Core Shamanic Practices

Reawakening Inner Power through Journeying

Two feathers

Regina Rivers,
Shamanic Practitioner

Member: Society of Shamanic Practitioners

Regina's first experience with shamanism was in 2003 when she met her teacher, Tom Cowan, PhD., world-renowned Celtic shamanic practitioner. Tom is a direct student of Michael Harner, PhD., the first anthropologist invited to witness firsthand the traditional shamanic practices and be given permission to bring and teach the core ideals of other shamanic cultures to the rest of the world.

Tom facilitates workshops in Core Shamanism and has written many books on the subject including Shamanism: As a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life; Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit; and Yearning for the Wind: Celtic Reflections on Nature and the Soul. These and others books by Tom can be found at his website

Through her years of working with core shamanic practices, Regina sees this path as a major healing modality and uses it successfully with clients. Elements of her client practice include: shamanic extractions, soul retrievals, journeying, power animal retrievals, ancestral work and psychopomp (See Core Shamanic Descriptions below). Regina also facilitates daylong shamanic workshops for businesses, the public and private parties. Please contact her if you wish to set up a private appointment, or schedule a workshop for your business or group.

As a member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners (SSP) since its inception in 2004, Regina attended their 2007 conference at the Menla Mountain Retreat and Conference Center in New York as well as the 2010 Conference in Santa Cruz, CA, titled “Shamanism Without Borders."

In 2011, Regina completed an intensive yearlong training course with SSP Board member Cecile Carson, M.D., also trained in psychiatry. The course included deep studies in performing soul retrievals, shamanic extractions, and psychopomp. (See Core Shamanic Descriptions below) In 2012, Regina continues her studies with Carson through a yearlong apprenticeship program. 

Regina’s shamanic instruction also includes time with José Luis Stevens, PhD; Lewis Melh-Medrona, MD, PhD; Brooke Medicine Eagle; Bhola Banstola, indigenous Nepali shaman; Kristin Madden; Leontine Hartzell; Robinette Kennedy, PhD; and Tony Allicino.

General Information

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term shaman (pronounced SHAH-mahn) comes to us from the Evenki (Tungusic language of Siberia) word, šamán.

An abbreviated definition of shaman, in layman’s terms, is one who self induces a trance state in order to influence the spirit world for healing or divining purposes. Shamans have been a part of tribal societies around the world throughout history.

Core Shamanism is the culmination of the nearly universal proponents or basic ideals that underlie particular shamanic traditions from societies around the world.

Those who practice core shamanism are careful not to call themselves shamans, but rather refer to themselves as “shamanic practitioners.” They do so out of respect and to set themselves apart from those indigenous peoples who may only become shamans through lineage and/or initiation.

Today, core shamanism is used to help release or overcome trauma, find inner strength, and to commune with nature.

Journeying – The Basis of Shamanic Work

In sacred space, through the process of guided imagery, storytelling, and soft drumming, you will embark on an inward journey where pertinent questions arise and are solidly answered by your own inner wisdom.

Core Shamanic Descriptions

Regina is knowledgeable in all the following aspects of shamanic practices and is presently taking new clients. If you read something below that interests you and want to explore this as a client or in a workshop, please contact her to schedule an appointment or to learn when she will next be teaching on the subject of your interest. 

While the word “soul” is traditionally used in some definitions, you may prefer to substitute “essence,” “life force” or another term with which you feel comfortable.

Journeying: the process of entering a trance state, often using drums, with the intent of visiting the upper, middle, or lower world to work with the spirits of that realm, for a particular purpose such as healing work, spiritual growth, connecting with ancestors or power animals, or for obtaining information.

Trance State: also called an “altered state of consciousness” (ASC) or “shamanic state of consciousness” (SSC) is a self-induced “hypnotic” state necessary for journeying, usually brought about with the assistance of a specific drumbeat. In this state, a person’s spirit is free to travel to “non-ordinary” realms or dimensions and to return to the physical body upon simple inner command. While in trance, perception extends beyond the “ordinary” five senses and body/mind functionality. Though a trance state may seem dreamlike, upon return, journeyers often assert that their experience was life changing and quite real in nature.

