October 22, 2022
Podcast Interview of Christina Allen by Olivia Young
It has been said that trauma is a thief. Whatever it was that happened, the worst of it often lies downstream. The events may have been horrific, in and of themselves, but trauma also steals from us our future and our self respect. Like interest on a maxed out credit card the effects of trauma are compounded daily. Especially when it happened early in life. As children we are usually considerably outmatched by our aggressors. The default stress response is to flee or to fight back. But when we are small this is usually not an option. Children facing violence, abuse, or violations of their boundaries and bodies have but one option: to survive it. A third stress response called Freeze takes over. Freeze is a shut down of all physical and emotional responses. It is akin to the opossum playing dead. The goal is to live. We go into shock, into paralysis, and then we dissociate, leaving our bodies to the circumstances at hand.
It all actually started for me when I fell into the fire on Summer Solstice of 2019. It’s been a long 3 years. I don’t know about you but I was taken down to zero. I fought it. I was not going to go down. I’m tenacious, I’m stubborn. But over and over again I got the message to let go. To die the shamn's death. And finally I did. I’m sure this happened to many of you over the COVID time-out.
I literally fell into a ceremonial fire, landed with my left hand on a log of burning embers and was apparently engulfed in flames, briefly. I heard this voice say "This is an intitation." Then came the unraveling. And the reformatting. And the alchemy. You see, at the core of this was the call for me to heal from a lifetime of what I call freeze. It’s one of the three states we can go into when events are too big to face. We run. We fight. Or we freeze. My go-to was to freeze.
Are we there yet?
A new dawn is rising at ASC... as the dust kicked up from the last two years settles we are laying down the foundations for our next incarnation. We have upgraded our teachings, deepened our practices, extended our reach, and are now leaning into holding an even more dynamic space for growth and transformation. Are you looking for a way to deepen your connection with yourself, Nature, and with the energetic world you live in...? Join us!
Psychedelic therapies are on the rise. They are being touted as healing remedies for trauma, chronic pain, and as a catalyst for for spiritual awakening. There is great hope for a sort of spiritual revolution as some of our plant allies, and even psychedelic chemical derivatives, help us to overcome our limitations and reclaim our true nature. Significant research is being done at reputable Universities such as Johns Hopkins showing the healing effects of psychedelics in trauma therapy. People are finding microdosing psilocybin more effective and with less side effects than antidepressants. Evidence suggests these plant allies have been with us since the beginning as an essential part of our healing practices. It is important to give these allies great respect, to know they are not for everyone, and it also important to understand where their job begins and where it ends.
We are taking this opportunity to ride the wave of chaos of 2021 and make some foundational changes and shifts in our own programs at ASC. We are going deeper into the authentic teachings of the Andean Mystics and redesigning our programs a bit to fully embrace the traditional "shamanic" magic of the Andes. And at least for this year we are going online...
We understand, intuitively, that the soul is the deepest aspect of our being. When we have been emotionally wounded we feel it is “sick”. Sometimes this manifests as physical sickness as well. To heal our soul is not just a lighthearted jaunt though a well groomed garden, plucking dead blooms from their stocks, it is hacking through the densest, darkest, jungle to find our light again. It’s looking into the abyss of who we truly are, claiming the darkness these wounds have generated, and its reclaiming our divinity.
As our souls heal, by our transcending and integrating our dualities, they evolve. In the Andean traditions this is called increasing our state of ayni, our highest state being when we are congruent with Source. It doesn’t work to emphasize our light aspects, while burying our darkness through negation, that fuels more separation and duality. It is about taking ownership of what we externalize. Whatever we perceive happening outside is happening inside first. Perhaps we are in scarcity, for example. Were we cursed by some angry or jealous family member, or is it because we are unconsciously punishing ourselves for things we have not yet forgiven ourselves for? Perhaps we are blocking abundance because we are uncomfortable receiving, or we believe we are unworthy or undeserving. We cannot heal when we externalize these problems, putting them at the feet of others, instead of owning them.
Many people with varying trainings, lineages, or "calls from Spirit,” refer to themselves as shamans. It is hard to know who is legitimate and who is not, and what a shaman really is. In Cuzco, Peru, for example, you can find “shamans” all over town selling mystical experiences. Many have access to medicinal plants, but few have training in how to hold space for a client, or even how to speak to the medicinal plants in ceremony. There are others that say no one can call themselves a shaman or be trained as one; it is an honor only bestowed upon one by others.
The actual word “shaman” comes from the Tungusic Evenki language of North Asia. According to anthropological documentation it is the word the Tungus, in particular, used to refer to their medicine person. Spirits inhabited their shamans, affecting others positively, and negatively, and shifting circumstances on the material plane. Some believe that this manifestation of shamanism is the only legitimate form that can claim to use the word “shaman.” Technically, they are correct, as it is a word specific to this one tribe in Siberia. Every other tribe has a different language, and therefore a different word, and each tribe’s practices also vary. While some use use spirits to do their bidding, and others do not, most tribes do have mentors helping young initiates refine their skills.
The main principle behind shamanic healing is that our physical and mental/emotional realities are orchestrated by our multidimensional spiritual selves. This self carries all our true capacity, but it also carries the imprints from all of our unresolved wounds, from this lifetime through to the ancient past, in shadow. When our minds do not know how to process hurtful events they become imprinted on our souls, directing the way our lives unfold at the physical. Once our multidimensional selves heal, our bodies and minds can finally express our true capacity.
Shamanic healers can help us shift, grow, and heal by connecting with our multidimensional selves. They are distinct in their capacity to bridge the physical and the spiritual domains, aiding in this evolutionary process. One of the main tenants of shamanic healing is that the client must be put in a trance state to let go of the wounds locked into the fear based mind. Only in trance will the mind let go of its defenses enough to effect change. There are many different kinds of shamans, and many ways to achieve these trance states. Some tribes use drumming, or dancing, while others use breath work. Others, still, use psychotropic plant medicines. While methods vary from tribe to tribe, shamanic healers share in common the idea that our dysfunctional physical reality is a projection of the imbalances in our spiritual selves.