Episode 8: The Role of the Shaman

What this is – Hello and welcome to the “The Shaman Podcast”

Speaker –        Mark A. Ashford

                        I am a Usui Tibetan Reiki Master and Teacher for IARP

                        I am a Registered Teacher and Practitioner for Canadian Reiki Association

                        Tibetan Shaman

Some of the other sources are:

So, let’s get to the subject of this Podcast…. Role of the Shaman

As Healer and Guide

The shaman is a healer. This is their principal role. 

They have access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits. To reach out to these spirits, they undertake a Soul Journey during which they are in an Altered State of Consciousness or trance. The trance is induced during a healing ritual that seeks to divine and understand the cause of a person’s illness and gather information from the spirits to allow the Shaman to heal the recipient.

Mongol shamanism had ninety-nine deities:

  1. Fifty-five of these deities were White, i.e. Beneficent for mankind. 
  2. Forty-four were Black, i.e. Terribles to all the evildoers of mankind and to the enemies of the Mongol Nation. 

In total they are the national gods of Mongol Shamanism. They were the Spirits of Ancestors of every clan, the souls of dead chieftains, shamans and shamanesses who during their life had devoted themselves to satisfying the requirements of the members of their clans and who in the World of Spirits should solve the difficulties in the life of the current members of their clans, commoners and nobles and even serfs.[1]

Black shamanism is a kind of shamanism practiced in Mongolia and Siberia. It is specifically opposed to yellow shamanism, which incorporates rituals and traditions from Buddhism. Black Shamans are usually perceived as working with evil spirits of the lower and Underworld, while white Shamans work benevolent spirits of the upper world.

The banners of both white and black shaman flew in Mongol tribal camps and were each guarded by white and black Lord Spirits of the Clan. Nobles of the clan would escort the banners during ceremonies and feasts.

As Oracle

Shaman were astrologers and Oracles. Everyone, especially tribal leaders wanted to know what the future would bring. Will it bring war, will they be successful in the struggle? Will crops and animal husbandry be successful. Will the tribe merge with another though marriage?

The history of the shaman in this role goes back into the very remote past long before the advent of Buddhism in Tibet in the 7th century. 

Historically, Oracles, divination and Astrology were a feature of Bon religion the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet.

Bon held the spirit or soul of the individual was a world or realm of energy which humans are able to contact. For example, humans are able to connect with physical things such as food, a chair, and other people. On the spiritual level they are able to connect at the psychic level with other spirits and those on the different levels of existence.

When the Buddhist Dharma appeared in Tibet, they were able to include the Bon world view into their own. The Buddhist world exists in three parts: one solid, one psychic and one mental. 

The change happened when the famous tantric master Guru Padmasambhava came to Tibet and tamed the subtle world – the deities of the Bonpos – and bound them under oath to obey and defend Buddhist teaching. These deities became protectors of the Buddhist faith and of Buddhist practitioners. They became Cho sung, protectors of the Dharma. According to Tibetan tradition, he tamed these beings through powerful mantras and spells which bound them to obey those who held the power of the spells.[2]

The deities are sentient beings. They are beings, just like people or animals and anyone else, but without a body. They also have a mind or spirit, and, a voice. Without a body they cannot communicate with those who communicate on a bodily level. So, they are samsaric beings. 

Samsara is the term for the everlasting cycle of being. It is the cycle of becoming and passing away, or the cycle of rebirths in the Indian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

As such, they are not higher gods, as we would understand the great gods of India or Tibet. They are gods linked to the land, mountains, lakes and to the geographical features. We could in a way say that mountains and lakes are their bodily aspect. They are the subtle aspect: the speech and mind aspect of mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes, especially mountains and lakes.

Providing Continuity

They provided continuity to the tribe and a reliable connection to the spirit world. In this way they were a communicator from the human physical world to the spirit world and back again.

They were an educator of people about the spirit world as well as about medicines and herbs and natural healing solutions. They kept the tribal stories, myths and essential tribal wisdom that made the tribe they belonged to different from another. 

