The Five Spiritual Elements in Tibetan Shamanism

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

  • This Podcast is one of several media available to you to help you understand and develop your awareness of energy healing practices, its history, and traditions. 

Some of the other sources are:

  • YouTube videos – “Reiki and Shamanism”
  • Books – in full color available on 
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  • Blogs on Reiki and Shamanism
  • Click the link at the end for more information on our Social media and more…

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

Today, we are talking about Five Spiritual Elements in Tibetan Shamanism

The five elements in Tibetan Shamanism are space, air, fire, water and earth. In Tibetan philosophy, these elements are symbols of the fundamental forces that compose all phenomenal appearance. These elements create an organized system and are also central to Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibetan prayer flags are bright and beautiful, but their colours aren’t just for show. Each hue signifies an element — and the flags are always arranged in a specific order, from left to right: blue, white, red, green, yellow. Blue represents the sky, white represents the air, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. All five colours together signify balance.[1]

Tibetan Shamanism: ElementsColours
Space / SkyBlue

A person is a blend of these elements, and to be truly healthy, the energies in these elements need to be balanced within the person.

These five elements – space, air, fire, water, and earth – are symbolic of the fundamental forces that are integral to all phenomena. As the body is developing in the womb, earth provides support, water provides cohesion, fire causes maturing, wind and air cause development, and consciousness, the element of space, provides spaciousness to form the body.

In Tibetan Buddhism and in Tibetan culture, life is seen through these five elements, which continually increase and decrease in relation to one another. This view forms the basis of medicine, astrology, the calendar, and psychology, and it underlies Tibetan traditions of shamanism, tantra, and Dzogchen.


The earth element is the densest expression in form, the most materially present, and is related to qualities of stability, hardness and heaviness. 

To meditate and connect with Earth find a place where you can be quiet and sit. 

For myself. This is a favourite bench close to a large lake. The lake will speak to the element of water which comes later. In the warm weather I will be wearing sandals and I will take them off and allow my feet to rest on the ground.

Clear your mind of all worries and try to shut out or simply ignore people and even animals around you. Connect and draw from the earth energy under your feet. I found that even in the cooler fall weather, the ground was “warm” to my bare feet. I also found that pains I had felt in my feet and lower legs went away and stayed away.

This connection to the earth is also known as a grounding exercise. You are grounding yourself and your psyche to something solid, the earth element. 

If you are unable to find a suitable place to connect with earth, if you have plant pots in which plants are growing, rest your finger tips or your hands on the earth and concentrate on how it feels. 

Earth element is stable. Always stable. If you are annoyed or angry at something or someone, focus on the stability of earth element to reduce and eliminate your anger.


In my earth exercise I sat next to a large body of water, without knowing it, I was completing the water exercise at the same time.

While I was fortunate to be close to a large lake, the water in your bath, your shower, or the water you drink. All will help you feel and understand the water element.

Water, even a glass of water has enormous power and potential. It may be cool; it may be warm. It is deep, and peaceful until agitated by a spoon stirring your glass.

Water is the beginning of cohesive form; it is fluid and takes on the shape of any vessel it is in. Place drops of water close to each other on a flat surface, a little movement and the drops will come together and effortlessly combine. 

There is no struggle, one drop does not negotiate with another as to whether they should combine or not. Two drops simply become one. 

Your body is mostly water, connect with the element water, especially that in your own body. If you are in your bath or under your shower, feel how comforting and relaxing it is. If you swim, it will hold you up.

If you are angry or frustrated. Slow down and relax. Let the element of water remove your tensions and take them away. It is comforting, and like earth, it brings stability to you. Be like the water in the container, quiet and passive, allowing the situation to flow over you.


The place where I sit, the place that shows off the consistency and strength of earth and water also happens to be a very sunny place. I can sit there, close my eyes, feel the earth and listen to the water while the warmth of the sun beams down on me.

