Monthly Archives: May 2014

Spiritual Advice: Is Everyone Psychic?

Hi Mary-

I am curious about your thoughts re: the “everyone is psychic” debate. I have been psychic all my life passed down from my grandmother. I get annoyed by people who say everyone is psychic. I get double annoyed at people who aren’t psychic at all and go to some random school and get “certified” as a clairvoyant or medium or something. I just don’t think that things work like that. I get annoyed they don’t understand the actual struggles of people like me. What about you?

– A Real Psychic

Hi A Real Psychic-

I totally get where you are coming from and have been there. It seems that when I had the most difficulties with my sensitivities is when I would be confronted by these types of people. There was one woman repeatedly in some of my bodywork classes who would announce that she was a certified Clairvoyant with this huge smile on her face. At the time I was really angry with my abilities and I just wanted to scream at her that if she saw 1/10th of what I did she would likely be cowering in a corner. I found that the less difficulty that I had with myself concerning my sensitivities the less anger, annoyance, grief, difficulty (insert emotion here) I had towards these types of people. I understand that to someone who is highly psychic, though, these types can be annoying and inspire a huge range of emotions. I would suggest to you that you take a look at what emotions come up when confronted with these “certified” folks or the folks who talk about how psychic they are… these are things that you can heal within yourself.

When you can look at these types of people and see that they are wounded and in a type of spiritual kindergarten you will begin to understand them better. The old saying “the grass is always greener” certainly applies. One of my teachers used to say that everyone wants a spiritual experience until they have one… I have certainly found this to be true with psychic abilities as well. It is difficult to be psychic/sensitive. It is especially difficult if you do not know how to work with your abilities with the appropriate tools. It is even more difficult when the popular culture at large wants to be Psychic in 6 Easy Steps or the least sensitive person you have ever met has likely gone to psychic school and announces they are psychic to every person they meet. These types of people will never understand what being highly sensitive or psychic means. That is okay. Let them pretend.

The only level that this is harmful is when they go into business, which is an entirely different subject. One of my callings is to help fix the work of other spiritual providers so it is a bit of a sore point for me when psychics and spiritual healers who are not naturally talented or are minimally capable take on work beyond their paygrade, so to speak. This can really, really, really screw people up. Luckily, with most psychics the worst they typically do is give bad readings and bad guidance from this ego-driven place of confidence. This can screw people up, certainly, but not in the same way fake or minimally talented spiritual providers can with their healing work. Anyway, I digress…

Build yourself up, heal yourself, work on you… I am at a point where I am either amused by these types or am able to see what inner wounds have caused them to want to be “psychic”. It usually is about lack of personal power and difficulties with control, but that is a topic for a different day. I now simply notice them, say something like “that is interesting” if they are directly telling me how psychic they are and how special that makes them, and do not engage with them. This is a valid approach for in-person and online. It is not up to you to get someone to graduate from spiritual kindergarten. If you are highly psychic/sensitive, you know that having spiritual experiences and being sensitive is much different than popular culture shows. You likely know that the highly sensitive/psychic person has to deal with a huge amount of stuff on a daily basis that would cause most people to go insane. Be proud of your struggle, be proud of who you are, commend yourself on what you deal with successfully on a daily basis. Focus on you. When you know who you are you will see others as they are. They still might annoy you, but you will be able to see them with more compassion and you will not have that charge of negative , harmful emotion in interacting with people like this. In fact, as you heal your own wounds regarding your psychic abilities the amount of people you run across like this will decrease.

As far as the “Everyone is Psychic” debate my answer is sure, why not… I do think that anyone can become more sensitive than they are right now. If a person chooses to put effort into it, sure, they can become more “psychic” than they were before. In fact, I think that everyone should meditate and heal their issues and become more sensitive. This would start to take care of the huge communal shadow that we all have to deal with from all of our personal shadows co-mingling. That being said, most people when they become more sensitive are not highly or even medium range psychic. They simply are more psychic than they were before. Most highly sensitive people have either genetic predisposition or a huge amount of early childhood trauma (really highly psychic people often have both) that has created their sensitivities. There is a biological imperative on some level that they notice more of the stimuli that surrounds them. Can someone become more sensitive? Sure. Is someone going to be as highly psychic as that genetically predisposed person? No. I could go on about spiritual materialism and how we think that we can simply buy anything spiritual, spiritual bypass issues (becoming spiritual in an effort to not deal with the physical world and ordinary everyday life) and how in our culture people want to be anything other than themselves, but I will stop.

