The Basics of Shamanism

Table of Contents
1. What is Shamanism? by Elizabeth Farrell 2. The Shamanic Journey and the Three Worlds by Elizabeth Farrell 3. Spirit Guides by Elizabeth Farrell 4. Animal Totems by Elizabeth Farrell 5. What is a Shamanic Journey? by Viola Woolcott 6. The Shamanic Journey: A Brief Introduction 7. Upper World, Realm of Gods, Teachers and Guides by Viola Woolcott 8. Learning Shamanic Journeying by Dr. Michael Meredith 9. Shamanism: An Overview 10. Journeying Suggestions. 11. More Journeying Suggestions 12. The Shamanic Journey by Melinda Rodriguez 13. Basic Journey into the Lower World to Meet With Animal Spirits by Melinda Rodriguez 14. The World Tree by Michael Drake 15. Shamanic Wisdom and Shamanic Healing by Nina Mawfolsky 16. About Shamanism by Rene Sherwood 17. How to Do a Basic Shamanic Journey (ehow.com) 18. How to Contact the Spirits through Shamanism (ehow.com) 19. The Shamanic Journey by Ross Heaven

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1. What is Shamanism? By Elizabeth Farrell Ask any group of people what the definition is of shamanism and you may get many different answers. It is agreed that shamanism has been part of our world since prehistoric times and yet there is some conflict and controversy as to what exactly it means to be a shaman. Part of the conflict has to do with the fact that shamanism is a spiritual practice that has such a long history and it has ties to many different and diverse cultural groups. But it is often agreed upon that a shaman is a person who is a spiritual healer and one who has a strong connection to the sacred world. The shaman connects to spirit guides, and also to animal guides, through sacred rituals that involve, and yet are not limited to, trance-like meditation, lucid dreaming, divination and out of body experiences. In this way they help to restore spiritual, mental and physical balance to a particular individual or to the community that they are connected with. The word shaman is said to have come from the Tungus language of Siberia and referred to holy people in this region who worked as healers and seekers. It is not a gender-based word and can be applied in the same way to both men and women. A shaman gains insight into what needs healing and restoring in an individual or community by working with the spirits of animals, trees, the land and from the spirits of past ancestors. All of these carry a wealth of information that the shaman can connect with and use in their work. The connection is made by the shaman to the spirits through a shift of consciousness that involves entering a trance-like state through meditation that often involves the use of rattles, drumming and/or chanting. Shamanism is not a religion but rather a specific set of spiritual and holistic practices and traditions; these practices and traditions can vary depending on the cultural group that they are connected with. For example, Korean shamanism contains a variety of traditions that is heavily influenced by Taoism and Buddhism. The shamans, who are most typically women and called mudang, may work with a person to help them gain good fortune, to cure illnesses or to help a village obtain a good harvest. The Mapuche people of South America commonly have a community shaman who is also typically a woman and who is referred to as the Machi. The Machi assists the community by practicing herbal medicine and performing ceremonies to help cure illnesses. Shamans are often very much involved in working to heal the land such as finding the reasons for drought, determining the best places for crops to grow and also finding plants that help to fight illness. In some cultures, shamanic abilities are considered to be inherited but many times these abilities are learned
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through teachings that are passed down from one to another through oral tradition. Despite some information to the contrary, shamanism and Native American spiritual healers are not one and the same. Indigenous groups such as those who are part of the Inupiat and Aleut tribes of North America and other Indian groups such as the Tlingit and Athabascan tribes used to or currently practice shamanism. However not all Native American holy people or Medicine people are shaman and the word should not be considered a catch-all term for Native American spiritual leaders and healers.

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2. The Shamanic Journey and the Three Worlds by Elizabeth Farrell Shamanic Journeying is an ancient practice that involves entering a meditative, trance state in order to find answers to specific questions. During this trance state a person enters an altered state of consciousness, brought on by the steady rhythm of a beating drum. Their soul is then able to enter a spiritual realm where they can contact spirit guides, receive guidance and teachings, and connect more fully with their Higher Self. You don't need to be a shaman to take part in a shamanic journey. With practice and dedication anyone with an open mind and a desire for spiritual growth can do it. A shamanic journey can either be self-guided, with the aid of a shamanic drum sounds CD, or it can be done with the guidance of a shamanic practitioner. The latter alternative is especially helpful if you are new to shamanic journeying. In Shamanism, the spirit world is divided into three parts, which are the Lower, Middle and Upper worlds. During a shamanic journey, a person chooses ahead of time which of these three they wish to enter. Each of these worlds has its own unique qualities and a recognizable landscape. Lower World Though sometimes referred to as the Underworld, this level is not a negative place and does not in any way resemble the Christian concept of Hell. Instead, this is a place of healing where you can get in touch with your roots and reclaim your personal power. The Lower World is where you meet your power animals, as well as other spirit guides, who will guide you to the information you're looking for. The Lower World is accessed by visualizing a place in nature and then finding a entry point that leads deep into the earth, such as a hollow log, pool of water, or cave. Once accessed, the landscape of the Lower World tends to resemble an earthy, natural setting such as a forest, river, crystal chasm, or a deep, underground cave. Middle World The Middle World is considered the spiritual dimension of our physical, everyday reality. When a person ventures here, it's to receive advice for worldly problems, such as financial or relationship issues, or to locate lost objects. The Middle World is also a place to experience nature in its purest state, allowing you to reawaken your sense of wonder and appreciation of beauty. Accessing the Middle
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World can also help you gain a greater understanding of the rhythm and cycles of nature, and deeper respect for the environment you live in. Many different types of spirits inhabit the Middle World, including the souls of those who have experienced a sudden, traumatic death and haven't yet crossed over. In fact, some may not yet even realize that they have died. For this reason the Middle World can be somewhat of a confusing and complicated place to visit. Because of the possibility of being approached by confused spirits seeking assistance, many people choose not enter the Middle World until they are more experienced at shamanic journeying. Upper World This is the place of higher consciousness, wisdom and inspiration. At this level, you can meet teachers and ancestors who can help you gain a deeper understanding of philosophical and spiritual aspects of your existence. Questions dealing with your true purpose in life, and the laws of the universe are normally asked in this level. Whereas the Lower World is earthy and supportive, the Upper World is open and ethereal. It is normally traveled to by visualizing the climbing of a tree or ladder, or being carried up in a cloud of smoke. The time it takes for a shamanic journey can vary, but the average time is between fifteen to thirty minutes. However, the spirit world exists outside our concept of time, and when taking part in a shamanic journey it's easy to completely lose track of time. What was actually thirty minutes may seem to you more like two or three hours. The steady rhythm of the shamanic drum that helps you enter the trance state, also serves as a timekeeper. When the rhythm of the drumbeat changes, it serves as a signal to return from your journey.

