Early cultures suggest a belief that human beings have a double. In Sanskrit, it is called Linga Sarira, the bioplasmic luminous glow that surrounds the physical body. It is the first layer of seven subtle bodies all human beings have. The remaining layers are the emotional body, the mental body, the astral level, the etheric template body, the celestial body, and the ketheric template. These seven bodies create the auric body or auras. Auras are briefly discussed in a later module. For now, they are a way of determining a client’s physical, mental, and emotional states.

The Ancient Egyptians held a belief system that claimed the human soul had three parts: the ka, the ba, and the akh.(awk) The ka is comparable to the Linga Sarira. It is a person’s double. And it is this double that you see during an Astral Projection and sometimes during a Shamanic Journey.

Astral Projection also called Out of Body Experience, means your consciousness actually leaves your physical body. That is, your Linga Sarira or Ka leaves your body to travel. Therefore you can travel to different places and dimensions. I have done Astral Projection in my college classes. During such sessions, the students physically remained in my classroom. I used a CD designed for Astral Projection. There is any number of CDs, Videos, and Mp3 files available to help you Astral Project. Albert Fernando, author of Oneironaut(O-Niero-naut) says, “Shamans can travel in their minds without leaving their physical bodies. They can also journey while dancing, or walking, or performing rituals, playing drums, or sleeping.”(Answered, November 12, 2018).

From my perspective and experience, Shamanic Journeying’s details are more readily remembered and recognized; whereas, they are not in Astral Projection. Remembrance of information gained during a Journey is important. As a healer, that information is helpful in dealing with a client’s issues. Also, on a personal note, I believe Michael Harner’s “Journeying” that became popular in the 1980s and has remained the operative word in Shamanic Healing, because the traditional word ‘trance’ suggests something negative. Maybe spooky is a better word.

Not all indigenous people used hallucinogens to Journey. Sound has been and is used for that purpose. Sound, however, has another and certainly a more important role to play in the healing processes. Sound involves vibration. Vibration creates energy and your energy introduces you before you say a single word. Additionally, before I get into the details of sound and vibration, it’s our vibration, not our appearance through which we recognize one another’s souls. 

Shaman of old did not know all the technical science behind vibrational healing as do modern shaman. For the early shaman, such knowledge was innate.

The Law of Vibration states that anything that exists in our universe, whether seen or unseen, broken down into and analyzed in its purest and most basic form, consists of pure energy which resonates and exists as a vibratory frequency or pattern. ( Think about this for a moment: Nothing ever really rests including you. 

Physical, mental, and emotional issues arise when the vibrational pattern gets out of sync. Each individual’s vibration pattern is different but to be healthy that vibration needs to be aligned with that of the Earth, of the Cosmos itself. Further, it is quite normal for vibrations to function at high and low frequencies within you as well as everything around you. When dealing with energy, remember like-energy attracts like-energy; that is, if you exude positive energy, positive energy will be returned to you. If, on the other hand, it is negative energy then that is what you will have returned to you.

Accepting the notion that all things vibrate, living as well as non-living things, then it becomes reasonable that early shamans used sound. The frequency of vibration impacts everything. Masuro Emoto, The Hidden Messages in Water, amply demonstrated the importance of the spoken word. Big deal, you say. Remember, the human body is composed of nearly 70% water. The shaman’s chant is a significant tool in bringing about healing in a client. The use of Om is a good example. Try repeating that for several minutes and see how much better you feel.

Science informs us that 20 to 20,000Hz forms the absolute borders of our hearing range. Further, our hearing is most sensitive in the 2000 – 5000 Hz frequency range. When our body’s cells are sick or damaged they no longer replicate normally. With the correct application of sound, these cells can be re-activated, that is, energized. Healing takes place. The shaman uses various tools to reactivate the client’s cells such as drums, flutes, and rattles. Tibetan bowls and crystal bowls are now added to healing sessions. Tools used in healing are discussed in Module Three.