My short answer to this endless debate is that everyone can become more psychic or sensitive than they are right now. Someone who goes into a room and only notices 20 points of stimuli isn’t going to suddenly go into a room and notice 2,000 points of stimuli, no matter how many courses they take, no matter how books they buy, no matter how much they want to be psychic. This cultural focus on “opening the third eye” or “decalcifying the pineal gland” when most people could use basic grounding and a basic meditation practice (which would gradually make the person more sensitive) shows how in our culture we want to be advanced, certified, ahead of everyone else yesterday. If someone really wants to be more psychic I suggest meditation. For many years. You will naturally become grounded, more sensitive/psychic than you are right now, and maintain balance. In fact, one of the ways that I can tell if someone is highly psychic is that they tell me how much self-hatred and/or difficulties they have had at some point in their lives due to their sensitivities/psychic abilities. The person with actual psychic abilities struggles seeing them as not being a curse. The non-psychic wants to purchase them to convince others that they are powerful and will think they are wonderful. Hope that answers your questions, A Real Psychic.

Interested in submitting to the Spiritual Advice column? Contact me here with the heading “Spiritual Advice”. Please note that I am not an allopathic physician or psychiatrist, and my advice is not intended as substitution for the advice of those professionals. I reserve the right to edit emails for clarity.

Mary Shutan L.Ac, CST-D, CZB, ABT offers readings, services and programs for people undergoing Spiritual Awakening issues, including Kundalini syndrome, as well as for people dealing with psychic abilities. You may contact her to set up a consultation for an appointment or go here for information on readings.

Soul Retrieval, Soul Loss and Recovery

Ella was a lovely young woman who in a short period of time had gone through an acrimonious divorce with two small children. She had begun taking meditation classes and gone through a spiritual awakening in the past year which had drastically changed her outlook on the world and her relationship with her husband. He responded by telling her that she was crazy and requesting a divorce, citing in court documents that he should have full custody because her interest in meditation, acupressure, and owning sets of tarot cards made her unchristian and unsuitable to be a mother. Within this same period of time her father passed away who was a significant resource and support, and she found herself unsatisfied and unfulfilled by an office job that she had held for several years.

Although some situations are not as tumultuous as Ella’s, we all can relate to periods of our lives that were overwhelming, stressful, and traumatic. We all have periods of trauma, emotional situations, and stress that were so severe that we felt like we were never the same after. We all have aspects of ourselves that feel frozen, not whole, fractured, disassociated. Although Ella came to me for understanding regarding her spiritual awakening, one of the first things that we did together was a series of Soul Recovery sessions.

Soul Recovery is a powerful way to “retrieve” aspects of ourselves that have left due to traumatic events. Let me explain. When we go through a huge amount of stress, a trauma, emotions or experiences that are too overwhelming in order to survive the situation our minds create a fractured reality. At our core, we are a whole, we are all healed, we are all embodied. But when we have an event or circumstance that is too painful, our mind takes us away from this understanding of wholeness.

This understanding of Soul Recovery is somewhat different than the common “Core” Shamanic thought and techniques of Soul Retrieval in which pieces or aspects of the self actually leave. In my understandings and working with healers from many different cultures I have found that the thought of something actually “leaving” and needing to be “retrieved” is a simplistic and untrue thought. Rather, I have found that at our core we are all whole, we are all healed, our mind creates stories and fractures to take us away from this understanding in order to survive. Our mind has an inability to logically process on a physical and mental level events that are too overwhelming and so creates a reality of being separated or fractured from the spirit in order to survive the state of overwhelm. What then happens is that even though the event may be long over, the mind does not know how to reintegrate and let go of the belief of being separated from the wholeness of the soul. It needs a guide to allow that remembering and reintegration of mind, body, and soul to occur.

