When was the last time your soul was healed? The ancient, world wide practice of Shamanism, has for millennia supported humanity in caring for and fulfilling their spiritual needs. Sound strange to think of your soul as needing healing or fulfillment? Our Western culture has lost its understanding of spirit being immanent in all things, as spirit being the force that binds us all together.

Our ancestors knew that any kind of physical ailment, or community problem, could be cured by successfully addressing the needs of the spirit. For them the spirit was not a fantasy or something to be experienced only after death, it was the most fundamental reality of daily life. All things, health, abundance, a happy family life, flowed from the state of ones spirit and its relationship to the community of life.

For may of us today, feeling dispirited has become the norm, we desperately need to change that attitude. Many people receiving shamanic healing or participating in shamanic practices have an immediate and deep connection. For many, this work feels like “coming home.” This is the way to transform our souls suffering.


Shamanic Healing Techniques

Shamanic Healing is the oldest known form of healing. Though it may be buried or obscured, it is a primary root for all of our ancestral cultures. Functioning not only as a healing method but also:

• as a means of divination

•a way to cultivate a sacred relationship with the world

•a way to explore our relationships with unseen forces in life.

It is a common ancestor for all of the worlds major religions.

Shamanism directly and effectively addresses the spiritual, emotional and physical aspects of our lives, offering practical and powerful remedies to many illnesses and life challenges. Through direct relationship with spiritual forces, the Shamanic Practitioner restores power to the individual and offers healing insight to help clients meet life’s challenges. When we are “power filled” we remain free from illness and able to pursue our own destiny.
I came to shamanism through a need to heal my own life in my twenties. For nearly two decades I have trained and practiced techniques of shamanic healing, as well as having taught for The Foundation for Shamanic Studies. I have found their healing techniques based in Core Shamanism, to be an essential tool for survival in todays world.
I am currently offering regular office hours for healing and shamanic instruction. Email or call for more information: (831) 204-8323 tim@alchemistsjournal.com .

At this time I do not charge a specific fee for shamanic services, but I do accept donations via my paypal account: click to give a donation.


Aspects of Shamanism and Shamanic Healing (click the title for more details):

The Shamanic Journey
Considered by anthropologists to be a defining aspect of shamanic healing, this ancient method of spiritual discovery is an essential practice for anyone interested in exploring the terrain of spirit.

Soul Retrieval. One of the most commonly needed forms of shamanic healing, this deals with repairing the soul, usually after damage from trauma.

Power Animal Retrieval. Our associations with our helping animal spirits are essential to our empowerment and wellbeing. This technique restores bonds lost in a way of life ignorant of such relationships.

Power Retrieval. Similar to soul loss, power loss can affect our health and well-being. Have you ever experienced power dynamics in your life that left you feeling drained?

Extraction. The removal of toxic energies is a long standing spiritual healing practice. This safe method of clearing one’s spirit is time-tested and effective.

Curse Removal. Whether negative intentions are cast, or well crafted harmful curses, shamanism has powerful techniques for removing curses and alleviating their impact.

Deposession. Often viewed through the somewhat barbaric lense of Exorcism, this process is focused on helping spirits that may be deeply connected to a living person let go of their connection and move on.

Dismemberment. A classic shamanic, initiatory experience in which the individuals helping spirits destroy their body and rebuild it, often to facilitate their work as a healer.




Developed by Michael Harner and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies staff for the last 40 years (www.shamanism.org), Core Shamanism  consists of the universal, near-universal, and common features of shamanism, together with journeys to other worlds, a distinguishing feature of shamanism.

I’ve trained in Core Shamanism for over fifteen years. The following practices are also offered as services by me. I also teach the introductory course for the FSS – The Way of the Shaman. Please email me for more information.


This is the classic means the shaman uses to contact helping spirits to diagnose and in many cases cure an illness. Many of us have found that taking a shamanic journey does not require a calling as a healer. Indeed the shamanic journey seems to be an inherent ability most people have once they’re exposed to some very basic instruction. Journeying can be used to explore the animistic world, seek insight to some of the most profound questions, create relationships with spirits and ancestors – these are just a few of many options.

Today many Westerners learn to journey in a weekend workshop, through one on one instruction (see Shamanic Counseling on my classes page), or even through video or written instruction. We believe that journeying is a natural part of being human, not the domain of a special few. This is a practice that is open to all to learn, regardless of race, religion or gender. Please contact me if you have an interest in learning to journey.


First taught by Michael Harner and then popularized by Sandra Ingerman through workshops and her book “Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self Through Shamanic Practice”, Soul Retrieval is the ancient practice of returning lost vitality to an ailing client. The stressful events of our lives can result in loss of some part of our vital essence. Soul Retrieval is the process of returning lost essence to the client.

