Featured in Vol.4 Issue 1 | The Spring 2015 Edition
Sandra: I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and although I lived in a city I felt so connected to nature. I loved life and the Earth! I came home from school every day and sang to a tree outside of my house, to the birds, and then to the moon at night.
I always had a spiritual connection not just to nature but also with the invisible realms that are spoken about in the practice of shamanism. At the age of seven I was hit by lightning, and when I regained consciousness I returned with a heightened spiritual awareness.
When I was twenty I had an exquisite and classic Near Death Experience when I drowned while swimming in the ocean. Throughout my late teens I entered into a wealth of numinous states that led me to experience Source, unity, unconditional joy, peace, and love.
As a child I felt fully empowered in life and believed all was possible. Over time I was exposed to the darker states of consciousness. As I grew up and observed the suffering of others I felt burdened by the pain I perceived. In the late 1960s I demonstrated against the war in Vietnam. Although I supported the veterans I did not support the war. As my efforts did not seem to create any change I was left feeling disempowered.
Between feeling so burdened by the suffering of others and powerless to create positive change I entered a period of depression and lost the joy and unbridled excitement about life I experienced as a child.
There was a deep divide between my numinous experiences and what I experienced in the world around me. I had no tools to heal the split between what I experienced in my spiritual visions and what I observed in the ordinary world so I began studying different spiritual teachings to try and find answers to some of my larger questions.
My love for the environment led me to get my BA in Marine Biology. My desire to help people led me to get my MA in Counseling Psychology and become a licensed therapist. And destiny led me to the practice of shamanism.
In 1980 I was divinely guided to a workshop on shamanic journeying. Shamanism gave me a concrete practice to work with to help me heal and tap into my creative potential.
I became internationally known for teaching the ancient shamanic healing practice of soul retrieval to heal people from emotional and physical trauma.
Although I still perform this powerful work, as well as other shamanic healing methods, I am inspired to teach people how to step into the non-ordinary realms that shamans have traveled to for tens of thousands of years. In these realms there are an abundance of helping and compassionate spirits who volunteer themselves to guide us in our personal lives and in how to be in service to all of life and the Earth.
There is a difference between becoming a shaman and living a shamanic way of life. A major part of my work is teaching practices that people in shamanic cultures integrated into daily life to live in balance and harmony with themselves and nature.
L.M.: How do you use books to help chart the way for change?
Sandra: Shamanism is a universal practice that has been practiced for tens of thousands of years. One of the teachings inherent to the practice of shamanism is that this world we live in is a dream. It is the responsibility of every person to dream a good dream for oneself, all of life, and the Earth. We are the dreamers of the world we live in.
I am passionate about teaching people that we came here as spiritual beings to manifest spirit into form just like the creator or the creative forces of the universe manifested the Earth and all of life on it.
To do this we must use the power of imagination and fully engage our senses to daydream into being the world we wish to live in.
If we reflect on our daily daydreams many of us are contributing to the chaos and issues we are facing in the world today. For our daydreams are often sabotaging and defeatist as we focus on what is not working and all the “terrible” things that will happen. Shamans in indigenous cultures advise that people in the Western world need to change the way we dream.
We need to focus on being visionaries. This is done by using our imagination to stir up our invisible senses. For example, see what the world you wish to live in would look like in all its detail, listen to the sounds of nature and children laughing, smell the fragrance of the clean fresh air, touch the soil and feel its texture, and taste food that is grown and cooked with love. Step into the dream fully and live from the dream as if it is here right now.
At the same time we need to reflect on the blocking beliefs that we took on from our parents, teachers, and from society itself that told us we are not creative and do not have the power to create a new dream. We believe that it is impossible to change what is happening in the world today.
It is important to reflect on the defeatist beliefs that are “running us” and perform simple ceremonies to release these beliefs. You can use your imagination to use a brush to paint white over a blocking belief that prevents you from using your full creative potential. You can write a belief down on a piece of paper and burn it. These are just a couple of examples that I teach.
It is helpful to combine your dreaming work with releasing your blocking beliefs otherwise it is like driving a car while you have one foot on the gas pedal and one on the brake.
I also teach people that we must inspire our children, loved ones, friends, people in our community to engage in spiritual practices that lead to our desired outcome.
Yes it is true we might not see this desired in our lifetime. But we must stay focused on performing our dreaming work while letting go of the outcome. Staying focused and holding the vision are keys needed to create a positive future for ourselves, our descendants, all of life, and for the Earth.
L.M.: Tell us a little about your latest book Walking in Light.
Sandra: I wrote my new book Walking in Light: The Everyday of Shamanic Life to teach people the art of shamanic journeying, introduce them to the love and guidance of the helping spirits, and to share empowering daily shamanic practices to engage in. My vision for the book is to help people tap into their creative potential, to reconnect with nature, learn how to gracefully ride the waves of both joyful and turbulent times, and return to a state of harmony and balance. I am devoted to help people cultivate a rich inner landscape so light and joy shine through their eyes and to live a life of honor and respect for all of life and the Earth. And I believe part of my soul’s purpose is to raise awareness to the exponential power we have to create positive change when we work together in unity as a global community on behalf of the Earth.
