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My name is Omanisa. I’m an Australian spiritual mentor, naturopath and visionary artist.
My country is Mparntwe (pronounced m’barn-twa), a place called Alice Springs, beautiful desert country in central Australia. This is where I was born and grew up, in country owned and cared for by the Arrernte (pronounced a·ruhn·duh) people, the traditional owners of this land.
For most of my adult life I have been living in Larrakia country, also known as
Darwin, on the tropical coast of northern Australia. This is where my children grew up, in country owned and cared for by First Nations Larrakia people.
This module is the first in my Spirit Medicine training course which I designed as a way to pass on the knowledge I have gathered from a lifetime of practice as a healer and psychic. Spirit Medicine blends ancient shamanic practice with modern creative therapies, mindfulness, meditation, visualisation and naturopathy. Spirit Medicine practitioners are modern day shamans!
Shamanism is a nature-based spiritual practice informed by the deep wisdom of indigenous cultures world-wide. When my youngest child went to university to study theatre, she was taught that theatre has its roots in shamanism. Modern theatre evolved out of the ceremonial dancing, singing, acting and story-telling that shamans and shamanic communities use for healing, spiritual connection and the sharing of spirit-wisdom. Shamanism is a deeply creative approach to healing, counselling and spiritual mentoring that often appeals to artistic, open-minded, nature-loving people like myself, especially those who have a natural gift for entering trance states.
In this first module, I’d like to share with you a little about my story and give you some insights into shamanism and the other modules available throughout this course.
CAUTION: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this module contains images of people who have died.
Lesson One – “WHAT IS A SHAMAN?”
All indigenous cultures throughout history have had a strong spiritual connection with nature, and most (if not all) of these cultures had at least one person in their clan, tribe or village with an extra-special connection who functioned as the priest, counsellor and doctor, all rolled into one. They were nature-doctors who worked with natural/herbal medicines, and magic users with a gift for going into trance states to communicate with the spirit realm on behalf of others. For the most part, these people were responsible for helping their broader community maintain a respectful, balanced spiritual connection with the natural world around them and the spirit realm.
In modern times, we tend to refer to these people collectively as “Shamans” and to their practise as “Shamanism”, but this terminology has been borrowed from Siberia: in actual fact, every culture has (or had) its own unique words to describe these spiritual practitioners and what they do. Many of these indigenous cultures and the traditional practises they follow have died out. Of the ones that are left, there aren’t many “shamans” still practising, nor new ones being trained. Old ways are dying out, and with them, many people have lost their spiritual connection with Nature. The decline of traditional nature-based spiritual practises have come about due to modern, organised religion suppressing and oppressing traditional nature-based spiritual practises; modern science/medicine showing disdain/disrespect for traditional approaches to medicine; and the influence of modern social values and social structures based on money and materialism.
All of us have ancestral roots that go back to one or more indigenous culture if we go back far enough, and it’s my sense that instinctual shamanic wisdom is hard-wired into all of our DNA at a really deep level. Having said that, some of us feel a stronger calling than others; some of us were raised closer to Nature than others; and some of us had elders who taught or encouraged a spiritual connection with Nature. My personal definition of a modern shaman is someone with a nature-based spiritual practise who can easily access altered states of consciousness to communicate with Spirit.
A shaman is a religious specialist but, unlike a priest, a shaman does not belong to a Church. Personal mystical experience forms the basis of the shaman’s spiritual knowledge such as healing, protecting through magic, and offering spiritual guidance. The term originally comes from Siberia but anthropologists have used it to describe certain individuals in cultures all round the world.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
What does shamanism mean to you?
As a teacher, I’m always searching for that meeting place between teaching core skills and principles while teasing up to the surface each student’s uniqueness, their gifts and skills, their wisdom and the essence of who they are as a healer or psychic counsellor. I also know that my students are my teachers, and teachers for each other. For this reason, I have lots of quotes from students about what shamanism means for them, and I thought you might enjoy reading them as much as we did.