In winter, sit before a fire place with a fire burning, if you can. If you cannot burn fuel, a stove, a heater, even your oven while you are cooking is giving off fiery heat – careful not to burn yourself!

Concentrate on the feeling of heat on your face, arms, legs etc. bring the feeling of heat into your body, through the blood, it flows around the muscles, sinews, ligaments and organs.

In your psyche, fire helps your grow by ripening and maturing your thoughts and feelings. It burns negatives and negativity. Fire speaks to creativity and energetic achievement. Typing on a computer speaks to fire! It brings reality and new interesting things into being.

Fire is also related to digestion and nourishment the result of which creates the fuel to help your muscles move and stay strong.

If you feel dull, uninspired, listless or unmotivated. Think of the energy of the fire element and bring it into your body, into your limbs and your intention. 


Air is flow, movement strength and force. A strong wind that really has no substance can blow over a strong tall tree as well as a building if it is not built well or insecure.

Again, by the lake where I experience earth, water, and fire, I can also feel wind on my face. It is moving unseen and unheard from the water to the land and yet I feel and sense it. 

Think of anger, discomfort, fear, unhappiness, even minor illness such as a headache. Negative thoughts and fears. Those thoughts and fears will make you unhappy, feel down or depressed. Let the wind blow those away and leave your psyche clean and clear, and refreshed.

Air drives sailboats and planes fly on it, and in it. So, do birds and the scent of flowers and seeds seeking a new home in the earth in which to grow. 

Air is freedom, flexibility, ease. Let it lift your spirits with the energy and freedom it offers.

Think of air and its ease and internalise it, when you are in a situation that is constricting, limiting, think of air and let it blow those things away and lift your mood and your intention.


Space is above our heads, we can look up on a clear night and see the stars, the moon, and the space between the stars. Let yourself be open to the wonder you are seeing and relax. Let the infinity of the space you are looking at come into your being and give you a sense of limitlessness.

Space – opens any tight, constricted places inside of you and dissolves away worries. The more and more you integrate with space, the more you are open to opportunities and the bigger your horizons become, you feel less limited or confined.

When you concentrate on space your mind is clearer, less cluttered and more energetic. You have less tension; you feel less disrupted. You can sit back and see the big picture and at the same time, seize the opportunities coming to you because you have more space to accommodate them.

Imbalance of elements

Imbalance can manifest itself in the physical dimension. A person with too much earth might be fat or overweight. They may feel devoid of energy and be lazy, dull or depressed. 

They maybe forgetful, slow, or have very little progression in their personal or spiritual development.

The imbalance of the elements from the Dzogchen perspective is subtler. A person may lack stability in meditation, lack awareness of their connection to the base, lack concentration, lack understanding of sunyata.

Maybe a person is very unbalanced in a sense of the elements in Dzogchen, but he or she might not notice it because there’s nothing particularly wrong physically or psychologically.

If you often feel confused or encounter problems, it may be a lack of stabilizing earth. A lack of creativity means you are lacking fire. A lack of openness if you feel as if life is stopping you from speaking up is a lack of space. Someone who is inflexible lacks air. 

What next?

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[1] “Prayer Flag.”

Mark is a Registered Reiki Teacher and Practitioner

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The Shaman Podcast – What is Karma?

Speaker –        Mark A. Ashford

                        Usui Tibetan Reiki Master and Teacher and


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

In this Podcast we talk about – 

  • Shamanism
  • Reiki – Reiki energy healing, especially the lineage I follow originated in Tibet
  • And everything else that is related

Media – 

  • This Podcast is one of several media available to you to help you understand and develop your awareness of energy healing practices, history, and traditions. 

The other sources are:

  • YouTube videos – “Reiki with Candice, Mark, and Opame” – Candice and Opame are two of my guides.
  • Books – eBooks and Paperback books – in full color available on 
  • Online courses at
  • A blog at

Today we are talking about – Karma

Karma originates from the Indian word Karmen.

