On Tuesday a Germanwings plane crashed in a valley in the Alps. It is believed that the co-pilot who was at the controls deliberately crashed the plane and locked the first pilot out of the cockpit to be able to do so.

On board were 16 German high school students, their two teachers, as well as many other people, 148 in total plus the two pilots. They were flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. The students had been on a language exchange program.

Our own eldest son (aged 15) is doing a GCSE in Spanish (here in the UK) and he was offered a similar Spanish Exchange trip over the Easter Break – but decided against it. I will briefly mention this fact to explain why the new of this crash really tore at my mother’s heart. Why it feels “very close to home”. This could have been our son never returning from an exciting school trip to Spain. My heart goes out to all the families, parents, partners and other people affected by this tragedy. I hope you will allow me to hold prayerful space for you all.

In the Summer of 2014 I wrote a blog about another plane crash: Flight MH17 being shot down over the Ukraine.

In that blog I described how shamans have always performed a sacred task called “Psycho Pomp Work”. The word Psycho Pomp means ‘soul conductor’ and it refers to accompanying the souls of dead people to the right place in the Afterlife, the Land of the Dead.

I also described how such work is done (but please NEVER embark on this without thorough shamanic training, however well-intentioned!) and what I perceived and did, moving my awareness to the crash site.

This morning I performed the same task for the Germanwings flight 4U 9525. The event is still fresh and the energetic shock waves are still rippling out. Not everyone who dies in such a crash is ready to move on in the spirit world, even if they realise that they are dead (and not all do). Many will try to ‘find their way home’ meaning that relatives may have very vivid dreams in which dead loves ones appear, they may well try to pass messages. Many will try to attend any memorial service or future funerals that may be organised for the people who died in the crash.

So it is “early days” from the psycho pomp point of view, but colleagues and I will make the commitment of checking in at regular intervals and continuing to work with the site.

A lot has been written about the state of mind of the co-pilot who was at the controls and made the descent.

This speculation is only natural as crash investigators have started their difficult task. However, from the shamanic point of view, I have some observations to make about the way these things are viewed and presented in the media.

I had a quick scan of the news reports this morning and saw speculation that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was mentally ill, that he may have crashed the flight on purpose so ‘the whole world would know his name’.

These are terrible allegations and we need to tread with some care concerning a man who can no longer explain to us what was really going on in his head. However, what we can do is use psychic ability to ‘tune in’ and see what information we receive.

What I receive tuning in (and I am not presenting this as ‘truth’, just as ‘food for contemplation’) is a very disturbed frame of mind. I perceive it as a severe piercing headache, a severe sense of ‘drilling and buzzing’ in the head that never eases. What goes with that is a ‘tunnel vision’, the whole field of perception narrowing to a desire to escape, to stop the pressure.

As I sat with that some more, what moved into view was a sense of immense suffering behind a very disturbed mind. And that takes me to an era in world history that we have not done enough to heal and learn vital life lessons from.

Mentally ill people often ‘hear voices’. Shamanic practitioners ‘hear voices’ too – but they are more in control of the process. They can engage and disengage. They can operate discernment. They have options when it comes to interpreting and handling what such voices are asking for. Mentally ill people do not always have the ‘luxury’ of this. For them those voices can become their ‘truth’, their ‘one and only living reality’. Such “voices” can also exert immense pressure on mental states.

And the word ‘voices’ is way too literal in this context. From my shamanic work I know that the voices of ancestors and the dead can manifest as health problems and life crises and destructive patterns that seem impossible to break. So I am not saying that this pilot “heard voices” in a very literal way. But I am saying that I sense great pressures on his state of mind, his mental health, in his psychic world.

For me then (as when I do healing work with clients) there are different questions we need to ask at this point: “Is there a larger tragedy or suffering that is asking for healing through the actions of one man?”

That question takes me personally to the World War II and the Holocaust. To bloodshed and ‘mass murder’ in “living memory” in Europe. My own mother remembers the war – she was a child then. There are still people alive who remember World War II and the people that died during World War II.

It is my observation that “the living want to move on” but sometimes “the dead cannot move on until healing occurs, forgiveness work is done and amends are made’.

So to me the word ‘mass murder’ – and I have seen it thrown about in the press this week – is more of a ‘clue’ than an ‘accusation’. For me the question is not: is Andreas Lubitz a mass murderer? Everyone can find their own answer to that question. For me the larger and more urgent question is: “What mass murders here in Europe, in Germany in particular, from a very dark period in European history, are still asking for healing, ceremony, honouring and amends?

People who are mentally ill sometimes hear “the voices of the dead” because their psychic boundaries are thin (even non-existent). And “the dead” are not asking for “more death” but they are asking The Living (us!) for an embracing and honouring of Death and The Dead. They are asking us to re-consider our relationship with Death and The Dead – and that is one area where our culture fails completely. We live in a youth-obsessed death-avoiding culture. We are in mass denial about death – and that is causing problems for the Dead because too few of us remember how to perform, what I will call, The Office of the Dead.

By “hating and reviling” Andreas Lubitz for what he did last week, we just create more pressure, more imbalance and more “shadow!. (He was ‘evil’ and we are ‘good’ – but it is not as simple as that!)

We then also “feed” any desire this misguided disturbed man may have had to be ‘famous’, to see his name in the papers and on TV.

As long as our media cooperate with this (because sensational stories and information sell newspapers and draw viewers to TV programs!!) we “feed the monster” and create a blueprint for a future mentally ill person to ‘stake a claim to fame’. And by ‘monster’ I am not referring to the pilot. I am referring to the process where all of us feed horror stories and shadows by not looking “behind the story” and by “refusing to look within ourselves and refusing to OWN our personal darkness).

So this blog presents my invitation to the world to “pay attention to this wake up call” (in a way I now believe we failed to do after the plane crash in the Ukraine) and re-vision our relationship with both Death and the Mass Murders that happened during the Holocaust (and more recent wars in Europe too, think of the Yugoslav Wars in the 90s, of what happened in Bosnia, Serbia and so forth).

To me this is the only way of honouring the deaths of 148 innocent people and the captain (first pilot) trying to break down the cockpit door and take the controls.

We will never know for sure what went on in Andreas Lubitz’s mind – but we can no longer run from looking at what needs healing in our own minds and the continent many of us live on.

Imelda Almqvist

Life Force TV Interview about shamanism with Imelda Almqvist

Imelda Almqvist is a Dutch shamanic practitioner, teacher and painter based in London, UK