I Tried it, but it Doesn’t Last
Updated: Jun 28
“It Doesn’t Last” and other Unrealistic Expectations Attached to Shamanism
Let me begin by saying that I’m not excusing persons who are not adequately trained, nor effective in their craft, yet who purport to be healers. I would, however, like to put the expectations attached to our craft as shamanic healers into a broader perspective.
What brought it home to me was attending a local paranormal / anomaly study group where I heard the above comment from one person to another, not referring to me, about why she was not going back to a Quantum Hypnosis healer with whom i was acquainted. To me, it sounded like comments I’ve heard over the years about all kind of methods of energetic or alternative healing.
The consensual view was shaped by storytellers such as Carlos Castaneda and others who purported to depict the work of Amerindian shamans of various traditions. One of his followers Amy Wallace, later wrote a book showing the extent to which I Castaneda’s reporting was sensationalized and packaged to sell, rather than report as real anthropological research in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
A prevalent narrative is that we are miracle workers who, if only we know our subject, can work with a client one time and in the course of an hour or two remove an oppressive medical condition from which they have suffered for several years or longer.
Another narrative is that we either use entheogens with the client or provide these to them and, using these, remove emotional blocks which unravel the ravages of anything from herpes to cancer, from hives to hair thinning. It is easy to see why the above narratives sell books, or maybe even cult membership or conferences.
These above purport that we are miracle workers, who can do with the connivance of spirits, or a saint, or a tortured savior, or a magical stone, brew, or chant what others could accomplish only with a steady, reasoned study of symptoms, use of technologies, and careful evaluation of results and continual attuning of therapeutic efforts, in short, the scientific method.
To compare what the lady who made the opening comment assumed with her standard for other care she receives (and I know the speaker), she routinely receives tooth cleanings. They are not a one-time regimen. She receives lidocaine shots for her spinal arthritis, and has also received gold shots. Neither of these are one time efforts. She goes for treatment for lipidosis and has had stents applied for atherosclerosis, but still requires additional medications for hyperlipidemia. Moreover, in the process, her copay, even from a generous policy where she’’s covered as widow of a government worker, requires a 10-30% copay for the various repeated services, costing her thousands a year. Her adjustments at her chiropractor “don’t last” either and must be repeated.
When we abandon the “miracle” narrative, energetic healing offers repeated intervention to control and sometimes even revers conditions. As with any other form of treatment, the longer or more severe the health challenge, the more sessions to tackle the challenge will be required. This seems to be an obvious corollary.
As with allopathy, chiropractic, or naturopathic approaches, we record the history of the body. But, as shamans, we also receive intuitions from the person’s guardian spirit and or just a sympathetic resonance in our own bodies as to what might be helpful in controlling or preventing further damage from the condition. When we do, we might get the impression that, if the person is overweight, has frequent urination, and feels a lot of brain fog, he might’ve be prediabetic or have a candida overgrowth. We might encourage the person to get a blood sugar reading and ask about dietary habits. Even if we successfully Work on improving function of the pancreas, if the person continues eating “comfort” food cake, ice cream, and candy, our Work will not “last.” It will last and cause lasting changes for the better only when the patient, our partner in her wellness, quits using the high-glycemic foods such as sugar, white flour products, and white rice.
If the client went to a urologist, but continued a liquid intake of soft drinks or only coffee, he might not expect whatever medicine was prescribed to last either. If the =person who went to a dentist refuses to brush or floss the teeth regularly, she might not expect the cleaning or repair of cavities to “last.” In any health activity, there is a social contract, where a person receives advice on what lifestyle or environmental factors might have contributed to the emergence or worsening of the condition and can either try changing these to improve the health outcome or ignore it and passively await the professional intervention to fully and permanently correct the health challenge.
If one were to compare the few appointments usually needed and the donations or fees requested for them by a real shamanic healer with the copays or deductibles required of more conventional approaches, our methods are very, very cost effective. The person making the statement simply wasn’t mathematically or fiscally literate.
Another pattern that I have encountered is the simple lack of perspective. A patient comes in with a migraine, backache, and numbness in one hand. He walks out, after a two hour first session, with none of those symptoms.
The next day, he calls, saying "what you did did not work." I ask why and he tells me the hand started going numb again. I ask about the other two symptoms and find out that they did not return. On further questioning, he went bowling right after the session, when we had asked him to let the very busy right hand, working a calculator or cash register all day on the job, rest.
The man forgot that, if he had gone to a clinic, he'd have been referred to a neurologist for the migraines, an orthopedist for the back and probably a wrist and hand specialist for the numbness. It would have required at least one visit to a general practitioner for the referrals and at least one visit with each specialist to figure out what to do. Along with this there would have been multiple tests and xrays, possibly a cranial MRI before any treatment, prescriptions, or surgery took place. By the time it did, he is 3-4 months and several thousand dollars in to the process. Even with good insurance, his copay would be far more than our donations.
We occasionally run across a case where, basically, a miracle takes place, as one in this blog where the Goddess, Vellamo, took a personal interest in a patient and did more for her in two hours than she had experienced in a lifetime of doctor visits. We are as grateful as you are when these anomalous events occur, but in the meantime, we can often offer you timely, cost effective relief.