The Bridge Between Two Worlds
A Shaman’s View of Schizophrenia & Acute Sensitivity
by Odette Nightsky
Excerpts from Odette Nightsky’s book The Bridge Between Two Worlds: A Shaman’s View of Schizophrenia & Acute Sensitivity.
1991 was the beginning of my research and investigation into the area of what I refer to as the world of the Acute sensitive. I was living in a little coastal town south of Sydney, Australia, in what was rumoured to be a haunted house. Soon after having moved in, my moods and thought processes started to change, I had feelings of being haunted, possessed and at times would find myself waking up in the middle of the night hearing voices….other voices….not my own, at least they didn’t seem to be. I knew that there was a cousin in my family that was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and I assumed I was heading down that avenue too.
A local healer invited me to come and have a healing session. He mentioned that there were some writings that I might be interested in. The healing itself made little impact, but the essence of the writings still live in my memory to this day. A channeler in Sweden revealed that the mental health system was going to move through great changes in understanding the world of the mentally ill, forming a more holistic and spiritual perspective.
From that moment on many things in my life started to change. I began to sit in meditation and confront these energies that were tormenting me. They didn’t appear like ghosts visiting and tearing up the place. These energies were more like and invasion of the mind, emotions and spirit. I spent much time sitting in negotiation with whatever dark energy I came across, and what I finally realised was that fear and fighting were the two most useless tools. Neither of them worked in helping me to deal with these visiting energies.
Each week I would teach drama and movement classes and then get on the train to Sydney to spend as much time as I could in the National Library looking up books and documentary films on the subject of Schizophrenia. There was a great deal of information from the psychiatric perspective but very little from any other point of view. I decided to travel to England and America. Again I scoured the bookshops to see if there was anything that would tell me more than the left brain view of mental illness. There was nothing revolutionary apart from C.G Jung, Stanislav Grof, R.D Laing and a few others I discovered much later. There was little information that didn’t lace itself with medical jargon and terms that I needed a Psychiatrist’s dictionary to understand.
So I thought maybe I was looking in the wrong area for my answers. I researched back into history to see how the mentally ill were treated before the advent of orthodox medicine. Religion played a big part in what they believed was the source of the suffering……..The devil and his fallen angels. To hear voices one was either a chosen prophet or under the hand of Lucifer. This I found hard to swallow I did not believe that what was happening to me was the work of the devil, and believe me I’m no prophet!
Further back I discovered that the indigenous people cared for their Acutely sensitive members with much more respect than modern man does. The most positive information was from Transpersonal Psychology, Parapsychology & Shamanic sources. I realised that the way I was working with my inner world was very similar to how the Shamans worked. (Without the Ethnobotanical approach). In many indigenous tribes the Acute Sensitive would be under instruction of the Medicine wo/man or shaman/ka. The Shaman’s role is to assist the sensitive in working within the spirit world.
In some cases the Shaman may perform a type of exorcism to discharge the discarnate entities surrounding the person in crisis. It is understood that the key problem is the fragmentation of the core self (the central seat of the soul). The villagers would take care of their needs, as they were not able to perform their normal tasks. Food, clothing and shelter would be provided by the community and slowly, slowly the Acute Sensitive would be given guidance by the shaman to walk in the world of spirit without coming to any harm. The Shaman recognizes that there is more than one dimension where both light and darkened beings reside. The aim is to not stop the voices, so much as to work with them in a way that the Acute Sensitive is in control rather than the tormenting energies.
In third world countries the Acutely sensitive souls are rarely ignored or shunned from society. They are seen as specially blessed, because it is recognized that they live in the world of the spirit more than in the world of the mundane. They are learning to find balance and are allowed to find it naturally. This super sensitivity is not something to be fixed, it is something to be harnessed and used. It is a natural talent that enables them to cross the bridge between two worlds. The learning is to find balance within this gift, balance of mind, balance of body, balance of spirit.
As John Watkins mentions in his book “Hearing Voices” there is a growing interest in a more holistic approach to working with Acutely Sensitive souls, and a range of Shamanic techniques have been successfully used in treating people in some mental health centres. At one centre two thirds of the clients with a long history of hallucinations have reported experiencing much relief through these techniques.
It is the individual that we need to listen to. What would suit them personally? Some would respond better to medication solely, while others perhaps creative Visualisation, Homoeopathy, Shamanic Healing, each persons needs are different. We are in the Age of Aquarius, the Pisces era of good verses evil is over. We are all things, dark and light, and it is time we found balance in both. Shamanism is one option in the Holistic approach to Schizophrenia, and there are many people that I have talked to, both Acute Sensitives and carers alike, that feel this approach is at times more helpful than the standard orthodox treatment. It would be a progressive step if the mental health departments would opened their doors to a more holistic proposition and realise that alternative modalities and open mindedness will benefit not only the patient, but also the entire community at large.