At first blush, laughter may seem a superficial phenomenon. We associate it with jokes or visits to comedy clubs or sitcoms set to a terrible, artificial laugh track. Often, we assume that a joke or laugh is at someone else's expense. But laughter is so much more than this. For those with the ability to transmute their pain and suffering into a joke, for instance, laughter can truly be medicine.

Laughter and shamanism have a lot in common. Most any energy healer or shamanic practitioner you meet has lived a challenging life- just like comedians. Often, the practitioner is drawn to healing modalities during an intensely unpleasant experience in their lives, perhaps when they were at their edge and didn’t know who- or what- to turn to.

Like comedians, shamans work to transmute their pain into something of benefit to themselves and to society. Instead of falling victim to the pain in our past, we instead seek to turn our suffering into learning and, ultimately, into modalities that we can leverage to assist others transmute their own pain into something pleasant, supportive and light-hearted.

In a world that seems to be losing its sense of humor at a rapid pace, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to laughter as energy medicine. Like a medieval alchemist, comedians take the cringe of life and transform it into something positive and valuable, a talent that our world sorely needs right now. Check out this clip of comedian and writer Doug Stanhope explaining this alchemical comedy process here:

What’s more: laughter raises your vibration, putting you in a superior energetic state and lowering your body’s damaging stress responses (cortisol, adrenal fatigue, heart palpitations, etc.). When you’re engaged in a deep belly laugh, your brain releases huge amounts of happy chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which will contribute to your mental and physical (and energetic) health and wellbeing.

All of these factors also contribute to better energetic protection, especially when one considers that negative entities feed on loosh: the lower vibration energies of sadness, anxiety, fear, anger and depression. HBO recently released an incredible mini-series- The Outsider- based on a Steven King story about a negative entity that feeds on these lower energies. In one episode, they all work to tell happy stories and make each other laugh as a means of warding off the negative entity- and it works!

Thomas More, the venerated Catholic Saint and lawyer, judge, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist, perhaps articulated it the best: “The devill . . the prowde spirite . . cannot endure to be mocked.”

So laugh. Even if you’re in pain, find something to laugh at. Are you going through a painful breakup? A frightening job transition? A stressful time taking care of ailing loved ones? Tell a joke. Make fun of it. Take control of your emotions by laughing at the absurdity of life.

Show that negative energy who the real boss is: you.

And the more you cultivate your laughter the better your sense of humor will get. You’ll stop feeling so sensitive about painful experiences and memories. You’ll start feeling empowered. You will have successfully turned a big old sh*t sandwhich into a delicious chocolate souffle, and the universe will celebrate you for it!

As we float into Mercury in Retrograde- a time known for cataclysmic misunderstandings and miscommunications and big bummers and frustrations- it's vital we use the energetic tool of laughter. If we can laugh things off instead of taking offense, we're softening the clashing energy for everyone involved. Anger, resentment and frustration can lead to dis-ease over time, so chilling out and laughing it off can be a great option when considering how to handle the intensity of Mercury in Retrograde.