“For me it’s also about recognising that every element of the universe has equal value and works in a holistic system of cause and effect to create balance. It’s honouring the wisdom of the physical environment and spiritual spheres. Shamanic practices have been perfected by indigenous cultures over millennia as a way of connecting to these spirits and elements. For my personal practice, I draw on Mother Earth, elementals and spirit guides, knowledge and rituals from my ancestors, past and contemporary teachers. I don’t think that there is a one size fits all approach to shamanism, rather it’s all about your intent for your practice.” Debby M
“For me it is a deep connection with all that is, in all realms and all aspects. Everything else falls into place when we see all as equals sharing the experiences of the journey. It is a circular process. As I forge the connection, be it gathering herbs, offerings of tobacco, journey to other realms or places in this world, the connection deepens my ability to have these rich shamanic experiences. Then I see through a different set of eyes.” Katie R
“My own version of shamanism seems to be evolving over time as I connect more and more with nature. Random things like bird calls, cloud formations, a glimpse of the moon, the ‘feel’ of the weather catch my attention and from there I seem to get insights and access wisdom if I stop what I’m doing and tune in. I love it! I’m feeling my way so your course is perfect timing.” Jenny E
“The return to Nature as balance—understanding the creative cycles as both destruction and creation on the microcosm (ourselves, our bodies) and the microcosm (world systems) is very healing. It’s where we are able to find the calm, neutrality, harmony, and compassion that allows us to truly create what is most important to us. It is here that there is no “us vs them” only stillness.” Shirley S
Please share what shamanism means to you…
Lesson Two – “BECOMING A SHAMAN”
How does a shaman become a shaman?
Traditionally, this has varied from one culture/tradition/time to another. In some cultures, you are marked for this path if you’re born on a special day, you’re the seventh son/daughter of a seventh son/daughter (or such like), there were special ‘portents’/signs that occurred at your time of birth or your bear a certain kind of birthmark etc. Some are chosen by a predecessor or their village, clan, tribe or community based on a sign, the person’s behaviour/appearance, or an event etc, and put through shamanic training whether they like it or not (ie it’s not always by choice).
In modern times, non-traditional shamans are either self/spirit-taught or they study courses on shamanism (a mix of both is very common). Their training is usually influenced or shaped by traditions drawn from various cultures around the world. The ‘calling’ can include near-death experiences and/or brushes with insanity, sudden spiritual awakenings or psychic experiences, and/or having a gift for going into trance states.
In other words, you yourself can decide to become a shaman and commit yourself to this path. If you feel a calling and act on this in a focused, diligent, determined and disciplined manner, the perfect teachers will come. But do remember, this is a serious commitment to make and may necessitate some sacrifices. For example, what ‘other life’ are you giving up to pursue this one?
I was born into a family with a deep love and respect for Nature and Australian indigenous culture and I have indigenous family members. My parents were hippies influenced by 70’s eastern spirituality, especially Indian culture, which might be why chakras feel like home for me! For a few years on and off in my toddler years, we lived off-grid in a rainforest in Tasmania in a big tent filled with Indian wallhangings and Persian rugs. We were part of a collective trying to protect the rainforest from logging and this land (called Lothlorian by its carers) is still being protected today, while pockets of land all around it are clear-felled every few years.
Without any children living nearby to play with, I bonded with the natural world around me and the giant leatherwood trees became my best friends. Even after returning to live in Alice for my schooling, my empathic love for Nature never waned and the rich imagination I’d cultivated in Lothlorian continued to build and grow. Looking back, I can see how my upbringing helped to shape and foster my natural gift for going into trance.
At the age of 14, I began researching and educating myself about shamanism, meditation and creative visualisation, after discovering writers such as Carlos Castaneda and Lynn V. Andrews. Two years later, a visiting American Indian shaman took me on a vision-quest, an American Indian rite of passage that helps a young person connect with Nature, develop survival skills and maturity, and find their purpose in life, their role in a community, how they may best serve their people.
A lot of modern shamanism focuses on using plant medicines such as Ayahuasca to induce altered states of consciousness but my teacher opted instead to use ceremonies such as a sweat lodge meditation with drumming, along with fasting and sleep deprivation. I stayed awake all night sitting in a sleeping bag in a dry sandy river bed in central Australia and my vision came with the dawn. This was when I discovered my calling to work with colour as a visionary artist and healer. It was my first “Rainbow Shaman” initiation, an attunement that opened my third eye and helped me see Rainbow Ki, the energy of the human aura.