They understood and passed down information about their trance states, how to induce them and how to control them. Their clothing, symbolic regalia and objects were passed down to enrich subsequent generations of shaman.

They are the keepers of tradition, ancient texts, books, and scripts as well as way things should be done. Songs, dances, music, and observance are also carried forward from shaman to shaman within the tribe. 

Shamans usually have expert knowledge of medicinal plants native to their area and often prescribed a herbal treatment. It is believed shamans learn directly from the plants, harnessing their effects and healing properties, after obtaining permission from the indwelling or patron spirits.[3]

The chieftains and nobles may change, but the shaman remains.

As Protector

One of a shaman’s main functions is to protect individuals from hostile supernatural influences. 

The shaman may act as psychopomp conducting the spirits of individuals who have just died to the proper refuge for dead spirits.

Psychopomp literally means “guide of souls” there are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. 

They do not judge the deceased, simply to guide them. Appearing frequently on funerary art, psychopomps have been depicted at different times and in different cultures as anthropomorphic entities, horses, deer, dogs, whip-poor-wills, ravens, crows, vultures, owls, sparrows and cuckoos. When seen as birds, they are often seen in huge masses, waiting outside the home of the dying.[4]

What next?

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[1] Ibid.

[2] Dr Fabian Sanders, “Tibetan Oracles and Himalayan Shamans.”

[3] Wikipedia, “Shamanism.”

[4] “Psychopomp.”

The Practical Shaman the Realms of the Shaman

Shamanism predates current day organized religions by tens of thousands of years. European cave paintings and carvings showing shaman date from the Paleolithic era. Graves of shamans, 12,000-year-old and older have been discovered in Israel and the Czech Republic.

Shamanism is an ancient spiritual path for awakening, raising consciousness, healing, divination and, in many cases, peace-making. All major healing systems have shamanism at their root, as do some of the major religious traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism still contains key shamanic principles.[1]

Shaman has no dogmas; it is a spiritual path of awakening. The Shaman seeks and experiences his or her personal communion with the sacred without an intermediary. The word Shaman, originates from the Tungus people of Siberia, and has been translated as ‘the one who sees’, ‘the one who knows’ and ‘the one who sees in the dark’. So, it is important to recognize Shamanism is not a religion it’s a spiritual path.

The Shaman sees and knows the essential truth about the nature of reality and the place of the human within that reality.
 Another key element that characterizes a shaman is that she/ he works under direct and conscious guidance of spirit teachers and other helpers, and if that factor isn’t present, it’s not shamanism.[2]

In pop culture, shaman may be: Gandalf in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Professor Dumbledore in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda in George Lucas’s Star Wars, or the Arthurian Merlin in Hollywood productions. This list speaks of the return of the shaman. 

This book is part of The Practical Shaman series, which includes broad introductions to shamans and shamanism and concentrates on the Soul, and the Spirit, together with the beliefs and rituals that surround both and why they differ.

The Reiki, Shamanism and the essential loving mysticism is complementary to our: 

  1. YouTube video series, “Reiki and Shamanism”, 
  2. “The Shaman Podcast” on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Tunine, Deezer, Pandora, and more. 

Together, these expand on Reiki and Reiki Energy and what means to be a shaman. Visit and subscribe to all of these as well as our blog, www.thepracticalshaman.ca.

[1] https://northerndrum.com/files/Shamanism.pdf, “Shamanism.”

[2] Ibid.

Remote Reiki and Shaman Value and Intention

Remote Reiki Value and Intention

The Remote Reiki and Shaman Value is direction of the healing energy of the universe. Reiki energy is a complete energy, there is nothing missing and nothing that must be owned or to achieve. It can be used anytime, anyplace for any condition. This vital flowing energy is the basis for the continuity of life, as we know it.