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3. Spirit Guides by Elizabeth Farrell A spirit guide is a spiritual, non-physical being whose purpose is to watch over, teach, heal or assist a person and help them to find greater spiritual awareness. According to certain theosophical teachings, spirit guides are believed to be humans who have lived many previous lives and have spiritually advanced beyond any further need to reincarnate. Many people also believe that spirit guides are chosen for us before we come into this life and that as we live our lives, our guides are helping and teaching us along the way. Some people believe that a Guardian Angel is also a type of spirit guide but others strongly believe that Guardian Angels are a direct expression of God or Deity and have not lived a previous life in human form. In certain spiritual traditions such as Native American beliefs, Neo-Pagan and various shamanism paths, a person may have a spirit guide in the form of an animal, which is often referred to as an animal totem. There are also other types of spirit guides, which include: Ancestral Guides These are guides connected to a person through their family lineage and are not believed to stay with a person all the time, but rather visit on occasion. An ancestral guide may be a deceased family member that one has known in this life, or it may be the spirit of an ancestor from long ago. Ascended Masters Ascended Masters are believed to be highly evolved spiritual beings who reached this state through intense spiritual work and sacrifice while living their lives on earth. They are said to have fulfilled their Dharma or Divine Plan, balanced out any negative karma and become united with his or her source of Divinity. The role of the Ascended Master is to help a person reach a higher level of spiritual development and enlightenment. In some theosophical belief systems, Ascended Masters are collectively referred to as "The Great White Brotherhood". The "white" is in reference to their white colored aura and their advanced state of spirituality. Elementals Many Pagan spiritual traditions believe in the existence of nature spirits that are connected to the forces of life here on earth. They are called Elementals because
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are associated with the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water and draw their strengths and abilities from these four elements. Some of the Elementals are believed to be somewhat mischievous at times but they can also offer inspiration and practical wisdom. The assistance they have to offer are dependent upon which element they are associated with. For example, Sylphs, which are associated with the element of air, can inspire creativity and a quick intellect. Undines, which are associated with the element of water, can help to promote inner peace and tranquility.

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4. Animal Totems by Elizabeth Farrell Animal totems have been part of ancient myths and oral traditions throughout time. If you look back at various ancient spiritual beliefs you will see that many legends, deities and much of the spiritual art had a strong connection with animals. Animals were seen to have abilities that offer protection, empowerment and guidance. To this day, various indigenous groups, such as Indigenous Australians and Native Americans, use the teachings and powers of animal totems to assist them with their spiritual journey and daily lives. These teachings and protection are sometimes referred to as Animal Medicine. However, anyone can tap in to the wisdom and teachings of their own personal animal totem or totems. Some people may have one particular animal totem throughout their entire life but often it’s not uncommon for people to have more than one totem. It’s also not uncommon for a person to have an animal totem that comes into their life for only a short time; these are sometimes referred to as helper totems. How to Find Your Animal Totem Many people often wonder how they can discover their own personal animal totem or totems and it’s really not that hard to do, you just need to ask yourself some questions. What animal have you always felt drawn to or feel a strong connection with? Do you have dreams where a certain animal tends to appear? What animal or animals do you tend to notice the most when you’re out in nature? Do you have any animal or animals that often comes to mind during meditation or spiritual reflection? What animal do you find the most intriguing or want to learn more about? Remember that there aren’t any right or wrong answers for these questions; it’s all about which animal feels right to you, in your heart. Again, you should also keep in mind that a person can have more than one animal totem so you may find that you have two, three or even more. It’s important to note that animal totems don’t only include mammals and birds, but also reptiles, amphibians, fish, marsupials and insects.

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If you still aren’t sure what your animal totem may be, you can try keeping a journal of what animals are showing up in your dreams or coming to mind during the day. Use your intuition and don’t try to force it; with time and patience you will discover your animal totem. 5. Animal Totem Teachings by Elizabeth Farrell Each animal totem has specific qualities and strengths that can offer teachings, assistance, wisdom and protection. The following is a list of some animal totems and their common qualities and characteristics. Ant: The industrious ant has a strong sense of community and service. Ant medicine can teach us to release ourselves from ego and have a stronger connection with humanity. Bear: In some Native American traditions the bear is seen as the spirit keeper of the West. Sometimes quick to anger, the bear also holds the powers of discernment and introspection. Bear medicine can help a person to have courage to use their personal powers wisely. Beaver: The beaver can teach us to be patient, steady and resourceful. Beavers are also associated with the subconscious and can help us to realize forgotten dreams, memories or to be in better touch with our intuition. Buffalo: The buffalo was seen as a sacred symbol of life and abundance to the Plains Indians. Though sometimes unpredictable, the buffalo can teach us to be grateful for what we have and to respect all life forms. Buffalo medicine is also very healing. Dog: The faithful dog teaches us how to give and receive love unconditionally. Dogs also have keen senses and strong psychic abilities. Because of this, they can help us to be aware of dangers and more in tune with our environment. Hawk: The hawk is a messenger that has a strong connection between this world and that of the spirit world. The messages it brings to us can vary, depending upon our needs and circumstances. Horse: Horse medicine symbolizes independence, self-empowerment and freedom of expression. The adaptive horse can also teach us how to realize and create healthy boundaries.

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Lion: A fearless and powerful animal, the lion is a strong protector. But the lion is also harmonious and teaches us how to work in groups and have a stronger connection with community. Owl: Owls have acute hearing and sight, and these abilities can help us to be more aware of our surroundings and in better touch with our inner spirit. Owls can also help us to face our own personal darkness without fear can help us to bring about positive changes in our lives. Praying Mantis: These creatures can teach us to have better insight and focus. It can also teach us to have patience in certain situations and to trust our instincts. Raven: Ravens have long been linked with mystery, magic and secrets. But they also hold a great deal of wisdom and can help us choose the right and most fulfilling path in life. Shamans often use the power of the Raven to alter their consciousness during Shamanic journeying. Salmon: The tenacious salmon can help us to overcome obstacles and be more determined. It can also help us to have a stronger connection with our home and heritage. Turtle: The turtle can help us to be resourceful and patient. They can also teach us to be more connected with our environment and to have a better sense of connection between the earth and the spirit world. Wolf: Since the wolf symbolizes both freedom and a connection with a pack, the wolf can teach us to balance the needs of our family and of our selves. Wolves can be fierce but pick their battles wisely. Because of this they can teach us to be assertive without being aggressive and can also teach us to be more confident.

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5. What is a Shamanic Journey by Viola Woolcott The Shaman is said to be walking with one foot in the everyday world and with the other in the spirit world. Different cultures may express their views on the two realities in differently, but the basic idea is the same. Shamans are explorers of doorways from ordinary reality into non-ordinary (NOR) reality through portals leading him from the physical to the spirit world. They are moving between those two worlds. In order to bring about a balance between the physical and spiritual worlds the shaman uses mystical powers to journey to other worlds or realities and communicates with spirits. The Shamanic Journey is a way of finding answers, information, healing, wisdom and knowledge as well as guidance or help with one’s personal life. During the Journey he meets with spirits who may be regarded as ancestors, elders, gods, goddesses, deceased shamans, spirit guides, power animals and angels. These beings are seen as beings with great wisdom, power and the ones who are willing to help with guiding the living. A shamanic world is made up of three parts, the lower world, the upper world and the middle world. The shamans see these three worlds as a climbing tree to the next world. The tree represents power and courage and is used in the initiation ceremony. None of these worlds are above the other. They are equally important. Each shaman begins their journey with a theme, if they are looking for guidance on a specific issue, their theme would be whatever the issue is. They form a phrase or a sentence they repeat it over and over again. This phrase or sentence helps to transcend them into the spirit world. Shamans also finds a place of tranquility in his mind, there can be no other noise around them, and they must achieve a totally calm state of mind with no outside distractions. Shamans do rely on their instincts as well as their powers. They have no limitations, they ascend into each world and they stop in each world and get the wisdom and the power they need from each world before going to the next. Once they have achieved the last world, they are ready to descend back into the
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present, into reality. From each world they have received word from the spirits and the knowledge to help who have come to them in their hour of need.

