Schizophrenia—Gift or Illness?

In Western medicine, schizophrenics are considered to have a mental illness with symptoms that include hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, and dysfunction. The current treatment for schizophrenia (with no cure) involves antipsychotic medications with side effects, such as tics, tremors, muscle spasms, weight gain (as much as 60 to 100 pounds in a short-time period that can lead to development of diabetes and high cholesterol), over-sensitivity to sunlight, and sleepiness or restlessness. The medications also dull the patients’ emotions, leading to apathy and withdrawal from life.

Shamans (indigenous spiritual leaders) have a very different opinion of schizophrenia. They believe that schizophrenics are spiritually gifted people who have a strong ability to communicate with spirits. Schizophrenics are in the midst of a spiritual awakening.

As soon as signs of schizophrenia are detected, shamans perform healings on the schizophrenics to remove any negative entities that may be attached to their energetic bodies. Without an overload of negative thoughts, the schizophrenics’ minds become clear. Next, the shamans teach these people to shamanic journey — a spiritual practice that allows them to utilize their gifts to converse with divine spirit guides, power animals and ancestors to receive healing and guidance for themselves and others.

I was given the chance to prove this age-old belief when “Andrew”, a schizophrenic, middle-aged truck driver, contacted me for a healing. He was constantly assaulted by negative voices and desperately wanted relief.

After I completed his remote healing, Andrew emailed me a lengthy description of what he had experienced while the healing took place. His details perfectly matched what I had seen and heard. This showed how spiritually connected he was. Ten months later, Andrew stated that the negative voices were bothering him less and less, and that he was doing well and able to keep his job.

Not long after this, a young man named “Steven” came to me for a healing. He was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness, possibly schizophrenia or clinical depression.

Steven sat across from me not understanding why he felt this way or what to do about it. I explained to him that people who have schizophrenia are gifted with the ability to connect with spirits—a very powerful tool for a shaman who understands his gift and uses it wisely.

During this young man’s healing, it was revealed that he was once a powerful shaman in a previous life—but a shaman who had become consumed with his own power and misused it toward the end. He still held these tremendous powers, but didn’t yet realize it. However, the negative spirits could see his gift and were attacking him before he could remember his power and soar.

Steven’s healing consisted of learning the circumstances of his past and its effects on his current life, as well as forgiveness for his previous transgressions. He was also given a message to be careful not to commit the same error in this lifetime.

The negative spirits that had attached themselves to him were removed, and several angels agreed to help prevent the negative spirits from contacting him in the future. Four months later, Steven informed me that he had successfully gone off of his medication and was feeling noticeably better.

Since these early healings, I have performed dozens more for schizophrenics with life-changing results. Recently, a Stanford University graduate student who is undertaking a clinical study to examine the possibility of a spiritual component to schizophrenia contacted me. She wondered if I would pass along the information to my clients. I was more than happy to post it on social media and my blog. After her article is published, I hope the open-minded therapists who read it will consider the possibility that schizophrenics are in the midst of a spiritual awakening, and, if properly cared for, will become our future healers.

Shaman Elizabeth Herrera is a healer and author who began her shamanic path in 2002 and furthered her learning through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and is a student of A Course in Miracles. Elizabeth inherited her rebellious spirit from her father who was raised by his grandfather, a full-blooded Apache who smuggled sugar and flour from Mexico into Texas, exchanged gunfire with Texas Rangers, and crossed paths with Pancho Villa. To read the extended version of the healings mentioned in this article, read her book Shaman Stone Soup.


  1. “…the sensitive would be given guidance by the shaman to walk in the world of spirit without coming to any harm. They recognized that there is more than one dimension where both light and dark beings reside. The lesson is to not stop the voices so much as work with them in a way that you are in the control seat rather than being controlled by the energies tormenting you.”
  2. “In the shamanic view, mental illness signals ‘the birth of a healer,’ explains Malidoma Patrice Somé.  Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born… we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world.  In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated.  When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening.” — excerpt from the book The Natural Medicine Guide to Schizophrenia by Stephanie Marohn.
  3. The Shamanic View of Mental Illness
  4. Schizophrenia or Possession? by M. Kemal Irmak

12 thoughts on “Schizophrenia—Gift or Illness?

  1. I met John Nelson once about 20 years go. He had been working on a version of how to heal mental ills… the one thing that I didn’t know then was that spirit cannot communicate to egos. Egos are not real. Spirit of love is closer to real – only Holy Spirit is real. Anyway, if the mentally ill person may get calm ego or transcend ego in experience (which often manic or psychosis will effect) and this is with a person in spirit, then there certainly would be a good chance for alignments to change. This is not my area of expertise. I did work with mental health consumers though and see for myself that they are able to transcend ego more easily than “normal” folk.


    • It may surprise you, but I do believe in the Holy Spirit (our divine self) and God, and that Jesus is a divine teacher. That being said, I agree that the ego and spirit do not communicate, instead, we have higher minds that can listen to either “voice” of the ego or spirit. Much like the cartoons displaying a devil sitting on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Yes, the ego is an illusion, but one that seems real enough in time. But this shall pass.

      Each person has a spirt/soul that transcends the death of the body. Not everyone immediately leaves the physical realm to return to their source. Hence the belief in reincarnation. Not sure why Christians fight against this belief. It in no way disavows a belief in God. It simply is a belief that each of us has multiple opportunities to “get it right,” and return to our source/God/Creator.

      Back to the topic, spirits can communicate with us. Some of us hear them more readily than others. People with schizophrenia hear them even when they don’t want to. If they learn to harness this gift, they can hear only the divine spirits (angels, holy spirit, Jesus, etc.) to offer great words of wisdom and healing.