It has great significance in very many religions around the world. But in the west, we are used to thinking of it in terms of someone who has done something that deserves the same as what they have done to us in return.

A friend of mine came out of a fitness class to find the driver’s door on her Mercedes had been keyed. Someone had walked past the car in the parking lot, and used a car key to scratch the door as they walked past. The door would have to be repainted, which costs money and she would be without the car for several days. Her reaction was “What goes around, comes around.” Meaning she hoped the same would happen to the person who did this to her.

When we say, “What goes around, comes around,” we unwittingly imply there is something, a force, an entity, or energy that will judge the perpetrator for what has happened and apply something equal to them. We do not know when, or if, and we don’t care to be there when it does. We just hope that it happens.

This means we think of Karma operating by the law of cause and effect, action and reaction, it governs all life and living things. If an individual sows’ goodness, he or she will reap goodness; if one sows evil, he or she will reap evil. Something like an Excel worksheet with one column for Good and one column for Bad. 

In many religions Karma has a much bigger role to play, and there are different forms of Karma.

Let’s dig in!

Karma has suffered a chronic miss-association with the word fate, or destiny. 

Fate is a Western idea, derived largely from the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It means, with wide variation, that one’s life has been set by agencies outside oneself, and as a result we are helpless to change anything in it. We simply go from birth to death with a belief that something is supposed to be happening as decided by a power, which is greater than our self. 

We all have free will but what type is it? Is it absolutely free? 

No, there are restraints on our fee will, we cannot do whatever we want. As a scuba diver, I had to wear a lot of gear in order to descend to even modest depths and could stay down for a limited amount of time. The physical limitations were real and had to be respected, no matter what I wanted to do.

No Free will.

According to fatalism, we cannot choose to do anything, everything we do is predestined, and our feeling of being free to choose something other than what is preordained is an illusion. Fatalism is impossible to prove, but it’s also impossible to disprove, because a fatalist would say that whatever we do or say to try to disprove fatalism is itself determined by fate![1]

Limited Free will.

This is it! 

I may not be able to breathe underwater like a fish, but I do have free will to learn the skills and understand the equipment that will allow me, for a limited time, to exist underwater. That limited amount of free will includes what is necessary to challenge my mental and psychological prohibitions against opening my mouth and trying to breathe underwater.

Karma works to develop our ability to handle free will responsibly. [2]

Karma is not like that Excel worksheet, there is no netting out of the Good and Bad columns, a good deed does not offset a bad deed. And, you cannot show a “profit” on the Karmic balance sheet by doing a lot of good things while also doing the bad.

It is the consequences of Good, and Bad karmic actions that our soul is here to experience and learn from. Learning from the consequences of good karmic actions as well as from bad is the take away message. Good karmic actions give rise to good experiences and consequences. Bad karmic actions give rise to bad experiences and consequences. It is what we learn from the consequences, good or bad that is important. 

Different types of Karma.

The process of action and reaction on all levels — physical, mental and spiritual – is karma. God does not give us karma. We create our own. Karma is not fate; humans are believed to act with free will creating their own destinies according to the Vedas,[3] a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India.

Let’s refine Karma a little by bringing in the intention of our actions. 

If I punch you in the arm and hurt you but it is accidental, the effect on my karma will be less than if I had punched you with the intention of hurting you. 

At the same time, your karma is affected because you trusted me and did not anticipate or accept that receiving a punch in the arm is acceptable. The break in your trust that I will not punch you is your karma, the intention to hurt you and the action are mine.

Now to the two different forms of Karma.

The first is what we call “fruit bearing.” This is, what you sow, you reap, either immediately, or a short while after. 

The other type of Karma is accumulative. 