6. The Shamanic Journey: A Brief Introduction Shamanism has been called the first spiritual practice of humanity. For tens of thousands of years, its ways have helped with personal and community evolution, intuitive development and divination. It has been effective in work to heal the self, the community and the planet. Shamanism is a generous and caring path. Its power is to be used respectfully and only for good. It can support and sustain positive personal growth and enhanced spiritual connectedness. What It Is An element of the sacred traditions of peoples from every inhabited land, journeying is a powerful meditative state. It takes us into a very special level of consciousness that helps us work more deeply with intuitive and spiritual guidance. Prolonged hypnotic drumming is used to promote relaxation and the experience of a trance-like visionary awareness. Why It’s Done Through journeying, we may find that our normal world is not the most ―real‖ world we can experience. The alternative realms of Spirit, of our visions and dreams, also can be real, accessible, tangible. Spirit travel can open the door to an awareness that there are other realities, other worlds. These other worlds are sources of the energy, creativity, passion and love that power the everyday world we know. Finding our way there can be a blessing that brings us wisdom and self-empowerment in a positive, healing way. How It’s Done Journeying is often done lying down, with the eyes closed. It also can be done while sitting, standing, walking, running, dancing, singing, chanting, or any combination of the above. It has been said, ―If you can visualize, you can learn to journey.‖ While in a trance-like state, a Journeyer ―travels‖ to other realms. There are generally three types of journeys that can be undertaken. One is to a destination
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called the Lower World, a place of deep, beautiful earthy energy. Lower World can be a dimension of healing and self- empowerment. The second type is to a destination called the Upper World, a place of light bright energy. Upper World can be a place of wisdom and teaching. The third destination is the Middle World, a place that seems very much like our own reality, here, now. But in Middle World, Spirit is tangibly present and ready to work with us. As You Begin... 1. Be comfortable. You may lie down, sit or stand. Breathe easily and deeply. Close your eyes. An eye cover may be helpful. Allow yourself to be enfolded and carried by the rhythm of the drum. If you like, you may softly pray, chant or sing as you begin. 2. Focus on a specific intent or mission such as ―I want to meet and ask advice of my Spirit Helpers‖ or ―I want to talk with my Guardian Angel‖ or ―I want to work on healing for myself‖ (or for the planet). Calmly but firmly broadcast your intent ahead of you telepathically. 3. In journeying, let yourself begin by focusing on and going to a favorite safe, sacred place. It doesn’t have to exist in ordinary reality. Many people choose a beautiful or powerful outdoor setting. From there, look around for an access way, an ―entry port‖ into the realm of other realities - or the realm of Spirit, or your alternate universe - whatever you choose to call it. To Travel to the Lower World... Simply look for an entryway into the earth. There are countless options. Some Journeyers enter through a cave or animal burrow. Others fly in through a hollow in a tree. Some dive into water and swim or walk along the bottom until they find their personal opening ―portal.‖ Some even go in via manhole covers, elevators or the cones of volcanoes. All these ways and more are right if they are right for you. The entryway often leads to a tunnel that leads ―somewhere else.‖ That somewhere else - whatever it may be like - is the Lower World for this journey. As you are carried by the sound of the drum, let yourself explore this wonderful place, all the while seeking your Spirit Helper(s). Lower World often has a loving, earthy feel. Some find it helps connect them to an ancestral tribal heritage. It is frequently inhabited by Spirit Guides who are deeply connected to Mother Earth: natural and ―mythical‖ animals, indigenous peoples or elfin creatures.
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When you encounter a being in your traveling - whether human, animal, angel or other spirit - ask it if it is in fact your Spirit Guide, Helper, Teacher or Power Animal. If it replies negatively, ask if it can direct you to your Guide. If it is your Helper, ask its name, what wisdom it has for you, why is it in your life, what you can/should work on together. Then, let your Journey proceed, doing as your Helper directs. To End a Journey When you hear the callback rhythm of the drum - a sound like four insistent rappings on a door - or when you feel you have completed your Journey’s intent, tell your Helper(s) that you must return to ordinary reality. Thank them for their assistance and care. A series of light, rapid drumbeats will follow. During this rhythm, allow yourself to drift easily, gently, fully back into your body. Reverse the path you took during your spirit travel. There will then be a second series of the four rappings on the door.‖ That’s the time to let yourself really reconnect with your body. Have a good stretch. Slowly, gently open your eyes. Come back into ordinary realty. To Work in the Upper World... Begin by following steps 1-3 above. Then, simply look for ―a way up.‖ Some people turn into mist or smoke and rise. Some climb a great tree and step off at the right branch. Some travel on magic carpets or are lifted by great birds (or tiny birds). Some simply float upward. Most Journeyers encounter a thick cloud gate or other boundary that must be pushed through. This is the wall that separates Upper World from ordinary reality. For some, it takes a bit of work to get through. The inhabitants of Upper World often appear as beings of light, angelic beings, or saint-like teachers. They may take the form of departed people or beloved animals who have wisdom to share. As in Lower World, when you encounter a being, ask if it is your Spirit Helper. If it’s not, ask for direction to your Guide. If it is, ask what its wisdom is for you, what its purpose is in your life, what you need to work on together. And, in your Journey, begin the work. When you hear the callback rhythm of the drum, repeat the process to end the journey outlined above.
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To Journey Well Learn to work with your Spirit Helper(s). They have infinite wisdom and infinite power to guide and protect you in the realm of Spirit. Never undertake spirit travel without an intent, or mission. (Your intent need be nothing more than to visit with your Helper.) Always try to connect with your Helper as soon as you reach the spirit Realm. Always ask your Helper’s permission to work on the particular intent you have set. There may be times when you find the mission you propose is not possible or not permitted at this time. Always honor such guidance. If you ever feel threatened or challenged by Spirit Beings, simply try to walk around whatever blocks you. If the challenge persists, retrace your steps and begin again. If the challenge is repeated, assume this is a signal your mission has been denied, for this journey. If, however, you have already connected with your Spirit Helper in the journey, ask how to handle the challenge, and carefully follow the advice you are given. Your intent should be clear and fairly simple. It can be to seek the answer to a question or to request help with an area of self-empowerment, personal growth or healing. If your intent is to find information, don’t ask simple yes/no questions. Instead of ―Should I take this job?,‖ ask ―Please show me what my life will be like if I take the job.‖ Spirit travel is one of the most beautiful, powerful, sacred gifts offered to humanity. It can bring new depth, joy, clarity and hope to life. May your travels be sweet! Bright blessings on your path. About the Author: Stephen Neal Szpatura is a Shamanic practitioner and transformational psychic. He teaches spirit travel (Shamanic Journeying) and works with clients on spiritual direction, intuitive development and life-path issues. Copyright 2003, 2008

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7. Upper World, Realm of Gods, Teachers and Guides by Viola Woolcott The upper world is an ethereal, bright place. The light tends to be translucent and pastel colored. It is the world of the gods, of cosmic beings, spirit guides and elders who normally appear in human as well as angelic form. It is not as earthy and practical as the lower world, as their help and guidance is more general and more philosophical. The upper world is a spiritual realm which within itself contains the stars. The world where the blueprints of life can be seen. In travelling to the upper world, we travel upwards. In order to get there you travel through a membrane which can appear like a cotton wool cloud. The realms are all linked and if you travel infinitely up the upper world, it eventually loops around to the Lower World. The upper worlds are where you find your teachers and your guides. Where teachings about healing and identity are found with the help of guides as well as the lessons of mutual responsibilities. The upper world is the realm, where the shaman negotiates with the gods. This world is mainly entered in the most dire cases, for example a deathly illness. The three worlds are connected and are equal. One would not exist without the other. How to Travel to the Upperworld Lay down in a quiet space, completely silent, rest your arms to the side of your body and do not cover yourself in heavy blankets. Feel the air around you and begin to let go. Take deep breaths and focus and the sound of your breathing. Keep a nice steady pace. Tell your body to let go, start with your feet and let the relaxation spread across your body.
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The deeper you get into relaxation the more sensations you will experience, you will feel tingling sensations as your body enters deeper into relaxation. Embrace this wonderful sensation and allow it to continue. If you have thoughts suddenly pop into your conscious mind simply brush them aside and concentrate of your breathing. Once you are completely relaxed you may experience some pre astral projection symptoms such as rapid heart rate and vibrations. Allow the vibrations to engulf your body, you are getting close. Do not get too excited once the vibrations start getting strong by thinking about them, you need to let them settle first. If your are experiencing these strong vibrations you are very close. One of the easiest methods for astral projection beginners is to imagine a rope coming down from the ceiling. Create this rope with your mind and imagination. Visualize yourself climbing the rope with your astral body and not your physical body. Focus on the feeling and the image of climbing up this rope, leave your physical body behind and begin your astral travel.