Having spider as my power animal marks me as a writer. In some cultures, spiders are said to have taught humans the alphabet, their web-weaving skills being associated with the patterns formed when we write words. (We’ll be exploring the concept of spirit guides further in Level Two of Spirit Medicine with Om.)
8 years later, after having moved to Darwin and become a mother, I began working as an energy healer and enrolled in naturopathy. My spiritual mentor at the time was a Larrakia woman who introduced me to my spirit guides, one of whom was Gaia (Mother Nature). Together, my mentor and Gaia gave me my second shamanic initiation. Two years later, with help from my spirit guides, I began sketching and reading people’s auras (their energy/Ki).
In 2003, I graduated and entered private practice as a naturopath, working alongside a psychologist who mentored my Aura Sketching during my studies to help me develop my spiritual counselling skills.
Over the past two decades, I’ve gradually merged my energy work and naturopathic practice together. At the core of all of it is my relationship with Ki (energy) and Spirit, especially Gaia (Nature/the land). As a herbalist and nature-spirit medium, I love working with the subtle Ki/energy of plants.
Is Shamanism calling you?
Here’s a sharing from one of my apprentices, about the childhood experiences that set the stage for a calling to shamanic practice that she is now passing onto her children.
Shamanism is calling our soul to listen deeply and work with nature. As a young child growing up in the Kimberleys I would always climb and sit with the boab trees. The mountains would talk to me and I would spend a lot of time in caves, climbing and cleansing in the wet season waterfalls. I was always at home in the bush or at sea. I understand now that spirit took me to many sacred sites through out my life to learn how to connect to the ancient wisdom. Through my work I am able to weave in aspects of shamanism into my daily life. I feel blessed I have beautiful children I can teach them shamanism and how important it is to live in nature and look after our beautiful mother earth
Spirit Guide Package
Deciding who your power animal is… now that’s a very personal thing. It’s something I help my apprentices discover for themselves after developing the skills needed to do so.
Most people just have one power animal, but we can have many animal spirit guides. If you would like to know who from the animal spirit kingdom is watching over you and guiding you at this time, you can ask me to tune in, sketch your guide for you and convey the visions and conversations I have with your guide about how they are helping you and what they are helping you with.
Here are some of the animal spirit guides I have sketched for clients and family over the years.
If you would like to apply to go on the waiting list, please send me a message!
Lesson Three – “THE SHAMANIC PERSONALITY”
Here’s an Aura Sketch featuring classic shamanic aura colours. Each colour represents specific personality traits. I’m going to describe these traits to you because I’m hoping you might see yourself in these shamanic descriptions, even if it’s only in a small way. Alternatively, might find yourself admiring the shamanic persona and wanting to become this kind of person. If you feel either of these things, the shaman’s path may well be calling you.
Your Shamanic Aura
If you are interested in finding out about your aura and what shamanic colours you have, you are welcome to book in for an Aura Sketch and Reading.
For those who are interested in studying further with me, or becoming an apprentice, this is the perfect way to start!
Ask me about your shamanic identity and we can traverse your aura and your soul’s history: who have you been before and what are your unique shamanic gifts, skills and potentials?
Lesson Four – “THE SHAMANIC VISIONARY STATE”
As a Spirit Medicine practitioner, a shaman, I specialise in being able to enter slightly altered states of consciousness, trance or visionary states that put me in contact with the spirit realm so I can access higher guidance, information, and healing energy. These three terms, “altered state of consciousness”, “trance state” and “visionary state” all mean the same thing and are phrases I will use interchangeably throughout this module and the Spirit Medicine training as a whole.
These shifts in awareness are the bridge that carries me from normal everyday reality into the spirit realm, or to say this more correctly, into an awareness of the spirit realm. In the next module, we’ll delve further into what the spirit realm is, but I want to drop a preliminary note here, plant a little seed to stir your thoughts, and say that the spirit realm isn’t just accessed via an altered state of consciousness, we could go so far as to say the spirit realm is an altered state of consciousness: state and realm are indivisible.
