Shamanism and Songs by Jan Engels-Smith

The Power of Shamanism and Songs

Songs carry a tremendous amount of power, and sound is a major healing vibration; it is in your body, and goes out into the world.There are songs for everything. There are songs that are healing songs or doctoring songs. There are songs for calling in the spirits, and there are songs for greeting the sun, the great shaman that comes up in the east every morning, and for the night sun, the moon. Songs use the power of the drum and the power of your own personal connection to spirit. Songs are alive. In many traditions, you are not allowed to sing or use the songs unless they are ceremoniously and officially given to you. I was gifted some songs from my adopted Grandfather, from a traditional Lakota family. He told me I could use the songs, the traditional songs from the family, in my classes and in ceremony. They are not to be taken outside this classroom. In advanced LightSong classes, we use some of those songs.

The point in here is not to necessarily follow a tradition, but rather that you carry your own songs inside you that are also very powerful. In a traditional setting, songs would be used for healing, calling in the spirits, or for ceremonies that call in specific spirits. There are songs for everything, for gathering berries, and for going hunting. These songs are handed down; everyone knows the same song, and you sing them together.

Songs in English—a shaman’s song and a directional song—are presented below:

Circle Around Song

I circle around

I circle around; the boundaries of the Earth.

I circle around

I circle around; the boundaries of the Earth

Wearing my long winged feathers as I fly

Wearing my long winged feathers as I fly.

I circle around

I circle around; the boundaries of the Earth.


English Directional Song 

I call to the power of the Thunder Beings,

I call to the power of the Earth,

I call to the power of the East and West

I call to the power of the North and South,

Behold the time has come

The time has come to unite as one

Behold the time has come,

To encircle the Earth with our love.

In addition to the songs above, LightSong students learn about the song that is within. Within each of us is a power song. A power song is to help bring power into your being. When you are doing shamanic work, you want to be big; you want to be filled with power. Some songs are ancient, but they all started somewhere. Someone “caught” it, inside themselves, and started using it, and now they are centuries old. This power lives within all of us.

Songs are often accompanied by the drum and the rattle. If you travel around the world, other instruments are used such as the didgeridoo, bells, bowls, etc. The drum is indigenous to those areas too. Whistling is a very common way to call in the spirits. Singing – most indigenous peoples have loads of power songs they sing in their native language to invite the spirits in.