Faced with catastrophes of an epic scale — such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and social injustice — how can I ethically bring the power of the compassionate spirits to help?

Faced with catastrophes of epic scale, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, massive fires in Siberia, California, and Australia, social injustice and inequality, and environmental degradation and species extinction, many people are seeking ways to help shamanically. Tragically, there is no shortage of major issues of planetary concern.

While the caring and compassion that motivates us to try to help is a beautiful thing, it may also result in unwise and harmful action for those unaware of the ethical issues associated with the healing uses of shamanic power.

We thought it might be helpful to remind ourselves of the importance and necessity for ethics and permission in the practice of shamanism. Being clear about permission issues when involving our helping spirits in healing activities is paramount, and can be especially complex when working on a large scale. One of Michael Harner’s greatest teachings was this ethical understanding, related to permission on every scale from the individual to the global — without which, no matter how sincere our hearts, we are still practicing sorcery.

With this in mind, we offer the following resources to help you in taking effective and ethical action to relieve pain and suffering in these dire times.

This column from FSS Polestar provides guidance on the ethical issues involved:

Guidelines regarding permission issues when doing shamanic healing, no matter the scale of the situation: https://shamanism.org/articles/ethics.html

Link to article from the FSS journal, Shamanism Annual, with a step-by-step overview of a process for applying shamanism to local and global issues: https://shamanism.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Mokelke-Divination-ProblemSolving-p29-31.pdf

Do you want to meet with others to learn and practice this process? Join us for the new advanced weekend workshop, Shamanism for Inspired Local and Global Change (in-person): https://shamanism.org/workshops/calendar.php?Wkshp_ID=38. NOW online: Shamanism for Inspired Local and Global Change (online): https://shamanism.org/workshops/calendar.php?Wkshp_ID=44.

In gratitude for your compassion for our world,
The FSS Staff
Polestar logo design by Carolyn Fee ©2010 Foundation for Shamanic Studies
FSS Polestar highlights some of the questions we are frequently asked about contemporary shamanic practice. “Polestar” is defined as “something that serves as a guiding principle.” It reflects our commitment to helping practitioners stay oriented to authentic shamanic methods and ethics, while maintaining their own independent spirituality, which comes from learning directly from the compassionate spirits. Send us your practice-related questions for consideration for Polestar. Use our CONTACT FORM, and put “Polestar” in the subject line.