Shamanic healing is like playing the theremin. It is. The person receiving the healing is the instrument, the shaman is the musician. What we shamans do is move around, move our hands especially. We focus deeply, sometimes go into a trance. We become one with a greater wisdom. And then: we dance.
Without ever touching the receiver, we make the music of healing. Should say, before making the music of healing, we spend time sensing the energy of the person on whom we're going to work. This would be analogous to the doctor asking you about symptoms, taking your blood pressure, looking down your throat and such.
We practice sensing the subtle energies in the same way wine aficionados practice tasting wine. My palate is not trained. I can tell if wine is "good" or "bad" (i.e. do I like the taste) but no way I could name the grape, the vintage and the vineyard. There are people who can, though. It's kind of incredible. Of course, aficionados have a knack and love wine. Still, it takes practice to get as good as many of them are. The maps for smell and taste in their brains must be enormous.
Shamans, too, have a knack. We are sensitive - too sensitive (or so my mother always said about me) - from birth. Sensitivity alone is not shamanism, though. We have to know what we're doing if we expect to be of any help to others.
In shamanic healing we focus on the ineffable and the indescribable. We notice, and then we shape the ineffable and indescribable. We conduct energy, as best we can. In so doing, it's our intention to lay in an energetic pattern that will generate wholeness, balance and well being.
I know. That doesn't really explain anything, does it?
Below is an explanation of how a theremin works, from the site I linked to in the first paragraph:
In a 1989 interview with Olivia Mattis, Theremin said, "I conceived of an instrument that would create sound without using any mechanical energy, like the conductor of an orchestra." What Theremin dreamed up was an electronic instrument with two primary circuits: a pitch circuit and a volume circuit. The pitch circuit used two tuned (radio frequency) oscillators: a fixed oscillator and a variable oscillator. The fixed oscillator generated waves at a static frequency. The variable oscillator was capable of producing a range of frequencies and was connected to a vertical antenna. Through a process called heterodyning, signals from the fixed and variable oscillators were mixed together. The frequency of one oscillator was subtracted from the other. The difference was amplified and, finally, output as an audible musical tone.The second circuit (the volume circuit) controlled the level of the tone generated by the pitch circuit. Much like in the pitch circuit, it used an oscillator connected to an antenna. Disrupting the electromagnetic field around this antenna raises or lowered the volume of the music tone generated by the pitch circuit.
Um ... huh? Does that mean anything to you?
Here's what I see when I watch great theremin musicians: I see a shaman, sensing and shaping electromagnetism. His shamanic dance is magically amplified. We get to listen to a musical interpretation of his work. That's what I see when I watch the video above. What do you see? Do you see a fixed oscillator generating waves at a static frequency? Me neither.
Below is a video of one of the greatest American shamans ever. He was a very original thinker who regularly fell into a trance, became one with the music, then drew exactly what he envisioned from the musicians in front of him. Watching him is mesmerizing. He was a great shamanic healer.
I've seen terrible conductors make a mess out of the music, I've seen people chop through the static frequencies of the theremin, a brutal act that creates the most horrible sounds you can imagine. That is not shamanism and is not healing. And it is not music!
May you be bathed in an ocean of harmonies and melodies. Shalom.