People Need Symbols Feel Healed

By Shaman Elder Maggie Wahls*

One of my students sent this very good question and I think the answer is worth sharing.

Oh my goodness, YES!

And Shamans (seeĀ Shamanism) know this very well. For me to do a soul extraction from here and tell you in an email that it has been done does not compare to me coming to your house, having you lie down on a table and pulling hidden chicken guts out of my sleeve and telling you that I removed this sickness from your body!

Shamans count on symbolism to send home the healing! In third world countries where people cannot read and write, they need something to hold onto in order to believe. They need to drink the blood of a chicken or be washed in the sacred river or given anĀ amuletĀ orĀ voodooĀ doll. Why right in our grocery stores you can buy a candle to the saint of your choice for a favor.

It is human nature to want a symbol, especially to show that something tangible has occurred for sure that they can see and hold. We tend to believe with our eyes and not with our hearts and souls. We can be healed through prayer but not accept that healing until the priest comes to our hospital bed and puts oil on our foreheads.

Oh that people would not need this kind of “seeing is believing”! But I don’t think we will ever reach that place. So the Shaman understands this and is willing to give symbols if that is necessary to effect a healing. What kind of symbols? Perhaps a leaf of a healing plant, or a stone or amulet, perhaps a picture of a saint or ascended master. Perhaps a feather or something more profound like painting the patients body or washing his face or tying a bandage around his leg. The symbol can be anything that reaffirms the healing for the patient. If you know your patient, you know what symbol to give.

As long as people only believe what they see, the Shaman will use symbols to allow the person to see their healing and have something to show that it has occurred. And the Shaman will charge money for that healing because that is another seeing is believing symbol. The money traded value for the healing. Now the healing has value because the client traded something of value for it. Healings given for free are worthless to the healee. Again just human nature. Again I wish that this were not true. But in general, one way to get the client to believe in the healing is to give value by charging for it in money, or barter. All Shamans know this and do this.

We have to work within the common reality in which we live. And in the common reality is the belief in symbols as a powerful means of healing, understanding, growth, exploring mysteries, badges of accomplishment, badges of authority and other things. So we use the tools at hand to do the work we need to do. Don’t be obsessed with it but count it as a tool in your medicine bag.

*About the Author:

Shaman Elder Maggie Wahls has been a practicing Shaman for over 50 years. She recently received a dispensation to reach out to those who have a desire to learn about a Shaman’s path and now offers an online course atĀ Many people on this earth have been Shamans in other lives and only need to reconnect with their lost knowledge and skills to bring shamanic healing back to Mother Earth and its peoples. This is Shaman Elder’s goal. Please visit her websiteĀ or write her an email for a free consultation atĀ
Copyright 2004 Shaman Elder Maggie Wahls. All Rights Reserved.