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What is Shamanic Journeying?

        There is a kind of "mind travel" that shamans learn called "shamanic journeying" that helps the shaman project his consciousness into other worlds of their awareness.  And in so doing, the shaman is able to heal on behalf of others. It is a path of self revelation...learning to trust the "self" rather than turning your power over to another to do it for you.



          Shamanism has been around since the beginning of time and is the basis from which all religions descend.  It is a natural and pure relationship between just you and all that exists in your inner and outer world.

         Indigenous cultures around the world have this basic knowledge in common despite their being separated by continents and time.  They all have an understanding about ones connection to the universe around them as well as how to relate to it and travel throughout it.  They have an understanding that all things are connected whether they exist in the seen world or the unseen world. Anthropologist Michael Harner Ph.D calls these two understandings "reality vs. non-reality" and acknowledges both to be parts of a "whole." 

          Through his decades of work, Harner developed the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and the practice of what he calls Core Shamanism as a path to personal development. 

Gaining Control

          Through my own journey of using this method, I absolutely advocate shamanic journeying as being a highly efficient, direct route to Self Discovery.  One of the most important functions it serves (and for many people, the most important thing) is that it provides badly needed "grounding" that seems so hard to come by these days. So many people come to me with tales of their connection to spirit and how they are overrun at times by it as if they no longer have a choice in the matter.  For the most part, they want to be connected to spirit and nurture that part of their lives but some how they don't feel like they're in control anymore.  They want to be but don't know how. They can't "shut down" long enough to get control. 


Why Would I Want to Shut Down?

             You may ask "Why would I want to shut down?"  It's akin to learning how to stop on skis before you learn to ski down a hill.  Or learning how to put the brakes on before you learn to hit the gas in a car or ride a bike.  Learning how to "stop" is essential before you "go" anywhere.  But some people just get pushed down the hill before they're ready. In these cases, it's important to learn from the lesson of being pushed and make sure you learn how to stop before you go "skiing" again.

           To clarify, in the case of working with spirit, you want to make sure you are in control of what you are doing. Learn how to stop before you say "go." 

Taking Control - Creating the Container 

          Shamanic journeying is a direct route to taking control of your spirituality and your own energetic field.  Journeying creates boundaries within which you can work,  You learn to travel within those boundaries, learn how to traverse within that space, and learn where to go, what to do when you're there, and how to get back. You learn such things as how to do Psychopomp and Soul Retrieval safely.  You learn to travel "out of the body", without the serious risk of not being able to get back in!  People don't realize this when they choose to leave their body. They operate under the assumption that they can just come back when they're ready. It's not always that simple. A void is created and nature abhors a vacuum. It's one of the laws of science.  An empty space will attract something else to fill it.


Learning to "Stay in Your Body"


           Women (especially) mention that they know how to leave their bodies.  This is common when we experience a trauma. The challenge, though, is staying in it.

          That's walking the shamanic path.  Learning to walk with one foot in both worlds and walking in them both equally with balance. The shaman is also able to walk back and forth or travel between them at will, all the while keeping their center of balance.

          So many times I get clients who want to be in touch with spirit so badly they give up all sense of themselves.  It is rather simple to learn to connect with spirit safely. If you're wanting to "travel" and you're wanting to manifest a deeper connection to spirit, start with shamanic journeying.

           The three primary worlds are the upper, middle and lower world, each one representing a layer of consciousness. The Upper World represents the super-conscious, the cosmic conscious and the higher conscious. The Middle World represents the conscious mind, the physical world, the world of mythological beings, the world of ancestral spirits and other earthbound spirits that exist in the realm of our awareness. Finally, the Lower World which represents our unconscious and subconscious minds.  This is where we find the land of our power animals. 

Shamanic Journeying

          The method we use to traverse through these three worlds is known as a Shamanic Journey.  It is done using what is called a "journey drum" that is about 16" - 20" in diameter.  My drum is 20" and has a deep resounding sound that sends the journeyer into a deep place. A journey beat is approximately 3-4 beats a second producing about 220 beats per minute. This rhythm induces a theta state in the brain which is the state required for active movement and the processing of incoming signals.  It is an alert state of awareness that is used in tasks such as exploration and navigation.  All of these skills are employed when doing a journey. The journeyer traveler stands ready to take in signals in their heightened state of awareness and is ready to pro-actively navigate the unknown terrain with a sense of wonder and exploration.


Staying Grounded

          The actual "sound" of the drumbeat acts like a tether for the journeyer to hold onto as they travel. It is this that keeps them grounded'.  Let's use the example of a kite.  The kite is the person who is journeying.  The string is the sound of the drum.  The person who is holding the string is the person who is drumming.   The person who is drumming is standing or sitting on the ground, therefore the mechanism by which the kite maintains its connection to the ground. This begins to really set in the whole concept of grounding. Some people like to journey to a CD but I've found that the experience isn't the same. Live drumming sends you deeper and you have the key added benefit of a facilitator to help guide your experience with appropriate questions. 


Power Animals

          In order to travel to and through the Lower World we use a guide called a "power animal."  The power animal shows you where you need to go to find what you are looking for. It helps you travel safely, teaches you about its innate skills that you can benefit from as something important for you to integrate into your own being. Once you meet your animal and what it has to teach, it will always make total sense to you as to why it's the animal it is.  Consider it like going to a foreign place with someone who can show you around, knows the ropes, local customs and has a map.

          Speaking of maps, your power animal guides and escorts you through the "inner terrain", your own "inner world", the "Lower World," so you can get familiar with all aspects of it. Like traveling anywhere, once you've been there a few times you'll get to know it like the back of your hand! And that's just the beginning!

Is Everyone Able to Do This?
           Over time, I have found that on a rare occasion someone isn't able to do it. The source has been fear.  Fear comes in different guises. Fear what they experience might be true?  Fear of the unknown? Fear that they're going someplace their religion doesn't ordain? Past life fear being triggered?  I don't know.
            People  who want to control everything in their lives can have a hard time because doing intuitive work is about "allowing" what wants to come through to come through. Controllers find themselves sometimes fighting off what is intuitive. It still is based in fear ~ fear of losing control. This scenario can typically be worked through with effort.
Individualized Guided Shamanic Journeying Sessions are available and is open to those who have already done Basic Shamanic Journeying.  A lot of self growth and teaching can be accomplished in a private session. You come with a situation, goal or something you want to explore




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