Tom Wright-A Course In Shamanism

The Health continuum can be seen as a straight line graph, with the left hand side of that graph being subtle energy healing work done through the means of shamanism, and the right side of the graph being all the way over to healing work done through surgery. At the left, where shamanism begins the graph, marks the least invasive means possible to attain health, and at the extreme right where surgery is, marks the most invasive means possible to attain health. Notice that this graph is on one sheet of paper, and it is a continuum, which means there is no “better or worse” or “works or doesn’t” mark anywhere on that graph. In between the two points of shamanism and surgery, are any and all other means to health including massage, herbs, acupressure, acupuncture, chiropractic work, and drugs. In the world of the Shaman Of The New Millennium, right out of the book The Steel Shaman, in that all inclusive world, there are no means nor methods left out of this continuum.

The reason there are no mean and methods left out of this continuum, is that at every point on that graph, certain means and methods work the best. For instance, at the point where someone has a brain tumor, and it’s metastasizing, and their belief level in subtle energy work is low, you do not want to recommend shamanistic healing work to them. What you want to recommend to them is surgery. I have a good friend, who had a brain tumor, and I asked her if she wanted to use energy work first before chemotherapy, and before she would have to have surgery. Her answer? “No.” She knew what her belief level was, and she also knew what she wanted as treatment. In her own words, “this is my path.” And as a shaman and healer, in honoring that path, I instantly did whatever I could to support her in her healing modality choice. There was no right way, no wrong way, but rather, only the right way for her.

Now people often have the misperception that any certain modality should work no matter what, but truth is, in effecting and supporting a cure, not a single one of the modalities on the Health Continuum Graph, work all the time, and at all points on someone’s health path. People have demonstrated success with any one of them, and no success with any one of them, period. There are so many factors involved in an individual’s healing process, that to say that a modality will work all the time is like saying that every seed you plant will sprout. It just doesn’t happen. And the reason that Shamans Of The New Millennium live and practice in an all-inclusive world is the recognition of just this fact. Because in order to assist a client in healing, a shaman has to ask many questions, and present many options, with no one being the “better one” but instead, the one chosen being the modality that has the greatest statistical chance of working with the client at that time.

For instance, at the beginning stages of any disease, using energy healing work can produce dramatic results. Yet for the subtle healing energy modality to work on a metastasized tumor, the belief level of the patient would have to be unusually high, and the clarity of the practitioner extremely pure, for that method to work, at that point. The illusion that subtle energy work always works on any case, regardless of progression, is a dangerous illusion. What energy work is, is subtle and non-invasive, and under the right conditions, seemingly works to affect a cure that is often seen as miraculous. Miraculous, because neither the patient nor the people around them, can necessarily see what’s going on, but that something is going on, of that you can be certain. I have used the subtle energy work modality on curing gout, heart attacks, arthritis, dislocated shoulders, major wounds down to the bone, and tooth problems to name only a few. In each case, the client receiving the treatment had a very high level of belief in the work being done, and then along with my own clarity which allowed more and more healing energy to be summoned from Source into their energy field, a complete and lasting cure was effected. As a Shaman Of The New Millennium, I didn’t do it, I merely assisted the cure in being carried out through my clarity and belief level. Had their belief been less, had the practitioner been less clear, then the cure would not have been successful.

In no less a way, the belief level necessary, and the patient’s confidence in the doctor administering the healing modality, is equally important in surgery. And yes, when you surrender your body to a surgeon who is going to cut off a limb to save the patient, in such extremely invasive procedures, there isn’t much room for the need in belief levels for the patient, but that’s just the nature of invasiveness. It’s done and succeeds in its goal, regardless of what the patient is doing most times. Sometimes the patient dies, and the reasons for that in any modality, is a topic for a different article. Suffice it to say that the point being made here is, on the left side of the Health Continuum, where the least invasive means are used to effect health, an inverse graph indicating patient participation could be drawn. All the way to the left, it’s necessary to have the most patient participation, including mindset and belief level, and at the right side of the graph it’s the least patient participation necessary, when the most invasive means are being used. Again, there is no right or wrong means, only the right means for you.

For my part, as both a healer, and at times a patient, I would always choose the least invasive means first, going up the healing scale until the point is reached where healing is effected. This scale of choice isn’t about seeing surgery as wrong, and shamanism as right, but rather, seeing that to choose the least invasive means first, going up to the most invasive means until healing occurs, is the most sensible course of action to take. And again, an assessment must be made of the client as to their needs before choosing any modality. For instance, if they have cancer and their belief level is low, they need to go immediately to the most invasive means they believe in. Saving the patient’s life is the primary concern regardless of the modality chosen. But if they are not in critical condition, and their disease progress is slow, right at the beginning of their journey, then using the least invasive means first will be much more effective than cutting off their arm because they have a cut at the end of their index finger. A dramatic example, but nonetheless, a completely valid one. I have seen clients choose invasive medicine at the wrong point in their disease, and die because of it. In fact, the AMA itself has come out with figures indicating that over a hundred and twenty-five thousand cases of misdiagnosis and over medication deaths occur in the U.S. each year. If the AMA publishes those reported cases, I would surmise that the actual cases are much more in number than this.

This revelation is not being used here to say that the means and methods used were wrong at all, but rather, they may have been used at the wrong time. You can bet, that if a client comes to me as a shaman to do subtle energy work with them, and they have a hatchet sticking out of their heads, I am most definitely not going to sit back and chant. I’m going to call 911 and get them to a surgeon, because it would be obvious to me that subtle energy work was not their path at that time. Now after their surgeon removes the hatchet, and they sew up the client, if they then desire support through subtle healing energy work to get better faster, then I am there for them. Though a Hollywood style dramatization, this mis-choosing of modality happens all the time, with dire results. I have seen eight year old children die as a result of their parents choosing to believe that naturopathy was going to heal their child while they were in diabetic shock. Tragic in outcome, but again, another clear mis-choice circumstance. Because on both ends of the Health Continuum, this mis-choosing happens all the time. It happens, because people are so busy arguing about what method is better than any other method rather than prescribing with regard to what method, regardless of method, would be best for the patient at the particular point they are at on their healing path. This careful consideration would demand thoughtful analysis, correct diagnosis, and a full exploration of the true cause for the disease in the first place. And then only from that informed place, hand in hand, can the desired healing take place, in a world of the inclusion of all means and methods for healing possible.

As a Shaman Of The New Millennium, and healer, or a patient, if you think about it, don’t you want to know about every single healing modality possible, rather than to be told that “all those others are bunk” when in truth, and in empirical practice, each one of those modalities has its advantageous healing effects, depending upon a series of discovered and investigated factors that are more linked to the revelation of what the patient needs at that particular time, than the revelation of what the advantages of any one modality are? In other words, medicine, regardless of the practice, should be more patient driven, than modality driven, because it’s in the diagnosis, study, and observation of the patient, where the greatest clues to their needs will be found, not in the study or application of any one modality. And when effecting such curing, where the patient and their exact and particular needs are addressed, this practice then causes the most rapid and complete cure possible to be experienced. A cure. And isn’t that the point of any healing practice to begin with?

Author's Bio: 

Tom Wright was born a shaman. He is an author, and coursework creator of A Course In Shamanism, found at His popular book The Steel Shaman can be found there as well. He is also the author of six self-help books, which all can be found at, or on Kindle, including the best seller ONE.