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A lot of people pursue connections with spirit. Some are successful, some not. But for some who are successful, they sometimes get a lot more than they bargained for, and it turns out to be a nightmare.
There are also individuals who are not looking, and spirit comes to them. And itís unwelcome, and it disturbs them. And in some cases it drives them to clinicians with drugs.
Then a few find their way to shamans. Shamans are in a good position to understand and help, because, unlike psychiatrists, they actually work with spirits all the time. In fact we call up spirits to help us help our clients in many different ways.
Sometimes it can be frightening, especially in the early stages of your apprenticeship, because some spirits are powerful Ė and bad. In the Siberian tradition I was apprenticed to, some shamans are better able to deal with those dark spiritual energies than others. Often we have to fight them on a clientís behalf.
I remember several fights with sometimes mocking entities who were present in a clientís home. They were well-established and were preying on the client and they did not want to leave. They were challenging me and it was a fight.
For clients who are spiritually aware it can be particularly painful for them when unexpected visitors call. Most people will suffer the effects of negative energy without knowing what has caused it, but those spiritually aware clients will actually see these spirits. Unfortunately, they donít know how to handle them.
There is a range of remedies. And shamans will deploy several at the same time. You can give clients protection. You can get rid of spirits.
But spirits will always want to come back. If they sense a weakness they can be attracted to an individual and they will attack.
One thing clients can be encouraged to do is to do their own spiritual ju-jitsu. When they see a negative spirit coming, they recognise it and deflect it. The fact that they can see whatís attacking them can empower a client. They can face up to the spirit and push it away.
Of course not everyone has the power and confidence to face down malevolent spirits. But a good effort often works, and Iíve had clients who have seen off repeated attacks, and who have eventually freed themselves from unwelcome visitors completely.
Some spiritually aware clients have to be persuaded to stop themselves flying into the spirit world on an adventure. One client I know has shaman-like abilities to go flying Ė but she does not have the strength or ability to cope with what she finds.
Until she can learn how to deal face to face with spirits, it is safer for her to just not go there.
There is- in the west Ė the notion of spiritual tourism. The idea of popping into the spirit world for a bit of fun. And Iíve met some people who think itís perfectly safe for everyone.
Now I love Formula 1and I think Iím a good driver. But I know that if I were to buzz round a grand prix track at 200 mph I would crash spectacularly.
Sure, some individuals can do it. And they enjoy it. But many of us wouldnít get past the first corner.
When it comes to dealing with spirit, we should all treat it with respect.
About the author:
Mackenzie Blyth was offered an apprenticeship by a senior shaman in Tuva, Southern Siberia where he was playing with local musicians in the mid 1990s. He kept returning to study and in 2000 he became an initiated shaman. He is based in London, UK.