What is Shaminism?

Shamanism is a body of ancient techniques that have been developed by societies with little or no access to medical technology to maintain the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health of their people. Aside from being a powerful method of healing, shamanism also puts us in touch with the natural world. Where most Western and Eastern religions and philosophies use spirituality to withdraw from the everyday world, shamanism teaches us that those things that surround us - the earth, the water, the sky, the sun, the moon, the animals - can be powerful teachers if approached with respect and openness.

We don't necessarily have to apprentice for ten years with a shaman in the Amazonian rain forest or Sonoran desert to avail ourselves of some of the techniques and ways of relating to the world that shamans use. Many of these techniques, such as journeying to the Upper and Lower Worlds, can be learned fairly quickly and used to enrich our lives immensely.

What is Soul Retrieval?

Soul Retrieval is a technique that has been practiced for centuries by shamans. Shamans believe that the root of most illnesses can be traced to soul loss. Soul loss occurs when a part of a person's spirit leaves the body, usually in response to a traumatic event. Symptoms of soul loss may include chronic and immune deficiencies illnesses, coma, addiction, memory loss and co-dependency. The role of the shaman is to travel to "non-ordinary reality" to find the soul parts and retrieve them.

What Happens During a Session?

While every session is different, most begin with the client talking to the shamanic practitioner about his/her symptoms. If a soul retrieval seems to be in order, the shamanic practitioner will journey to retrieve the soul parts. Typically three to five parts will be retrieved in a session. Often one of these parts will be a power animal. The practitioner blows these parts into the heart and crown of the client's head, shakes a rattle to seal the energy field, then relates what happened during the journey. The client will hopefully agree to the changes suggested by the soul parts, as well as welcoming the gifts they bring. The effects of soul retrieval can be dramatic and are enhanced by follow-up sessions and/or sessions with a therapist who is open to the concept of soul parts.

A Soul Retrieval session is $125 and lasts about an hour.

What are Drumming Circles?

Drumming Circle participants use ancient, universal methods from indigenous cultures, such as drumming, rattling and dancing to explore non-ordinary reality in order to heal themselves and others. We learn how to journey to the Lower World to meet our power animals and to the Upper World to meet our teachers. Participants are invited to share their experiences in the talking circle.

Amy Benesch is a shamanic practitioner. She does soul and power animal retrievals and facilitates shamanic drumming circles throughout the tri-state area. She has studied with Michael Harner, Sandra Ingerman, Theresa Snyder, and the Peruvian shaman Oscar Miro-Quesada. She can be reached at 914-237-0241 and magrealism@aol.com.