Clients invariably want to know if they have low or high vibration. Generally, high vibrations are associated with positive aspects of one’s life. These positive vibrations include love, compassion, forgiveness, and sense of personal peace. Qualities such as hatred, fear, greed, holding a grudge, low-self-esteem, and depression are associated with low vibration. Physical illness falls within the low vibration category. I discuss ways of determining energy (vibration) levels in a client in Module Twelve.

The shaman during her or his initial client interview and body scan will note if there are a number of signs indicating there is low vibration. A cautionary note: You are not necessarily one hundred percent of either low or high, but somewhere in between. Here are 8 very general low vibration indicators.

  1. You feel you are in a rut. It’s that sameness that creates monotony and boredom.
  2. You have a sense of being apathetic; that is, you have no empathy for others.
  3. You are tired all the time.
  4. It is difficult for you to be forgiving, especially of yourself.
  5. You find it difficult to maintain lasting friendships; that is, you tend to be a loner.
  6. You are self-defaming and not as an effort to be humorous.
  7. You do not know what it is you really want.
  8. You feel others do not appreciate what you do.

What then, are the indicators that you have high vibration? As with the low vibration, you are seldom 100% high vibrations, but somewhere in between.

  1. You are very aware of what you say, of what you feel, and the impact this has on others.
  2. You express empathy toward others including animals and the environment.
  3. You have a sense of connection to that which is otherworldly.
  4. You nurture others as well as yourself.
  5. Others find you easy to talk to because you listen.
  6. You are open to many different beliefs and cultures.
  7. You feel you have found your ‘calling’ in life.
  8. You are highly intuitive.

The easiest way to decide the level of your vibration, that is whether it is low or high, is to simply pay close attention to how you feel especially when you get up in the morning.

If a client has a low vibration I often suggest he or she do the following before actually having a shamanic healing session. I also may suggest these as an after-treatment follow-up. Please keep in mind, these are suggestions, and neither I nor any other qualified healer will say these are a cure.

         1. Take stock of your thoughts. Are they negative?          Do   you dwell on an unpleasant experience? If so,          name the thought or experience and then say, “I          don’t need you. Go!” Say that with strong feeling.

         2. Take a good look at your surroundings. Focus on          something you think is beautiful or something that          makes you feel warm and comfortable.

3. Cut back on the sugars. Add some more protein to your diet. Eliminate TV snack foods.

4. Increase your intake of water. My yoga teacher is always admonishing me to drink more water. Doing so gets rid of the toxins that slow your natural vibrations.

5. Physically move about. Go for a walk; do yoga, or qi gong for example.

6. Do deep breathing exercises for ten minutes. Use Prana Breathing or Ujjayi Breathing techniques, or any other deep breathing technique that you prefer.

           7. Listen to solfeggio recordings. Several excellent Mp3 files are available on the Internet that can be downloaded for free.

     8. Express your gratitude to yourself and to the       universe.

It is known that sound has different frequencies. We emit our own sound vibrations. The secret to healing with sound is matching frequencies. The shaman uses sound that she or he creates by using rattles, flutes, cymbals, and or drums. The shaman moves around the client’s body while creating sounds.

The Mindvalley blog, dated January 10, 2019, lists several ailments in which sound improves the condition: autism, depression, and anxiety disorder for example. Additionally, the article lists several areas positively affected by sound healing. Clarity, improved memory, and heightened awareness are examples. Specific hertz is used to create various states of perception. Faena Aleph in Eight healing Techniques with Sound[1] lists four areas in which specific hertz are used. For example, concentration is improved at the 12-40 Hz level.

Shamans have used sound to help their clients heal for time immemorial. Modern research has slowly verified much of what is done in sound healing.

©Norman W. Wilson, PhD. 2020

[1]Posted in Metaphysics & Mysticism, November 27, 2015.


The major religions have identified the soul as the incorporeal essence of a living being. Some religions have said the soul is composed of five parts: soul, heart, shadow, name, and spark. Some philosophers have written that the soul has three parts, Plato being a good example. An issue for me is the meaning of incorporeal. It is defined as “something that has no material form or physical substance. Incorporeal comes from a combination of the Latin root words in- meaning “not” and corpus meaning body. (   I quarrel with this because the soul is essence, that is, the sum and total of energy, especially at the molecular level. The human soul is central to the personhood of a human being. As George MacDonald said, “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” In other words, personhood is not based on having a body. A soul is what is required. The function of the soul is to provide direction to one’s consciousness that allows the Spirit to realize its full potential.

