Jez Hughes from Second Sight Healing was kind enough to share with MysticMag his views and insights on shamanism and the work he performs.
Why the name ‘Second Sight’ Healing?
‘Second sight’ is an old mystical Celtic term which means ‘a seer’; seeing what is hidden and seeing what is in the future and past. I wanted a name that reflected Britain, my origins. I also liked the aesthetics of the two ‘S’s’ wrapped around the ‘H’ like snakes. However, I didn’t give it too much thought at the time.
How do you define ‘shamanic sickness’ and is this a rite of passage?
Shamanic sickness is not cross-cultural so it doesn’t affect all cultures. It does affect Asian and Siberian cultures, parts of Africa and the Americas and certainly is a rite of passage in these parts. It is basically where the potential shaman is overwhelmed by the Spirits to the point that he can not function in everyday life. These symptoms can resemble very much what we call mental illness in modern times.
The person may withdraw from society, they may sleep for long periods of time and, in a traditional setting, tend to go from extremes such as being depressed to then having an abundance of energy, seeing visions, acting out in society and generally being seen as being too open to the spiritual world.
In traditional cultures, many skills and techniques are needed to navigate this. It usually takes place spontaneously around the age of adolescence, and they are consumed by the Spirit world and can no longer function in the everyday world. Along with the seemingly classic psychotic behavior comes sleeping for long periods, sometimes very physical and convulsive fits which is what I experienced for many years.
In a traditional setting, the initiate goes into nature on their own and nature will give them the knowledge to shamanise. This can go on for many years and is not viewed as necessarily something pleasant or easy. In our culture, we don’t even acknowledge the existence of Spirits or an animistic reality, so I think the experience is magnified intensely.
How have your travels and experiences with shamanism far and wide impacted the work you perform today?
If one goes on any kind of spiritual quest of any description, it usually involves leaving your known environment to some degree. This also connects back to the shamanic sickness because when the Spirits overwhelm a person, this person is no longer able to connect to their community, friends or family. They are being taken on a journey. It is therefore normal to leave your known environment in order to open up and experience different cultures, different ways of viewing the world, different religions and different perspectives. The journey is not only about leaving physically, but entails leaving behind a lot of conditioning that one may have grown up with. This ultimately changes your perception of the world.
In the West there are no traditions that have survived the course of time. In order to study shamanism, I believe it essential to experience it in cultures which have surviving traditions and it is equally important to experience it in their context. The tribe I work with – Wixárika – has an unbroken lineage which goes back approx. 5000 years. I have learned a huge amount from them.
Shamanism is always connected to the landscape where it arises. They have many sacred sites in their culture that exist all across Mexico and they spend a lot of time giving offerings and praying to the Gods. They don’t teach formally, they take you to the sacred sites because this is where the powers are the strongest. I am apprenticed with them and have committed to a five year program.
In the West, if one learns from a Western Shaman, who learnt from a Western teacher, it becomes watered down. Perhaps they haven’t even experienced any indigenous culture and it becomes, in my opinion, more like therapy as opposed to traditional shamanism.
How exactly do you work with those who seek your help and what will they walk away with?
For fifteen years I have worked full time as a one-on-one healer. My shamanic sickness went on for a very long time, on and off for about sixteen years. It was only through a lot of exploration and finding shamanism that I gathered the tools to be able to heal myself from the convulsive fits and psychotic breaks and from being overwhelmed by the Spirit world.
I started training for a couple of years and then realized I needed to give something back. This is when I started working one-on-one. I soon realized that Westerners need different medicine to other cultures. We have so many mind blockages and structures that need to be processed. When people come to me, we first start by having a chat and get to the root of what is actually wrong. My job is to help the person go through all the mental chatter, stories and narratives and to get to the heart of what the person needs and wants, and what is standing in the way of that. In our culture, there are not many places where one can take off all the masks and actually be authentic and real to who they are.
The second stage will involve going into the energy body of the person and releasing the blockages and poisons, and helping the ancestral healing. I will negotiate with the person’s ancestors to see if there are any negative patterns or traumas coming down, and will then heal that. Then I may also do Soul Retrieval.
Basically, I do a complete renewal and cleaning of the person to bring back power and energy. Also I give the person an opportunity to go away and make changes. Each person has to do their own healing and make the necessary changes in their lives.
My work provides a window of opportunity for people to take responsibility for their own healing journey. It also connects them with the mostly forgotten and unseen incredible forces that hold life together, support and guide us.
Do you believe we can all integrate shamanic practices into our lives in the ‘modern world’ and how would this change our consciousness as a whole?
Shamanism is the active study of the healers and the seers who hold a very specific role of doctor/ceremonial leader. Shamanism comes from animism which suggests that everything has a consciousness, everything is alive and imbued with Spirit. We have a desperate need to integrate this into our lives as our relationship with nature has completely broken down. The West sees nature as a commodity which is why we allow for excessive mining etc… indigenous people would refer to this as tearing the heart and soul out of the earth. They see the Earth as another person with a consciousness and this is what the West fails to see and understand.
From an animistic perspective, it is essential that we get back in alignment with nature and know where we come from. I believe that we are going through severe isolation and existential loneliness and this only accentuates our destruction. Offerings and giving back to nature is the easiest way of achieving this much needed integration.
If you would like to learn more about Second Sight Healing, visit https://secondsighthealing.com/ or follow on https://www.facebook.com/jez.hughes.399 and https://www.instagram.com/jez.hughes.399/?hl=en