Tibetan Buddhism is also known as Vajrayana and tantra, these terms can be used interchangeably can be thought of as a mixture of Buddhism and shamanism, with the latter inherited partially from the shamanistic roots of Hinduism that were passed on into Buddhism, as explained above and merged with the native shamanism of Tibet, best represented by the Bon tradition. This rather remarkable combination created many of the unique features of Vajrayana and its dream yoga.[1]

Shamanism has a wholly different dynamic and one that is seen across the world. It has an extra-terrestrial origin. The principal purpose of the Shaman over the millennia was more than healing and guiding the soul of a dead person in their afterlife before they reincarnate, most important their purpose was to sustain communication between humanity on the earth and spirits, angels and guides in heaven above. 

In this way the Shaman helped bring humanity out of a crude animal like existence and made mankind aware of their consciousness. The fact that Shaman are depicted on cave paintings during the Palaeolithic period when humans were learning and making their first tools I don’t think is a coincidence. 

The Shaman was the first of all humans to bridge the gap between gods and ancestors on the heavenly plains or in the depths of darkness. The Shaman gained knowledge and provided tribes with someone they could turn to for healing and repair. But above all, the Shaman was someone they could turn to for answers when nothing else helped.

With Tibetan Buddhism being established in Tibet along with its monastic and written, Sanskrit, scripture-based practices, Shaman traditions were recorded and many centuries later became the “source code” Dr. Mikao Usui the founder of Reiki studied and learned from.

Like all Reiki practitioners and masters, I am a channel for the energy to flow into my clients. Since Reiki is working solely with energy, it is sometimes much easier to feel the energy flowing both for channeling Reiki energy and also for feeling blockages in chakras when hands are held a few inches away from the physical body as you are now working directly with the client’s energy.

If you have received Reiki energy before, you probably did so in a personal session with a Reiki practitioner. But this is the age of the Coronavirus, we are locked down, locked in, and practicing social distancing. And all of that without the need to be home to care and manage children and their home learning studies. Sickness does not recognise being in our homes for days at a time which may itself cause ailments related to being confined and having no social interactions to appear.

It might be possible to have an in-person Reiki session of the practitioner were six feet away, across the room rather than beside the treatment table. But we still have to deal with restrictions on travel, and other constraints to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. 

An easier way to receive a Reiki treatment would be to have a remote treatment where you do not have to leave your home.

As a Reiki practitioner, I invite the angels and guides of a client to join with mine to start the session which is protected by the Archangel Michael form influence and interference by other energies that might disrupt the session.

The focus of the remote session is on the client’s wellbeing and what I sense through the connection. In cases of injury or recovery from surgery, bringing Reiki energy to the client to speed up healing speeds up recovery and improves the overall feeling of wellness in the client. 

Most recently, after a replacement knee surgery, I saw the client report faster healing, flexibility and mobility. A client with cataract surgery, also recovering and being in much higher spirits as a result. Another client going through cancer treatments, reported a reduction in physical stress and feeling a reduction in stress and physical strain. 

In this era of the coronavirus and our seclusion, Reiki can help with maladies that appear when we are secluded beyond the time we would voluntarily do so ourselves; depression, headaches, loneliness, confusion, anger, frustration, worry. Some or all of these maladies can manifest physically creating high levels of tension and stress in the neck and shoulders going all the way down the back into the hips.

The Remote Reiki session includes helping and guiding the release of tensions and troubles as well as its physical conditions. To help with release of stress and emotional challenges caused by self-isolation, as well as other physical illnesses, book a remote Reiki session at https://markaashfordconsultinginc.simplybook.me/v2/#

Seal of The International Association of Reiki Practitioners
Seal of The International Association of Reiki Practitioners

[1] “Tibetan Dream Yoga – Integraldeeplistening,” accessed September 14, 2018, https://www.integraldeeplistening.com/tibetan-dream-yoga/.

The Practical Shaman – Reincarnation

The Practical Shaman - reincarnation book cover

Shamanism is the oldest religion on the planet! 

