One of the frequent statements I encounter in my work is, “I just don’t seem myself since….” Of course, there are many reasons one might no longer feel anchored in a secure and familiar sense of Self. One such reason frequently cited by shamans and other medicine people is the presence of Intrusions, foreign energies found within a person’s energy body. These energies take many forms. They may appear as akin to “psychological introjects”: ideas, beliefs, or desires belonging to parents, teachers, or others. Intrusions may be threads of connection left behind by former lovers or others with whom we had a strong emotional connection. They may also be conscious or semi-conscious energy entities, who may manipulate the emotions and life paths of individuals, or even generations of family members.
Under normal circumstances, we deflect or eliminate intrusions in our daily lives. This is a natural process conducted by our Selves and spirit helpers. However, during times of great stress, persons may become more susceptible to intrusions. This is particularly true when the stress is linked to abusive behavior by a loved one or person who has power over one.
Shamanic healers and psychotherapists both seek to remove intrusions from the lives of clients. (I’ll speak more about the role of therapy in future posts.) Shamans and Medicine People work with Spirit to remove Intrusions from the energy fields and lives of the persons who seek their aid. The most common form of removal is called “extraction”. Extractions may involve massage, sucking, blowing, cupping, smudging, or brushing, or a combination of these procedures. Prayers and chants may also be utilized. Normally, this is a noninvasive, comfortable procedure.
However, when the intrusions are the result of trauma, the patient may re-experience forgotten emotions, sensations, or memories during the extraction. When, during an extraction, a person is flooded by emotions and memories left over from a violent act, he or she may feel very vulnerable. At such times the presence of friends and loved ones can bring great comfort, as well as a sense of safety. I now insist clients bring trusted support people when we have contracted to do deep extractions. These support persons provide safety, encouragement, and validation for the person seeking healing, and are an essential part of the healing ritual.
We live in a culture that encourages, and often demands, that we face our demons alone. Yet, healing “takes a village”. Even though we must ultimately come to terms with our own suffering, we need the encouragement and support of others in order to do so. By allowing others to participate in our healing, we bring healing to those who aid us. In this way, ceremonies to remove intrusions can a blessing to all present.