Healing the Aftermath of Terror

By Bill Brunton, Editor, "Shamanism"
© "Shamanism," Fall/Winter 2001, Vol. 14, No. 2

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As we prepare the current issue of our journal for printing and distribution, the spiritual fallout from the events of September 11, 2001 blankets our beautiful blue planet like ash from an erupting volcano. It chokes off the sweetness of life and distracts us from its beauty. The agony of thousands of victims who died in fireballs and the crush of decompressing buildings and airplanes still echoes in our souls. We search for a way to think, feel, and react to this savage event, and to the uncertain future that lies ahead. Anger is an appropriate emotion, but we must not allow it to become hate. Care is required for putting intent into the great Circle of Life! That which is already in the Circle, put there by a few raging men whose cause outweighed the sanctity of life itself, can be managed, if reflection and wisdom are exercised. Doing this may prevent a spiral of more hate and violence. This is my hope, my intent, and my prayer.

Shamanic healers have for millennia been keepers of Harmony, using power, knowledge, and wisdom acquired from their helping spirits to aid their communities. In doing so, they dealt with healing issues they faced in their own times and places. The events of September 11 and their aftermath have created a 21st Century healing issue. It certainly represents a breach in Harmony that requires healing.

We are fortunate to have dedicated individuals in our midst who are working with the spirits in order to rectify the imbalance in Harmony brought about by the terrorists' actions. One example of this, psychopomp work (the conducting of souls), is underway by individuals and drumming groups across the land in order to restore balance disrupted by the sudden, violent deaths of the thousands of victims of this atrocity. We applaud these loving healers who swiftly began to work for the victims in a nonordinary way, even as police, firefighters, and volunteers worked for them in the ordinary way.

In the coming days, weeks, and months, the fallout from this attack will continue to demand attention. Compassionate people want to do something to restore normalcy and ease the pain that comes with so many shattered lives. The shamanic community can respond to this need. Each person who is trained in the journey method taught through the Foundation, who has established comfortable and predictable working relations with helping spirits, is empowered to act. Following the guidance of compassionate spirits, the harmony that was so tragically breached on September 11 can be restored. Working alone, or in a community, through journeying and prayer, spirits can provide resources necessary for the task of healing. There is no authority greater than these spiritual sources.

Michael Harner and I, as well as the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Staff, join together with you in this time of need for spiritual endeavor.