Smiling Shaman Helps Navigate Our Sacred Journeys
Jennifer Craig, owner of Smiling Shaman, has always been interested in other cultures and ways of life that explore deeper connections with the Earth and Spirit. She studied Russian, Spanish and international agriculture at Penn State, and while in college, she learned about the Rodale Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting organic farming principles. She discovered worm composting, in which worms recycle food waste and other organic matter into valuable soil amendment. Through Durango Compost Company, the business she owned while living in Colorado, she observed how working with the Earth elicited spontaneous healing responses in others.
Craig continued to immerse herself in the powers of the Earth and spiritual healing. Inspired by the book Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas, she attended a conference in Chicago to meet the faculty of the Light Body School at the Four Winds Society, where she went on to study shamanic healing. When Craig returned to her native Pennsylvania in 2016, she noticed that people were hungry for deep community connections and ceremony, so she formed Smiling Shaman, offering healing consults, ceremonies and other spiritual services.
Craig notes that shamanic healing involves working with the body’s energy. “Our physical bodies are cared for by primary care doctors, massage therapists and physical therapists, and then we have our mental and emotional bodies, cared for by psychologists, social workers and other therapists,” she explains. “Then we have our energy body, which is the meridians and chakras. Energy and light are synonymous there, and that’s where the shaman works.”
Shamanism also includes working with ancestral spirits, nature and plants, all linking into the spirit world. Some people assume that a shaman cures diseases; however, Craig emphasizes that curing and healing are quite different: “Curing is where a practitioner eliminates symptoms, but not the root cause. It just makes the symptoms go away. Healing is transforming a person’s life, going from inside out and clearing blockages or trauma that left imprints in the body’s energy field.”
Craig uses shamanic work to help people remove limiting beliefs like ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I can’t.’ “We’re often unconscious of those limiting beliefs, but they can make a huge impact on our everyday lives, jobs and relationships,” she says. “Thoughts and feelings have vibration and magnetic pull, which will attract matched vibrations and beliefs. If we believe ‘I’ve got this,’ instead of ‘I can’t,’ that attracts the energy that supports manifestation of that belief.”
Online scheduling is commonplace in today’s society, but Craig encourages people interested in her shamanic healing consults to call so she can enter into a conversation and get a feel for what energetic issues one is bringing to the table. “I start healing sessions with an illumination process to find where the original energetic imprint got lodged and to get a feel for what might be needed,” she says.
Craig’s services include illuminations, which clear specific unwanted energy blockages; decoupling, which resets the body’s flight, flight or freeze stress response to a natural state of rest, digest and heal; space clearings, which clear heavy energy from a home, workspace or land; and soul retrievals. In addition, she also offers fire ceremonies, space and event blessings, personal and group medicine wheel journeys, commissioned ceremonies and the Ayni Despacho, a Peruvian gratitude bundle ceremony expressing thanks for seen and unseen elements in the world. Craig also offers remote consults and Skype sessions.
Craig had also lived in Peru for six months to learn from the medicine men and women that have lived and practiced shamanic traditions as part of their daily lives for thousands of years. “It’s the same way that farming fits into a farmer’s life,” she says, “it’s just what you do, and part of who you are.”
Upcoming Smiling Shaman events include the Inner Peace Holistic Expo, November 3 and 4, which will include a Day of the Dead demo of the Ayni Despacho to honor those that have gone before us; and A Sacred Thanksgiving Ceremony on November 22. “I do ceremonies around the holidays to re-explore and refresh the way we approach them,” she says. Also planned are a Sacred Winter Fire Ceremony, a New Year’s Day intention-setting journey and a Sacred Love Workshop in February.
Craig still offers worm composting services as a side business, and she notes how that practice coincides perfectly with shamanism. “Worms take what we don’t want and transform it into something that gives life,” she says. “The shamanic world works the same way, taking energy that’s stuck and or not useful anymore and gives it back to the Earth, which accepts the energy just as it is, transforms it and uses it to create new life. It’s very beautiful, and I feel inspired by that.”