Non-Ordinary Reality: an experience that occurs in any dimension, realm or world other than the one we call the “ordinary” Earth experience. Shamanic practitioners generally travel to three non-ordinary worlds or realms: the Upper, Middle and Lower.

Shamanic Worlds: the three non-ordinary areas of reality in which shamanic practitioners work: the Upper, Middle, and Lower Worlds. They have nothing to do with Heaven, Earth or Hell. They have to do with levels of consciousness in which different types of shamanic work are best completed.

The Upper World: is generally understood to be where our greatest teachers reside whom, when invited, share their wisdom of the ages and the universe with us. It is a place for self-exploration and uncovering life’s and our own inner mysteries. The shamanic practitioner often reaches this world by climbing up a ladder, tree, plant stock, or beam of light or by flying through a cloud opening. The Upper World is most often viewed as a place of light having majestic architecture.

The Middle World: is most like “ordinary” Earth. When there, it is as if we have merely taken a step through a door and yet we can tell immediately that things are not as they usually are. Colors and textures are richer. The air is crystalline in nature. All our senses are heightened to maximum capacities. The residents of this world are the nature spirits, elementals, devas, Faerie Folk; known as those who take care of the land and create and maintain the plant kingdom. It is where we can learn answers to mundane questions about our finances, relationships and careers as well as discover where we left our car keys!

The Lower World: offers a place to work with our Power Animals and Ancestors. We reach it by moving downward through a rabbit hole, a ladder, diving into a pool of water, or by following a tree root deep into the earth. From here we often find ourselves in a cave in which we discover a tunnel that leads us into a landscape, such as a field, woodland, forest or mountain, or by a river or sea, tailored to our individual journey needs. Here we invite our Power Animals or Ancestors to assist us in our journey of healing or ask them questions for which we need answers.

Power Animal/Totems: are spirit teachers, supporters, guides and protectors. Each species in the animal kingdom owns specific traits for which they are known. These traits become gifts to the individual who agrees to honor and work with a particular power animal.

Power Animal Meetings: are journeys in which personal Power Animals are met and acknowledged, with the agreement of working together.

Ancestral Work: journeying to meet with deceased relatives to heal from or learn about the past. Our ancestors are more than willing to help us from the other side. They patiently wait to be invited into our everyday lives. Their greater and clearer view of life can assist us in working through obstacles that keep us from fully committing to what is in our best interest.

Spirit Guides: are teachers or guardians who exist in the spirit realm. Some may have previously lived in physical form while others have existed only as spirit beings or entities. Just as our ancestors are available to work with us after they cross over, our Spirit Guides are willing and ready to 1) protect us from harm and 2) to teach us how to work through the everyday and larger challenges of our lives. Spirit Guides do not interfere with our lives. Without direct invitation to actively participate in our lives, they usually intervene only during life or death situations. 

Psychopomp Work: assisting souls that have passed out of physical form to complete any unfinished business so that they can move on to the next chapter of their journey. Souls may remain earthbound because they 1) don’t realize they have left their physical body, 2) may have messages for others or, 3) need to complete unfinished business. Regina offers psychopomp services to clients who experience spirit activity in homes and businesses. Contact her for her assistance.

Shapeshifting: energetically taking on the persona of a particular animal during a trance state. Practical uses may include shapeshifting into fox when desiring to become invisible in a crowd, or into gazelle when needing to achieve great speed during a race. In core shamanic practice, shapeshifting may also be used as a means of gifting a 3-D human experience to a Spirit Animal in what is called “Dancing Your Power Animal.” Shapeshifting can be learned by attending one of Regina’s daylong workshops on this subject.

