By Melchizedek Maquiso
Tracey Julie Kennedy never expected to be a healer.
For most of her career, Kennedy has been a teacher, including a seven-year stint at Loyalist College.
It has been almost a decade since leaving Loyalist and several other jobs later that Kennedy found her true calling three years ago – as a shaman.
“I taught at Loyalist for a total of seven years. They have hired me to do some work at the college and so I was teaching in the arts and science program and the continuing education program,” the 38-year old Belleville resident recalls.
Encyclopedia Britannica defines a shaman as “a person believed to achieve various powers through trance or ecstatic religious experience. Although shamans’ repertoires vary from one culture to the next, they are typically thought to have the ability to heal the sick, to communicate with the otherworld, and often to escort the souls of the dead to that otherworld.”
Kennedy said her formal introduction to shamanism happened at a desperate time.
“I was first introduced to a shaman when I was really sick to the point that doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and I had many treatment options. My body was going toxic and wouldn’t recover in any way. It was heavily, heavily medicated and I was at the end of my rope and I didn’t know what else to do,” she said.
A two-hour session with a shaman led to another meeting and eventually, a life-changing decision.
“I saw her one more time and I was hitting full recovery. And at that point, she had said to me that part of the reason that I had become so sick and that I was having difficulty and treatment wasn’t working for me was that I was spewing medicine everywhere — that I was very powerful in being able to assist others and if I didn’t step into my calling, perhaps there would be further complications. So she told me to go to the United States to train under Alberto Villoldo and I haven’t looked back since.”
Villoldo is the founder of The Four Winds Society, which according to its website, is “an international research and training organization which is preserving a thousand –year-old tradition of knowledge to achieve personal and planetary healing.”
Kennedy was a student in the institution for a total of two years. Shortly after, she set up shop in Belleville. She has been renting the loft at By The Moon Studio, a holistic health and fitness centre on Dundas street overlooking the Bay of Quinte, for a year now.
Stereotypically associated with the occult and shunned by mainstream religious devotees, Kennedy said that religious leaders come to her to seek help.
“You wouldn’t believe the people who come here,” she said. “I have people who are heavily practicing in the church, who are also deacons and ministers and who come for sessions.”
Kennedy said that her clients are diverse.
“I have people of all ages. I have people right from being in the womb still. My oldest client is probably 80-something years old. It totally ranges. I never know who’s going to come in. It’s been very well received. I haven’t had any difficulties at all in this community. In fact, if I had to tell you exactly what my clientele looked like, it would change every two weeks as to who comes in. I get quite the mix of people.”
She said her clients also have diverse health and mental issues ranging from trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, conception issues, night terrors or even people who can’t move forward emotionally. She also said she has clients who feel they are cursed or damned.
Kennedy clarifies that what she does is not a replacement, but a complement to her clients’ individual treatments.
“Some people come in because they receive diagnosis from doctors and the treatment that they are given is not helping them, it is making them more sick. So I help to support them in whatever it is that I can do, to help support the system to go back into balance. Everything I do is a complementary service.”
The system that Kennedy refers to ranges from medical practices and alternative medicine.
“I tell clients who come here – continue with your medication. But if you’re starting to feel high, please go back to your doctor because maybe you need to adjust your levels,” she said, referring to clients who are prescribed medication by their doctors.
“What is great using shamanic work is that I can support the system even if they got a plethora of doctors that are going through surgery. People come to me before or after surgery to work on their luminous field,” Kennedy said.
A typical session with Kennedy starts with tracking, where she sits one-on-one with a person to determine and explore their issues in-depth. Kennedy said she looks for the bigger picture hoping to answer what the client’s soul is wanting. At some point in the session, she takes one of her stones that have been used in the ceremony. Clients will blow these, which in turn, will charge them up into the stone.
At the end of every session, Kennedy performs a decoupling, which turns off the flight response, which eventually allows clients to relax.
Before they leave, Kennedy performs mythic mapping, which will help clients connect in a way that is going to allow them to do some homework when they leave, to set their life on that particular path.