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Written by Predrag Vlatkovic Updated on April 04, 2024

Introducing Sky Otter: A Shamanic Guide on a Mission for Healing and Harmony

Introducing Sky Otter: A Shamanic Guide on a Mission for Healing and Harmony

Explore the intersection of traditional shamanism and contemporary practices with Sky Otter (Bill Pfeiffer), a seasoned practitioner blending ancient wisdom with modern insights. Through his transformative journey from environmental activism to shamanic healing, Sky Otter shares profound insights into sacred journeys, healing sessions, and his core programs aimed at restoring balance between humanity and nature. MysticMag has the pleasure.

What are some differences between modern-day shamanism and traditional shamanism?

The main thing is that traditional or classical shamanism, I would say, has been about gaining and using spiritual power–power with the land and with the greater forces of nature for its own sake. In a smaller community, you could use that power to heal others, but that was done very parochially. It was about your tribe, your area. Overall, this was beneficial but there were shamans who used that power in a not-so-good way.

What’s happening in terms of contemporary shamanism or neo-shamanism is the growing understanding that this power needs to be complemented by compassion, ethics, and an understanding of how this power can be used to affect as many people as possible. There are maybe 20 or 50 people in my immediate environment, but when doing this work online, I can have a global reach. Contemporary shamanism is very much about using that power in a good way and for not just healing individuals, but for healing the collective. Or, at least, it could be.

How did you get into this line of work and what drew you to it?

I’ve always seen this disparity between human innovation and creativity and how we treat the Earth. There’s been a tremendous imbalance in my mind between what does modern progress really mean if we’re polluting the water and taking way more than we need. This link with how we think and perceive and how we relate to nature drove my work early on. I ran an environmental organization that worked a lot in the former Soviet Union, and I spent a lot of time in Siberia, learning traditional shamanism from the local shamans.

The real shamans over there are praying for the purity of water, good use of fire, and how to extend the traditional shamanic practice into the larger sphere. This is how I got into shamanism back in the ‘90s. One shaman who had a big impact on me, who I’d like to mention, is Tatyana Kobezhikova, who is from Hakassia in central Siberia.

Can you explain to our readers the concept of sacred journeys? What are they like?

Shamanic journeys are about using sound, rhythm, and voice to access beneficial knowledge from the Spirit World. I happen to use 3 types of instruments. I use the drum, the rattle, and the Jew’s (or Jaw) harp. I’m always teaching people that for the best journeys, they should feel comfortable with at least one spirit guide. I like to lead people through some kind of opening in the landscape after they’ve met their guide. There should also always be an intention to the journey. This goes back to what I mentioned earlier, that we’re not just doing this for ourselves. I think that that’s the biggest message, that there’s a great deal of meaning and satisfaction to looking beyond our noses.

Of course, we can inquire about personal things when going through a shamanic journey, but ultimately, a shamanic practitioner wants to reach into the Spirit World and bring back useful information and power into this world. There are so many different kinds of journeys, but that basic, classical technique involves a guide, a landscape opening, and percussion or drum rattle. I learned this technique in Siberia. In this process, you go out. explore the universe, and then you come back into this waking reality.

After leading 1,000+ journeys, I’m just amazed at what people come back with and how the vast majority of people are often astonished by what is revealed.  I continue to be amazed myself at this wider, deeper intelligence that’s operating all around what we think the “real” world is. It’s a great cosmic mystery that is teeming with intelligence. However, most people, unfortunately, don’t really get a chance to access it. That’s why I’m excited to work with more and more people on how to use that shamanic journey experience for the greater good.

Can you walk me through one of your healing sessions?

I do 2 basically two kinds of healing sessions. People come into my yurt and I listen to them and do a diagnostic to see what it is that they really want and need. A lot of people just have a lot of pent-up emotions and they just need a safe place where they can release them, so I help them with that. Then, usually, I have them lie down, and I sing, rattle, and blow tobacco smoke, not necessarily in that order. I have healing feathers that I use, and I’ve also learned some healing chants, so I might chant over a person.

