What Is Shamanic Healing

Melissa Farrugia is the fascinating force behind Soul Wellness: a Holistic Kinesiology and Shamanic Healing community working to help and heal humans, and connect them with the true essence of themselves. We spoke with Melissa about the journey to becoming a Shamanic Healer, and what the modality means to her.

Tell us about what Shamanic work means to you, and your journey towards discovering your path as a Shamanic Healer

According to my experience, and that of a lot of other people who are called to Shamanic work, becoming a Shamanic Healer is not necessarily a conscious choice, it’s a gravitational pull towards the path. From the very beginning, it comes from a deep, heartfelt space, but is never necessarily the easiest path.

The shamanic path in general really calls you to walk through fire, working with the fire element. It’s a process of purification and cleansing of anything and everything in your life that doesn’t serve you. The Shamanic Path can be quite gentle but often it’s not. 

The journey really started for me about sixteen years ago. It was at a really transformational point in my life where I pretty much packed up everything I owned and moved away to Canada. When I was in Canada the work experiences that aligned for me and with me meant that I was able to work with a first nations elder, and that was my first experience of Shamic medicine. It was something beyond the intellect, I had no idea what it meant intellectually, but there was a full-body resonance with it, in a very grounded way. When I came back from that experience I knew I wanted to go deeper into it, but it wasn’t until seven years later that I actually began to work entirely in the space. In between, I studied kinesiology, which is a healing modality concerned with the intelligence of the body – about listening to the intuitive nature of the body as a way of transforming and healing. Another really clear juncture point in my life came when I’d gone down a path and I needed to course correct quite rapidly… that was when the next call to Shamic work really came in.

Shamanic Work is sometimes it called the path of the pathless: you’re going into the great unknown with full body trust, you have to have a lot of discernment with Shamanic Healing, and even if you have a Shamanic mentor, your path won’t necessarily be the same. It can be quite visceral in nature, quite raw sometimes, but ultimately it’s a very empowering path.

Tell us about your experience training in Shamanic work

We all learn in very different ways. Personally, I learn through experience, so whilst I’ve trained with two or three teachers, it’s been very sporadic. I learn by awakening my own Shamanic spirit: I go off and I learn and I take what I’ve learned and I practice and practice. It’s very much about leaning in, listening and then working with the Shamanic wisdom in a practical, tangible way. Shamanic practices are about attuning to the spirit nature of life, so within Shamanic practices there is an embodiment of one foot in this world and one foot in the spirit world. Working with nature, seeing yourself as a part of nature and intuiting beyond what is present in the moment. It’s about going into the symbology of what something might be presenting, and the same form in this physical world might represent different things to different people, so it’s about really leaning into the subtle spaces to hear and to know and understand.

The first official training I did was a diploma of health science in holistic kinesiology, and then from about 2014, I’ve taken part in different Shamanic training and Shamanic rituals, accessing different levels of communication with spirit in really clear and respectful ways. The training comes in many different forms, but it’s all been about connecting with mother earth in really safe and respectful containers. 

Tell us a little about the Shamanic community

If you have a Shamic soul, that overrides everything. For me it was like my soul was on fire when I wasn’t listening, because I wanted to defer what was to come. I believe there are juncture points along your soul evolution where it’s time to awaken and to lean in to what you’re meant to be doing, in a spiritual and a human sense.

For me, that call became stronger than any other permission, but then there was also the importance of  surrounding myself with people who occupy a similar space, and having the support of mentors. When it feels right for you, it’s almost like there is no other way, so that permission organically comes.

Some members of the community that I’ve been part of have been long standing, some have been more sporadic. I’m the kind of person who likes forming deep connections with a few people, and I think that shapes community and connection. That’s shifting more and more, and I’m really grateful that I’ve had seventeen years of experience in this field, because the space has become so much more crowded. 

Tell us a little about the history of Shamanism and Shamanic healing as you understand it

Shaman is a Siberian word which basically translates to mean “the one who knows”. That’s not necessarily a direct translation, but that’s broadly what it stands for. Shamanic practices are a part of every culture, it’s just that they’ve been forgotten about or hidden. Shamanic medicine really is about connecting to and caring for mother earth, really leaning into the rhythms of the cycles. There’s the earth side of it, and then there’s galactic Shamanism which is about connecting to constellations, planetary knowledge. We all have Shamanic roots in our lineage because we all come from Indigenous people. We may not be connected to that now but there are various Shamanic practices throughout the world. The ones that are more well known now have been the most accessible because the culture is still quite alive, so there are elders practicing this medicine and able to share it. I think the fact that this wisdom is being shared is part of the great awakening: people are waking up and thinking, I want to know my roots. It’s a call to come back to our knowledge.

What does a Shamanic Healing session look like?

Sessions are really varied depending on what the needs of the person are. Some people come with really heavy emotion, so we go into that. Often what I find is that when someone comes into a session, they come in with one thing so we’ll go into that but we might find ourselves exploring something else, something that the person didn’t realise they needed to heal. The sessions are really about coming into wholeness. Sometimes it’s more healing focused, sometimes it’s more activation focused. The activation focused sessions are about awakening a new energy within somebody, and the healing sessions are about cleaning old energy. 

For me, for any of the work I do, it’s very ceremonial in nature. What I mean by that is there’s a lot of respect, a lot of reverence and a lot of spaciousness, we don’t rush through anything. I believe with everybody, if you’re called to healing work or transformation, you’re always learning. Then if you begin to practice and work with people, it can’t be about you, it becomes very much about the people you’re working with which allows you to stay grounded and neutral: showing up in service for other people.Through doing that, sessions that are quite intuitive.

To learn more about Mel’s work, and to book a healing, kinesiology, soul activation or mentorship session, visit her website soulwellness.com.au

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