Soul Loss: Sentences such as, “Ever since that experience, I just don’t feel like myself.” “I feel lost.” “I don’t think I ever fully recovered from that situation.” or, “It feels like part of myself is gone,” are most likely indications of Soul Loss.

There are numerous reasons why humans experience soul loss. These may include (but are not limited to) illness, surgery, accidents, miscarriage, divorce, death of a loved one, addiction, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, natural disasters, bad drug trips, and wartime combat. It is also possible for us to give parts of ourselves away to others through love, manipulation or for self-survival.

Soul parts can remain with another person, at the location where trauma occurred or may travel to a place where the soul part feels safe. They sometimes may even choose to remain “unborn” rather than enter a life that offers seemingly unfavorable circumstances. 

No matter the reason for Soul Loss, losing or giving away parts of ourselves causes disempowerment. We are not “firing on all cylinders” as long as we are not whole. It is important to regain those parts of our self that are elsewhere. Regina assists clients in bringing back missing soul parts through a shamanic practice called Soul Retrieval.

Soul Theft: Soul theft occurs when parts of us are “taken” by another person or entity. Most often, this occurs because we are in a disempowered situation and vulnerably open to that person. Neither side may even be consciously aware that soul theft is occurring. Instances may arise from, and are not limited to, broken or toxic relationships, sexual or physical abuse, death, needy parents, codependency, addictions, caretaking or other trauma.

Soul Giving: There are times when we unconsciously, or even consciously, give parts of our soul away to others. This frequently happens when we are in love. While it is thought to be romantic to give one’s heart to another, there is great wisdom in being able to love another and at the same time remain whole.

At other times, we may begrudgingly give soul parts to our parents or others in order to maintain their love or caregiving. We may also give away a part of who we are in order to survive a traumatic situation such as sexual or physical abuse. In these cases, we are literally giving up a part of who we are in order to survive.

It is also possible to give a soul part away in order to maintain an energetic connection with someone. For example if someone we love chooses to leave us we may desperately attach a part of our self to that person as a form of lasso.

While there are many more ways to give up one’s soul to others, all cases of soul giving that occur are situations of disempowerment and are unhealthy for both parties. Taking back your soul is both empowering and spiritually healing. 

Shamanic Extraction: The removal of displaced energy, sometimes called energetic intrusions, from a person's body. Displaced energy can come to a person in different ways: 

  • Unresolved anger, grief, depression, sadness, fear, etc., not worked through that become lodged within the body. 
  • Emotions i.e. anger, rage, jealousy, etc., that have been directed to you from another person. 
  • Traumatic experiences such as illness, surgery, accidents, divorce, death of a loved one, addiction, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, natural disasters, and wartime combat, etc. 
  • Addictions i.e. drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, and sex, etc.
  • Unhealthy relationships i.e. when one person insinuates him or herself into the life of another.
  • Wandering beings who see a space within a person of low life force and vitality and fill it. 

Regina works with her spirit guides to locate and remove these energetic intrusions and makes sure that what is extracted is recycled into its highest form so that it does not have the opportunity to return to the client’s body. Clients often say they feel lighter, more solid and better able to deal with everyday life situations after an extraction.

Soul Retrieval: returning willing and ready parts of a client’s soul that left during traumatic events. When we suffer from trauma, parts of our soul may flee, leaving us less then whole. Our energy diminishes. Sadly, over time, we become used to living with less energy without realizing how adversely we are affected.

Regina journeys to locate and reconnect lost parts of a client’s soul. She also teaches her clients how to reintegrate and nurture those parts that have returned. After Soul Retrieval sessions, clients have reported feeling “more like my old self,” “integrated,” and “more solid.”

Soul Hiding: hiding a part of the soul for a particular time-period for an upcoming situation for which the client needs undiluted focus, strength, etc. Retrieval occurs at the end of an agreed time. Practical uses for Soul Hiding may include needing to focus when attending a court hearing, assisting someone who is ill or dying, studying for an upcoming exam, or moving through any other major experience.


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