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8. Learning Shamanic Journeying by Dr. Michael Meredith It is always best to learn to journey under the guidance of an experienced Shamanic Practitioner [Contact me if you need help finding one on your area] or in Shamanic Journeying Courses & Workshops or Drumming Circles. Some people learn and practice from Shamanic Journeying CDs. These are less than ideal, but can be very helpful for building experience if there is no drumming circle in your local area. However, if you encounter any difficulties, or find yourself becoming stressed, or increasingly disconnected from everyday life and relationships, you need to stop journeying and get experienced support and guidance. Shamanic Journeying is a wonderful skill to acquire and can bring great benefits to your life and happiness if used carefully and wisely. However, there are potential pitfalls for the unwary or inexperienced shaman: Journeying can be like "opening the lid of Pandora’s box" if, in the past, a lot of dis-owned feelings or unskillful living has accumulated a lot of dark or destructive energies in the subconscious or unconscious mind. Acquiring a reliable spirit guide (spirit world helper) is an important early step in developing skill in the craft of journeying. Beware of false guides who might be merely an aspect of a destructive, self-sabotaging aspect your own shadow self. A genuine guide will not force or demand you to do anything - merely gently advise. A genuine spirit guide will not urge you to do anything harmful to yourself, or to any other living being. Preparation for Shamanic Journeying It is important to be relaxed, grounded and centered before drumming begins. See grounding, centering and balancing. Suitable preparatory exercises might include breathwork, chanting, prayer, sacred ritual, yoga, walking meditation etc. A conducive environment - candles, sage burning or incense, dim lighting is also important. Health & Safety Tips for Shamanic Journeying
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Shamanic Journeying is a powerful process, only suitable for people who are in good psychological health and emotionally and socially balanced. Never try to enter the journeying process from a place of acute stress, urgency or desperation! Shamanic Journeying, it is not suitable as an immediate way to calm or de-stress, it is for accessing deep and powerfully-wise resources and guidance from a balanced, calm state from which we can access, interpret and implement these resources/this guidance sensibly. Instead, take a look at these suggestions for destressing. If you are reasonably calm already, you might use Shamanic Journey Drumming CDs (without actively journeying) to deepen your state of relaxation. Never try to journey, or listen to rhythmic Shamanic drumming tapes or CDs, while driving a vehicle or operating any kind of machinery or electrical equipment or power tools. Traditional Shamanic cultures have often used psychotropic plants or fungi to facilitate their Journeys, but these people live(d) very grounded, physically active lives, living in close harmony with nature. Modern hi-tech cultures are already over-balanced towards excessive use of the mind (cerebral cortex) and imagination (TV, telephone, films, computers etc), so hallucinogenic drugs are not only unnecessary, but can be actively harmful due to over-stimulation of the brain and imagination. It is good advice to undergo some training in practical and safe techniques for Shamanic Journeys with an experienced shaman before undertaking a journey on your own. "Grounding" Your Journey! I strongly recommend that you find ways to "ground" [bring into the everyday world] the experiences, images and guidance you encounter in your Shamanic Journey. For one thing, your everyday life, relationships, success and indeed, your "everyday reality" will not improve merely by having "other world" experiences. To expect the spirit world to "fix everything" is what I call "spiritual dependency". It is your job to do the creative and practical work of adapting and implementing a journey's wisdom so that it enriches your everyday life, self-esteem, relationships and contribution to the world. You are a co-creator - a creative and powerful being in your own right - not a passive pawn of the spirit world! Spiritual Dependency

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...is the mindset where we expect the "spirit world" to fix, or to compensate for, our earthly-life limitations and difficulties, when in fact the "answer to our life" may actually lie in learning new practical, down-to-earth [e.g. communication, relationship or work] skills, or to grow as a human being and develop more mature adult patterns and perspectives than we might currently be living by. Spiritual Dependency can become an addiction - an "emotional crutch" of support for a narrowly-based, enfeebled lifestyle. How to "Ground" Your Journeys Share them with others, especially with experienced practitioners Draw or Paint the images/landscapes of your inner journey Fabricate some Shamanic Nature Art Therapy from natural materials Write the journey into a poem or short story Surround yourself with pictures or objects which reflect the beings/power animals you meet Drumming circles, shamanism workshops and "shamanism buddies" can be very helpful in Grounding Your Journey, as can psychotherapy and dream symbolism experts. There are also online public forums e.g. where you can share your journey findings and get feedback e.g. Shaman Portal (www.shamanportal.org) and some groups on Yahoo. However, be aware that some people in public forums may not have their own feet "firmly grounded", so be a little cautious in believing what people say, especially if it heightens your fears, or encourages you to become over-confident and step too far, too soon!

