Shamanism is not a religion but rather a spiritual philosophy based on the knowledge that what we see with our eyes in normal reality is not all there is. It has been practiced by indigenous cultures throughout the world for tens of thousands of years and involves the traveling from ordinary reality to non-ordinary reality through the use of sonic drumming. This journey is made to enlist the aid of spirit helpers to deal with a client's concerns. The shaman does not do the healing but rather functions as a "hollow bone" through which the spirits offer their assistance.
"A shaman is a man or woman who enters an altered state of consciousness -at will- to contact and utilize an ordinarily hidden reality in order to acquire knowledge, power and to help other persons. The shaman has least one, and usually, more, 'spirits' in his personal service."
Harner, Michael. "The way of the Shaman" (1990), p. 25.
Why would you want to consult with a shamanic counsellor?
Shamanism is a complementary treatment to western medicine and psychotherapy. Shamans believe disease and illness have a spiritual component which they seek to deal with.
Shamanic healing also may be able to restore a sense of well-being when a client may feel like they have lost a sense of vitality or power.
Through several techniques a shaman may use divination to reveal a spirit-given answer to a problem a client may be dealing with.
For over forty two years Rowan was involved in the health care industry as a dentist, a fire department paramedic and a college adjunct faculty instructor teaching pre-hospital medicine courses. He realized many years ago that even though a patient's illness or injury can be treated successfully for many people there is still further emotional, psychic or spiritual healing that also needs to occur for the patient to more fully heal.
Rowan was introduced to shamanism in December, 1986 when Canska Wakan; the red-tailed hawk spirit, revealed himself to Rowan in a most dramatic fashion. He started practicing shamanism 28 years ago. Since 2008 he has been formally studying shamanism with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Since 1997 he has been learning Ceremonial practices from Lakota, Dakota and Apache spiritual healers, ceremony people and medicine men and women. Our exposure to and experience in the sphere of non-ordinary reality is multicultural which we find strengthening.
In 2002 Rowan attended the World's Only Tattoo School becoming a certified tattoo artist. Both sides of his genetic heritage; Scottish and Lakota, were heavily tattooed people and every community/tiospaye had an artist. Nancy and Rowan opened a tattoo studio in Steamboat Springs and ran it for several years prior to moving to Missoula, Montana. Nearly all of their clients were older than 36 and new to tattooing. They had something they wished to physically express about themselves but were unsure how to or in what way to do so.
Based on the psychiatrist Dr. C. G. Yung's work Rowan and Nancy developed a worksheet for these clients to use as a "meditation" tool for several nights. This technique allowed the client to "see" the artwork or design that would express their desire. Today the McQuarrie's use shamanic journeying techniques to discover the tattoo's design. Rowan continues to tattoo limiting his art to spiritual or ceremonial symbols for people to wear as a living fetish, providing strength or support for the wearer. Rowan also fashions fetishes from shell or bone that a client may wear.
Nancy McQuarrie, RN, BSN, was an emergency room nurse and flight nurse prior to 2007 when she was introduced to Shamanism. In 2009 she took a course through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies that was jointly taught by Susan Molkelke and Michael Harner. Upon taking this course she knew that this was her path. She has been a supporter at Lakota Sun Dances in Wanblee, SD and Lampasas, TX since 2010. She continues to study extensively with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in the areas of extraction healing, power animal retrieval, divination, psychopomp and other healing ceremonies as well as teaching journeying utilizing the Harner Shamanic Counseling (HSC) protocols. Nancy is an ordained minister of the Circle of the Sacred Earth.