The first part is usually pretty traditionally verbal, where we’ll just have a conversation for a while, and then I might have them go out to do some prayers on the land. In one case, it’s kind of classical in terms of any combination of those techniques I mentioned, and I listen to my spirit guides for the right order. It’s not like a pattern of things that we would do all in the same order every time. It’s not like that at all. It can be very, very different.

Sometimes I’ll do an extraction where I can see that there’s negative energy that I try to suck out and make sure it doesn’t come into me and that it ends up outside of the yurt. The second thing is that sometimes, I think, particularly if there’s a certain kind of resistance, I may offer what is probably most generally known as holotropic breathwork. It’s very deep breathing to music. I do have specific playlists of music for this that I use while I encourage people to breathe more deeply.

Sometimes, when I’m working with them, and they’re lying down and breathing, I bring in the more classical shamanic techniques to help them and work with them. However, if you haven’t done a strong breath session, I really encourage it just because it busts through a lot of the inner resistance that we have. It’s as close to a psychedelic experience as you can get without taking anything. All you’re taking in is the air, and I’m astounded at what can happen for people in that modality.  

What can you tell me about your core programs?

There are 3 of them. One is the Wild Earth Intensive, which is the 10-day experience where we’re outside in a relatively wild area. It involves around 20 people aiming to re-experience our indigenous soul, to move through the cultural ingredients that made us thrive, and to remember who we really are. Going back to access that shamanic power that is available to most of us, and when we experience it together, that can be of great benefit to everyone involved.

Another very interesting thing about this program is that, through those 10 days, it reminds you that there’s more to life than living to work-make money-raise kids-leave money for the kids model. This program is the quickest core program for people to just bust out of that mindset and get a larger perspective on what is possible for us as human beings, both individually and collectively.

The second program is “The Vision Quest” which I’ve been leading for a long time. The concept is really simple, and vision quests are basically as old as humans as a species. People go into the forest by themselves and don’t eat for 4 days. I let people drink, though. The Lakota and Ojibwe Indians don’t even want you to drink, but rather just go out there and pray. If you die, you die, that’s it. However, I’m not as strict as that, but going without eating and being out in the forest by yourself for four days is a guaranteed way of finding that divine intelligence, that spirit guidance, that we usually don’t have access to, and bringing it back into this world.

The third core program is called “Our Sacred Landscape”. I have just started writing a book about it. The idea is that wherever you are, you are part of a landscape. Let’s say you are in a particular area of the planet where you’re going to be for at least the next 20–30 years and even your whole life. Maybe we don’t really travel that much but circulate within a 50-mile diameter from our homes. This area is our sacred landscape. Most people don’t really know how much they actually love where they are until they are given the opportunity to open to that, and in my core program, I’m inviting people to get to know their landscape at a whole new level that our ancestors experienced as a given. We want to re-indigenize and re-inhabit our landscape instead of just thinking about it as scenery if we want balance.

In this program, I use both scientific and shamanic means to achieve that goal. It’s usually a small class of around 10 people, but we meet on a monthly basis. It’s a very accessible kind of thing for ordinary working people who don’t mind having a little bit of homework. Again, people don’t realize how deep their love is for their landscape, so this is a way for them to cut across politics and a lot of other things that could divide us and prevent us from finding this unifying factor of how we can get to know our landscape and how we can help restore it to its optimal beauty and capacity. I have a nice write-up on these 3 programs on my website, but, in essence, it’s a beautiful way for a small group of people to get to know themselves and the landscape at a whole greater level.

 

To learn more about Sky Otter and his work, you can visit skyotter.org

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
MysticMag contains reviews that were written by our experts and follow the strict reviewing standards, including ethical standards, that we have adopted. Such standards require that each review will take into consideration independent, honest and professional examination of the reviewer. That being said, we may earn a commission when a user completes an action using our links, at no additional cost to them. On listicle pages, we rank vendors based on a system that prioritizes the reviewer’s examination of each service but also considers feedback received from our readers and our commercial agreements with providers.This site may not review all available service providers, and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
About the author
Writer
Predrag is a nature and animal lover, fascinated with energy healing and hypnotherapy.