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9. Shamanism: An Overview Modern day shamanic practitioners stand in the shadows of ancient shamans world-wide, experiencing the timeless travel of Spirit and accessing higher awareness by transcending OR (ordinary reality) into SSC (Shamanic State of Consciousness). SSC can be reached through a variety of means—drumming, singing, breath work, movement, aroma, travel to sacred places, meditation, hallucinogens, and many others. The practiced shaman, sometimes referred to as "a hollow bone", can reach states of SSC at will. At this point the shaman becomes an extremely powerful healer and transformer of events. For more than 30,000 years shamans have been practicing this ancient form of Spiritual contact to assist in the healing of their tribes. From Iceland to South America, from Australia to the American Southwest, the shaman has transcended time and space to travel a scared journey on behalf of those seeking help. With the rise of the Scientific Age, as man has moved away from his deeper connection with Spirit to explore and develop the left brain powers of reason, the role of the shaman in western cultures became devalued, mistrusted, and misunderstood, (but not forgotten by those whose problems could not be addressed by physical sciences). Hopefully in the future, a balance will be found between the left/right brain, OR/SSC, reason/feeling aspects of being human. Both are extremely valuable assets for creating a more wonderful, safe, secure and happy world. But just what, or who is a shaman? The shaman was the original artist, dancer, musician, singer, dramatist, intellectual, poet, bard, ambassador, advisor of chiefs and kings, entertainer, actor and clown, healer, stage magician, juggler, folksinger, weatherman, culture hero and trickster-transformer. Add scientist to this list of talents, as much of the medical knowledge represented in modern pharmaceuticals results from the work of these ancient herbalists and innovators. What is the difference between a shaman and a medicine man?
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A medicine man (or woman) can be a shaman, but only those individuals who are able to access alternate states of consciousness at will, can be considered a shaman. Although our society has separated the shaman's role into many professions, it is this ability to access alternate states of consciousness that sets the ancient and the contemporary shaman apart from all others. While the ancient shaman may have assisted tribal members with every nature of illness, or in locating wandering herds of bison for a hunting party, the modern shaman's journey is not much different. Our needs may have changed somewhat, but the methods used to transcend space and time, have not. Becoming "A Hollow Bone". It is important to mention at this point that the shaman does not "own" the power that comes through him or her. A shaman merely acts as a hollow bone to allow the power of Great Mystery-our Creator-to come through the body and manifest in this reality. By working with allies, spirit guides and teachers, and with the help of Great Mystery, the shaman brings healing energies from the Spirit World through space and time, to heal real problems in this world. Today's shamanic practitioner will assist those who have lost personal power, or those with illness, by helping them regain their personal strength through a variety of methods including (but not limited to) power animal retrieval, soul retrieval, or extraction. The shaman will look for a spiritual cause behind an illness or problem and with the assistance of spirit helpers, determine the best course of action to affect a cure. For those nearing death, or with a great fear of death, the shamanic practitioner can assist them in their passage, providing great comfort to the client and their family. Shamanic practitioners are even called in to perform psycho-pomp work in homes or other locations where spirits who have passed still linger. How do you become a shaman? An ancient shaman once said that "you become a shaman once you are given one thousand songs"…these songs come from those that we contact on our journeys. For most, this is a calling of sort; there are many individual and cultural variations on the path to becoming a shaman. Perhaps from a vision quest or as a climax to a serious illness, or a near-death experience; any of these may have led to an altered state of consciousness. Such a radically profound and revelatory experience often encourages the individual to take up the path of shaman. Throughout time the shaman has been known as the wounded healer due to lifechanging experiences that bring visions of change. Shamanic States of Consciousness (SSC):
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Around the world many methods are used to access the Spirit World through an altered state of consciousness. Some cultures use hallucinogenic herbs such as Peyote or Ayahuasca, while others might utilize days of fasting and purification ceremonies to induce the trance-like state, yet all retain one common feature-the repetitive sound of a rattle or drum. The age-old tradition of using the drum or rattle to enter a shamanic consciousness is the basic method of transcending normal waking consciousness, or Ordinary Reality (OR) and entering an Altered State of Reality, also known as the Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC). While some tribal cultures still utilize mind-altering drugs or hallucinogenic herbs, this is not a necessary element of shamanism, but the sound of the drum (or rattle) is NOT optional. Siberian and other shamans sometimes refer to their drum as a Horse or Canoe that transports them into the Lower world or Upper world. The steady, monotonous beat of the drum acts like a carrier wave, first to help the shaman enter the SSC, and then to sustain him on his Journey. Drumming: Laboratory research has demonstrated that drumming produces changes in the central nervous system. The rhythmic stimulation affects the electrical activity in many sensory and motor areas of the brain not normally affected through their connections with the sensory area being stimulated. The drumbeat moves the brain to a theta wave EEG frequency range. The theta state is the most effective in producing a trance-like state, or SSC. While in this SSC the shamanic practitioner will meet with spirit guides and power animals during the journey on behalf of the seeker. Working within a drumming circle, shamanic practitioners multiply their power to heal. Many drumming circles are in place around the world. They are working toward the common goal of creating peace and harmony among all people. Some work on a local level, some regional or international depending on the scope of their circle. Visit my website at Ceremonial Circles to learn more about this work. What is a SHAMANIC journey? A journey is a method of moving from Ordinary Reality (OR) into a Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC) via a rhythmic drumbeat and perhaps a tunnel or hole in the ground, as seen through the mind's eye. The Shaman goes through the hole, traveling through the tunnel until emerging on the other side. This might be in the Lower, Middle or Upper World depending on who the shaman desires to encounter. The shaman will journey on behalf of a client to seek a cure for almost any ailment of body, mind, or spirit. Once the shaman has met with
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spirit(s) guides and been given information, the shaman will return to OR and present a solution in some physical way to the client. How is the shamanic journey used in today's world? The shaman looks for the spiritual problem behind the client's problem in OR. The client could be experiencing the feeling of hopelessness and despair, physical illness, confusion, powerlessness, or just feeling lethargic or frightened for no explainable reason. The medical establishment may not be able to find a cause or a cure. The shaman will journey for a client to try to determine another course of action. If the problem is an imbalance, the shaman might be led to bring back a client's power animals, and teach the client how to work with them to restore different kinds of power and balance to their life. If the problem is a fragmented soul (soul loss), this could require soul retrieval, and preparing the client to receive back lost soul parts is a part of the shaman's duties. If the client feels he is doing something not of his nature, the shaman's journey may show a need for an extraction. The shaman provides assistance by locating the "lost spirit" that has attached to the client, coaxing it from the "host" and sending it on to the Spirit World — thus bringing peace and healing to both. Our culture leaves many people who are nearing death or who have a great fear of death alone and without comfort. The shaman can lead such clients on a variety of journeys to familiarize them with death and life-after-death issues, thus relieving many fears. Yet another portion of shamanic work is in connecting people with their ancestors. Many shamanic practitioners work with the spirits of nature to help restore balance to Mother Earth. By learning how to transform personal and environmental pollution, and through the transmutation of negative beliefs, attitudes and energy, the earth can be restored to balance. On May 8, 2004 a world-wide medicine wheel ceremony was held with this purpose in mind. People gathered in medicine wheel ceremonies around the world to drum and sing spirit songs to help restore balance to our Mother Earth. What is a shamanic journey? Where do you go, and why? How do you get there? Shamans divide the Spirit World into 3 parts: the Lower World, Middle World, and Upper World. The shaman journeys to different Worlds, while in altered consciousness, to accomplish different ends. A Shamanic Practitioner is skilled in guiding others on these journeys to help them accomplish a variety of things . Lower World: The Lower world is generally where the shaman will go to meet power animals and other spirit guides. Guides are different from teachers in that
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they are the ones who will lead the shaman to the destination he/she is seeking. To enter the Lower World the shaman will go through a hole in nature. This can be a hole in a tree trunk, in the earth or under a water fall. It is important that the shaman choose a place that is familiar to him, so that he knows where and how to return. Once in the hole the shaman will journey through a tunnel until emerging into the Lower, Middle or Upper Worlds. Once in the Lower World the shaman looks for a guide to help facilitate the journey. Generally a guide will appear to the shaman at least three times to show the shaman that this is the one he is looking for. Once the guide has shown the shaman the information he is looking for, the shaman will take this information and follow the same path back to the original starting point of the journey. Middle World: The Middle World is generally accessed by the shaman when he is searching for information that applies to our life in this world, such as looking for a lost item or to determine who is responsible for a crime or other action. This journey is similar to the Lower World journey, in that the technique of the journey is performed in the same manner. It might be helpful as you begin this process to use a different entry spot for your Middle World journey. By maintaining different entry holes to the spirit worlds, you train yourself to notice the difference in these locations without adding confusion to the process. Again the shaman will journey through a tunnel until emerging into the Middle World. Here again guides are encountered who facilitate the journey. Once again the guide will show the shaman the information he is looking for, the shaman will take this information and follow the same path back to the original starting point of the journey. Upper World: This world is generally entered through a space in the clouds. If you have ever seen a hole in the clouds with a ray of sunshine shinning through, this is a perfect location for an entry point. The shaman will imagine himself standing on a hill or other high area and project himself up through the entry point hole. At some point a membrane will be encountered, this must be broken through to emerge into the Upper World. Here the shaman will meet with teachers and ancestors who will aid the shaman through training and who will help guide the shaman in his work. Again, when the process is finished the shaman will return via the original path taken to arrive at the destination. At this point I would like to address a common question many people ask: ―Is this real, or am I making it up?‖ The answer is simple. If you can control the images you are seeing in your journeys, you are making it up. However, if you try to imagine a different scene than what you are ―seeing‖ in your journey and the scene remains the same and will not change, then you will know this is ―real‖. As you become more comfortable in your practice and continue to journey, you will begin to trust the images that are presented to you as real.
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Another question I am often asked is are the Upper World and Lower World heaven and hell? The answer is NO. There is no correlation to heaven and hell with the Upper and Lower Worlds. Heaven and hell are aspects of modern day religion and have no real meaning in the shamanic practice.

