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ABOUT SHAMANISM

HEALING & COUNSELING WORK

DRUMMING CIRCLES & WORKSHOPS

SPIRITDANCE

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

AUTOBIOGRAPHY

LINKS, MUSIC & LITERATURE

CONTACT

Working with death and the process of dying is very much at the heart of shamanic work.  Typically, a shaman has had a close brush with death at some point in his or her life and is therefore both familiar and comfortable with the “cosmology” of where souls go after dying.  
 
This comfort level and knowledge can be of tremendous assistance to those who are in the process of transitioning and to the loved ones of those who are dying.   From a shamanic perspective, death is never an end - it simply represents the closing of one phase in a soul’s journey.   It is a transition from one state of being, (a physical one), to another.
 
The shamanic practitioner can be of vital support and comfort to the dying and their loved ones in three different ways.  First, she can help those who are dying to lose a great deal of fear about the process of death and what they may encounter after death occurs.   If the dying wish, they can learn how to journey themselves, (or meditate), and be shown their after-life landscape where helping spirits, (often loved ones who have already died), await them. This helps to remove fear of the unknown and any anxiety about punishment after death, which often stems from religious teachings.
 
Secondly, the practitioner can support those who have lost a loved one by getting in contact with the deceased, bringing back messages of comfort, reassurance and love.  This can be extremely helpful in cases when the deceased has passed on quite suddenly and there was little or no time for the family members to say good-by or to adjust to the event. Contacting the deceased is always possible, even many years after their death. Time is simply not a factor in the after-life.
 
The third important function of the shaman with regard to death and dying is psychopomp work.  The word psychopomp comes from the Greek term psychopompus, which means “leader of souls”.  In preparation for the role of psychopomp, the shamanic practitioner is trained to locate souls who have died but have not crossed over to the after-life. This may be the result of a very sudden or traumatic death, and the soul may manifest as a poltergeist or ghost. Sometimes there is just a feeling that a deceased friend or loved one is, for some reason, not “at rest”. Having located such a soul, the psychopomp escorts the soul safely to the after-life.