Autoimmune Disease. A Shamanic Perspective

a shamanic perspective.

Do we treat symptoms or seek causes? Read about autoimmune disease from a shamanic perspective.

There are many diseases we humans are susceptible to that science and Western medicine have no understanding of. They don’t know where they come from or how to heal them.

And many of these are on the rise – some at incredibly rapid rates. Autoimmune diseases fall within this group – with an ever-increasing percentage of humans experiencing them.

Collectively these diseases cause a great deal of pain, which is heightened by little understanding of the why’s, how’s and what’s of their cause and treatment.

Some quick facts – about 50 million Americans are affected by autoimmune diseases – almost 17% of the total population. And 75% of those are women.

There are 75 or more diseases currently classified as autoimmune diseases. In 2000, about 9% of the population were said to be affected and most were thought to be women. So this is no small problem – and a growing one.

Autoimmune diseases cause the body to see healthy cells as diseased and so attack them. Organs, glands, skin – all can be attacked. Allergies and mental disorders can also occur.

The shamanic explanation for diseases of this sort differs greatly from Western thinking, which is exactly what can make shamanic medicine and alternative healing approaches more effective than the “guessing game with drugs” some Western practitioners prescribe.

First, I will share some thoughts about the difference between cures and healing. Western medicine seeks cures for disease and assesses effectiveness by the remission of pain. This is dealing with symptoms, which is what pain is.

A shamanic approach to an autoimmune disease (any disease in fact) is to go deep and seek the cause of the disease. Pain is a tool to help guide this journey of discovery. This allows for true healing and the cessation of pain.

If the symptoms – the pain – become too intense to focus on healing, then measures need to be taken to lessen it to a bearable level.

There are many non-invasive means to accomplish this: meditation; journeying; Reiki; acupuncture; hypnosis and other energy and spirit-based modalities.

If some medications are needed then natural, plant-based remedies are the best way to proceed. Most shamanic practitioners can suggest plant remedies best suited to the patients’ body. If not, they may suggest an herbalist as part of the healing team.

Once the pain is decreased to the point a patient can tolerate it, the shamanic practitioner can begin to guide the healing process for the patient.

Depending on which of the autoimmune diseases a person has, an alternative healer may be what is needed. For those deeply rooted in the psyche and spirit of a patient, a shamanic practitioner is often best.

If the disease causes seem to extend to past lives energetically and/or may lead to physical death in the present, a shamanic practitioner can bring their knowledge of the spirit and the totality of human beings (mind, body, spirit, emotions, sexuality, dreams) to explore causes that Western medicine is not equipped to even admit exist, let alone follow leads in this way.

How we view disease is very important to the effectiveness of a shamanic approach as well.

If you research Western medicines’ thoughts on autoimmune disease you will find something like this: “Autoimmune diseases are chronic diseases with no cure.

Treatment involves attempts to control the process of the disease and decrease the symptoms.” ~ Healthline.

See the issues in this? They are said to be chronic diseases without cure. Set that belief and it will be so. Cure? I covered that. Cure means stopping pain, not seeking causes. ‘Control’ the process.

Trying to control disease or illness simply pushes it deeper down into your body and spirit – it always comes back. The point is, the approach is critically important when dealing with disease of mind, body, and spirit.

I have been fortunate enough to have guided people in discovering the causes of their diseases that doctors had told them were incurable and watched them heal. And then seen them move ahead with their lives in a positive fashion.

These were physical, mental, emotional and all other parts of a patients being. Often more than one part of the psyche is involved – hence the imbalance that causes the disease in the first place. This may come from any time in their life – or a past life incident.

Some have asked me if autoimmune diseases are like cancer. No. In fact, they are opposites. Autoimmune diseases entail the body seeing healthy cells as diseased. With cancer the body does not see the diseased cancer cells as disease.

They have a similar confusing effect on the mind and body. A true shamanic practitioner knows and feels the difference and understands how each needs to be approached.

I can hear people asking now “How do we find a person with good shamanic training?” In the last edition of the magazine I spoke about what a shaman was and was not. There are very, very few true shamans, but many with shamanic training who carry the energetic medicine needed.

I use shaman and shamanic practitioner interchangeably here for convenience. Here is an unattributed description of a shaman that I really like. It is very old and uses ‘him’ only – I mentally add him/her each time this occurs.


and you find a real one

do not expect him to entertain you

with magical passes.

His art is to provoke your demons:

Those that you guard well, justify,

deny and attribute to “another” …

If you go looking for a shaman, prepare yourself

for an undressing with his words,

know that he will anger you with his silence

Be alert when he exasperates you

with his brutal honesty.

Go prepared for battle…

the worst Battle: the battle with yourself.

“Whoever has magic does not need tricks”.

When looking for any energy worker, especially one with shamanic medicine to share, be leery of the “I am” people. I am a healer, a guide, a teacher… often all strung together.

When you do find someone, (asking alternative healers sometimes helps with this) ask them for some people to speak to they have aided in their healing. If they won’t share – be careful. Also ask from whom they have learned their healing knowledge and for how long they studied.

When people ask me for past patients I have worked with to speak to, I provide some (as long as the patient has agreed to this). And I am always willing to share where I learned, from whom and the number of years I have worked with shamanic medicine in the jungles, the mountains and in teaching settings.

Taking a few months off to dive into shamanic healing lessons – even doing so several times – does not make someone proficient in true shamanic wisdom. It takes years and practice and many teachers.

Just be certain you are ready for the hard work and the heavy lifting shamanic healing entails. Read the “If you go looking for a shaman” again.

What exactly will a shamanic practitioner do for me and what will he/she expect of me? There is no one answer to these questions. Each person’s healing journey is unique, so often a lot of questions come before any course will be recommended.

And even once a healing journey is mapped out, the guide and the patient must be ready to adapt and change at any time. It is critical that the patient want to heal and be willing to experience pain or discomfort at many levels to do so.

And trust the shaman to provide them with pain-easing methods as they move ahead. Shamanic medicine deals with the deepest, most difficult diseases of mind, body and spirit – diseases that do not give up their battle easily.

With that said, when one has felt the pains of a disease for extended periods and the ebb and flow of autoimmune disease symptoms, finding a shaman who can assist leaving that road of pain is a true blessing. Having walked that side of the road I can say this with full understanding.

When potential clients call me and seek my healing help I expect them to ask many questions – and most do. I also ask a lot of questions, since I want to take as patients those who are truly ready to walk this healing road.

I do this out of respect for both of us and the other patients I treat. So ask questions – don’t be shy. Autoimmune diseases can be healed from within with the right help and a spiritual and alternative approach.

I wish you good healing!

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Jim PetruzziJim Graywolf Petruzzi – Shamanic Healer

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