What are power animals? animal spirits? How do I find and use them? Animal spirits and power animals play an important role in a shaman’s world. Animal spirits act as guides who show the shaman where to find lost soul parts and answers to questions on behalf of the seeker. Power animals are creatures who work with us to protect and give added strength in times of need. We all have power animals that work with us; many times it will be an animal that you are fond of. Without knowing they are at our side we tap into their strength when we are in difficult situations. Yet, as with soul loss, we sometimes lose our power animal. At these times we might begin to feel kind of lost and not able to stand up for ourselves. It is at these times we need to go in search of our power animals. You can journey for yourself or ask a shaman to take the journey for you and return the power animal. If the shaman goes in search of your power animal she will travel to the Lower World where the journey will show the animal, at least three times, in three different situations. Once the shaman has encountered the power animal at least three times, she will bring the animal back from the journey and ―blow‖ it into her client. Just about any creature on the face of the earth can be a power animal, spirit guide or an assistant in the healing process. Many people want a strong or loveable animal and are disappointed when they receive something like a frog or snake. I know I was the first time I went searching for my power animal and found it to be a frog. Everyone else in the workshop I was attending received animals like wolf, bear, elephant, condor, hawk, eagle—something that seemed so much more than frog. Little did I realize at the time the power of Frog. Since then the spirit of Frog has shown me the transformative power she holds. Take a close look at frog and you will see one who lives in different worlds at different times during its life cycle. Frog’s transformation from a water breathing creature to an air breathing creature is nothing less than spectacular! It is also one of the first creatures to demonstrate harmful changes that take place in its natural environment. We have all seen pictures of frogs that have deformities due to environmental toxins from pollution. By working with the energy of Frog I was able to see the transformations in my life that Spirit had in mind for me. I learned to live and walk in different worlds in order to make the transformations I needed to. I also began to spot the ―environmental pollution‖ in my life that was
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causing me to become ―deformed‖ in emotional, physical, and spiritual ways. I found Frog to be a most powerful ally! Since that time many other creatures have come to work with me in different ways, each bringing with it a special gift. I have since learned to appreciate all of my spirit animals for the unique and loving gifts they bring to me. The creatures who work with us are not all animals; some can be insects as well. As I said before, almost any creature in nature can become an ally in your shamanic practice. Initially, when on a shamanic journey searching for your power animal the only thing to avoid is a creature that bears its teeth at you or acts in an aggressive way. Later on when you are learning about dismemberment you will encounter more aggressive creatures, but this is not something you are looking for during a journey for a power animal. If you do encounter an aggressive animal during a journey for your power animal, simply thank it for appearing and move on your way. If the animal returns in a peaceful manner (three times) feel free to acknowledge it as your power animal and embrace it. If you are not familiar with shamanic journey techniques or you are uncomfortable in doing this work alone, visit my Services Page or contact me and I will provide you with the details for how we might work together, either in person or at a distance. There are many books that you can read to help you understand your animal allies better, but in the beginning I would encourage you to try to learn about your animal spirits through your journey work and by watching animals in nature. By doing this your level of trust and communication with your animal spirits will continue to grow. When you are ready to investigate more deeply some books you might want to read to help you understand power animals are: Soul Loss and Soul Retrieval Soul loss occurs when body, mind or spirit are threatened. At this time the soul, in an effort to survive, will split and a part of the soul will find a safe place to reside in the Spirit World. This is merely a survival technique, when the threat passes the part of the soul that split will return if the person is ready to receive it back. Many times however, the person is not whole enough to receive their soul parts back. Due to circumstances, some people are often in such a fragile state, that their soul parts are not able to return. This is frequently the case with survivors of incest or abuse. At times the soul becomes so fragmented from continued abuse that the person may become totally unable to cope with their ―real world‖ life. It is at times like these that intercession becomes necessary, soul retrieval by a shamanic practitioner may become necessary. Soul Extraction
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Shamanic soul extraction is the removal of displaced energy, sometimes called intrusions or spirit attachments. This is energy that does not belong in the body and may cause illness. This is caused by others sending harmful or negative thought forms to you, or when discarnate beings or entities attach to you. To remove them, a shaman must do what's called a soul extraction. Dealing with Illness All illness has a spiritual component, too, which the shaman can look for when journeying for a client. It could be stress from soul loss, abandonment, fear, grief. Each case, each person is different. For this reason the shaman will journey to find the answers for the client. However, once this information is returned, it becomes the client’s responsibility to follow through to complete the healing process.

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10. A Year of Journey Suggestions January Intention: To journey to your Healing Garden, to establish your goals for the year. February Intention: Animal Guide Journeys, to meet and establish or strengthen our relationships with our Animal Guides. March Intention: Inner Temple Journeys, to explore inner balance. April Intention: Elemental Wisdom Journeys, to discover our individual connections to each of the elements and meet our elemental guides. May Intention : Journey with your Elemental Guides to the element of Air. June Intention: Journey with your Elemental Guides to the element of Fire. July Intention: Journey with your Elemental Guides to the element of Water. August Intention: Journey with your Elemental Guides to the element of Earth. September Intention: Journey with your Elemental Guides to explore your personal elemental balance. October Intention: Journey to your Ancestors, to honor them and seek their guidance. November Intention: Journey to your Healing Garden, to offer thanks and plant new seeds. December Intentions: Journey through the darkness to find healing, and wisdom.

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11. More Journeying Suggestions Journeying is a powerful shamanic tool for gaining insight and developing your intuitive skills. You can set specific intentions for your journeys depending upon your needs. Here are some suggestions to get you started and help you develop this tool.

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FIND YOUR POWER ANIMAL – often done as a retrieval for another person. Animals have many archetypal meanings and have been used by indigenous people for guidance, protection, power, healing and in numerous other ways. Find the animal that speaks to you, that can give you information on your life path that has been your guide (like a guardian angel) whether you are aware of their spirit yet or not. FIND YOUR POWER SPOTS – there are places in both ordinary reality and non-ordinary reality that can be your source of power and renewal; ask to be taken to these places. SHAPESHIFT YOUR DREAMS – use the power of drumming to help you manifest the energies in your life that are needed for you to be in your truth, to help you live your dream and find your path of service. FOR PROSPERITY – Find out the truth of what prosperity means for you, whether it is monetary, energetic, relations, and how to manifest it in your life. FOR LIFE PATH – see your path, your purpose, and the way in which your life will unfold with resonance. FOR GUIDANCE- DECISIONS/RELATIONS/CAREER - this can be done for yourself or for another person. Often having someone else journey for information and insight on personal questions can open up possibilities you had not been receiving for yourself. FOR SPACE – SPIRITUAL GROWTH – see your own expansiveness, feel the element of Ether and its connection to the spirit world, identify your spiritual path.