Instead of “retrieval” the work I do is more of a processing and remembering, a recovery of the understanding that we are whole. A processing in a gentle but powerful way of the energies, emotions, traumas, and circumstances that caused the mind to create a story of being un-whole. A change in the story, a letting go of the traumatic story and circumstances that created this fracture, and either a reframing of the story in healing terms to take the power and strength of that situation or a letting go of that story altogether. Finally, a remembering of the true self, the whole self.

I previously worked within the confines of the understanding that a part of us actually “left” and found that this system of thought gave the shaman or spiritual healer the power and created a relationship in which the experiencer felt powerless. While reasonably effective, the belief that parts of souls actually leave creates a system in which the person can never be whole- there are always experiences and understandings that would cause our soul to “leave” or be frozen. Instead, when we come from a place of understanding that we are whole, we are always whole and always have been, that our mind simply fractures our reality because we logically are unable to process difficult life experiences, that we have forgotten that we are whole because we are not in touch with our spirit, it can be a beautiful and powerful remembering.

When we remember that we are whole, when we remember who our true self is, and are given the tools to access this true self and our souls on our own it is an extremely powerful and life-changing event. Once we remember our soul, the true essence and wholeness of who we are… we know when we lose it and can simply recall the memory and the understanding. This allows for the experiencer to facilitate their own soul recovery, to process all of their unhealed traumas with perhaps an experienced guide, rather than going to a shaman who goes out and gathers up soul pieces that have escaped to somewhere else to bring home each time we experience trauma. Soul Recovery allows for us to shift perspectives- to see from the layer of the Soul and from the inside out. Soul Retrieval looks from the outside in and further facilitates the belief that there is something “missing” “broken” or simply “wrong” that we must go to another to fix for us. Through Soul Recovery we are guided to heal ourselves, we understand that we are whole and our spirit stronger than any trauma. I have gone through so much training, so many experiences, and had so many teachers… and the basic understanding that empowerment of the self equals unparalleled healing is something that I try to pass on to each patient, to each student that comes my way.

Ella, through a series of Soul Recovery sessions over the course of six months found her strength as a single mother. By accessing her true self during her court case she was able to achieve calmly her goals of primary physical custody. By accessing and coming into line with her soul she was able to see how her previous traumas and fracturing led her to her ex-husband and was able to release any ties with him. She is now in a new relationship with a man who suits who she truly is, has decided to become a midwife, and has learned Reiki. She understands why she is in this world, the needs of her soul, and her true identity. Like many of my patients, she is able to recognize when she is separating or leaving who she truly is in this world and has the tools now to simply bring herself back to the understanding that she is whole. She is now a force to be reckoned with, and although she still has ups and downs, she is truly happy and at peace for the first time in her life.

Mary Shutan L.Ac, CST-D, CZB, ABT is a Spiritual Healer that empowers others to realize their wholeness. She works with people via distance healings (via Phone, Skype, or through Email) with Soul Recovery as one of her tools to help people become who they truly are in this world. In order to book an appointment, such as a Soul Recovery done via distance (Phone, Skype, or email), a consultation via Email or phone/Skype or a paid reading is required to ensure that we are a good fit to work together. Due to the busy nature of my practice and my ethical standards, I only accept people who are ready for this type of significant healing and who I think I can be a significant resource to. You may contact me here with any interest.


Waking Up from Shamanic Sleep (Core/New-Age)

Recently I have had the painful awareness and awakening to some of the truths behind the “Core” or New-Age Shamanic Community. This has been a painful and necessary step in my own evolution as a human being, as I have made friends from all over the world with some lovely people and have had truly wonderful experiences interacting with many of them. Before I move on, I will say that I respect all of the teachers, students, and belief systems/grids that are present in these experiences. My experiences of expanding through and beyond this does not discount that these experiences were a crucial component of my personal evolution as well as my work with patients to this day. However, for years understandings and truths have been bubbling up in me in relation to the modern Shamanic Core or New-Age movement that I can no longer ignore.

The first awakening I had to the truth behind the modern Shamanic movement came about ten years ago and has sharpened into laser focus over the years. Cultural Appropriation. There, I said it. At first I noticed the white people who changed their names to be Native American, claimed to be part Cherokee, or were one in a former life. I thought that it was natural to have people who were perhaps mentally imbalanced or simply wanting to be someone else within the context of such a large group of practitioners. But uneasy feelings followed as I went to workshops where these cultures were picked apart and mystified and I read countless books and articles about modern Shamans who had ventured to Peru, Mexico, and in the United States and were “chosen” to be the next Shaman or receive knowledge by another culture.