In terms of human existence, it predates current day organized religions by tens of thousands of years. European cave paintings and carvings showing a shaman date from the Paleolithic era. Graves of shaman 12,000-year-old and older have been discovered in Israel and the Czech Republic.

Shamans have played an essential role in the defense of the psychic integrity of their community for thousands of years. Shaman are pre-eminently the antidemonic champions; they combat demons and disease, but also black magicians… In a general way, it can be said that shamanism defends life, health, fertility [and] the world of ‘light’, against death, diseases, sterility, disaster and the world of ‘darkness’… What is fundamental and universal is the shamans struggle against what we could call the ‘powers of evil. Shamans are not only able to foresee the future, but can change the outcome. As an example, shamans can find out where food or game is located for the community, or averting threats to the community. This is a vital difference between shamanism and clairvoyance.[1]

This book is part of The Practical Shaman series, books 1 and 2 are broad introductions into shamans and shamanism. This book concentrates on reincarnation and the beliefs and rituals that surround the soul. This book is connected to The Shaman Podcast – Episode 2, Reincarnation.

The Reiki, Shamanism and the essential loving mysticism is complementary to our: 

  • YouTube video series, “Reiki with Candice, Mark and Opame”, 
  • The Shaman Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Tunine, Deezer and more. 
  • https://thepracticalshaman.ca/2020/02/05/the-shaman-podcast-episode-1/
  • Visit https://markaashfordconsultinginc.simplybook.me/v2/# to book a remote Reiki energy healing session

Together, these expand on Reiki and Reiki Energy Healing as well as what means to be a shaman.

Visit and subscribe to all of these as well as our blog, www.thepracticalshaman.ca.


Mark Ashford, MSc,

Usui Tibetan Reiki Master and Teacher


eBook Version:

PaperBack book version

International's Association of Reiki Professionals Seall
International Association of Reiki Practitioners Seal of Membership

The Shaman Podcast: Episode 1

Speaker –        Mark A. Ashford

                        Usui Tibetan Reiki Master and Teacher

What this is – This is the inaugural episode of “The Shaman Podcast”

When will this show appear – Monthly

What will we talk about? – 

  1. Shamanism
  2. Reiki – Reiki energy healing, especially the lineage I follow originated in Tibet, in Shamanistic practices that were recorded in Tibetan Buddhist Texts and practices that from the 8th century onward.

Media – 

  1. This Podcast is one of several media available to you to help you understand and develop your awareness of energy healing and practices, history, tradition and a little anthropology. 

The others are:

  1. YouTube videos – “Reiki with Candice, Mark, and Opame” – Candice and Opame are two of my guides.
  2. Books – eBooks and Paperback books – in full colour available on Amazon.ca Search for Mark A. Ashford
  3. The blog at ThePracticalShaman.ca

 Let’s Look at what was posted today:

  1. Clearing your Space

Your space can be anywhere you spend time and over which you have control.

  1. Your home
  2. Your Car
  3. Your Office

Why do we have to clear our space?

The short answer is “Energy Attachment”

Our physical body is a container for our soul our spirit which moves form life to life gathering knowledge and understanding and also merit, merit being the final sum of our good and bad deeds done through this existence.

Not all souls and spirits pass over into the next life completely or sometimes not at all. They remain as non-caporal entities on this plain. They attach themselves to sources of energy, that is you and me, and especially those of us with the clear and bright energy aura.

We may encounter them on a train, the subway, on a bus, walking the streets, in a restaurant, at the mall, anywhere. They come home with us and stay in our homes where it is nice and warm and comfortable and where we provide them with energy.

To detach and clear these souls and spirits out of our life, and our home, we need to clear out space.