A distinction between soul and spirit needs to be made before I discuss the shamanic care of the soul. Spirit is considered to be the vital principle or animating force within living things. And for this writer that includes all animal and plant life as well as human life. However we may arrive at a working definition of the soul, the shaman recognizes the soul as being a focus of physical, mental, and emotional issues.

I make a distinction between mental and emotional issues. Specifically, mental refers to the processes in the brain; whereas, emotional refers to one’s feelings, and of course physical refers to the biology of the body.

What then, does the shaman do to care for the soul? Obviously, the shaman attempts to identify the client’s issue. There are several things he or she may do. One of the first things I do after interviewing my client is to check the energy level. I do this by using a dowsing rod made of an old metal coat hanger. If it is determined the issue is mental then the area of concentration is the head.[i] Being cognizant of potential ear damage, the sounds I use are low pitched. For example, I will stand behind the client’s head and gently beat a drum, very slowly, or shake a rattle, or play a flute. The reason for doing this is to change the vibrational flow in the brain; thus, bringing healing energy to the area(s) needed. An essential oil is applied to the back of the head, just at the point for it connects to the neck (the brain stem) and the same oil is applied to the forehead. I use about three drops Frankincense. Then I apply three drops of Rosemary Essential Oil to each foot. Both Frankincense and Rosemary are excellent stimulants for increased healing energy flow.

Two points need to be stated at this time. First, for me, the soul is consciousness and consciousness is housed within the brain. Here’s the rub. Science isn’t in agreement as to exactly where consciousness resides. Second, for me, a non-scientist, soul (consciousness) resides throughout the whole brain.[ii] With that said, another aspect of soul care is the heart and all its energy. The heart has a direct relationship with the soul. I will discuss heart energy and soul in a future article.

In some cases, the shaman may do a soul retrieval healing. Peter E. Brown in “Shamanic Soul Retrieval”[iii] states, “A shamanic soul retrieval healing can integrate parts of ourselves that we’ve lost through childhood or adult trauma and abuse.” In my book, Shamanism What It’s All About Third Edition,[iv] I discuss soul loss and retrieving the soul.

[i] One of the things I explore with the client includes medical doctor visits, scans of the brain, etc. I also try to make sure that what I do is not contra-productive. I prefer that the client should have discussed any supportive treatment with his or her medical practitioner beforehand.

[ii] See Fiona MacDonald’s article in HUMANS (June 12, 2018) titled Harvard Scientist Think They’ve Pinpointed The Physical Source of Consciousness.

[iii] Huichol shamanism & plant spirit medicine healing. Peter has offices in Seattle. For appointment call 360-561-8722.

[iv] Zadkiel Publishing, 2018.

Copyright 2019 by Norman W. Wilson, PhD.


I am delighted to share with you an announcement from the Founding Director of The Traveling Shamans, Julia Widdop. She has announced Shamans are Traveling to Colorado for Shamans Camp and they are traveling from all over the world to the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado, for the Traveling Shamans Camp 2019. The dates are July 26-28th. The primary goal of Traveling Shamans is to stimulate an interest in the environment, and its health; the human, the plant and the animal interdependence on that health.

Shamans are gathering to sweat, smoke, & drum together. Shamans, shamanic practitioners, and artists in attendance will also lead ceremonies and workshops that are open to the public. Traveling Shamans Camp is totally supported by donations. Traveling Shamans Camp is being sponsored by the Shamanic Arts Center of Hotchkiss, Colorado. This yearly camp is the Center’s main public service activity and is open to shamans, shamanic artists, practitioners and the shaman curious.

Workshops being offered include a building a medicine wheel, divination methods, painting the inner journey, a drumming workshop and many more. Open Mic at the Main Stage will feature lots of musicians, storytellers, speakers, and dances, free entertainment supported by tips from the audience. We’ll have Bernie Heideman with Dances of Universal Peace and Big River John leading a shamanic trance dance.