Causes of soul loss can be:

1. Any physical, emotional, or psychic trauma.

2. Intentional theft, or the result of unconscious power dynamics.

Symptoms of soul loss can be:

1. A sense of dispiritedness.

2. Exhaustion or depression.

3. Illness of any kind.

4. Inability to heal from minor injury or crisis.

5. A feeling of loosing ones way in life, a lack of goals or life vision.

Soul retrieval is a common technique in most cultures that still have strong shamanic healing practices. For these communities soul retrievals are most often performed shortly after the initial loss. Since this practice is rare in our culture, soul loss goes un-addressed usually for years or decades if it is ever addressed at all. Integrating soul essence after years of loss can require ongoing attention to fully complete. Any soul retrieval work should be followed by further work by the client tailored to their needs, this may include seeing a western style counselor to compliment integration of the shamanic work.


Many cultures believe that we are all born with relationships to guardian spirits. In many non-western cultures these guardians are animals and beyond being guardians, they are our compassionate teachers. Through developing a relationship to our power animals through shamanic practices, ritual, art and other means we ensure protection and guidance for ourselves throughout our lives.

Few of us had communities that nurtured our relationship with our Power Animals when we were too young take on that responsibility for ourselves. Few of us have, over the years established and cultivated relationships with our Power Animals. This lack of care and attention can result in a loss of relationship with our Power Animals. There can in fact be many causes for Power Animal loss. The symptoms of Power Animal loss are very similar to soul loss.

When clients recieve a Power Animal Retrieval, they often report a sense of well-being, more energy and more focus. In essence, they become “power filled” as Dr. Harner points out in his book “The Way of the Shaman.” Some experience a sense of kinship much like being reunited with a long lost friend.


When we are weakened through Soul Loss or Power Animal loss we become vulnerable to spiritual intrusions which further diminish our ability to stay healthy and strong. These intrusions can come about through intention or simply the random interactions of our lives. The practice of extraction removes energy that is not appropriate in our energetic body, freeing us from the dysfunction and discomfort that the intrusion has caused. Because the intrusion opportunistically filled a space in our energetic body that was open due to some loss, extractions usually include the restoration of power in some form.


Over the past several decades we have become more and more aware of the effects of positive thinking on our lives. Whether we are trying to maintain a positive outlook on our own lives, or we are praying on someone’s behalf to effect a healing, we know that our intentions towards ourselves or each other can have a powerful effect. Similarly, our own intentions can negatively impact our well being or the well being of others. There are even individuals who engage in intentional psychic activities which result in the harm of others.

While the more virulent forms of cursing are rare in our culture, unconscious and unskilled cursings are extremely common. Our lives may also be impacted by curses laid upon our ancestors and our family linneage. The SP can directly address the curse, remove its harmful effect and offer help in de-escalating harmful situations. The method taught by Betsy Burgstrom is strongly based in Shamanic Journeying and strives to come to peaceful reconcilliation for all parties involved. It is useful to note that self-cursing is also very common. Our own negative self-talk can be addressed using these tools.


Possession has been a common theme in many cultures. Often depicted in the movies as violent and demonic, possession is seen as rare and intensley traumatic. Betsy Bergstrom and other modern shamanic practitioners teach and practice a gentler form of de-possession which emphasizes a sensitive approach to the recognition of possessions and offers compassionate means to enable the possessing spirit to move on to a more appropriate domain. 

Because we tend not to assist people in their dying process and do little to address the needs of spirits trapped in this world, the occurrence of possession and haunting or “obsessions” is very common. We tend only to recognize the presence of spirits when they are wreaking havoc in our lives, but their impact is often subtler and more frequently influential. Symptoms of spirit possession can be as minor as a slight change in opinion about ones favorite t.v. show and as obvious as explosive anger and objects levitating about a room.

When spirits are lost in this world and they have no physical presence, they need some source of incarnated being in order to sustain their consciousness and power in this world. Spirits turn to the living in order to sustain their own experience of being “alive” in some way. Because our world is so filled with lost spirits, the instance of possession and obsession is quite common.

It is possible, through compassionate shamanic work, to address the needs of both the client and the possessing spirit. In a kind of shamanic conflict resolution, discarnate being are guided out of this world and clients are supported in reclaiming their fullest energetic selves.

Dismemberment seems to be an almost natural (albeit spiritual) human experience. Its as if some aspect of our selves or souls was made to be remade. To read more about how dismemberment can appear in a modern context read my post – “Pulled Through the Dismemberment Keyhole.”

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