Walking the Shamans Path: Not Schizophrenia, But Acute Sensitive
by Odette Nightsky
Sensitive Services International
1991 was the beginning of my research and investigation into the area of what I refer to as the world of the Acute Sensitive. I was living in a little coastal town south of Sydney, Australia, in what was rumored to be a haunted house. Soon after having moved in my moods and thought processes started to change, I had feeling of being haunted, possessed and at times would find myself waking up in the middle of the night hearing voices--other voices--not my own, at least they didn't seem to be.
I knew that there was a cousin in my family that was diagnosed with schizophrenia and I assumed I was heading down that avenue too. A local healer invited me to come and have a healing session. He mentioned that there was some writings that I might be interested in. The healing itself made little impact, but the essence of the writings still live in my memory to this day. A channeler from Sweden received that the mental health system was going to move through great changes in understanding the world of the mentally ill to a far more holistic and spiritual perspective.
From that moment on, many things in my life started to change. I began to sit in meditation and confront these energies that were tormenting me. It wasn't so much like a ghost visiting, and tearing up the place, It was more like an invasion of the mind, emotions and spirit. I spent much timesitting in negotiation with whatever dark energy I came across, and what I learnt was that fear and fighting were the two most useless tools. Neither of them worked to help me in dealing with these visiting energies. Each week I would teach drama and movement classes, and then get on the train to Sydney to spend as much time as I could in the National Library looking up books and documentary films on the subject of schizophrenia. There was agreat deal of information from the psychiatric perspective, but very little from any other point of view. I traveled to England and America. Again, I scoured the book shops to see if there was anything that would tell me more than the traditional left brain view of mental illness.
There was nothing revolutionary apart from the writings of C.G. Jung and Stanislav Grof. There was little that didn't lace itself with medical jargon and terms that I needed a psychiatry dictionary to understand. I thought maybe I was looking in the wrong area for my answers. I went back in history to see how the "mentally ill" were treated before the advent oforthodox medicine.
Religion played a big part in what they believed was the source of the suffering--the devil and his fallen angels. To hear voices you were either a chosen prophet or under the hand of Lucifer. This I found hard to stomach. I would not say that what was happening to me was the work of the devil, and believe me I'm no prophet!
Further back, I discovered that the indigenous people of the earth dealt with their Acutely Sensitive members with much more respect than modern mandoes. The most positive information was from transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, and shamanic sources. I realized that the way I was working with my inner world was very similar to how the Shamans worked (without the ethnobotanical approach).
In many indigenous tribes the Acute Sensitive would be under the instruction of the Medicine wo/man or shaman/ess. The Shaman's role is to assist the sensitive in working within the spirit world. In some cases the Shaman may perform a type of exorcism to discharge the discarnate entities surrounding the person in crisis. It is understood that the key problem is the fragmentation of the core self (the central seat of the soul). The villagers would take care of their needs, as they were not able to perform their normal tasks. Food, clothing, and shelter would be provided by the community and slowly, slowly, the sensitive would be given guidance by the shaman to walk in the world of spirit without coming to any harm. They recognized that there is more than one dimension where both light and dark beings reside. The lesson is to not stop the voices so much as work with them in a way that you are in the control seat rather than being controlled by the energies tormenting you.
In third world countries the acutely sensitive souls are rarely ignored or shunned from society. They are seen as specially blessed because these people live in the world of the spirit more than in the world of the mundane. They are learning to find balance and are allowed to find it naturally. It is not something to be fixed, it is something to be mastered and used.
It is a natural talent that enables them to cross the bridge between two worlds. The learning is to find balance with this gift-balance of mind, balance of body, and balance of spirit. As John Watkins mentions in his book Hearing Voices, there is a growing interest in a more holistic approach to working with acutely sensitive souls. A range of Shamanic techniques have been successfully used in treating people in some mental health centers.
At one center, two thirds of the clients with a long history of hallucinations have reported experiencing much relief from these techniques. The individual needs to be listened to. What would suit the individual? Some respond better to medication solely, and others to creative visualization, homeopathy, shamanic healing. Each person's needs are different.
We are in the age of Aquarius. The Pisces era of good verses evil is passé.We are all things, dark and light, and it is time we found balance in both. Shamanism is one option in the holistic approach to schizophrenia. There are many people that I have talked to, both Acute Sensitives and caregivers, who feel this approach is more helpful at times than standard, orthodox treatment. It would be more progressive if the mental health departments opened their doors to a more holistic proposition and would realize that the need for a more informed and open-minded staff will benefit not only the patient, but the entire community at large.
Sensitive Services International
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