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 

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TO MEET YOUR SPIRIT GUIDES – we are all given guides to aid us on our life journeys. Ask to meet your guides and find out what information they have for you. SHAPESHIFTING HUACA – also often done as retrieval, find the sacred item or place that exists for you to aid you in shapeshifting your life. TRAVEL INTO YOUR HUACA – if you already have sacred items, i.e., a rock, pendulum, feather, necklace, crystal etc., travel deep into its spirit for insight and information. CONNECT TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH – discover what the heart of the Earth has to tell you and the connection of the Earth’s vibration to that of our own hearts. CONNECT AND LEARN FROM THE ELEMENTS- EARTH AIR FIRE WATER – Find your physical and spiritual connection with the qualities of each of the elements. Ask to be initiated into their power. TO ANY ELEMENT OF NATURE – CLOUDS, RAIN, THUNDERSTORM, SNOW ETC. – our current weather patterns are a source of information and spiritual connection. TO THE 4 DIRECTIONS AND THE SPIRITS THEY HOLD – Ask to meet the spirits of the East, South, West and North, and to be initiated into their power. PLANT TOTEM – ask to meet the power plants that are among your spirit guides. Shapeshift into them or ask what you need to know now. PACHAMAMA – journey to the spirit of mother earth and universal oneness for support and nourishment; find out how you can assist in changing the current western dream to an earth honoring one. SEASONS – the Equinoxes and Solstices create a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature. Ask to meet the spirits of Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. MOON CYCLES – also offer another chance to connect with the Spirit of Nature. Go to meet the Spirits of the Full Moon, New Moon and Eclipses to gain insight and information. THE LAND OF DREAMS – Want to know more about your dreams, good and bad? Ask to be taken to the Land of Dreams where you can re-enter your dream to re-experience it, ask questions of the people and things in it, finish it or even change it. ANCESTORS – ask your spirits to take you to an Ancestor who held the shamanic wisdom in your family. Then ask to be initiated into his/her power. HEALINGS – Journey to your Spirits to receive an emotional or physical healing. Do healings for each other in the group or anyone outside of the group who asks for a healing. Allow the Spirit guides to do the work. TO THE SPIRIT OF YOUR CURRENT CIRCLE – connect with the spirit of your circle; find information on ways to keep the circle serving the highest

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good for all the members and to deepen the spiritual connections within the group.

12. The Shamanic Journey Journeying is a classic technique practiced by Shamans and Shamanic Practitioners all over the world. Journeying enables you to send your awareness into the hidden realms of consciousness to connect with wisdom and receive Healing, answers to problems or to discover information that can facilitate your personal growth and understanding. All things in the Universe are connected and all things have Spirit or awareness, therefore we can communicate with all beings with our Spirit. The particularly wonderful implication of this is that YOU are an important part of the grand scheme of things! No one else has your unique blend of talents and way of being – you are unique and connected to the web of life. The classic way of entering the Spirit World is by using a steady rhythm of drumming. This encourages theta brain waves that induce the altered state of consciousness required to travel to the Spirit Worlds. The drum is a sacred tool and it has own Spirit. It is used for journeying, healing and other energy work as well as singing and chanting (either to raise power or to have a good time!). The drum’s own Spirit can often be sensed while it is being played and people often report that they hear other sounds within the drumming such as music, chanting, animal sounds, and it often seems as if the drumming is coming from all around or from varying directions. The drum has been referred to as "The Shaman’s Horse" as the Shaman "rides" the drumming rhythm to enable him/her to get to the Spirit world and it is like a lifeline enabling them to find their way back quickly and easily. It can also be a timekeeper as the Spirit World exists outside of time and it is difficult to have any concept of time while you are there (for example, 15 minutes may seem like 2 or 3 hours).
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It is generally accepted tat there are 3 Spirit Worlds, although they are really all interconnected: it is easier to think of them as separated for now. The Lower World is a very beautiful place and the landscape is very much like beautiful scenery in this awareness. Power Animals reside here and if you journey to the Lower World, the advice you will receive is very "earthy," practical and specific. The Middle World is the Spiritual equivalent to this every day world that we are conscious of. You can visit places and times that are important to you, experience Nature Spirits, communicate with another’s spirit and so on. The Upper World tends to be somewhat ethereal in nature and you generally meet Spirit teachers here who offer more philosophical and general advice. All the worlds are interconnected and you will always meet with the Spirit Teachers and be in the Spirit world that is most useful to you on that journey. 13. Basic Journey into the Lower World to meet with Animal Spirits In journeying into the lower world, as you begin your journey, you can visualize by creating a vision of the Earth under your body supporting you and taking your weight. Next, think of somewhere that you have been that feels really "earthy" to you: somewhere you felt really comfortable and connected to Nature. Travel to this place using your imagination. Really feel that you are there; try and sense as much about the place as you can. Look around for a place where you can go down: a hole in the ground, an animal burrow, a hole in the roots of a tree, a well shaft…anywhere where you can go down. Enter the hole and you will typically find yourself in a tunnel that goes downwards: it may be a slope or spiral or drip, but it will go down. You can run, walk, fly, and swim, anything you like. Make your way along the tunnel and out into the landscape of the Lower World. Make yourself a promise: that you will accept everything you see and hear with an open heart and an open mind. Your critical mind can have its turn when you get back! Sometimes you may come out into a cave and you will find that you can move easily into the landscape. Venture out into the landscape and notice as much as you can with your open heart and mind. Feel everything, see everything, notice yourself, who is there, talk to the Spirits and if you feel unhappy about anything at all for any reason, pass them by. Keep restating your intention if you find your mind wandering. Enjoy yourself! When you hear the call back drumming, you must start to make your way back. Retrace your path to the tunnel. You will find that you can float up or otherwise move back up the tunnel easily and you will come out into the place where you started. Really feel as if you are there, feel the ground underneath you, and then make your way back into your body and back into this consciousness. Welcome
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Back! Record your journeys as this can be a helpful way of remembering them and also something that may not have seemed significant at the time may be a useful piece of information to you at a later date

