I took Betsy Bergstrom’s Compassionate Depossession class last weekend. Betsy was recommended by two shamanic practitioners I have a lot of respect for: Alida Birch in Eugene, Oregon, and Ana Larramendi in Madison, Wisconsin.
I’m going to talk here about compassionate depossession and some of the insights I got from taking the class. Let’s start with the two parts of compassionate depossession: depossession and compassion.
Depossession comes from the realization that it is possible for other souls or spirits to join with our soul. Sometimes the other beings want control of what we do. Other times they are lost and hurting — just looking for a safe place to hide. The problem is that even the beings that are just looking for safety can bring some negative things into our lives.
The compassionate part looks for ways to remove the possessing beings gently. It is very different from exorcism, where the being is treated as a demon and cast into the fiery pit of hell. For some, probably understandable, reason they don’t want to go and can put up quite a fight. What Betsy has seen is that most of the beings are not trying to cause harm. They are happy to move on because there are much better places for them to be. Compassionate depossession is all about finding those places.
For more details read Betsy’s thoughts about compassionate depossession on her website . It’s an excellent article originally published in Sacred Hoop, a magazine covering spiritual topics.
In this article I’m not going to provide any techniques. They only make sense in a shamanistic sacred space that just isn’t available on the Internet. If you want to learn about compassionate depossession, work on your shamanistic practices and take Betsy’s class.
I do want to tell you about four insights I got because of the class.
The first is that possessions happen often. Before the class I thought they were rare and spectacular, as shown in The Exorcist. Now I think they happen all the time because we are really clueless about what we do with our souls. We throw bits of our soul at others and pick up soul pieces without even noticing it. It’s similar to the cording I wrote about in an earlier article. There is a lot of knowledge about souls that our culture needs to rediscover.
The second insight is that every being has the spark of the creator in them. No matter how much evil a being has done, no matter how hidden the creator’s spark is, it is still possible to find it. But you do have to look. When you find the spark, you can connect with the being in a positive, compassionate way to find a place for the being to go that is better for everyone involved. Even an evil being can be shown the advantages of giving up its possession.
The third insight came after the class. I’m going to outline it here, but it’s complex enough that I want to think about it more before I try to fill in all the details. We usually think of the divine spark as a white light. I think that’s because most people see angels and other beings of the upper shamanic world as light too bright to look at. The insight is that there is also a divine spark that is black light. (A rock spirit I know points out that the divine spark may come in any color, even those we don’t have words for. This spirit has seen these colors, but I haven’t yet.) It is the signature of the lower shamanic world and seems to me like a light too dark to look at. I think of it as shiny black. I also think of it as part of what is good. It is the appearance of the energy of the lower world that combines with the shining form of the upper world to create our middle world.
Sitting with one of the black energy beings I helped move out of my body, I watched shamanic practitioners move through the lower world. Everything around us was formless shiny black: formless energy, mostly formless being, except when a shamanic practitioner moved through. The practitioner radiated light. In the space where he or she walked things took a middle-world form in response to the person’s light. And it was the form that best suited the particular practitioner. My current feeling is that when we walk in the lower world, we co-create a world that our senses can perceive because the real nature of the lower world can be too shiny black for us to look at directly.
The fourth insight is related to the nature of evil. Our culture equates light and dark with good and evil. In our culture’s view, the shiny black of the lower world would be seen as a place of evil. It isn’t. Evil has a different nature. It involves binding and control and slavery. We are sovereign beings. We have the right to choose our own destiny. Any situation or any being that tries to force us to do its will is a manifestation of evil. When we try to bind other sovereign beings or force them to do our will, then we are doing evil, too. One exception is related to our children. One of the meanings of being a child is that the being is not sovereign yet, so the parents are responsible for controlling what the child does while they are teaching it to become sovereign.
Other people in the class had very different insights. If your path is moving in shamanic directions, compassionate depossession is one of the things to learn more about.