top of page

Illness: a shamanic perspective

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Have you ever considered that illness might have a spiritual cause? Maybe you’ve been unwell and found that even though you can manage your symptoms through modern medicine, the illness or condition persists no matter what you do? In this article, I offer an alternative perspective on the nature of illness and pain, and some of the ways in which shamanic healing can work to identify the causes and treatment beyond the limitations of conventional medical thinking.

As human beings we experience life from a range of different perspectives: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as well as on a soul level. When we're ill, all these dimensions are affected to a greater or lesser degree and conversely, the cause of an illness can lie within any one (or more) of these dimensions. While modern drugs and medical treatments may ease symptoms, they rarely address the root cause of a health condition. Shamanism is the most ancient form of healing known to humankind, dating back tens of thousands of years. It is still widely practised today in one form or another in many indigenous cultures in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Central and Northern Asia, Eastern and Northern Europe and Africa.

Shamanic healing is based on the belief that most illness is the result of an imbalance in a person's energy which is disrupting the flow of their life-force: either something has energetically intruded, which may be blocking them in some way, or some of their energy field is missing, allowing life-force to drain out of them. Physical healing can only take place if the energetic balance can be restored at a spiritual level. As a shamanic practitioner, I work with spirit helpers to identify the energetic root cause of illnesses and help heal those parts of the person's Self, which in turn can reduce or even eliminate pain and other symptoms that are being experienced. As one of my clients reports:

“I had severe lower back pain that I couldn’t fix even after acupuncture sessions and physiotherapy sessions, however after a full shamanic healing, my pain disappeared completely…I am now pain free.”

There are four main causes of these energetic imbalances; please note that they are all very common (I have yet to meet someone who doesn't present with at least one of these!) and they can all be treated effectively using shamanic techniques.

Power Loss

In a shamanic sense, "power" relates to our life force or consciousness; in Druidry, this would be called nwyfre, and in Eastern traditions, this is known as chi or ki (as in tai chi or reiki). Power loss arises from our disconnection with Nature and our true Selves. In today's world, so many of us feel completely separate from nature - we live in centrally heated houses, travel in vehicles, eat processed and pre-packaged food bought from supermarkets. Many people don't have any sort of relationship with nature at all, either through a lack of opportunity, lack of desire, or lack of awareness of the importance of nature in our lives.

But this is not our natural state: for most of history, humans have lived in harmony with nature, recognising that the connection and relationship with nature was essential for their very survival. Our ancient ancestors honoured the Earth, the moon and sun, and understood that everything had a spirit. Through society's progress and - dare I say it - conditioning as a species, we have largely forgotten how to have a healthy, loving and reciprocal relationship with nature. And as a result, we feel increasingly disconnected from the natural world. This manifests as sadness - even grief - the cause of which we cannot readily pinpoint; we may feel a sense of restlessness or yearning for a simpler, slower life.

When someone is experiencing power loss, this typically manifests as feeling tired and lacking in energy. Some people experience low self-esteem or a feeling of being victimised or just unlucky. It can also manifest as chronic physical or mental illness.

Shamanic power retrieval enables you reconnect with nature and your true Self, regain the power that has been lost or taken from you, and helps you to understand the cause of the loss. This awareness will help you to recognise situations in which you may be at risk of power loss in the future and take steps to protect yourself against it.

Soul Loss

Soul loss happens when part of our soul leaves our body, typically as a result of some physical or emotional trauma. This might be from a single sudden event, such as an accident, serious injury or witnessing a violent act, or it could be the result of an ongoing situation, such as relationship issues, bullying or abuse. In these cases, our soul fragments and part of it leaves our body as a way to protect itself, staying hidden in the unseen realms until it’s safe to return.

People experiencing soul loss may feel depressed, grief, dissociation or be experiencing some form of addition or PTSD; they may also have a weakened immune system which is the direct result of the emotional trauma response.

In a shamanic healing, the practitioner will undertake a soul retrieval journey on your behalf to locate the source of the trauma that caused your soul to fragment; he or she will then retrieve all the parts of your soul that were lost at that time, and reintegrate them into your present-day self.


Intrusion happens when energy from someone or something else is present in our energy field. This entity is often in the form of an attachment or cords binding us to someone or something else, or it could be possession, in which a spirit becomes fully embedded in our energy field and exerts influence over our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Whatever this energy is, it isn’t ours and doesn’t belong there, so it needs to be extracted with care.

Someone who has an energetic intrusion may feel physical pain on part or parts of their body where the intrusion is entering their energy field. Some people feel a sense of being weighed down by something they can't put their finger on. Where cords are involved, this may present as being unable to leave a toxic relationship or situation and in the case of possession, the person may behave in ways that are not usual for them.

In a healing session, the shamanic practitioner will identify the source of the energetic intrusion: what form it takes, where it came from and why it’s there. They’ll work with their spirit guides to remove the entity and repair any damage that it may have caused. This may involve clearing past lives or ancestral trauma as well as carrying out psychic surgery or soul retrieval.

Ancestral trauma

Our ancestral lineage exerts significant influence over our lives – and our health. We have different type of ancestors, all of whom have the potential to affect us: ancestors of blood, with whom we share our DNA; ancestors of heart - those who are dear to us even if there was no blood tie, such as adoptive family; ancestors of spirit or tradition, with whom we share the same beliefs, morals and attitudes, a kind of “spiritual DNA”; and finally, ancestors of place - those who previously lived in our homes and on the land before us.

Many of our ancestors experienced pain, trauma or curses in their own lives and where this was not resolved, it is carried down the ancestral lineage until such a time that one of their descendants chooses to heal it. Conversely, our ancestors may have wisdom and gifts to share with us that can help us in our present lives. Shamanic work can reveal these as well as help to heal ancestral trauma. And in doing so, all future generations in the lineage also benefit.


Shamanic work does not attempt to diagnose anything you might be experiencing and is not a substitute for medical treatment; it works at an energetic level with guidance from the spirit realms to understand and rebalance energies.

Do you want to experience shamanic healing for yourself? Read more about the Wild Edges shamanic healing or email me at to arrange a free discovery call.

Joss Anderson is a qualified and experienced Shamanic Practitioner, Shamanic Reiki Master Practitioner and ICF-accredited coach, based in Cambridgeshire, UK and online.

© Joss Anderson 2022; © The Wild Edges, 2022

74 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page