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Mara Bishop, MS, ThM, CSC, Reiki Master
Telephone: (919) 419-1074


Mara Bishop is a shamanic practitioner, intuitive consultant, teacher, author, and artist. In her Personal Evolution Counseling™ practice in Durham, she combines shamanic healing, intuitive consultations, and energetic healing. She works with clients locally, nationally, and internationally. She is the author of Inner Divinity: Crafting Your Life with Sacred Intelligence, and the companion CD of guided meditations.


She holds master’s degrees in Energy Medicine and Theology and a bachelor’s degree in Art and Communications. She is a graduate of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Three–Year Program in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing, Sandra Ingerman’s Shamanic Teacher Training program, and advanced training with Betsy Bergstrom. Mara is the only Harner Certified Shamanic Counselor® in North Carolina.

Two Aspects of Addiction;
Two Shamanic Remedies

By Mara Bishop, MS, ThM, CSC, Reiki Master

~ We cannot fill the absence of spirit with anything but spirit. ~

Mara Bishop

Addictions take many forms and begin for many reasons. Given the complexity of this issue, I’m going to focus on two patterns I see most often in my practice related to addic-tions, rather than speaking to addictions as a whole. Both patterns are compounded once addictions kick in. Both can be helped with shamanic healing. Of course, proper medical and psychological care are recommended in conjunction with spiritual healing.

Issue: Extrasensory Overload

People who are born with high levels of sensitivity suffer if they do not have healthy ways to moderate and manage their sensory intake. Without understanding the mechanisms of empathy or the dynamics of absorbing energy and information from other people and their surroundings, highly sensitive people can easily find life overwhelming.

Energy Boundaries Class

On Saturday, September 15th, I’ll be leading a workshop— Navigating the Energy Ecosystem, Chapel Hill 10-4—about developing stronger energetic boundaries, understanding your energetic personality and learning ways to practice good preventive energy medicine.

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Telephone: (919) 419-1074

One way to cope with an overload of input is to try to desensitize the mechanism that is receiving it. For some people, alcohol and tobacco help to turn down the volume of the many sources of input they receive through these energetic sensory recep-tors. It’s not the healthiest strategy, but it can seem like a quick fix at first.

Remedy: Turning Sensitivity into Strength

Being sensitive is not a bad thing, but like most qualities it has its benefits and its potential pitfalls. The upside of sensitivity is that if you work with it consciously, it becomes a powerful strength. Highly intuitive people can read a person or a situation to get information that is not available to those who are less perceptive. Information is available all the time, but like stations on the radio, we want to choose when, and to what, we listen. When our sensitivity is out of our control it’s as if multiple radio stations are playing at full blast simultaneously. This is uncomfortable.

By working deliberately with energetic boundaries to decide when to tune in and when to turn the volume down, sensitive people can create a healthier and more sustainable way to avoid uncomfortable levels of input. A good place to start is taking classes or individual instruction to become aware of and in better control of your energy body, your energetic relation to others, and your ability to regulate your energetic porousness. Clearing energy that is not natively yours is often a helpful part of this process.

Issue: Spiritual Detachment

Another common symptom I see in people suffering from addiction is a disconnect from spirit. This is called soul loss in shamanic terminology. It generally manifests as a sense that something is missing and that we are not fully rooted in our body or present in our life. From a spiritual perspective, one of the ways we endure trauma is to detach on the energetic level. It’s an effective survival mechanism. As we instinctively move away from physical pain to protect the physical body, we do the same thing spiritually. Much of the time, the part of our energy that disconnected comes back when the crisis is over, and there are no lasting repercussions. When the disconnect lingers, symptoms occur. Addictions are one of them.

Once soul loss occurs and there is a sense of longing or something missing, there is a natural reflex to take action to feel full. Again, substances can seem like a quick fix. If we eat or drink it seems logical that we’d be filling ourselves, but we cannot fill the absence of spirit with anything but spirit. Efforts to feel whole by taking in more can actually compound the problem, especially when these behaviors become excessive or compulsive. Addictive behaviors are also traumatizing in and of themselves, and can actually cause soul loss.

Remedy: Soul Retrieval

Creating true spiritual wholeness is part of an effective path to addressing the root causes of addiction. The classic shamanic technique of soul retrieval works to counter the effects of trauma, reconnecting people with the parts that are not seated in their bodies. Further work with integrating these parts helps provide tools to stay present and address uncomfortable situations, rather than creating an energetic absence that leaves one vulnerable. Clients who have experienced soul retrieval report feeling a renewed sense of empowerment, increased clarity and engagement with their lives, inspiration to be healthy, and connection to their intuition and purpose.

Both highly sensitive people and people who have disconnected energetically because of past traumas often benefit from a variety of shamanic energy medicine practices: clearing what doesn’t belong, engaging soul parts that have fled, and establishing healthy and flexible boundaries.