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Distant Healing: What Do We Do in a Mass Disaster?

Distant Healing:  What Do We Do in a Mass Disaster?bySteve Serr, Ph.D., M.Div.

Just about everyone who has studied shamanic practice somewhere has learned of and most likely participated in distant healing. Often in gatherings, it is routinely brought up for the circle's offerings. Most everyone knows that the basic practice involves 1) getting permission for the healing from the one requesting it, 2) personal cleansing and preparation, 3) moving into a strong shamanic state of consciousness, 4) summoning one's spirit helper, 5) giving the spirit helper the name and location of the one needing help, 6) asking the spirit helper to provide the most appropriate healing, 7) sending the spirit helper in the appropriate direction, 8) following them until they disappear from sight towards the horizon, 9) not following the spirit into the healing itself, and 10) returning to ordinary reality and back to normal waking consciousness. This is fairly straightforward, though some teachers believe that a precise address is also helpful (I do not agree, as any spirit helper worth its salt should be able to find them).

However, a lot of material has been passed around lately about shamanic distant healing (sometimes called distance healing) because of practitioners' desire to help following the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, and there are some unfortunate mix-ups and matters overlooked regarding such healing. Distant healing in a mass disaster presents additional complications beyond sending such healing to an individual, particularly ethical ones, so I offer this short attempt at clarification to help us think through the ethics and practical steps of our work. Then, we can with greater assuredness, step forward in a healing capacity when meeting any of the large scale disasters which periodically manifest throughout the world.

Shamanic practitioners tend to be a very compassionate group of people. We want to help, but don't always know how. The following will help, though I am sure it will not make the work seem any simpler. But, this is not simple work.

The chief issue seems to be one of ethics. A standard of shamanic practice, as with other healing modalities, has been the recognition of the primacy of individual consent for healing. This clarifies the impropriety of those who try to use shamanic work for personal gain, power, or even malevolent intent. However, not always are we able to obtain a person's consent for shamanic intervention. If we are ethically motivated, we understand a sometimes difficult dilemma that can appear. On the one hand, we recognize our need for a person's consent prior to our work. This restrains us from intruding into the power, privacy and right of others to determine their own future. Oh the other hand, we feel a wonderfully human, compassionate desire to help, and may be able to do so.

So, what do we do?

Recently, one widely spread shamanic email recommended first receiving consent from Japan. Although this is based on sound and agreed ethical principles among practitioners, it is unfortunately, not the whole story. At the very minimum, there are two additional and highly important matters that deserve consideration.
First, there is the ‘Good Samaritan’ principle. Immediate peril, absence of financial compensation, and providing reasonable assistance in good faith at the level for which one is trained are all possible matters that at least legally, will need to be considered. In this case, the tsunami victims at the time of the wave and flooding, and the firefighters dousing the hot nuclear rods at the facility are both instances of being in immediate peril. (continued…)

To read the rest of the article (it does not quite fit here) to

About the author:
Dr. Serr is an unorthodox ordinary person who loves the Earth and is greatly pained by human behavior. He offers what may be the most comprehensive training program available in shamanic practice, with certification, completely online. He does not skin you alive for tuition. This full article, as well as many others can be found at his website at


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