Recently I attended my first shamanistic ritual. It is a prayer ritual intended to bring in the new and positive. It was one of the few group oriented spiritual events I have attended. I am mostly solitary in my practice, and other parts of life. The group was lead by a delightful woman who was part Peruvian and in Shamanic training in South America. The term Shaman refers to a particular group of people from South America who are trained in particular spiritual practices. It is not a broad term used to describe all spirit workers even if western culture uses it this way. My background is Celtic and Native American/Creole, not Shamanic so I was delighted to find someone in training in the Andes who has the lineage. The group consisted of many kind and open hearted caucasian westerners. About thirty 30% (including me) were newbies. If I knew then what I know now, I would have gotten up and walked out before it had begun, but I did not. The summary is that not a single one of the 14 people in the room believed what they were doing was real. The result? They opened a unguarded doorway that brought over 30 different spirits into the room. They were all ignorant of this. I know this because the spirits told me all of the ways the ritual was not being performed properly and the people were not safe. They told me I would have to “do the work” if I stayed. Boy did I ever! I became the gate keeper for the entire group holding back unwanted energies from all directions. I validated this by confirming many of the details of the ancient rituals with the leader. This was information I previously did not know. Because of the accuracy of the details she knew immediately that I was channeling some ancient Shamans. I did not intend to do this going in. It was extremely exhausting and quite frankly dangerous to do alone. While the outcome was ultimately a positive learning experience, I couldn’t get out of bed for almost 24 hrs afterward. I experienced intensely something I already knew. People “play” at spirit work, not respecting the power of what they are doing. This experience felt more like playing with a ouija board than a properly run spiritual ritual. It will be along time before I enter a group again -if ever. More on this story in a later post.