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Shamanic reflections of depression

There is a lot that can be experienced within the modern declarations of mental health states. Our societal systems have created support bases for what can be now identified as 'illnesses of the mind'. A luxury that can't be afforded to systemised approaches, is the holistic perspective on an individual's experiences. Mental health illnesses are diagnosed when the symptoms appear almost solely in the mind. However, from a holistic perspective, these symptoms only prominent as an alert system for a deeper imbalance. There are very important psycho-emotional roots of every illness process, whether we are ready to accept them or not. A holistic perspective addresses and respects that every individual is also having a multi-dimensional experience. It can be difficult for practitioners of all kinds to accept this reality, especially since most modalities of medicine and healing cannot possibly account for all facets of a human's experience.

The logical response to a mental health experience, is to find a professional that focuses on the mind. Be it a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, counsellor or any number of leaders in the field, this approach is becoming more and more accessible. What I've found in my experience as both a practitioner, and experiencer, is that the more multi-dimension I become, the more diverse my treatment options need to be. This allows a very deep and dormant truth to be revealed over time...there is not one cure for any ailment. There are remedies and treatment options, action plans and medicines for most. But yet, healing in itself asks one thing of us...CHANGE. The amount of change often mirrors the severity of the experience. Yet, we make logical thought processes around an exchange program of change, negating the way our emotions, our inner child and our soul needs us to change.

From a shamanic perspective, we can provide a structured way to how a soul's interpretation of change may sound. In this paradigm, we speak of our spiritual sphere as being a team made up of "guides". Allowing the mind to comprehend and conceptualise imaginings of celestial beings serving us toward living our best lives and greatest potential. From this perspective, we can find relief from the exhausting areas of our conscious reasoning mind, and delight in something that knows more than we do.

In our human history, we find many situations where the alignment of ourselves with spiritual sources proves beneficial for navigating our human incarnation. When we speak of God, The Ancestors, Angels, Deities or Guides, there is something that happens within our mind construct that proves beneficial to some, but not all. When aligning with spiritual forces, we unconsciously consent and admit to one undeniable truth...We are not in control of our experience. For some this brings profound comfort knowing there is something apart from the self, that both loves us and provides a guiding force. For others, this notion proves threatening and demeaning. Wherever it stands to an individual, when it comes to mental health, we are simply looking for solutions that an individual finds better wellness and clarity, rather than further judgement of their condition.

Depression is often categorised by feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, low mood, isolation, sadness, tiredness and often anger. If we remove the label and it's clinical settings just for a moment, we can gaze upon some perspectives from a shamanic and/or spiritual paradigm. A shamanic practitioner faced with a client experiencing depression is likely to form understanding through a different level of questioning.

Some aspects that might be discussed are:

- Why do you think your guides would want you to experience this?

- Does this patterning run through your inherited lines?

- Does it feel like parts of you are missing or trapped somewhere else?

- Is there a part of you that's trying to leave so you can transform into a new chapter in your life?


The role of Shamanic Practitioner is to consult with an individual's guides in order to find information that will aid healing. This consultation and connection can take many forms, however, regardless of the symptoms, the practitioner aims to find a greater understanding of why their client must experience such states in order to grow and evolve. Depression and other states of stagnation have often be viewed as a calling to sit in the grief of a life that is about to change. Sometimes we experience grief before the loss shows up, and sometimes this loss can be more to do with our own sense of self rather than external forces. Any depressive states serve an individual to learn about themselves through discomfort and pain, in order to better manage their wellness in the future. What is congruent with Shamanism and healing, is reminding ourselves that the forces that are more powerful than us, are always compassionate. If the greater perspective of our pain is always viewed as compassionate, we can more easily surrender to fully experiencing such states instead of resisting against them. The perspective from Shamanism and other spiritual paradigms is, your guides are trying to teach you about yourself, surrender and they will take care of you.

To surrender means to trust in the process. To let go of controlling (or figuring out), exactly why this experience is happening. Surrender aligns with actions of relaxation despite the tendency to create more stress. During such times, it's important to provide a balance between working towards solutions and remedies, and allowing this change to happen naturally. The soul will speak of changes that are necessary to find wellness again in the future. Having the courage to change things in our lives, is what collaboration with supportive professionals do best. Change is the seed that will grow into more evolution of the self. Be mindful of the shame that can arise when support is needed through periods of change. When the right support system is in place, change becomes a network of people that benefits all. If you find yourself experiencing states of depression, just remember that your courage to change and create a support network has the ability to help others around you too. When depression shows up, imagine this is an old friend knocking at the door with information about your next chapter. You might not want to hear about the changes coming, and it might feel like an intrusion on your current happiness, however, this old friend is doing this for your highest good. Open the door and let change in.


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