From time to time I am asked “what do shamans do?”.  Not always.  Some people have a strong sense of what shamans do.  But I do get asked.  And always I have to stop and think.  We are so pushed to be doing all the time, more and more, testing our souls and bodies to the limits of tolerance.  That sort of doing is very human, and shamans do engage in it; after all, shamans are humans too!  But it is not the sort of doing that answers the question.

So I am always returned to the foundation of a shaman’s practice: working together with Spirit.  What I am calling Spirit goes by many names.  In today’s world it may be energy, or essence, God or Goddess; but energy, essence, Spirit – they are all the same.  Whatever is the unseen power that meets us when we are bold and true to our deepest, finest selves: that is what I mean by Spirit.  Without Spirit a shaman is not much use to anyone.  It is the partnership between human and Spirit that makes a shaman.  Spirit brings power, knowledge and insight.  The human brings intention, discipline and the sense of urgency that incarnation in a mortal body guarantees!

Together, human and Spirit are able to work healing miracles from time to time.  Classically, this includes the removal of heavy energy which may be manifesting as a physical ailment, the restoration of lost power or of lost soul parts which will manifest as lack of engagement in life and/or inability to break or alter destructive life patterns, aiding humans who have died but failed to move on for whatever reason, and blessing the land and ecosystem that supports us.  The more the human and Spirit walk together, the deeper the work becomes, so long as the human keeps faith.

So, the doing of a shaman is only half the story.  As in any partnership, a great deal of the “work” together is not the pushing, grinding, soul-destroying thing we have come to call work.  It consists more of listening, asking, responding, and of holding intention for healing to occur.  Less like force and more akin to surrender.  As a friend of mine is fond of pointing out: It all happens in the conversation, the exchange, the dance, the betwixt and between.

Healing… transformation… enlightenment… are mystery. Spirit constantly invites us to step into this mystery.  Help is always available; we simply must turn and take the hand that is held out to us.

If you are in need of healing work, help or information, please contact me on or 07749996126 for more information.

Laurie McNeill