SHAMANISM AS FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE OF THE SPIRITS

Voices from the faculty: A conversation with Adele Erle, faculty member of the FSSE (part 2 of 2)

In the first part of her interview, Adele spoke about community and what shamanism can offer people today. She highlighted how essential the feeling of conjointness is for all of us.

What drives you personally to consequently work shamanically?
In my shamanic work with people I am allowed to be a witness of healing transformations. People come in contact with compassionate spirits, arrive in their power. It is a great gift for me to be a part of this. And it is my motivation to continue – to continue to learn and to serve the spirits and the community.

It would be nice if one day shamanism got more recognition in our society. It is one of the oldest healing methods of humanity and could be a valuable addition to our modern health care system.

How did you find shamanism and how long have you been going this path?
Actually, I already had contact with non-ordinary reality in my childhood. I communicated with everything that surrounded me. In the forest I talked to trees, flowers and animals. I painted my wall wildly at home and communicated with the characters I painted on it. Even then, I got answers. I can still remember discussing my problems with these beings and receiving answers.

In addition, I had many intensive dreams in puberty, of a strongly visionary kind. They made me deal with different spiritual traditions: the Tibetan Buddhism, different Yoga styles, and shamanic ways in Central America. The first real conscious contact with my power animal was in 2005, during a very challenging period in my life, when I was not doing well. At that time, my partner participated in a workshop with Paul Uccusic and enthusiastically invited me to a shamanic journey. At first it did not work, but I was so curious that I tried again. At my second or third try it was clear that I wasn´t just imagining something for myself, but that it was a direct, real experience. This was my first contact with this great love and power that touched me so much. Particularly intensive for me was my first Visiondance workshop in which I felt the presence of my grandmother with all my senses.

Why did you go for core shamanism after so many experiences with other spiritual paths?
At first, it was almost a little too pragmatic for me. (laughs) Nevertheless, I was able to experience a strong effectiveness. By now, I appreciate precisely the pragmatic clarity which defines core shamanism. My previous stations were good and important for the particular time. I was able to learn a lot, but I developed in a different direction. Core shamanism enables you to put more trust in your own spiritual authority.

What would you advise people who are new to shamanism and still have doubts?
At the end of the day, everybody has to decide for themselves whether the shamanic path suits him or her, or not. Most of the people who come to the Basic workshop have already paid some attention to the topic. In the workshop, most of the participants experience that spirits are real. The moment you have this experience, get in touch with this power, you go on almost automatically, because then a door is opened to such an exciting, new world.

I recommend showing as much presence as possible in the non-ordinary reality also after the workshop. The Basic workshop teaches you how to get in touch with your power animal. Do the power animal dance and sing your power song. Create a room in your home where you feel safe and practice. Visit a core shamanic drum cirlcle; there is space to meet, to exchange, to practice, to serve the community. Have patience and endurance – because these are parts of the shamanic path! Dance and sing – because these are shamanic virtues! Go into nature, listen to it – the tree, the river, the ant.

 

In the first part of the interview, Adele reflects about community and the contribution shamanic practitioners can bring in for positive change.

Adele Erle works in the psychosocial field and is a faculty member of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe. She teaches core shamanic workshops in the southeast of Austria.