In a time when many Americans suffer a deep malaise, the work of Sacred Hoop Ministry in Woodland Park points to the healing power of ancient shamanism.
In a thesis study by Kate Mullin, a medical anthropology student at the University of Colorado Denver, four ministry clients are sharing their personal stories on video, including the suffering they endured as a result of trauma and abuse.
On the video, each talks about how they worked through depression and other debilitating emotions with shaman practitioners, Roxanne Roberts and Jim Haggins, who founded the ministry five years ago.
A key part of the study is the playback of the video.
“In watching themselves on the video, the healing went to another level,” Haggins said. “When you see yourself telling your own story, it has a much deeper impact.”
In June, Mullin presented the paper to the review board at UCD which approved the study for publication through the university.
The subjects interviewed include a veteran who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and a mother whose son committed suicide.
“Soul retrieval is part of our session. When things happen to us in our lives and we go through trauma, therapists say we dissociate the trauma but, with soul retrieval we find the essence of the trauma,” Roberts said. “Once we bring that back, it also brings back the healing. The college thesis really explains that.”
Shamanism seeks to find the spiritual aspect of illness such as depression or, in some cases, a disease. “So we see our doctors for our physical needs, medications. For our mental needs, we might go to support groups or see a therapist,” Roberts said. “But the piece that gets left out is the spiritual.”
Mullin’s project explores the spiritual emergence in people who heal through shamanism. “When you’ve been in a repeated traumatic situation, you dissociate yourself and your soul actually comes in and out of your body,” Haggins said. “We have found with veterans, of any war, makes no difference, once they open up, say they feel they must go back to the battlefield 20 or 30 years later. So through the shamanic work, we help them find that essence of what they lost.”
Connecting with nature plays a key role in the shamanic work, Roberts added. “Connecting to nature is a spiritual belief that whatever is going on inside of us we can shift how we feel about ourselves,” she said. “If we can empower ourselves, then how we see the world outside will actually reflect this inner balance. “