The philosophy of karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in many schools of Indian religions particularly Hinduism[4], Buddhism[5], Jainism[6] and Sikhism[7] as well as Taoism[8]. In these schools, karma is in the present, it affects one’s future not just in what remains of your current life, but also the nature and quality of future lives into which you are born – that is one’s samsara.[9] [10] This means our good and bad actions accumulate from life time to life time and at each rebirth, the balance, not the net value of good and bad affects the type of rebirth we have.

This means that events in our lives are not only the result of the karmic balance in this life, but also actions from previous lives. This explains why sometimes there is a disconnect between our actions and consequences, why bad people seem to enjoy success and prosperity, while good people suffer despite their best actions and intentions.

I mentioned before that Karma is associated with rebirth and reincarnation in religions such as Hinduism[11], Buddhism[12], Jainism[13] and Sikhism[14] as well as Taoism.[15]

Abrahamic religions such as Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, and Orthodox Christianity to not accept rebirth and reincarnation. Through the theory of salvation, embracing and adhering to, and worshiping Jesus Christ is the only way to escape the consequences of our bad or evil deeds when it is time for our souls to be judged.

Karma and New Age!

If you are wondering, New Age encompasses a very broad range of spiritual or religious beliefs which developed in the Western World during the 1970s. The New Age philosophy is non-unified and includes beliefs and practices from eastern and western religious traditions, as well as a holistic approach to health, motivational and positive psychological research. 

New Age is so broad because the general development of human understanding started to coalesce at that time across an amazingly wide variety of human experience and empowered people to castoff organized religious structures and organizations. New agers, as they are called, don’t limit their belief system to one particular doctrine.

Karma in Science

Yes, Science! Perhaps the simplest illustration of Karma is Sir Isaac Newton’s[16] Third Law of Motion[17]

  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In terms of karma, this would mean that a good deed done by someone would be returned to them to the same value, of course, a wrong doer would receive an equal and opposite wrong. In other words, a more scientific expression of “what goes around, comes around.”

C. C. Jung[18] in his view of World Religions[19] was quite agnostic with regard to karma, though he was careful to distinguish between metempsychosis and reincarnation since the former did not imply continuity of personality while the latter did. 

You probably guessed that whether you are a follower of a religion that believes in reincarnation and the karma you accumulate in life, or not, it does not stop you from responding to a karmic action with “what goes around, comes around.” 

There is more to read on Karma, in our book on Karma available as an eBook or paperback on Amazon. 

Check it out and enjoy.

I look forward to chatting with you in our next episode. 

Mindfulness Meditation on YouTube

Mindfulness is an active state of mind and it is a personal state of mind, there is no one-size-fits-all definition, no single way of practicing. There are no exams to pass, there are no proficiency levels and nothing to buy. It is a way to enhance health and improve performance. It is a tool for self-exploration. Others see it as part of a spiritual journey, a way to develop insight into the human condition and freedom from suffering.

As we move through each day, we spend much of it on auto pilot, when we arrive somewhere or finish a task, we often wonder how we got there or how we managed to complete the task. Auto pilot thinking often includes thinking or “dreaming” about doing or being somewhere else and not where we are or what we are doing. It includes making judgment[s] on what we perceive to be important as compared to our current state or obligations and this is a powerful fuel for our unhappiness about where and what we are. 

Watch our YouTube video on Mindfulness Meditation

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

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,

Self Reiki Every Morning


Every Morning! Self Reiki. A self session for healing and the day ahead.

I pull out a chair form the dining table and set it in a space away from any distractions. 

I sit quietly.

I ask Archangel Michael to be present. I ask that him to safe guard the self reiki session I am about to preform from dark and lower energies, and interferences of all types and all sources. 

I ask my Angels, Archangels, ascended masters, mistresses and council of guides to be present. I put a lot of emphasis on the guides that watch over me on my soul path purpose. I ask my Reiki Guides and my Tibetan Helping Spirits, to be present. With all my guides and spirits present I can start the session. Because it is a “self-session” I do not use the traditional Reiki symbols.

