A Shamanic View

Signs of the Times?


Incidence of mental illness is rising. More and more people are developing allergies, whether food or environmental. So many kids have lists of foods they can’t eat. More and more people are being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, autism spectrum disorders… Is anyone truly healthy anymore?


So why is this? Are these new disorders, or are we only recently diagnosing them? What about all the “functional” disorders–the ones doctors can’t explain or find causes for, but can agree that the symptoms are real?


From a shamanic point of view, all of these are symptoms of soul or power loss. We all have a strength of spirit, which you could consider a measure of the soul’s health. This is often called power. When you are “power-filled” you are more vibrant and alive. When that power is drained or lost, so is protection from illness, injury, and misfortune.


This power comes from connection to Spirit. It can come from protective spirits, such as power animals. These are called that because they tend to appear in animal form and serve as connections or conduits to that power. Everyone has them–or at least starts off with them. Among shamanic cultures, simply surviving to adulthood would be seen as proof of having one or more protective spirit guarding over one.


Everything is alive, but modern society insists that unseen spirits aren’t real and rocks and trees and the earth itself are “inanimate” objects.. People have forgotten how to see spirits, but that does not mean they are not there. Our society has been disconnecting from spirit and spirituality. Belief in the supernatural has been waning for a long time now. Can we blame spirits for not going out of their way to help people who insist they don’t exist?


Our society tends not to embrace nature. Most see ourselves as the top of every hierarchy. We claim ownership of land. We push animals out of their natural habitats. Can we blame spirits for not helping us if we are pushing them away?


Each generation is being raised less connected to spirit than the one before. Illnesses that used to be seen in adults are being seen in children. Self-destructive behavior is happening among younger and younger people.


So we are finding ourselves less protected by spirits that would have been guardians. When we aren’t being reinforced and resupplied from the spirit realms we have only our own power to work with. We burn that power dealing with stresses we create for ourselves. We use it up when we don’t take care of ourselves. We eat poorly, we don’t get enough sleep. Should it really by a surprise that we can’t maintain ourselves that way? It isn’t sustainable.


As we become a powerless culture we become weak and frail. We don’t have the strength to withstand hardship and trauma. Our souls wound easily. We end up with depression and anxiety. To fill the wounds in our souls we turn outward, to drugs, or caffeine, or gambling, or sex, even the internet becomes an addiction as we try to escape emptiness.


Whether these trends continue or reverse is up to us.