When Judy Lynn Taylor was a child, she was teased about her “imaginary” animal friends, yet she knew that they were real. When she began shamanic journeying as an adult, she found that her animal friends were still there, and she could still communicate with them.
Taylor said that her experience is not unique to herself. “Everyone on the planet has a team of helping spirits, such as guardian angels, animal spirits and ancestors who support us.”
People can find their personal spirit allies and connect directly to their own sources of wisdom. They can also go to a shamanic practitioner, who can help them spiritually heal when their lives are out of balance, said Taylor.
Taylor explained that the practice of shamanism is estimated to have been in existence for 50,000 years. A person practicing shamanism for themselves or for others goes into an altered state of consciousness, usually using drumbeats to achieve the altered state, and interacts with compassionate helping spirits. While in the altered state, or “journeying,” the practitioner can obtain information from spirits in Non-Ordinary Reality and bring it back to the everyday world to help with problems.
When Taylor found out in her 40s that training for shamanism existed, she started studying with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, founded by Michael Harner. Taylor now studies with Shared Wisdom, run by Hank Wesselman and Jill Kuykendall.
After initial training, Taylor began journeying for herself and for those who asked for help. Taylor said that although she was new to the practice, her spiritual team in the NOR guided and led her. Compassionate helping spirits care about the world, but need to work in partnership with humans who can take action in the physical world, explained Taylor.
A person who requests shamanic healing might come to Taylor’s office, where they would sit in a relaxed state while she journeys for them and brings back useful information. Most of the healing is “personal and poignant to the client,” said Taylor. Typically, Taylor will receive information in the spirit realm that appears to make little sense to her, but when she conveys it to the client, it usually matches the person’s experience and is “just what they needed to hear.” For those who want to go deeper on an emotional level, Taylor is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and can offer hypnotherapy services.
Shamanic sessions can also be conducted remotely. Pet healing is an option as well. Taylor said that a client’s dog was hit by a car and began acting aggressively around visitors. When journeying for the dog, she found that his spirit had been split into two pieces during the trauma. The dog’s spirit helpers retrieved his soul and, since the session, the dog has returned to being a loving, friendly pet, said Taylor.
In addition to individual sessions, Taylor offers classes and drumming circles for group support in journeying. She also hosts shamanic adventures in the mountains, essentially camping trips where people can practice their shamanism skills in nature.
As a child, when Taylor went to bed at night she sensed a green alligator under her bed and would ask her grandfather to remove it. He would oblige and go through the motions, though he probably thought it a child’s fancy. Forty years later, when Taylor started shamanic journeying, the green alligator reappeared and reminded her that he had been with her in her youth and was still with her to protect and guide her throughout her life. Taylor believes that each person has their own helping spirits who are ready to be rediscovered and to bring balance, healing and joy to their lives.
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