I concentrate on aches, pains, and other things that have manifested themselves since the day before. We all have ailments that seemingly appear out of the blue and this is time to deal with them. In Shaman terms, sudden illnesses are caused by souls and spirits affecting my own spirit as they come into contact with me. In Shaman terms they can be made to stop.

I concentrate on healing. Healing is not just the cessation of whatever it is I am feeling, it is the restoration of what I was before the ache or pain. From that point I can grow and change, I can improve.

For example, back pain may be the result of sleeping badly, or needing a new mattress. Yes, focus on the pain fading and going away, but also the strength and flexibility of the muscles and fibres that allow you to participate in your favourite activity. That activity is the ultimate goal.

Spiritually, I reach out to my Helping Spirits and ask them to remove any spirit or soul that is affecting me, especially my back.

At the end of the session, I thank all my Angels, Archangels, ascended masters and mistresses and council of guides and the other guides and helping spirits. And, I thank Archangel Michael who stood guard and end the session. 

At the end of the session I think of manifesting a happy and interesting day, a calm day, one that will not add stress to me.

International's Association of Reiki Professionals Seall

Clear Your Space

Why would you clear your space? What is your space? What benefit is doing it?

Energetically, as we move through life, we collect emotional and spiritual baggage and toxins. These can be from people, places, and events.

We bring them home, but we can also bring them within ourselves. They affect our emotions, our thoughts, our intellect. They drag down the energy of our chakras and they can stir or ego.

Many years ago, before I engaged with my Angels and guides to fulfill part of my life purpose which was to become a Reiki Master and Teacher, I would occasionally find myself working with toxic people or in a toxic environment. As I sat in traffic driving home and odd moments when I was supposed to be relaxing watching TV I would mentally go over again and again events that had happened at work. 

I would worry about what the next day would bring.

As a Reiki Master I am able to engage with my angels and guides to recognise these people and situations and negate the affect they have on me, even while they are happening.

I sit quietly, and ask Archangel Michael to sever any energy cords attached to my soul, spirit, aura, physical self or Chakras. I want him to cut the cords and destroy them. I then ask him to fill me up with pure white light and protect me with his energy.

I will do this at the beginning and end of the day, or after being somewhere or with someone I consider toxic. You can speak the short mantra or think it. Some people will “wipe their hands over their face, head and upper body as if they were brushing away cords or spider threads. I have said the mantra in a crowded elevator on my way to lunch after meeting with a particularly toxic individual.

I prefer to think of the cords I am cutting as if they were tentacles with suction cups that attach to things and hold on tightly. I see Michael removing the suction cups and cutting the tentacles which shrivel up and disappear.

You can bring these energy cords, even souls and spirits home with you. You may not see them, or, be aware of them, but they enter your home and stay with you. Freely absorbing your energy. In Tibet and other places where the belief in sprits and souls that have not moved on to their next life is more prevalent, houses will be regularly cleared and doors and windows energetically sealed to prevent these often dark and lower energies from entering. 

If you have heard of smudging a house with White Sage, this is one of the traditional methods of banishing these entities. 

Another approach is to engage with your angles and guides and ask them to help you banish these spirits and energies. 

Ask Archangel Michael to protect you and anyone else in the home, especially animals. As you accomplish the clearing.

Hands in Gassho, I move from room to room, asking them to banish or evict souls and spirits that should not be present. I call out spaces where a spirit or soul may hide or avoid my actions. Such as, under the bed, behind the could, in the draws, behind the door. Anywhere a soul or sprit can hide, I call out for them to be gone!

I include connecting rooms, hallways, etc.

I also ask my angels and guides to seal windows and doors so that spirits and souls cannot re-enter the home. This is all exhaustive, take your time and be patient. Give yourself and your angels and guides time to do their work.

Traditionally, when smudging a space, you leave a window ajar, not necessarily wide open, but a way for the souls and spirits to leave. Do the same when you and your angels and guides are clearing your space.