One of the most fascinating aspects of shamanic work is working with clients in the grip of a mythic archetype. These archetypal forces can literally define and run our lives. Sometimes these archetypal stories lead us into unsavory experiences. As a shaman, I can help bring consciousness to the mythic story my client is living out, and also rebalance the archetype so the client can experience the story of their own choosing in life.
One example of this was with a client who started experiencing suicidal thoughts soon after he retired from a job that was literally killing him. While on the job he had developed cirrhosis of the liver, even though he wasn’t a heavy drinker. He had also worked the grave yard shift. He knew that quitting this job was the right thing to do. He even had the opportunity to explore shamanic and other healing work, since his spouse made enough money so that he had the freedom to go back to school.
But his enthusiasm for a new, more relaxed, career fizzled, and then thoughts of suicide and the sureness of his impending death set in. When I had first met this client in a group setting, it was very clear that he had several past lives in Asia, especially Japan. The samurai warrior archetype was very strong. He even had a fascination for samurai swords.
He and his wife came in together for a session—his wife was very worried about his talk of his death. When I journeyed to his underworld, I found a past life in which he had been a samurai warrior who had retired (or hadn’t died in service) The politics had changed, and he was required to commit ritual suicide. As he died, his bitterness at having not died early became locked in to his underworld. The contracts that had been set in were around growing old being equated with losing power, and with retiring from service being equated with helplessness and death.
The old warrior I spoke to was determined that my client would never feel such helplessness and purposelessness again, and did not want me to change my client’s contract around. It took negotiating, and the insistence of the Light Beings to move the Warrior. Eventually the warrior even let me work on his traumas and received a healing.
We did a special death rites to bring this past life into closure, so this archetypal story would no longer run my client’s present life. However, my client was reluctant to do so—he was that identified with the warrior archetype. When he was reassured that he would keep all the gifts from that life time, and he would only be letting go of what was no longer helping him in his soul’s growth, he agreed to the death rite. Without my client’s willingness and cooperation, he would have kept the damaged Warrior Archetype, even with the energywork.
Afterwards he also had to do the work to make sure he was no longer identifying with his old story. He built an altar to symbolize his new and healthier warrior archetype, one that would act to protect his interests and his family’s, instead of sabotage his life.
About a month later, when this couple came to see me next, the thoughts of death and suicide were gone, and what was more surprising was that his blood tests showed that his liver was back to normal. He is now pursuing his heart’s desires with his Warrior Archetype working for him rather than against him.