Teachings & Stories

Below you’ll find articles and audios from our Teachings & Stories category. This content focuses on teachings and stories from traditional shamanic cultures as well as teachings some of our authors have received through their own experience walking a shamanic path.

The Popularity of Ayahuasca and Other Plant Medicines

Vegetalisa is a term used to refer to a practice of mestizo shamanism in the Peruvian Amazon in which the shamans — known as vegetalistas — are said to gain their knowledge and power to cure from the vegetales, or plants of the region. Dr. Steven Farmer interviews...

What Shall We Do About Sedna?—A Feminine Possibility.

“If we allow a story to enter into us, we also enter the psychic ground held in that tale. A story reads us as much as we read it. As the Aboriginal hunters of Australia say, “You can’t hunt in the tribal lands until the country knows you!” By entering the symbolic...

Xhosa Sangoma Medicine

From time immemorial the medicine person’s job was to help the community reconnect with their ancestors and thus find their vision and soul’s purpose. For it is well known that all people come to earth for a particular purpose and when that purpose is realized then...

African Shamanism & Ancestral Wisdom

Dr. Steven Farmer interviews Gretchen Crilly McKay about the wisdom obtained from working with a Sangoma (African Shaman) through a divination process called throwing the bones. Gretchen is reunited with her African ancestors as she begins to cultivate the healing...

The Story of Boann and the Well of Wisdom

Jaime leads us through a transformative story about Boann, goddess of the River Boyne, a river in Leinster, Ireland. Although Boann was instructed otherwise by her husband Nechtan, she unleashes a power that has been keep still and protected. These actions and...

The Shipibo Icaro Tradition

The Shipibo peoples of the Amazon believe everything has its own song and pattern. Anna shares the basics of their understanding of the universe and ends by offering a icaro, a sung prayer. You Might Also...

An Interview with Nepalese Shaman, Bhola Banstola

This year’s winner of the SSP Eagle Feather Award is Bhola Banstola, a 27th generation medicine person from Nepal. For many years, Bhola has taught extensively throughout the world. Recently he has turned attention toward making ethnographic and shamanic healing...

Untwisting the Story of Reindeer

Today, across the vast expanse of northern Europe, sub-Arctic Russia and Mongolia, stretch many nations of reindeer-herding people. The Sami, the Evenki, the Chuckchi and many more. Many cultures, languages and customs abound, but something these people share is a...

The Sacred Stag: A True Story of Mystical Connection

The early autumn day was gray with a low and heavy sky. Around mid-morning, rain began to fall. The thick atmosphere took on a meditative rhythm, expressed in the soothing patter on lush late-summer vegetation. I was drawn to the large window overlooking...

The Tastes of Life Ceremony

I learned about the world of Ifa, the indigenous religion of the Yoruba people, from Oba Odumade, a babalawo from Nigeria. Oba was a traditional healer and diviner as well as a master drummer and ceremonial leader. I met him in Los Angeles in 1992 and remained his...

Transition Blanket

I created a Transition Blanket in preparation for my father's imminent death. To this day, this sacred object continues to bestow life-altering blessings on my entire family. I'm convinced that this divinely inspired gift is meant to reach far beyond my own family...

Learning from Listening to Bones

My friend Brenda collects bones and skulls that she finds.  She brings them home, cleans them, then makes sacred objects for her shamanic practice.  She has been making her own bone tools for years, just as shamanic practitioners have done through the...