The traditional way is to:

  1. Ask Archangel Michael for protection as we are clearing our space. This is important because some of the souls and spirits may be “dark and lower energies.” If there are pets and other people in the space, these need protection from the Archangel as well.
  2. Light a smudge wand let it start burning and the blow out the flames so it glows, smolder’s, and gives off sage smoke.
  3. In each room of the house, starting from the highest point in the home use the smudge wand to draw the following symbol:
    1. Open a window for spirits and souls to leave your space.
    1. Draw a square. 
    1. Start at the lower left corner, draw across to the bottom right corner, draw up to the top right corner, across to the upper left corner. Then back down to the bottom left.
    1. Draw an “X” starting from the top left corner, draw down towards the bottom right, and then from the top right corner, down to the bottom left.
    1. While you are drawing this symbol announce your intention:

“All beings of light and love only.”

“Lower energies do not belong here. You! Must leave.”

  1. You will need to do this in each corner of the room as well as blowing smoke under the bed, in closets, in cupboards, in all hallways, basements, bathrooms, drawers.
    1. Your space need to ne saturated with sage smoke and your intention.

Then leave and take a walk for about 45 minutes.

Of course, places that are shared such as a bus or train, your office space etc. cannot be smudged. But…

I work with my guides to clear a shared space or maybe just the space around me.

When I get home – from anywhere – the gas station, the mall, the grocery store, the corner store, a neighbour’s house… anywhere. I ask Archangel Michael to cut and destroy any energy cords, etheric cords, or attachments from my soul, spirit, aura, physical self, or my chakras. I include pets in my request for his intervention. They can attract energy attachments as well and need our loving care in this context as well.


I hope this podcast has been informative and interesting. Please, subscribe to the Podcast so you receive future episodes and check out our other materials to help in understanding Shamanism, Reiki and energy healing.

Bye for now.

I look forward to seeing you in the next Episode.


Merit is a fundamental notion in Buddhist ethics. It is a beneficial and protective force which accumulates because of good deeds, acts, or thoughts. Merit making is important to Buddhist practice: merit brings good and agreeable results, determines the quality of the next life and contributes to a person’s growth towards enlightenment. In addition, merit is also shared with a deceased loved one, to help the deceased in their new existence. 

Despite modernization, merit-making remains essential in traditional Buddhist countries and has had a significant impact on the rural economies in these countries. [2] The opposite of Merit is Demerit. Demerit brings retribution, and weakens the merit already accumulated. A mixture of the two generates mixed results in a person’s life.

In the world of a shamanism, the soul or spirit may not go immediately to the next physical form. They may linger for some reason in the current world as a non-physical essence and may attach themselves to a physical person and if malevolent, the soul may hurt or damage the physical person they have attached to. The soul damage manifests itself as illness, or even cause the physical person to do harm to others.

Mt. Kailash is sacred to other religions as well. The Jains call the mountain Astapada and believe it to be the place where Rishaba, the first of the twenty-four Tirthankaras attained liberation.

In hopes of gaining extra merit or psychic powers however, some pilgrims will vary the tempo of their movement. A hardy few, practicing a secret breathing technique known as Lung-gom, will power themselves around the mountain in only one day. Others will take two to three weeks for the Kora by making full body prostrations the entire way. It is believed that a pilgrim who completes 108 journeys around the mountain is assured enlightenment. Most pilgrims to Kailash will also take a short plunge in the nearby, highly sacred (and very cold) Lake Manosaravar. The word ‘manas’ means mind or consciousness; the name Manosaravar means Lake of Consciousness and Enlightenment. Adjacent to Manosaravar is Rakas Tal or Rakshas, the Lake of Demons. Pilgrimage to this great sacred mountain and these two magical lakes is a life changing experience and an opportunity to view some of the most magical scenery on the entire planet.

From: The Practical Shaman:

The Practical Shaman

Shamans and Shamanism is the oldest religion on the planet! 

In this eBook available on Amazon Kindle, we explore the history and heritage of Shamanism in Tibet and other parts of the world.

Get this book to start your journey into understanding the religion that predates all organized religion and practices. Learn why a Medicine Man is not a Shaman, why a Witch Doctor is not a Shaman, and much more.

This is our heritage, all of our heritage