Jewish Shamanic Healing

Posted on Sept 5, 2003

Ancient Jewish mystery wisdom did not differentiate between emotional, spiritual, or physical imbalance and considered illness a major opportunity for personal life shifting and unfolding. Healing involved ridding the patient of their ailment and directing the flow of the ailment toward the restoration of the individual’s life flow and of balance in the dynamics of soul manifestation. Rituals included prayers and incantations that called upon forces active in the spirit realms, various plants and incense smoke, the ram’s horn, planetary influences, and stones. Some ceremonies involved drawing a circle on the earth with specific mystical symbols, and many such rites required chanting and drumming. Often, the purpose of these rites was to clear the body’s own channels of impediments and resistance to enable the smooth flow of the life force within each of us.

During this training program, Rabbi Gershon, who is an actual practitioner of this wisdom and its rites, will familiarize participants to the ancient and medieval Aramaic and Hebraic source texts as well as oral traditions from which this long neglected body of wisdom originates. Miriam will guide us through imagery, music, and movement toward integrating these teachings and drawing them deeper within ourselves, beyond the intellect. The Jewish healing tradition strongly suggests that the healer needs to dance, that restoring wholeness into what is fragmented requires movement, not just ritual and prayer. So Gershon will share the wisdom and teach the experientials and lead some journeying, and Miriam will guide participants toward movement (through music) intended to not only help integrate the teachings into mind, body, and spirit, but also to "train" us in the art of movement as a means of healing.

Aboriginal in nature, these teachings and experientials also introduce us to a whole dimension of Judaism that is largely unknown to mainstream Jewish tradition, suppressed for centuries by Church campaigns against the occult (which included women as a group and Jews as a group) and more recently by Jews themselves beginning with the Age of “Enlightenment.” Rabbi Gershon has devoted much of his energy and time over the past decade to revive this aboriginal element of Judaism and to render it user-friendly to the serious novice.

Gershon Winkler is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Walking Stick Foundation and Retreat Center near Cuba, New Mexico, a non-profit organization devoted to the recovery of aboriginal, earth-honoring spirituality. Initiated in Jerusalem in 1978 by the late Kabbalist Rabbi Eli’ezer Benseon, he has authored eleven books on Jewish theology, folklore, and mysticism. He has lectured and served as Scholar-in-Residence at colleges and universities, and for ecumenical and Jewish retreats, coast to coast, including six workshop tours across the Land of Israel from 1999 through 2003. He also conducts monthly “Sacred Talks” seminars on Jewish mysticism and shamanism in Durango, Colorado, and in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and serves as the itinerant rabbi for Missoula, Montana. His most recent book, Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism, capsulizes his nearly two decades of study and practice of the long-lost shamanic traditions of Judaism.

In the winter of 1994, Rabbi Winkler suffered a major stroke that rendered the left side of his body completely paralyzed from his neck down to his toes. The experience transformed his life and sent him deeper into the ancient healing ways of Jewish mystery wisdom. Today, after only eight hours of clinical physical therapy and eight years of self-healing, he hikes, runs, dances, and is even beginning to play the guitar again.

Miriam Maron Emhoff, R.N., M.A., holds a BSN from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a Registered Nurse with a graduate degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Southern California. She facilitates workshops, services and retreats across the U.S., Canada, and Europe on healing and mind, body, and soul integration, using movement, guided imagery, sacred texts, meditation and chanting. Her concerts, as well as her albums “Wings of Light” and “Light out of Darkness”, feature Jewish healing and peace songs and have received wide acclaim from interdenominational sources across the globe. She also performs life-cycle ceremonies and has a private healing practice in Los Angeles, California. Miriam gifts us with deep soul connection, and is a wise-woman blessed with the gift of guiding the willing participant toward the embrace of what we so glibly call “The Divine.” Through songs, teachings and movement, that are both soothing and transforming, Miriam communicates her own personal devotion and authenticity as a teacher and healer.

Since age 15 Miriam was stricken with Fibromyalgia, Connective Tissue Disease, Silent Stroke, and Raynaud’s Syndrome. For a number of years she was confined to a wheel chair and the use of a cane, and was frequently bedridden even to the point of being unable to feed herself, let alone wheel herself. Rather than succumb to the debilitating discomforts of her ailments, however, Miriam mustered her warrior-within and transformed her life by healing herself and others through hands-on and other energetic techniques, as well as music, dance and alternative medicine.


Healing in the Jewish Tradition - 2003-2004

Module One: Introduction to Jewish Healing

Workshop—July 21-27, 2003

A brief history of the tradition of Jewish healing

The Science of Soul in Jewish healing rites

The nature of Shefa, flow and energy

Health vs. Illness

Mind/Body/Soul interface

Hands-on and other magical healing methods in Jewish traditions

Module Two: Healing and Spiritual Practice

Workshop—February 11-16, 2004

Reading the body

Reading the soul

Soul Retrieval in Jewish Healing Tradition

Compatibility between the healer and the one who seeks healing

Responsibilities of the healer

Ethics: Medical and spiritual

Module Three: The Encounter

Workshop—July 19-25, 2004

Shamanic Journeying in the Jewish Tradition

The role of dream in illness and healing

Jewish Shamanic healing rituals

Drawing the Sacred Circle

The Shofar, the Myrtle, and other healing implements

Good spirits, bad spirits: Invoking and exorcising either

Module Four: The Initiation

Workshop--February 16-21, 2005

The Mystery of Channeling

Opening the channels

Calling on Spirits/Angels

The Permutations of Divine Names

The Mantle of Balance

Closing and Initiation

Questions or Comments?

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