In shamanism, a shaman or shamanic practitioner reaches an alternate state of consciousness, in order to perceive and interact with the spirit world, and then channels these energies into our physical world. The shaman typically enters into a trance state during some form of ritual or ceremony and then practices divination and healing. Shamans are able to treat some ailments and illnesses by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas which affect the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness.

Shamans are able to enter an altered state of consciousness by lowering their brain waves into the theta range (4 - 7 Hz.). This can best be accomplished using a drum (or rattle) struck (or shaken) at a rate of 4 to 6 beats per second, for a sustained period of 13 to 15 minutes. A digital tone may alternatively be used. Once in the altered state, the shaman can communicate with Spirit (or spirits if you prefer). The theta state is a twilight stage just before sleep. In theta, we are in a waking dream and vivid imagery flashes before our mind's eye. In this state, we are receptive to information beyond our normal conscious awareness.



On October 8, 2014, exactly two months after my wife Bettina passed, I had a personal session with Daniel Leonard at his office. This was prior to my attendance at a planned upcoming weekend shamanic course with him. Daniel made a shamanic journey where he encountered my wife's spirit. During that journey, Bettina showed him a red pendant which he saw in his mind's eye and communicated to me after the journey was over. I didn't understand the reference to the red pendant until the next morning, when I looked at Derek Bear, our favourite teddy bear, and saw that he was wearing a red pendant – a St. Andrews Golf Course pin (see below) that Bettina had bought for me during our trip to Scotland in December 2000. I immediately let Daniel know about the pendant and we were both pleasantly surprised.

On October 18-19, 2014, I attended a weekend shamanic retreat northwest of Toronto with 7 other students and 2 instructors (Daniel and an assistant). We studied basic journeying techniques using the repetitive sound of drum and rattle to enter the theta state. We experienced power animal retrievals and learned about the concepts behind more advanced topics including soul retrievals and extractions. We danced our power animals and chanted a buddhist mantra. It was a wonderful weekend and we bonded as a group of like-minded consciousness explorers. We journeyed to spirit landscapes such as the lower, middle and upper worlds. We interacted with spirit beings I now understand to be animal guides, spirit guides and akashic teachers. One of the other students met my wife's spirit during a journey and together they introduced a new power animal to me – the "spirit of deer." My own experiences were milder by comparison to those of my associates, though my weekend culminated with my seeing, in my mind's eye, the close-up image of a spirit wolf's face licking my own face (see pic above to get a sense of what I saw). This while I was journeying (lying on the floor with my eyes closed). A throughly rewarding experience.

On November 12, 2014, I met Daniel and received a soul retrieval from him. During the soul retrieval, Daniel journeyed and found that my soul had experienced multiple physical and emotional traumas in both my current and past lives. He healed my soul by pulling together various pieces of it that had been lost. The result of the soul retrieval was that for the next three days, I experienced a state of underlying bliss. I never felt so good and so alive. My soul had really been reintegrated/healed. It was another personal, transformational experience and added to my cache of empirical evidence for the existence of the spirit/soul and by extension – the afterlife.

On December 10, 2014, I had a remote phone reading from a U.S. medium, Patrick Matthews. I had arranged for this reading shortly after Bettina passed. During the mediumship, Bettina's spirit came through and various information (including personal validation) was communicated to me by Patrick. I was deeply moved. On December 11, 2014, I asked Daniel to journey and reconnect with Bettina's spirit. He did that and the result was that Bettina confirmed her connection with Patrick the day before. She also indicated that she was fine and learning about her new environment in Spirit. According to Daniel, she also said that "she loved me and was looking after me now, and was guiding me on my way to stay on the spiritual path – so I could help others like me [who were grieving]." This was an important life message that has stuck with me.

I have only positive things to say about my shamanic experiences and the work that Daniel and his students do trying to help others. Daniel studies with some of the best shamanic teachers in the world so he is very knowledgeable and experienced. He is a true lightworker. These experiences have taught me that communication with Spirit can be achieved in many different ways. Shamanic journeying is an excellent way to do this since the communication is done with consciousness intact and active, even while the shamanic practitioner is operating in the theta state. No drugs or similar substances are involved in the practices that Daniel follows.

Spirit understands the shaman's positive intentions to help and heal and therefore supports the communication. Spirit will only give information to the shaman that it considers will benefit the shaman's client.

The shamanic practitioner operates in some ways like a medium but adds excellent abilities to heal on a soul level. The more complex work such as soul retrievals and extractions should only be done by experienced practitioners, and of course only with the client's permission. The shamanic practitioner also communicates with both animal guides and spirit guides.

Some great additional information on shamanic practices may be found at Sandra Ingerman's website.