PTSD Spirituality: From Broken Branch to Oak Tree

oaktreeAs survivors and healers we continue to grow in our journey to health and personal authenticity.  We are analogous to oak trees that have survived the traumatic whirlwinds and hurricanes of would-be loggers who only want to turn us into lumber. We can provide the shade to help keep the vulnerable and broken from being burned.[Continue Reading…]

PTSD Spirituality: Are There Esoteric Dimensions to PTSD?

This essay is largely in response to a commenter’s questions:

A. What if the PTSD allowed your mind to think in esoteric form and heightened empathy to where the weight of the world is on your shoulders and everyone’s pain makes you feel guilty and hopeless all the time?

B. What if because of the pain it allowed you to have premonitions?

C. Could these changes to the mind and soul take on a physical aspect of let’s say health issues?[Continue Reading…]

PTSD Shaman: Involuntary Call and Covering Your “Spiritual Back”

When the Master Shaman sends the apprentice shaman into the wilderness to be tested by the spirits, the Master Shaman covers the apprentice’s “Spiritual Back.”  The phrase, “I’ve got your back” applies both to our spiritual development as well as to our physical protection.  For the modern American, however, the traumatic encounter in the wilderness with the spirit world is [Continue Reading…]

PTSD Spirituality: Ecstasy Self-Help Test

In the PTSD Ecstasy Self-Test we apply the definitions of ecstasy to our own personal experiences.  In doing this exercise we hope one sees how the ancient understanding of ecstasy and ecstatic experience can help us to better understand our own experiences and our PTSD, and perhaps contribute to soul healing.

The PTSD Producing Experience (Then): Ask yourself how each of the italicized sections listed below describe the traumatic experiences that gave you PTSD.  Now write it out.

The Ongoing PTSD Life (Now, Since Then): We have survived the events which initially gave us PTSD.  But now we have PTSD.  How people treat you will cause your soul to be either nourished or further harmed.  Ask yourself how each of the italicized sections listed below describe the ongoing experience of living with [Continue Reading…]

PTSD Spirituality: Voluntary Call to Shamanism

While most PTSD survivors did not embrace the voluntary call from the spirits to have an ecstatic trauma event, it remains valuable to understand the voluntary side of shamanic initiation.  This will help us understand better why so many traumatized people later commit suicide, even though they survived the physical damage of their trauma.  We will also briefly discuss the Jesus and early Christian parallels to the shamanic initiation model.[Continue Reading…]

PTSD Spirituality: Shaman’s Call: Ecstatic Experience and Feeling Alive

So far we’ve discussed the usefulness of ecstatic and ecstasy terminology to understand the visible body and invisible soul aspects of PTSD Spirituality.  We know that at times of high stress and trauma, people sometimes report watching the action happen as if they were literally beside themselves, or up above looking down on the happenings.  As if they are two people, one to whom things happened, and the other one who observed it to happen.[Continue Reading…]

PTSD Spirituality: Shaman’s Call: Ecstatic Experience and Trauma

PTSD & Shamanism: The Call from the Spirits

PTSD’s soul wound is often precipitated by an ecstatic experience.  The experience is one that can take us beyond ourselves.  It can be a joyful or a grievous experience.  It can be one which is Good or Evil (capitalized on purpose!).  The ecstatic experience is anything but mundane or meaningless.

This ecstatic experience, a single experience, or a set of cumulative experiences, forms the basis of the call to be a shaman.  It is the invitation, or perhaps summons would be a better word,[Continue Reading…]

PTSD Spirituality: From Trauma to Shamanic Formation

The connection between PTSD and Shamanism on the PTSD Spirituality Blog continues below.

 In Western Hemisphere Shamanism there is a Three Part Model for the Formation of the Shaman:

 1. The Call of Ecstatic Experience (Candidacy to the Vocation. Can be read as a voluntary or involuntary event)

 2. The Dismemberment (Being taken apart and then reassembled.  This process can be fatal, literally and/or metaphorically)

 3. The Formed Shaman (Mediates for the community, often at continued risk to self.  Mediating for the community means to help heal the community, possibly by taking the illness on yourself, perhaps fatally so)[Continue Reading…]

PTSD Spirituality: PTSD and the Shaman

There is a connection between surviving PTSD and Western Hemisphere Shamanism.  Shaman’s receive a portion of their spiritual formation through interpreting and surviving trauma.  The PTSD afflicted person has survived trauma and then needs to interpret their experience of trauma and its meaning.  This chain of experience and interpretation allows one to serve in one of the shaman’s important roles: the role of healer and mediator of the community’s trauma.  [Continue Reading…]