Some fabulous shamanic artists will be showing in the hospitality area including Winter Ross, Chris Gentry, and SD Youngwolf. Or wander into the vendor area and get your cards read, have a cup of tea at the hospitality area, or buy cool stuff. Grab your tent and drum and head for Hotchkiss, Colorado. More details at


Norman W. Wilson, PhD

Feathers, traditionally been used for a variety of purposes. Feathers have played a role in implements of war, clothing, headdresses, and headbands. They have been used for blessings, spiritual ceremonies, purification, and healing.

A shaman makes use of feathers during a healing session. For example, before beginning a healing session the shaman may take a feather fan (a wing from a bird or several feathers tied together) and physically breathe through it or wave the fan over a client and chant through it. This is done to clear the area of any negative energy.

Once a client’s aura is identified and if the aura field is not strong, the shaman may use a single feather (eagle or turkey) to clear the area around the client. In addition to clearing a weak aura, fanning a client moves the air and creates new vital energy.

A feather fan is used during a smudging. Smudging involves the wafting of smoke from burning incense.

Among First Settlers (Native Americans) feathers were used to decorate battle clubs, tomahawks, ceremonial masks, medicine bags, talking sticks, rattles, and dream catcher as well as clothing.

Depending on tribal traditions, certain bird feathers were held in very high regard; for example, the Eagle, Bald, and Golden were sacred birds. They symbolized great strength, courage, and leadership. Both are often associated with connection to the creator.

A partial list of bird feathers and their uses is listed below.

Bluebird helps with happiness and personal fulfillment

Crow helps with balance and release from past beliefs

Falcon helps with soul healing

Hawk helps with farsightedness

Owl helps with seeing things normally

Turkey helps with abundance, pride, and fertility

Wren helps with personal protection

Contemporary shamanic healers may have their offices decorated with dream catchers that contain feathers from different birds. Masks, drums, rattles and head- bands that include feathers are often used to create a healing energy.

Shamanism and Love

Norman W. Wilson, PhD

World-renowned author Dr. Alberto Villoldo in Shamanism (Posted January 19, 2016) writes, “The shaman understands that we are attracted to those people that we have to learn with and learn through.” Shamanic teacher and author, Christina Pratt in her podcast, Why Shamanism Now states, “One of the great stressors in life is intimate relationships, both the having them and not having them.” An underlying assumption here is that shaman, male or female, have a mate. Historically, we know sometimes shaman were celibate. We also know early healers often lived apart from their tribe. And too, we know there were shaman who mated.

A shaman’s fundamental philosophical belief begins with respect—respect for all life be it plant, animal or human. There is a keen awareness that many illnesses are fundamentally emotional. These emotional illnesses have root causes such as an unhappy childhood, conflicted core values, low self-esteem, lack of parental love, or issues with one’s made. I am sure you can think of many more causes; however, the fundamental question for our consideration is what the shaman does about it.

The first thing a shaman does when a client comes in for a healing is to make a determination about the nature of the visit: Is it physical? Is it being upset much of the time? Is it the loss of appetite or an increase in weight? During this initial interview, the shaman asks about the client’s love life. This does not just mean their physical love life; it can also mean their spiritual love life. Yes, it does get personal and it does remain confidential. Sometimes, the client’s mate may be asked to come in for an interview. Long practice in the affairs of the heart has taught there is always more than just one side to a story.

Once the core issue(s) is identified the shaman may make any number of recommendations. Among these would be a healing session involving essential oils, herbal teas, and the use of the drum. The purpose here is to change the rhythmic pattern and to bring calm to the client. It is within that framework the client may then resolve the issue. After all, it is the client who does the healing; the shaman simply opens the channels to allow it to happen.

Copyright, 2019



At the very outset, I have to admit I have a bias against the use of hallucinogens for shamanic journeying. I also have to confess that I have never used any of the hallucinogens. With this said, I will attempt to bring reliable information about both the use of hallucinogens and shamanic journeying.

