Shamanic Healing: The Many Faces of Extraction and Clearing

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As I've mentioned before, shamanic work falls into three large categories:

  • Clearing and removing unhelpful energies
  • unwinding and unraveling unhelpful energetic tangles
  • restoring and bringing back energies that belong, but are not here

Today's post is about clearing.

Like everything in life, our energetic landscape needs regular maintenance to keep it clean and functioning at its best; we clean walls, floors, dishes, windows. We clean our cars, and we do regular 'decluttering' maintenance for many things, including our computers and filing systems. So, too, must we pay attention to the energies that are a part of our daily lives.

Energy fields affecting our environment can be like weather systems: we can notice them approaching, they can come and pass through, they can linger, and they can also appear in regular patterns. Like weather, we can be positively or adversely affected by these fields; we tend to attune to whatever energetic fields we are immersed in at the moment. Human beings are more energy than mass -- the atoms of our bodies are 99.999% space. All that space makes for places in which energies can insert themselves, resonate, and take up residence. It's just a feature of being human (more on that in a moment). So, whenever possible, it is desirable to keep adverse effects on us from energies and energy fields to a minimum.

Like coastlines and deserts, some places tend to hold on to certain types of energetic fields; the shapes, positions and makeup of buildings enable some fields, while rendering others difficult to maintain. It's the same with weather: it doesn't rain often in the desert. Nor does it snow often in Miami. Likewise with places and people.

With most physical places like offices and homes, simple energy clearing techniques can be very helpful: using sage as sacred smoke to clear stagnant energies. Sounds are also good for this: laughter, music, bells, clapping and drums can really clear a space and clear dull energies quickly! Having a party can help, too. It can be useful to think in terms of resonances, and how to set a really good one for a space. Flowers, good scents, love and laughter all create a harmonious ambient energy that can be palpably felt by whoever walks into a space.

Some places need more help, and that's where shamanic clearing comes into the picture. Energies can get 'stuck' in a place, and need a little more help to dislodge them and create a new pattern. Perhaps a room or a house is built over a place in the land that doesn't support holding clean, clear, helpful energies? We might have to do some deeper interventions and call in some heavy-hitting help to come and anchor a good pattern there. I once worked in a second-floor suite in a very large regional cancer treatment center. There were people under us, over us, and all around us, many of whom were very worried about their health or the health of a loved one. Our offices were literally suspended in mid-air in this sea of anxiety and despair. Although I used all of my knowledge and skill, it was a very difficult place to keep clear. Heavy energies drifted in daily and had to be cleared away. It wasn't a bad place, not at all. It was simply energetically challenging to keep clear.

Most of the time it is not as bad as this, though, and small interventions can go a very long way to changing the energetic signature that a place can support. Think about churches and cathedrals, mosques, and synagogues; these are places of great joy and celebration, and those energies get renewed often in those places. The way we think about the physical places we spend most of our time -- our desks, cars, beds and living areas -- have a lot to do with what kinds of energies are imprinted there.

Our bodies, too, can have difficult energies lodged within them, and the same guidelines apply: how we habitually think of our bodies has a lot to do with the kinds of energies that tend to lodge there. When energies lodge in our bodies, the shaman calls this a "spiritual intrusion". An intrusion can be a stray energy, and it can also be a thoughtform, thought that has taken on a degree of coherence and solidity. We pick these up when others project or fling them at us with high emotion, say, when they are having a bad day in traffic, and we can also crystallize them in our own bodies from our own thoughts. Often our own beliefs and projections help anchor these formations in our bodies. Sometimes simple clearing can handle most of these intrusions, yet there are times when a more skilled intervention by someone skilled in the art of extracting these intrusions is indicated.

Intrusions and difficult, dense, heavy energies can make us feel lethargic, anxious, depressed, and they can also cause pain whose source is difficult or impossible to find. Environmental energies that we encounter in spaces and places can nudge us to think in unhealthy ways and foster unhelpful emotions. Let's face it: it's easier to be happy in a big, bright, beautiful, shiny place than it is to be overjoyed in a basement. These are extremes, but they convey the idea.

So, what can we do about our energetic environment?

"As within, so without" is a maxim adhered to by energetic workers of all stripes across the planet, which means that what we do to the outside also affects the inside and vice versa. So ...

  • Do a physical cleaning. This often dislodges and disperses dense, stagnant energies.
  • Take an Epsom Salt bath for your body: use about 1 pound of Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) per bath.
  • Vacuum. Vacuuming is astonishing in how it can lift the energetic complexion of a place.
  • Tidy! Ordering your physical space helps order and anchor the energetic space :-)
  • Open sacredness. Whether it be a simple invocation such as, "I ask that this place become a sacred space", or whether it is more elaborate, inviting and opening sacredness can really transform a place over time. My teacher Betsy, has a really beautiful and simple invication of sacredness at here website here: (I know it says 'totems', but it's not about totems :-)
  • Keep your thoughts and intentions beautiful for your space and for your body. Reinforce the energies you'd like to live inside! Remember: "as within, so without!"