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NEPAL: Shamanic Studies
Experience Mystic Nepal
Two Week Program with Optional Trek

7-day trek near Annapurna including flights, accommodation, meals etc

From the Tungus of Siberia, shaman translates as “one who knows.” Nepalese shamanism is widely practiced amongst the many ethnic groups living on Nepal's plains and mountains. Shamanic traditions comprise the oldest forms of healing and mysticism. In many villages in Nepal, local shamans hold great power and authority and are revered as elders.

Shamans are leaders and healers who work with spiritual forces. They serve as a bridge between village communities and the sprit worlds. Shamans consult spirits about curing the sick, leading the community and guiding the souls of the dead. Shamans often perform rituals prescribed by spirits.

Most shamans are chosen by ancestors to perform these duties, often during a serious illness or near-death experience. Novice shamans study for years, mastering rituals, mantras, traditions and trance. Shamans must know the names of spirits, sacred chants, tribal mythology and genealogy.

Shamanic Drumming    Shamanic Coaching   Coaching Holidays   Nepalese Religion

Nepalese shamans are called Dhami or Jhankri. Watch them, and perhaps join them, using drums and fire to access altered states. Music, dancing, sex and drugs are forms of Tantra, a primordial religion. Tantra transcends sectarianism and is found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Shamanism, the three principal religions of Nepal. Would you prefer to observe or participate in these old traditions?

We invite you to participate. Join us in Tibetan Buddhist meditations, Hindu puja (devotion) with sadhus (mystics) and shamanic journeys. Your participation is always voluntary; we make opportunities available and we share observations and experiences. Some group members may have experience with other old traditions and share their comparisons and experiences. We can discuss the relevance of what we learn and how we can integrate these older orientations and healing modalities into our modern lives.

Sixty or so cultures share Nepal's unique environment. The majority of Nepalese people are Hindu, with many Buddhists, Muslims and a few Christians, yet Nepal shamans rarely show prejudice between religion or sect, rich or poor, caste or color, language or nationality.

Three important elements of Nepalese life are:

  1. Indigenous shamanism in villages and communities
  2. Hinduism from the south, over 2000 years ago with Sanskrit/Vedic culture and Khas, an Indo-Aryan language (which is now Nepali, the national language of Nepal).
  3. Mahayana Buddhism from the north 1000 years ago, with the Tibeto-Burman language.

Nepalese shamanism is not limited to an ethnic group or sect - a similar core underlies many rituals and ceremonies. Shamans see visions, heal and gain knowledge by journeying in ecstatic, trance-like states. Then a shaman is said to travel to the heavens or the underworlds. While in trance, a shaman can be possessed by spirits to gain knowledge and healing powers.

Each shaman uses sacred objects, drums, chants and dances to initiate and sustain inspiration by deities or power animals. They dance to spirit rhythms as they journey through three levels of existence - perhaps to find or retrieve lost souls (reminiscent of identity loss in Systemic coaching).

Shamans are found in all Nepalese ethnic groups and their services are sought after. Before modern medicine, people depended on the shamans in the event of diseases, droughts, floods, infertility, family and community conflict. Shamans could appease deities, calm angry or malignant spirits, conduct household and community ceremonies, advise villagers, and sometimes help the souls of dead people to attain other realms.

Although many of their roles have been taken over by Western medicine, Brahmin priests and Tibetan Buddhist monks; shamans are still consulted, either first or if other modalities are found to be ineffective.

These Himalayan shaman was not known to the outside world until the 1950's, when ethnologists, anthropologists and medical practitioners researched and documented the importance of Jhankri shamans in Nepali society.

Professor A W Macdonald described Jhankris as healers who, after possession by spirits, manage to control them. A complete description of Jhankri became available in 1973 with the publication of Spirit Possession in the Nepal Himalayas. There have since been many publications on this topic.

Tentative Daily Program in Nepal

Day 1 : Arrive in Kathmandu and go to the Benchen Buddhist Monastery located on the west of Kathmandu, not far from the famous stupa complex at Swayambhunath (sometimes called the monkey temple). Attend a welcome dinner on the first evening in the monastery dining room or on the patio.

(We ask you to support the Benchen Monastery Free Clinic and Free Dental Clinic).

Day 2 : We walk to Swayambhunath and climb 365 stone steps, with other pilgrims, to reach the hilltop home of a great stupa, with many chortens, shrines and monasteries. This is also home for hundreds of monkeys who act as if they own this hill - and perhaps they do. (Be cautious with the monkeys; who, though cute, may snatch things from your hands. They may bite you if they feel threatened.

We later visit the Bon Monastery to view their spiritual practices and herbal medicine preparations. We return to Benchen monastery for an evening lecture.

Day 3 : In the morning we tour the Nepal museum and after lunch, walk to some of the old, historic and religious monuments of Kathmandu. We visit the Royal Kumari House, where the Kumari, a living goddess, resides. We walk to Thamel through Asan Bazar, the oldest bazaar of the Kathmandu valley.

Day 4: In the morning we visit the temples and cremation sites of Pashupatinath (Lord of Animals), on the Bagmati River, sacred to Lord Shiva, the destroyer of evil and sorrow. (Shiva is revered as the master of shamans.) We also visit Guheshwari, a powerful female deity temple and a shaman who manifests the Goddess Durga to do healings and divinations.

Day 5 : A morning drive takes us to the shrine of Vajra Jogini in Sankhu, one of the most powerful places in the Kathmandu Valley. Vajra Jogini protects the valley from thunder, landslides and bestows fertility and abundance on all. On our return we visit Boudhanath, one of the largest stupas in the world and a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site. We lunch under the benevolent eyes of the Buddha and visit the monasteries around the stupa. If possible, we may participate in the late afternoon prayers of the monks in one of the monasteries. Later we prepare for our trip to Pokhara.