When I’m in the shamanic visionary state, I see, feel, hear and know things that I cant see, feel, hear, or know whilst in a normal waking state of consciousness. This is where I go when I’m sketching the aura, reading oracle cards, doing a healing, reading a past life, or talking with spirit guides and the spirit of those who have passed. While the word ‘vision’ is a good one to describe this state, it definitely isn’t just about ‘seeing’.
Gaian Healing Attunement
This is the shamanic healing modality taught to me by my spirit guide Gaia. Together during this healing Gaia and I will heighten your connection & access to nature’s healing energies.
There there are two levels of attunement. The first healing attunement clears, strengthens & aligns channels conducting Ki flow from your earth chakra to the hand chakras, to awaken buried gifts & skills.
The second attunement brings the Gaian energy up to the third eye, enhancing clarity, clairvoyancy, and your ability to see the bigger picture.
Lesson Five – “THE THREE LEVELS OF REALITY”
Level One Reality
- Everything is separate from everything else
- Everything has a beginning and an ending
- Everything that happens has a cause
Level Two Reality
Level Two is all about energy and energy fields.
On Level Two, everything is energy/Ki and the assumptions being made are very different to those in Level One:
- Everything is connected to everything else
- There are no endings and beginnings
- All time exists at once
Level Three Reality
- Everything is symbolic
- Everything is part of a pattern
- Everything is what you think it means
This free module is the first in a series of 8 modules in Spirit Medicine Self-Care.
Spirit Medicine Self-Care introduces the core concepts of Spirit Medicine and teaches you how to heal yourself using Spirit Medicine, as per my mantra, “self-care comes first”. Before reaching out to support others, we must first support ourselves.
Here’s an insight into the latest pricing on offers. (I know I personally don’t like it when this isn’t made clear up front!) This is in Australian dollars. The start date depends on demand: when I have enough expressions of interest, we will begin!
The Casual Study option is a series of self-paced, online self-study modules for casual students who don’t want to become apprentices.
There are no deadlines, you can work at your own pace in your own time, you don’t have to show up to classes and you don’t need to submit assignments.
Spirit Medicine Self-Care is Level One of the Apprenticeship Program. It runs for two months and the next intake is in Feb-March 2022. This is the perfect option for you if you would to experience a more immersive learning journey with me and you enjoy connecting with like-minded others. The apprenticeship gives you four private coaching sessions with me, including an Aura Sketch and Reading so we can assess your unique skill-set and meet your spirit guides. Depending on whether you opt for the Basic or Full Package, you’ll also have access to one or more weekly online Zoom classes with replays are available if you miss them.
Graduates have the option of doing further study with me throughout the year.
The full apprenticeship consists of three courses, and each one is a pre-requisite for the one that follows. Each course of study lasts runs 2 months, with a two month rest before the next one starts. This allows time for catching up if you fall behind.
In this Module, we learn about Ki, the energy realm of Level Two Reality. Topics include Ki, White Light, the Aura, Yin & Yang, Chakras and the I Ching.
Learn about the psyche, the Hawaiian shamanic model for the Soul, and the 6 psychic senses and how they are used to communicate with Ki. These skills provide a firm foundation for communicating with spirit (eg angels, animal guides, etc) in Level Two.
Self-care comes first. Spiritual mindfulness helps us practice us core skills as sensitives, psychics, healers, shamans and build awareness while ensuring we stay safe and balanced. Learn about centering, grounding, clearing, connection and boundaries.
Centering is the most important key to managing our Ki energy. Learn how to centre yourself using a range of skills, including “Sanctuary”. The core foundation in staying safe while traversing the visionary realms, is grounding. Shaman’s walk with a foot in both worlds, and one foot is always firmly anchored in Level One Reality!
Now we learn how to access Sanctuary in Level Three Reality. This module includes training in regards to dream-work with both night-dreams and visionary shamanic daydreams.
Healthy Ki is flowing Ki. In this module, we learn about energy blockages and how to clear them.
Learn about psychic protection and healthy boundaries to protect your Ki and keep it healthy.