The thing is that I am a student of history, of culture. I have always loved having friends from different cultures, loved hearing about thought processes and understandings dissimilar to mine, and have loved mythology, creation stories, and books from other cultures since I was a young child. There is a very clear separation between the glorification of the “spiritual” from the cultures that modern Shamans are appropriating and the reality. This means that it is not unusual for the people who are so in awe of Native Americans to the point of mimicking their culture and appropriating their creation stories in a manner that suits them to not be aware of the fact that (I hope I have my numbers straight here) up to 75 percent of present-day Native Americans are unemployed, a huge percentage live in poverty, and as far as I understand many women were forced to go through horrors such as forced sterilization, brutal sexual assaults, and even the taking away of their children by Americans who wished to adopt someone of their culture. Beyond that, some of the creation stories and understandings of the mythologies and spiritual appropriation that Core or Modern Shamans have done is simply wrong. It is impossible to separate the spiritual and physical. It is impossible to mythologize and appropriate these cultures without understanding their spiritual and physical every-day struggles.

I have deep respect for other cultures. As an adopted, white, (relatively) middle-class American who is mixed Yugoslavian, Irish, Czechoslovakian, and Serbo-Croatian the thought of cultures with deep spiritual understandings and the connectedness that comes from one core culture creates a spiritual longing that I recognize in myself. But the simple fact that I woke up to is that many of these same people who have idolized and appropriated other cultures due to this same longing have never met an actual, physical representative of that culture. And while this is true of the Shamanic movement, it certainly happens in other spiritual healing movements as well. The interest in spiritual healing has grown so that people calling themselves conjurers (Hoodoo eg.) can never meet an African-American, people calling themselves a curandera can never be actually exposed to Latino practitioners, Chinese Medicine practitioners can go without understanding the philosophy and history of China and how it impacts the medicine.

Beyond this commoditization about the “otherness” of spiritual and Shamanic practices, there is  a huge divide in ethics, understandings, and judgement by the Shamanic Core community. This is done out of fear and desire for control over spiritual experiences. I remember the first time I went to a Shamanic course. I was taught to journey to the upper world and the lower world. I thought that I was doing something wrong because I did not need the padded eye pillow, the drumbeat, or to lie on the floor. I didn’t need to go anywhere. This actually bothered me for years until I finally had the understanding that this movement specifically creates the illusion that you are “going somewhere” to separate you from the understanding that the spiritual is here. You do not need to go anywhere to access it. You are a spiritual being. Spirits are around you always. You do not need lengthy ceremonies and fancy words to get in touch with spirit. This divide is almost as prevalent as the “otherness” of cultural appropriation. It is also problematic because it encourages people to have these peak spiritual experiences outside of themselves and then when they return to their every-day lives they do not identify them as spiritual. It encourages disassociation from the physical body. It encourages the participant to always look for the next workshop to have that experience again. Real spirituality is here. You experience it in your physical body. It is intended to fully embody you in your physical body. You do not have to go anywhere to access it. You have a physical body for a reason. This idea would be scary for many core practitioners, but hopefully some of them will nod their heads in agreement.

The last realization has come into focus rather recently (although obviously I could talk about this topic for days). Beyond the safety of feeling that spiritual experiences are something that need to be accessed by going somewhere, there is also a strong judgement and fear of anything that is not “compassionate” by New-agers and Core Shamans. This is yet another example of creating an “other” and a safety net- a neat divide in the spiritual realms. I recently had the difficult awakening to the fact that most “Shamans” are pulling from the collective and archetypal layers of reality. Let me explain a bit more. We live within conditioned layers of reality- they are like grids or nets around us. I have had spiritual experiences since I was a child and when I began taking spiritual workshops, such as Shamanic workshops, it felt different. At first I could not put my finger exactly on what was so different. But then I realized that most Core Shamans are actually not working with spiritual beings or with spiritual forces. They are working with archetypes, they are working with thought forms, and mostly they are working with disassociated aspects of themselves.

