A lovely reader from Bulgaria recently asked me whether traumatic events can open up our intuition. As part of her question, she gave an example of a famous Bulgarian psychic named Vanga:

“Vanga was very famous here in Bulgaria – many people went to her to ask for advice on present problems or about their future choices.

It is said that her intuitive abilities were awakened when at age 12 (in 1923) during a storm, she was taken in the air by strong winds and found at a different place much later. After this, she lost her sight and her intuitive abilities started growing stronger and she eventually became known as a great psychic.”

Yes – trauma can open up our intuitive abilities.

(And by a trauma, I am referring to a negative event that we are unable to process at the moment it occurs, due to it being very negative/sudden/overwhelming. A trauma is also something that threatens our survival, or something that we perceive to be life threatening.)

Baba Vanga is of course not the first human being to have been awakened and sensitized to the spiritual plane following a trauma. Archetypally, this is the path of the shaman.

The Path of the Shaman

A shaman is one who acts as a bridge between heaven and earth, and who has one foot in both worlds. The shaman is often initiated onto his path following some kind of life-threatening trauma – traditionally, it has involved being struck by lightning, or being struck down with a serious illness.

This reminds me of a Spanish Horror film I saw several years ago – el Orfanato (the Orphanage.) The main character, Laura brings in a medium to find out about the ghosts that haunt the orphanage she has bought. The medium explains her abilities by showing Laura her mangled and scarred arm and says:

“those of us who have been close to death are much more receptive to such phenomena.”

How Does this Work?

During traumas and near death experiences, a person may dissociate (i.e. exit the body energetically.) Leaving one’s body in this way can result in developing a degree of sensitivity to the planes that lie beyond the physical. Some also believe that traumas can weaken the energy field, making us more porous and sensitive to spiritual phenomena.

These days, you don’t need to be struck by lightning or lifted into the air by a hurricane, Wizard-of-Oz-style to be initiated onto the path of the shaman and healer. Your trauma could have been a car accident, being physically assaulted, losing a loved one or having a difficult or dangerous birth, to give a few examples.

Why Do We Go Through Such Events to Awaken?

Sometimes Spirit wants to jolt us out of our current state of awareness and into one of spiritual awakening, because this is essential for the path ahead. Other times, you are pushed onto the shaman’s path because you are going to help others to heal, and the most effective healers have known suffering and have had their own ‘dark night of the soul’ experience.

Please note, however, that going through a traumatic or life-threatening experience is NOT necessary in every case to develop intuitive abilities. You can also do it much more pleasantly and gently through training and practice.

Have you experienced a spiritual or intuitive awakening following extreme stress or trauma?