Day 6 : In the morning we leave for Pokhara by bus where we check into our hotel and have lunch at a lakeside restaurant. We visit the temple of Tal Barahi (Ganesha Temple) on an island in Fewa Lake. We can boat across the lake to see the lush green forest and the panorama of Himalayan mountains. (Weather permitting, the best bus views are from the roof - if you dress warmly.)

Day 7 : In the morning we drive to a Tibetan Refugee Camp to visit shamans who can give divinations and healings. They are known for Tibetan extraction healing. We return to the lakeside for dinner. In the afternoon we can visit some splendid caves.

Day 8 : In the morning we take an excursion to Sarangkot. From here we can see the Himalayan ranges of Annapurna and Machhapuchre. After a lakeside lunch we may return to complete any healing sessions with the shamans or visit the Peace Pagoda on the far side of the lake.

Day 9 : An early morning departure takes us to Bhaktapur (city of devotees), where we check in to our guest house. In the afternoon we will explore this medieval town and visit Bhaktapur's Durbar Square and Taumadi Chowk. We can see wood carvers, potters, spinners and weavers at work.

Day 10 : Today you can request a blessing from the Bhaktapur Kumari, a living goddess, and then drive to Duwakot to visit an “egg shaman”. Here you can receive healings, divinations, and shamanic advice. In the afternoon we visit the Peacock Window, the symbol of Bhaktapur, the pottery square and other places of historic and religious interest.

Day 11 :In the early morning we visit Budhanilakantha, where a fabulous 7th century statue of Vishnu reclines in a pond, symbolic of the cosmic ocean, supported by snakes. We observe and participate in the prayers and offerings of Brahmins and receive blessings before leaving. After this we drive to Shivapuri National Park for a small taste of Himalayan trekking.

Day 12 : In the early morning we drive to Chobar Gorge where the valley water empties into the plains. We visit the temple of Jala Binayaka, which is believed to grant wishes about love and happy marriage. (We give no guarantees.) We then depart for Pharping (27 kilometers) a small settlement that has the temple to Saraswati, the goddess of learning and wisdom. Nearby, we visit the cave of Guru Rimpoche and walk up the hill to offer our prayer flags for the well being of all sentient beings - and for ourselves. We return to Kathmandu for a late afternoon workshop.

Day 13 : We visit Patan, the ‘city of beauty', and tour the incredible Durbar Square, the wonderful Patan museum, the Golden temple, and the temple of Kumbeshwar (wisdom teacher of shamans). You can stay in Patan or return to Kathmandu for a free afternoon.

Day 14 :  After breakfast we visit a Newari shaman near Bhaktapur. He works differently to the other shamans whom we visit. You can receive a healing and observe him working before returning to Kathmandu. There should be time for last minute shopping and packing (remember your 20 kg baggage weight limit). We conclude this tour with a meal at a Tibetan restaurant.

Your departure for Katmandu airport will depend upon your flight schedule and whether you stay for a few more days. We suggest that you arrive at the airport three hours ahead of your flight's departure as the security inspections can be formidable. (Checkout time is 12:00 noon.)

This itinerary will change - this page provides the central theme of this trip.

Optional 7-day trek near Annapurna

These costs are subject to changes in the price of petroleum products and in currency exchange rates and do not include your international airfare to Katmandu, medical insurance or your tourist visas.

Number of participants: 12 - 20

The cost includes:

  1. Accommodation at hotel in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bhaktapur, with breakfast
  2. All entrance fees to temples and museums
  3. Round trip between Katmandu and Pokhara
  4. Tours in private buses
  5. Fees to shamans, interpreters and facilitators
  6. Gratuities to drivers, helpers and hotel staff

The cost does not include:

  1. Airfare to and from Katmandu
  2. Health and travel insurance
  3. Nepal entrance visa (US$30) and departure fee ($20)
  4. Fees for private consultations and healings by shamans etc
  5. Most meals, drinks and personal expenses
  6. Extra expenses caused by natural or political events
  7. In the event of a weather or political contingency, we may charter a plane or helicopter to Katmandu. This emergency cost is not included in this package.

Important Notes

  • We strongly advise you to have comprehensive health and travel insurance.
  • On this special journey, we focus on spiritual and energetic work. We request that you stay grounded and healthy at all times. Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs!
  • Please respect group members who have different beliefs and spiritual paths than yours.
  • Mists and weather may prevent us from seeing all the beautiful scenery.
  • The accommodations may be more basic than you are used to. There may not be hot water or electrical power available at all times, nor air conditioning nor heat.
  • Although the political situation is improving, we may encounter roadblocks. Plan to be flexible.
  • Please dress with respect when visiting sacred places, shamans' homes, etc. (We suggest long pants or long skirts and shirts with long sleeves.
  • If certain shamans are not available, we will find others.
  • You can purchase lightweight and rugged clothing in the Katmandu markets.
  • Remember to bring your medicines, vitamins etc. (Prescriptions are not required to purchase antibiotics etc in Nepal.)
  • Bring 4 passport size photos for immigration visas and other passes and a photocopy of your passport, just in case.
  • If you have a problem, talk to an organizer immediately. We try to solve problems quickly.
  • Although the bazaars in Katmandu are wonderful - your baggage allowance is probably 20kg!


Payments are in US dollars or Euros - in cash, travelers' checks or with major credit cards. We cannot accept personal checks. (As credit cards can become demagnetized, please check yours before leaving.) A 500 Euro deposit is required and the balance is paid on your arrival in Katmandu.

You can receive funds from ATM machines in Katmandu and Pokhara using major credit cards.

7-day trek near Annapurna

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email