This thought at first astounded me. But I began to see this pattern again and again. Recently I have been scolded for not working with “compassionate” spirits and that I will somehow get what is coming to me because I do not ascribe to their certain brand of fear and judgement. And while some of the beings I work with are quite compassionate, it is true that similar to my every-day reality I have no difficulty talking to anyone- be they from a different race, culture, class, planet, “dark” or “light” or have different thought processes than myself. In fact, I love figuring people, beings, and energies out that work or simply are much different than myself. I actually have great respect for beings like elementals, ET’s and even “dark” beings who may not be my cup of tea but are much more interesting to me these days than a lot of people I meet.

The truth is that many Core Shamans create their own spiritual experiences and the angels, beings, and helpers that surround them out of their own unhealed wounds and their own egos. They are projections. Of course these beings can be singularly “compassionate” because the Core Shaman created them. Of course these beings would be like indentured servants to the practitioner, appearing when they want, doing what they want, always having “love and light” as well as the personal interests and healing path of the practitioner in mind. If they are creations, they will do as you wish. Real spirits, even the most compassionate filled with love and light beings I have worked with do not act like this. Real spirits and beings are typically as complex as human beings and cannot neatly be filed away in singularly “compassionate” or “non-compassionate”, “light” or “dark”. While these “compassionate” spirits may be filled with love, I am a vessel for them to work through and they may be interested in me. They also may not be interested in me, my needs, my ego, or even my spiritual path. Basically, while I have specific guides that guide me through my spiritual path and have an interest in me, many of the “light beings” have an interest in me because I can be utilized as a tool. I am a specific vibration, I have an understanding level that meets their requirements. And while they fill me with deep realizations and understandings (yes, and love) I recognize that I am very small. In fact, I am a specifically calibrated tool that can be utilized. I am a gateway, I am an access point, I am a physical body that they can send other spiritual healers for me to teach to, for them to send people in need of and ready for major healing, for beings, spirits, and energies of all sorts of complicated origins to receive healing from. I am proud to be such a vessel, to humble myself, and to not let my own judgements, ego, or illusions get in the way of being of service to all races, classes, and cultures of humans, and all beings great and small, compassionate or not. Obviously I have boundaries and protecting spirits, but mostly I work with any sort of person, being, or energy that is called to be healed through me.

True spiritual beings are very big. And very powerful. And we are very small. I love when I witness and see other practitioners who can actually access spiritual beings and spiritual realms. Many Shamans, psychics, and spiritual healers are simply not- they are accessing societal grids which contain knowledge. These can be very healing. But to actually meet and work with these spiritual beings outside of your own unhealed wounds and projected societal archetypes would require surrender, it would require letting go of the idea that you are this great healer or Shaman or whatever and to humble yourself to be a servant and student of such beings. It would require letting go of the safety of created illusions that “compassionate” spirits are your indentured servants and only have you and your unique, spiritual path at heart, the safety of the idea that the spiritual is “out there” and the understanding who you truly are and what sort of tool you were meant to be. You are not that important, your needs and judgements and illusions or delusions are not important. To be truly effective means finding what spiritual capabilities are uniquely yours, what you are meant to bring to this world and submitting to the fact that you are a vessel of spirit which means that you let spirit guide you. You do not guide spirit. This means not mimicking or culturally appropriating other cultures. Yes, you can study them. In fact, please do. Study their struggles, their pains, their physical reality. Study their mythologies, their spirits. Have respect for them. Actually meet them in person! But most of all, find out in what way you are a vessel for spirit- what you uniquely bring into the world (with humility) and then surrender your judgement, your understandings, your need to be right, work on your unhealed wounds, become whole and embodied… understand who you truly are… let spirit flow through you, guide you, and inform you. Know that true spirituality, true spiritual flow is not neatly categorized into labels. It is not safe. It is messy. It is complex and simple at the same time. It defies logic, labels, and control and it will destroy you again and again in the most beautiful ways.

Mary Shutan L.Ac, CST-D, CZB, ABT offers readings, services and programs for people undergoing Spiritual Awakening issues, including Kundalini syndrome, as well as for people dealing with psychic abilities. She also offers Spiritual Healing services. You may contact her to set up a consultation for an appointment or go here for information on readings.