      Blessings and thanks for your insightful comments.


      • Nelson wrote a wonderful book that I read in its first version — at the time, as I say, I did not know about the problem of communication. John was attempting to “heal the split” he called it. I don’t recall really all of the book, I used a technique that was odd to most MH workers… I respected the consumers. I never argued and ordered them about. I spoke only to their higher mind as you say. I treated them like my first wife had by her love for me when I was badly split. She didn’t now it. I couldn’t ever explain it and I went on to battle my demons alone mostly.
        There still are some I know but they cannot have their way with me for most because only the smartest of them can engage me and I am uninterested in them… I do not know how to help them. I think they need bodies for what they want.
        I am Christian. I don’t exactly believe in re-incarnation. I do believe the body is a spirit center for growth of a kind of spiritual growth that I do not understand well enough to describe. I do not presently see spirits and I choose not to do so. I did see spirits as a child. I managed by accident to turn it off – or maybe I had help – that is in memories and I suppose you know memories are not reliable because they don’t really exist.
        I would like to learn from you. This is why I post comments. I know you know at least something new of what I want to know that I can not recall from knowledge.
        Blessings and light…
        ~ Eric


  2. Blessed be to you. I have searched for an answer to this question for far too long. I was diagnosed with ADD when I was a little girl because I couldn’t conform to time rituals and focus my attention on what was right in front of me. As a practicing catholic, I was told that my 5-clairs and premonitions were “the devil.” I was in two places at once until I shut off my gifts at age 18. For I was determined to belong in this world. Fast forward to April, 2009 when I was fired (Investment Banker) for bending the rules so an old woman could receive her social security payments. I should have known then, but it took 2 more doors to close until I spoke to a trusted priest, a shepherd. It was 2011. He “understood” me and told me that I was “gifted.” My soul re-awakened when I accepted myself. My individual and global path shimmered in my vision. I led my grandfather to peace that spring, and that fall I had a premonition of my grandmother in a casket and although she was fine, I sent a frantic message to my family via Facebook warning them of what I saw. They explained how she was perfectly fine; not to worry. My entire family was split 50/50 on my abilities. However, during the funeral I was no longer the crazy “schizophrenic” they considered me to be; like my aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother had been labeled before me. I became the Lightworker I was meant to be–a messenger, a guide, a guardian of love and light. I have since went back to college and will become a clinical psychologist next year. My objective: I will provide integrated techniques that utilize theory based on one’s individual need. Along side a holistic, herbal, crystal, energy cleansing, regressive, and spiritual counseling. Many will know of my cognitive, social, existential, and Applied Behavioral techniques in our world. But, in the universal scheme of things, I will be attending to far more than what they refuse to accept. For it has finally been proven by extensive research that schizophrenia, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorders are all liked to Heightened Sensory Processing. Our first physical proof that those who fear the unknown can begin to awaken the possibility within themselves.


  3. Hi, I’ve been reading about this schizophrenia and the Shamans view, although I’m understanding everything there is something within me I can’t understand and hopefully you guys would help to reach a answer. I’ve looked for symptoms and I have some although they are not the worst ones, I have lots of voices in my head telling me and give me images of exactly what I should do but in other hand I have my inner self speaking even louder, saying “No, that’s not the way to do”, I have a lot of trouble concentrating in what I’m trying to understand or if I am speaking to someone I can’t explain myself proper to others and if that person is talking about something trivial I keep changing the subject very often and they find me weird, I never had friends because I can’t relate to anyone but I do have a beautiful wife and two kids, but I can’t talk with her, so I end up talking alone, loud, a lot and when I mean a lot it’s literally since I wake up until I fell asleep. I’ve always been curious how I react with the external world but never got to a conclusion. I read a lot about consciousness, theory’s of conspiracy etc. Do you think it’s just like a “side effect” for reading about lots of things or something more? Also I’ve spent mostly of my childhood and teens years locked in a room because my drunk father never let me having any freedom and I’ve spent some physically abuses but not sexually do you think it’s just w phase that will pass? Please try to find a answer for me everyday I feel more confused about myself. Thank you.


  4. Hi Elizabeth. I just came across your article and I can’t tell you what a relief it is. I could cry. I was committed to a mental institution twice, scanned for a brain tumor, and had a major falling out with my family and my husband. I was given the 51-50 title and my husband divorced me because he wouldn’t listen to what I was trying to explain to him. I’ve been lucky enough to have strong guides of light that have helped me in understanding what my gift was. They were patient and loving because they knew that it would take an immense amount of trust and faith on my part to realize it was a gift and not a curse. I had to learn to recognize the negative words coming through were either automatic negative self talk or negative energies trying to swarm “the line” so to speak. I felt like an AM radio that would get jammed because so many energies would try to come through at once. They didn’t mean any harm for the most part but it was as if they were excited to find a conduit that could potentially understand and help them. I didn’t know what was happening at first because I’ve never been diagnosed with anything much less schizophrenia so I felt as though I was spun into a proverbial oblivion and was being fought for because I accidentally stumbled into a journey I wasn’t prepared for on my own. It’s been an uphill battle but I survived and now reading this, gives me great hope because it confirms what I was so desperately trying to relay to anyone who would listen. If you could help me get in touch with a shaman or something of the like, you would change my life and then some. Thank you so much for this article

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lani, I’m glad the blog post helped you. I shared based on my own experience and others. There can be a golden light at the other side of this journey. I’ve been fortunate to help others through shamanic healing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s