What is a hallucinogen? It is a drug that causes profound distortions in a person’s perceptions of reality. Under the influence of hallucinogens, people see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. Hallucinogens cause their effects by disrupting the interaction of nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Distributed throughout the brain and spinal cord, the serotonin system is involved in the control of behavioral, perceptual, and regulatory systems and especially one’s sensory perception.

According to the Australian Drug Foundation, some of the immediate effects caused by using a hallucinogen include feelings of euphoria, blurred vision, distorted perception, disorganized thoughts, and paranoia.

What are the psychoactive drugs? There are four general groups that are included: stimulants, depressants, opioids, and hallucinogens. Our interest here is the latter. Among these hallucinogens are LSD, Psilocybin Mushrooms, DMT/Ayahuasca, and Mescaline/Peyote. Others are listed by the Ocean Breeze Recovery Organization ( For my purpose of dealing with hallucinogens and shamanic journeying, I will concentrate on Ayahuasca.

N.N-Dimethyltryptamine, is a naturally occurring chemical found in both plants and animals. It is the active hallucinogenic compound in Ayahuasca, the Quechua name for a tea brewed from the shrub Psychotria viridis, which is used for ritual purposes by the indigenous people in the Amazon. DMT may be among the most powerful psychedelic drug on earth. Its potential for powerful visual hallucinations makes it a favorite among those who desire to authenticate themselves as healers. It’s the drug de jour for shamanic journeying.

Reported problems caused by the use of Ayahuasca include increased blood pressure, severe vomiting, and profoundly altered states of consciousness. Typically, these effects begin within 20 minutes of ingestion and last as long as twelve hours. This, of course, depends on the strength and amount of Ayahuasca taken. There is little available information suggesting that Ayahuasca use creates lasting physiological or neurological damage among long-term users, especially those who use it for their religious activities. Assuming this is true, what then are my concerns about Ayahuasca use?

My first concern is the effects of Ayahuasca are highly unpredictable. A shaman who journeys to another realm does so for very specific reasons. It’s not a ride on a roller coaster. A second concern is the potentiality of a “bad” trip; one that produces terrifying thoughts, anxiety, despair, and insanity or even death. Cited in References are two articles that challenge reported deaths caused by taking Ayahuasca. My real concern is being in control of the journey. A shaman doesn’t just do a journey for entertainment. She or he does so for a specific purpose: to get help in healing and to return a lost soul or a part of a soul. In days of old, the journey would be to seek advice about a potential tribal war, a hunt, or a move of the tribe to another area. If you are hallucinating how can you know what the message is to heal, to help, or to guide? You can’t.


Shamanism and Parallel Universes


The old religious ballad Dem Bones[i] points out how all parts of the human body are connected. So too, we like Dem Bones, are connected to all things in the universe. And no one knows this better than the shaman. He accepts the notion that humans are star stuff and as such we are connected to what is now called the multiverse, that is, parallel universes. Consequently, we have parallel lives. This is not as strange as it may at first glance appear to be. Modern science things postulate there are as many as ten dimensions and some bold one are claiming there are at least twelve.

Does shamanism work in such a scientific view and if so, how? The controversy surrounding the origin of the word shaman may never be fully resolved. For practical purposes, it has a multi-national origin but one among the several is generally recognized as the origin: The word shaman probably derives from the Manchu-Tungus wordšaman, meaning‘one who knows’. A shaman is a person who has access to the spiritual world, to all cosmic creations and that includes parallel universes and any one of the identified dimensions.

The major premise behind this above bold statement is based on the scientific principle that all things vibrate. Second, vibration creates fluid energy. Even the so-called “dead stars” are still vibrating. The shaman, through trance, connects to the subtleties of that vibration, resonates with spiritual energy, and transfers that to his client.

Enoch Tan reminds us that “The secret of anything is consciousness of that thing. Intention is the offspring of consciousness. When you are conscious of something, you are also intending it. What you intend is what you manifest.” A shaman manifests healing energy and can do so whether its this universe, a parallel one, or a different dimension.

March 30, 2019

[i] Written by James Weldon Johnson and first recorded in 1928 by the Myers Jubilee Singers. The song is based on Ezekiel 37:1-4