HomeShamanism HealingThe Power of the Healing Story

Story is a more powerful thing than we often give it credit for.  Sometimes a story that is more factual is given more weight than fiction.  However, whenever you are trying to come into understanding spiritual matters, straight facts are often inadequate to convey the depth of meaning that is actually there.

Story Ground Sky MirrorThey say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  That is because meaning is usually more than the dictionary definition of any given word.  A story or a metaphor paints a picture with words.  It gives the listener the essence of the thing by relating the meaning to something they either already understand or can begin to understand by the relating to the story told.

When a Shaman learns the power of the healing story, it is not with the intention of misleading you about the healing at hand.  Rather they are trying to open the meaning to you in its fullness.  By choosing the right words, they are attempting to convey without crushing and transmit the actual essence of what a healing means.

Experiences are inherently difficult to describe.  For many, having a child is a good example of what its like to have a powerful experience that cannot be put into words.  How do you describe the joy?  How do you describe how deep that experience goes?   It can even be hard to describe something you do every day.  An artist or a writer whose job it is to describe things, can try to explain the meaning of what it is to create, but its so difficult to grasp, that it can be a real challenge.

Abstract art can seem like a fiction too.  The image can become so distorted that it seems like the painter is no longer trying to tell the truth.  But painting in a realistic way can sometimes fail to faithfully convey true sorrow, or confusion, or the inner sense of feeling fragmented.  In this way, an abstract painting can better convey a truth then a “factual” realistic painting.

When Shamans Tell The Story

Delicate Like MeaningWhen the shaman begins to tell you the healing story, they are searching for metaphors that you can relate to.  They are selecting images which convey in a deeper way.

They also need to take care to avoid telling stories which prevent you from your healing.  We all have stories we tell ourselves, that in some way limit us.  Maybe that we aren’t smart, maybe that we can’t do something.  If the shaman tells the wrong story during a healing, it can cause you to cling to an injury because your clinging to the story that came with it.  Even in traditional therapy there is a fine line between using a personal history to find healing, and getting stuck in that story.

Sometimes it is easier to let go of something if the healer doesn’t tell you it was even there.  What is gone is gone, and there is no need to know about it.  “I removed what wasn’t needed, it is gone now.”

These are all the things an experienced shamanic healer has to learn about to become proficient at their healing craft.  What information was shown to them to allow them to understand how to perform the healing?  What information was shown to them for the client to know?  How do they convey that story so that the client absorb the truth and beauty of the healing?  What story, or what image, will they best relate to in order to feel its true essence?

When you hear the story the shaman tells, if it was done well, you should be able to take the healing into your self more deeply.  In some ways, the story is meant to help you absorb the energy of the healing into your very cells.

More information:

Books on Healing Story

Journeying and the Imagination

Why does the Spirit World Communicate in Symbols?




The Power of the Healing Story — 1 Comment

  1. I used a factual story to teach my native American friend tonight. It was a story that my daughter told me this past morning. It was the only way for my friend to understand what had happened to him and I don’t know how it came to my ears this way unless my daughter’s gift is stronger than mine and came to her in a dream. I get visions in my dreams. My son’s spirit spoke to me in a dream years before I met his father.

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