Wounding is one of the least recognized qualities of Shamans path. It is a path of total self-honesty, personal healing and intense self-knowledge. It also transmits responsibility to be of service to the community and one's self.
Helping spirits are commonly understood to assist in initial wounding and healing of Shamans. In traditional societies Shamans endure dismemberment or ritual death and rebirth which dissolves his original identity and removes association with his body and former personality.
A Shaman works through personal wounds, sometimes introduced by initiation which consummates complete transformation. Then a Shaman becomes ready to deal with the responsibilities and dangers of his calling.
This process gives Shamans complete understanding of illness and wounding and the "spirits" that govern them. By experiencing reintegration intimate knowledge is gained.
Ritualistic initiation serves to ground new Shamans in psychological and physical reality. The grounding into Other-worlds is a psycho-spiritual crisis that requires Shamans to become totally new beings.
Shamans must remain always open to the guiding spirits and clear personal issues that may interfere with their work. Thus initiation alone does not make one a healer or Shaman.
When consciously open to Other-worldly communication, spirit guides do not allow personal delusion or avoidance of shadow aspects of the personality. The subconscious self continues to project shadow aspects onto everyday life and the personal journey of a Shamans.
Issues and beliefs always have potential to effect judgment and the ability to heal. If an ego gets out of control a need to be right and powerful interferes with effectiveness and impedes flowing energy.
Truthfully beliefs filter perception. A Shaman must be aware of how he is effected by them to correctly interpret experience and spirit guide involvement. Known symbols and beliefs assist in developing shamanistic ability. Knowing oneself is key to shamanic power and protection.
Exploring complex beliefs is not a comfortable process. These are not easily changed. They are dangerous to Shamans as they seem absolute and convey a false sense of stability. Therefore nothing limits Shamans self-examination including their resistance.
Integration of frightening images during dreams or journeys promotes growth of Shamans inner self.
In his own search for balance and health, methods and abilities to empower others to heal themselves are learned. This exploration is vital to any path which involves service and community.
For an extensive introduction to shamanistic methods, tools and processes, The Book of Shamanic Healing (2002) Llewellyn: MN, by Kristin Madden is useful. The information above is referenced to this exciting book.