Meet Colleen McCann: A Shaman For The Modern Girl
Shaman isn’t the first thing to pop into your head when you meet Colleen McCann of Style Rituals. A petite, sassy blonde, she is the kind of person who doesn’t have time for bullshit and will see through all your excuses (literally).
She is a career lady on a mission just like any other and will tell it like it is. In her case, she has a crystal collection to rival the most impressive sample closets, and it’s not world domination and #bosslady status she’s after (in the traditional sense) but rather is on a mission is to wake up all the ladies (and gents) to living their highest, truest potentials… with a little help from the voices in her head, the dead people she sees, the things she inexplicably knows.
As she explains it - “I’m just another well dressed girl at the cocktail party, the only difference is I hear voices.”
Colleen wasn’t always a Shaman. She worked successfully as a designer, and then an extensively published fashion stylist doing shoots around the world for major editorial publications. So what happened? The short version is about as believable as the long, so I’ll stick with the latter: a trend report, a late night sandwich run, a bodega owner, some bananas, and an undeniable voice in her ear, quickly followed by ghosts waking her up in the morning and and whole lot of freaking the F out. To summarize, all the sudden she couldn’t deny that something very “different” was going on... hoping to avoid lithium she sought help (and help found her) from her weird friends, who suggested healers, who referred her to other healers, who turned in to mentors, and before she knew it she was (reluctantly) enrolling in Shaman School.
Nowadays, Colleen is full on in her mission to help wake up the world. She meets in person with clients in NYC and Los Angeles, and via video chat everywhere else. When we met with her at her sunny space in Venice, CA we had high expectations that were well exceeded. She gave us a healthy dose of tough love while somehow acknowledging exactly the thing we didn’t want to talk about, and some great practical tools to take home (and a few shiny crystal one as well). You leave Colleen feeling like you had a direct line to your intuition without all the fear, over-thinking, judgement, expectation, shoulds, and doubt that usually create static chaos on the airwaves. You just KNOW a whole bunch of things you didn’t know before you got there.
According to Colleen, Shamanism isn’t as esoteric as you might think. Simply, Shamanism uses nature and self care practices to help practitioners develop intuition and connect inward so as to allow healing to happen where it is needed. At it’s most complex? “A good shaman shouldn’t have to ask a client where they need help and healing, they will know without saying. Listening is however a courtesy, so they don’t freak out.” According to Wikipedia, “A shaman is someone who is regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.” And while Shamanic traditions exists across ages and cultures around the world, Colleen’s tribe is a fashionable one and the only jungle you’ll find her in is concrete.
Here, Colleen shares a bit more about what it means to be a shaman, and some practical everyday tools to help live more intuitively and in alignment with your true self.
What is a Shaman?
Some Shamans are purely healers - they carry the knowledge of healing modalities using plants, nature, the elements, and rituals- similar to how you might imagine a tribal medicine man. Some Shamans are also intuitives and/or mediums. Intuitives act as a messenger between the seen and unseen, they tap into truth and knowing. Mediums will channel or be visited by spirits who have passed and bring their messages to the living.
What about you?
My mission is to wake people up to their true calling, purpose, and truth so they can live their calling. My work happens in many forms depending on the needs of the individual I’m working with. I connect with spirits - either as a voice, or a presence I can see or feel. At other times, I’m reading a client and using intuition to communicate information to them. I also teach my clients Shamanic practices (such as using sage or crystals) as a way of self care, strengthening their intuitive abilities, and engaging in what I like to call Spiritual Hygiene.
What is Spiritual Hygiene?
It is common practice to give attention to the cleaning and care of you physical and emotional bodies, your relationships, and career. Do you brush your teeth twice a day? Seek out professional development opportunities to advance your career? Do you workout, read self help books, or go to therapy? You need to put equally as much effort and attention towards the cleaning, clearing, and protecting of your spiritual and energetic body. Here are a few simple ways:
- Clear The Air
For most, I suggest burning sage or palo santo 1-2 times each week around your body. Pay special attention to high traffic areas - if you shake a lot of hands, use your voice for teaching or presenting, or are giving a lot of hugs, focus special attention on those affected areas. Put intention toward clearing your personal energetic field by lovingly requesting that all energy not your own get the F out. Keep a window open so it has somewhere to go. You never want to be carrying around other people's energy, good or bad. Send back the energy of those you interacted with throughout the day until you remain with only your own.