L.M.: In what way do your books and your workshops help you re-imagine the possible?
Sandra: I love to teach and I love to teach through my writing. I teach simple practices that speak to the heart and soul that create healing and positive change. I find that we can get so caught up in thinking that we need to find more complex ways to address the challenges we are facing. But complex practices tend to feed our mind and end up distracting us from our work.
In my books I teach people daily practices that can be integrated in our life so that “we become” the work and the change. I lead people step by step into finding ways to work that include:
- How to meet up with helping and compassionate spirits from the invisible worlds who have volunteered to help you heal, grow, and evolve.
- On a daily basis ways to transmute and transform the energy behind your thoughts and words so you are feeding yourself, others, and all in the web of life with love and light.
- In shamanic cultures people were very diligent about the words they shared with others. It is important to use our words to bless yourself and others.
- Rephrase your thoughts and daydreams that do not lead to your desired outcome.
- Continue your dreaming practice of engaging all your senses to dream into being the world you wish to live in for yourself and for the Earth.
- Stay focused on your practices while surrendering the outcome.
- Stay connected to nature, its cycles, and to the elements—earth, air, water, and fire which sustain us.
- How to reconnect with nature which creates healing for us on emotional and physical levels.
- I love to write and teach people how to watch for the omens and signs that are revealed to you on a daily basis that provide guidance in your life.
In shamanic cultures every day is a day of thanksgiving. It is important to incorporate daily practices where you give thanks for your life, earth, air, water, and the sun that sustains you and all of life, and for all the helping spirits who guide you. And open your heart to be grateful for what life brings for you. Starting the day with stating what you are grateful for paves the path for the rest of the day and helps you to transform the challenges you are facing.
We are body, mind, and spirit. Who we are “beyond our skin” is spirit. The truth of who you are is divine light. We can heal ourselves, others, and the Earth by learning how to radiate our spiritual light like a star in the night sky or the sun. In this way we incorporate the feminine principle of healing by our presence and who we become.
It is so important to project strength onto others who are facing challenges. When we pity others for what they are experiencing we end up projecting weakness onto them which is not helpful. There is a difference between having compassion for others without pitying them. No one wants to be pitied.
Our perception creates our reality and so it is important to learn how to perceive the beauty in all things.
People in indigenous cultures have a light and joy that shines out of their eyes which is not dependent on what is happening in the outer world. This joy comes as they have cultivated a very rich and joyful inner world. It is important to learn how to cultivate a deep and rich inner landscape and inner world.
Most of all it is important not to separate your spiritual life from your ordinary life. Become the work!
L.M.: What advice do you have for people who are in despair about the current state of the world?
Sandra: As I have shared we are body, mind, and spirit. When we only look through our ordinary eyes to what is happening in the world it is easy to move into a place of despair. When we look through the eyes of spirit we can perceive an expanded viewpoint of what is happening in the world around us. We come to understand that we are going through what in shamanism is called an initiation. In an initiation what is inauthentic is burned away, destroyed, and dismembered so that the strength and light of our spirit can once again shine through.
All of life and the planet itself is going through an initiation. You cannot think your way through an initiation. You need to let the strength of your spirit carry you through in order to survive the tests and the challenges that life is presenting.
Where we have power to create change right now is by engaging in spiritual practices that call to you. This is not the time to give up. It is time to let go of the collective belief that we do not have the power to use our creative potential to manifest positive change.
There are millions of people in the world performing spiritual practices, in their own way, to join energetically with others to change the collective field of energy. By working spiritually together we do have the opportunity to raise consciousness and manifest a world filled with love, light, peace, honor, respect, and equality for all of life. But we have to do the spiritual work.
It is important to acknowledge your feelings of despair for all you are witnessing. And at the same time it is important to stand strong together as a global community lifting up all of life and the Earth. You can do this by even incorporating one simple spiritual practice into your daily life. And you do this by stepping into the role of being a dreamer. There is a process going on for all of life and the Earth. We can actively engage in helping the growth and evolution process by crossing the bridge from only working from a place of ego and personality that moves into despair and working from a place of spirit that knows the direction to move.
L.M.: Where can our readers learn more about your work?
Sandra: To learn about my work please visit www.sandraingerman.com. On this site I have written articles on shamanism, have a wealth of interviews that you can listen to, and can find out more information on the nine books I have written, the 7 audio programs I created with Sounds True, and my Transmutation App that helps people to focus their thoughts throughout the day to lead to their desired outcome. I also write a monthly titled “The Transmutation News” where I inspire people to keep up their spiritual work no matter what we see in the outer world. This column is translated by volunteers into 13 languages.