirits.

Some clients find that the work they do with their helping spirits is all the help they need on their healing path; others find that, for them, shamanic counseling and conventional therapy work well hand in hand.

Typically, the goal of the client acquiring sufficient skills to journey independently is accomplished in about ten shamanic counseling sessions.

Practitioners Paula Denham and Seamus Ann Malone of the Sacramento Shamanic Center are skilled and experienced in shamanic counseling and offer this service to those requesting it.

Paula Denham received certification in Harner Method Shamanic Counseling in 1995 from the Foundation for Shamanic Studies.


There are occasions when the souls of deceased beings are unable (for whatever reason) to move on into the next stage of their spiritual lives. And on occasion these troubled or sometimes merely lost spirits may take up residence in a living human’s body and attempt to continue their human life through that person’s being. While this presence is certainly not “demonic”, it can have a deleterious effect on the person’s life who suffers such an intrusion.

Someone who has had a lost or troubled spirit enter their being may experience thoughts that seem completely foreign, not their own, or may find themselves subject to habits that they have not known before and that are troublesome to them. They may even have a clear understanding that there is a presence within them that does not belong.

It is the role of the shaman working with her or his Helping Spirits to entice, insist, or demand such a spirit to leave the body that is not theirs, and to deliver that troubled soul to compassionate Spirits who will take it to its rightful place. The shaman can then tend to the now free client in his or her changing, shifting awareness, assisting the client in his or her task of letting go of thought patterns associated with the former unwelcome presence and establishing healthy boundaries to prevent a recurrence of such an event.

NOTE: Spirit possession as described above is not a common affliction in this culture; it is more common in some cultures where there is a cultural understanding that troubled or misbehaving spirits are the likely source of many, if not most, spiritual afflictions. In this American culture, issues of brain chemistry imbalance, consequences of some drug abuse, or confusion stemming from some psychological or mental health problems may bring similar unhappy effects and be misunderstood to be a spirit possession. While many of those problems can be addressed shamanically, they are not in fact matters of depossession.

Seamus Ann Malone, Paula Denham and Jeff Gota of the Sacramento Shamanic Center are skilled in Depossession and offer this service to those in need of this healing



Spiritual assistance can be provided to one with such specific needs as dealing with loss and grief, coming to forgiveness, changing an unhealthy thought or behavioral pattern, resolving a relationship struggle, releasing people or events of the past. Any sincere aspiration to improve oneself or one’s life is certainly in harmony with the Creator’s plan for you, and has the unwavering support of the Universe. The compassionate spirits delight in your efforts and rally to provide you the clarity, strength and direction you need to fulfill these aspirations.


House clearing entails a cleansing ceremony to prepare a new home for occupation or clearing a home of unwanted energy that may be there as a result of an illness, trauma or death, or left by previous residents. Sometimes one experiences an “uneasy feeling” in the home and this energy needs to be cleared.


A request can be carried to the spirits by the shamanic practitioner on behalf of a client who requires guidance or counsel regarding matters of importance to the client. The client’s questions are taken to the helping spirits and the spirits’ answers are relayed to the client (in the client’s presence).

A recording is made of the shaman’s conversation and interactions with the spirits. The recording is given to the client for future reference.

Anam Cara

 We all lose our way at times, struggle with a decision or perhaps feel the burdens we carry are more than one person can hold. There is an Irish tradition that every person needs the spiritual and emotional resource of a soul friend. This is the concept of anam cara. Your soul friend is someone with whom you can unburden your soul, and whom you can trust completely to not judge you, but to instead offer you the best, wisest and truest counsel available. We at Sacramento Shamanic Center embrace this concept of anam cara. In our divination journeys seeking wisdom for you, we carry always the intention to be a true friend to your soul.

Oracle of the Grove

 Beyond the mists that mark the entry into the Other World, there is a circle of nine sacred trees, known to some shamans as The Grove. The Oracle of the Grove is a Celtic shamanic divination wherein these nine Sacred Trees offer their wisdom to anyone seeking healing or guidance. The Grove welcomes any questions, concerns or heartaches present in one’s life. The shaman can visit the Grove on your behalf to help you learn what is hidden from your heart, what is sacred, what is up for healing, what are the root cause(s) and foundation of oneself relative to the question, the confusion, the situation at hand.


This is a traditional role and service of a shaman, assisting someone who has passed into the next world to move on into “the light”, the next stage of their spiritual life. This help can be given to one who has recently died, or one whom others believe may be “stuck”, perhaps because of a sudden or violent death


Again, this is a traditional role and service of a shaman, to assist individuals or the community to celebrate or otherwise mark the significant passages or events in life by providing the helping spirits’ guidance in preparing and conducting a needed ceremony or ritual.

All the practitioners of the Sacramento Shamanic Center are skilled and experienced in all the “other shamanic services” listed here.

Seamus Ann Malone has been called to work with the sacred trees of The Grove, and she provides this service to those who seek it.

Paula Denham is an ordained Minster of the Circle of the Sacred Earth Church and is thereby authorized to perform weddings and other rites traditionally or legally requiring a cleric.