- Clean Your Crystals
Clean your crystals and don’t let others touch them. Simply put, crystals absorb and give off energy. You don’t want someone else bad vibes (or just not your vibes) getting sucked into your crystals, and you don’t want them saturated with all the vibes your trying to release. Occasionally sage your crystals, sit them in the earth (sand at the beach is great, or the roots of a tree), and charge them under the moonlight. Selenite also acts as a natural clearing crystal, and you can put all the other ones on top to clear and reset them.
- Nightly Re-Root
The earth has powerful healing capabilities. As you lay in bed ready to fall asleep, imagine the rich, dark earth coming up through your feet and flooding your body then again leaving through your feet leaving you rooted to the core of the earth.
What are ways to incorporate shamanic practices into your everyday life?
1. Practice Spiritual Hygiene (as mentioned above).
2. Connect with Nature
Figure out what aspect of nature is healing to you, and do that every week. It could be sitting on a bench in central park, or going for a walk along the beach. Whatever it is, use that as a conduit for healing and as a way to tap into your intuitive nature. Look to the earth to heal and for answers, guidance, and comfort. This is different from person to person, and healer to healer.
3. Pull a card
Using tarot cards is a good way to get an external representation of what is happening in your energetic field. Wake up in the morning and spread out your deck of cards, ask what message you need that day, and then pull a card. Use that message as a mantra for your day.
4. Use Crystals
Crystals allow you to utilize powerful earth energy and work on bringing forth or changing things in your life. Here are some of my favorites:
Clear Quartz: This is the black skinny jean of the crystal world - it is an absolute essential and goes with all your tops (aka every other crystal). It is neutral stone that amplifies the energy of other stones. Shamans will work with this stone as “training wheels” for calling in messages… it is also called the High Channeler.
Selenite: This is the colonic of the crystal world. It is self clearing and sucks up bad vibes and gets rid of them. Use this anywhere you want to clear out negative or stagnant energy, and to clear all our other crystals.
Lepidolite: This is the Xanax of crystals and will help you calm down and stay calm.
Rose Quartz: A staple in your crystal collection, this crystal will help you call in self love and love with others (romantic or otherwise).
Amethyst: An important stone to help curb additions, shoe shopping, or something more sinister. It will help you create better daily patterns and support the process of breaking free from addiction. Not all crystals are safe to put in drinking water, but amethyst is a great one to make water with. Sage your stone and then put it in fresh water to sip throughout the day.
How do you become more intuitive?
Intuition is a muscle. The same way starting up a new workout regime is difficult after a long hiatus, it takes time to build up your intuitive strength. The more you practice the daily rituals above, the more fluidly it will come. Beyond that, ask your Guides for help and guidance, and be open to hearing the answers. Shamanism does a lot of work with Spirit Guides, and if you don’t have someone available to guide you in making that connection, simply ask whatever you believe in for guidance and to start opening up a dialogue.
What role does food have in Shamanism?
In Shamanism it is traditionally believed, like most spiritual modalities, that a plant based diet is the best way to go. My mentor, teacher and Founder of the Four Winds, Dr. Alberto Villodo has written a very interesting book that addresses what has gotten the nickname "The Shamans Diet". One Spirit Medicine is a unique book that combines nutritional science with the author’s famed method of shamanic energy healing. On a base level sugar & dairy are to be removed from daily diet.
How can various foods have an impact on your intuitive strength?
I am a bit of an untraditional Shaman. I don't eat a vegan diet. When I am training with my Shamanic community (like going to Shaman School or at community events) I do follow and honor the prescribed diet and look at it more as a moment to detox. I was very open, however I found through trial and error that occasionally eating some meat worked best for me. When you are doing energy work you burn a lot of fuel/calories and eating a plant only diet wasn't enough for me. In moderation I’ll still enjoy a burger, but I like to be informed on where the meat is coming from. Its is believed on a plant based diet you are open to be more connected to your intuition. Meat is looked at as more of a low vibrational food. So how I have adopted this concept in my personal practice is a plant based diet at the beginning of the day before my intuitive sessions so I can connect better/be light and then I eat meat at the end of the day after sessions when I need to re-ground.
Are there any rituals or practices that you do or recommend before/during/after eating?
I Reiki all my food and anyone else's food at the table and always say thank you and that I am grateful for what I have to eat...plain & simple.