14. The World Tree by Michael Drake In world mythology, The World Tree is the "axis mundi," world axis, or central axis of the cosmos. Images of the World Tree exist in virtually all cultures, and represent the world center and/or the connection between heaven and earth. The axis mundi links heaven and earth as well as providing a path between the two. Many ancient cultures incorporate the myth of the World Tree, Tree of Life, or Tree of Knowledge, as it is also known. It is familiar today as the Rod of Asclepius, the symbol of medicine. The staff is the axis itself, and the serpent or serpents are the guardians or guides to the other realm. Shamans believe that this central axis and the universe it unites lie within the soul, within each of us. According to shamanic cosmology, there are three inner planes of consciousness: the Upper, Middle, and Lower Worlds. The roots of the World Tree touch the Lower World. Its trunk is the Middle World and its branches hold up the Upper World. Humans did not invent these inner realms; they discovered them. Far from being a human contrivance, these archetypal worlds are inherent in the collective unconscious, the common psychological inheritance of humanity. They are woven into the matrix of the psyche. They are a part of our psyche, a part of us whether we choose to become aware of it or not. Through the sound of the drum, which is invariably made of wood from the World Tree, the shaman is transported to the axis within and conveyed from plane to plane. As Tuvan musicologist Valentina Suzukei explains, "There is a bridge on these sound waves so you can go from one world to another. In the sound world, a tunnel opens through which we can pass—or the shaman’s spirits come to us. When you stop playing the drum, the bridge disappears."1 The inner axis passes through an opening or hole through which the shaman traverses the inner planes in order to create and change experience and to help others do the
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same. It is an inward spiritual journey of rapture in which the shaman interacts with the inner world, thereby influencing the outer world. In the shaman’s world, all human experience is self-generated. Experience is shaped from within since the three realms that define our experience of reality exist within each of us. The world above is the unseen realm of unmanifest potential, higher knowledge, and enlightenment. The Upper or Celestial Realm is the domain of gods, goddesses, and evolved teachers. It is in this inner realm that the archetypal patterns, which are the blueprints for all things, exist. According to Lakota shaman Nick Black Elk, "This is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world."2 The Celestial Realm forms the matrix of possibilities that correspond to the world we experience through our mind and senses. All situations, conditions, and states of being are a manifestation of a world of archetypes. Every event in the visible world is the effect of an image or pattern in the unseen world. Shamans journey to the Upper World to acquire archetypal knowledge, to bring a vision into being, or to influence events in the material world. By interacting with the archetypes, the shaman interacts with their counterparts in the outer world. Shamans also go there for inspiration, insight, or to find ways to restore balance in the world. As anthropologist Felicitas Goodman points out, "One of the most pervasive traditions of shamanic cultures is the insight that there exists a patterned cosmological order, which can be disturbed by human activity."3 When harmony between the human realm and the original intended pattern is disturbed, the shaman makes a spirit journey to the Celestial Realm to bring back the balance. The Middle World is the spirit counterpart of the material realm and the inner region that is most like outer reality. Nick Black Elk spoke of the realm "where there is nothing but the spirits of all things."4 In this parallel world exist the spirits that are the essence of everything in the material world. The Middle World is so truly parallel to the world in which we live that we can journey across it and visit all the places, people, and things we know in ordinary reality. Spirit journeys in the middle world provide a means of travel and communication without cars, planes, or telephones. It is a means of exploring territory to find the location of healing herbs or game or to establish communication links over great distances. The Lower World is the realm of animal spirits, spirit guides, and the dead—the place to which human spirits travel upon physical death. This Lower World is not Hell as defined by the agricultural religious traditions such as Christianity. It is the place of tests and challenges, but also the realm of power where guardian
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animals or helping spirits are acquired. A spirit journey to the Lower World is generally undertaken to seek the help and guidance of an animal spirit, to recover lost power, or to find and return a sick person’s wandering spirit. References 1. Kira Van Deusen, "Shamanism and Music in Tuva and Khakassia," Shaman’s Drum, No. 47, Winter 1997, p. 24. 2. John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1959), p. 71. 3. Felicitas D. Goodman, Jewels on the Path (Santa Fe: Cuyamungue Institute, 1994), p. 55. 4. John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks, p. 71. About the author: Michael Drake is a nationally recognized writer, rhythmist, and shamanist. He is the author of The Shamanic Drum: A Guide to Sacred Drumming and I Ching: The Tao of Drumming. Michael's journey into rhythm began under the tutelage of Mongolian shaman Jade Wah'oo Grigori. For the past 20 years he has been facilitating drum circles and workshops nationwide. To learn more, visit Michael's web site at: http://ShamanicDrumming.com

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15. Shaman Wisdom & Shaman Healing By Nina Makofsky The practice of shamanism is derived from ancient spiritual and healing rituals, typically passed from one generation to the next via oral tradition. Shamanic wisdom and healing typically entail the shamanic practitioner's having participated in many shamanic journeys in which the shaman leaves her physical body. The shaman many accomplish this feat by entering a deep, ecstatic trance that permits her to encounter spirit helpers. These entities impart knowledge and energy upon the shaman. Features Traditional shamans utilize lucid dreaming to explore the subconscious and provide healing. This journey may involve ascending upward to the heaven or downward to the underworld. It can also lead to parallel physical realities. This process, also known as shamanic flight, is a way for a shaman to make contact with sources of healing energy and spiritual guidance. In turn, the shaman uses knowledge to help and heal others who are on the shamanic path. Significance Shamanic healers held a prominent role in past societies, fulfilling the role of metaphysician, magician or priest. Shamanic wisdom about human consciousness and the universe's cosmology allows the shaman to act as a connector between the everyday world and the world beyond our physical realities. A shaman is a figure who lives on the edge of reality and society which often requires personal sacrifices. Misconceptions The word shaman has been adopted by many contemporary healers; it is important to clarify that one can study shamanism without being a shaman.
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The Basics of Shamanism
Earning the title of shaman demands training, practice and service to the community. Most shamanic healers train with a mentor and have entered into a state of shamanic ecstasy several times. Formal training includes studying shamanic techniques, learning the names and roles of spirits, studying the genealogy and mythology of the group the shaman serves, and mastering any special languages required. Function Shamanic healers employ ceremonies and rituals to divine the best energy medicine for a particular ailment. A healing session may begin with a dialogue between the patient and the shaman, followed by an examination in which the shaman centers upon the area of dissonance within the patient. The shamanic healer uses one of several techniques to disengage the aberrant form of energy. Among these techniques are divination, which entails a reading of the subject's luminous energy; soul retrieval, which heals a pain or loss in the soul by giving the patient soul elements or a power animal (http://www.ehow.com/pets-andanimals/) ; a soul retrieval ceremony; extraction, which removes intrusions on a patient's spirit; and past life regression therapy, which uses past lives or dreams to heal a karmic rift. Effects Shamanic healing and shamanic wisdom are considered beneficial to a person's energy. The goal with shamanic rituals is to use ancient healing traditions to resolve problems. However, shamanic knowledge is always evolving and changing to address the needs of the time.

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The Basics of Shamanism

16. About Shamanism By Rena Sherwood Shamanism is considered one of mankind's oldest branches of pagan belief systems with roots in prehistoric times. Shamans were found all over the world, although the word "shaman" is Siberian. Male and female shamans held a powerful place in aboriginal tribal societies because they could manipulate spirits. Spirits could be ancestors, deities, elemental forces or even from certain diseases. Practicing shamans still exist today. Function 1.Shamans were primarily healers in aboriginal tribal cultures, but they could also seek knowledge from spirits, transform into animals or fly invisibly to spy on enemies in order to advise members of the tribe. Identification 2.Shamans are chosen by other shamans or by the tribe. One identifying trait is that they survived a near death experience through accident or illness. Trance 3.Some shamans enter into trances through hallucinogenic drugs, fasting, sleep deprivation, chanting or drumming. While in the trance, they enter into the realm of spirits and convince the spirits to work for the tribe. Offerings
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The Basics of Shamanism
4.In order to appease the spirits, shamans must give many offerings and observe taboos. If they break a taboo, they risk offending a spirit and losing power.

17. How to Do a Basic Shamanic Journey Journey work is the healing medicine of shamanism. During a shamanic journey you "work" on the spiritual and energetic realms to solve problems, get guidance and heal energetic imbalances. You will enter a conscious dream state, where you will "travel" to a sacred place and communicate with your higher self, as well as your spirit guides and helpers. Great personal healing can take place during your travels. Follow the steps below to go on a shamanic journey. Things You'll Need: • Drumming or rattling music, recorded specifically for shamanic journeys • Pillow • Blanket • Journal • Pen Go on a Shamanic Journey 1. Play your shamanic drumming or rattling music. It can also be a combination of both. 2. Lie down on the floor on your back, and make yourself as comfortable as possible. You can lie on a bed, too. Use a pillow. It's possible your body temperature might drop slightly during the journey. This is OK, just make sure you have a blanket to cover yourself with. Close your eyes and tune into the music. Allow the sound to carry you inward. Relax. If you are having trouble relaxing, take some deep breaths.
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The Basics of Shamanism
3. Begin to visualize a sacred place in your mind's eye. This could be a beach or forest you've visited before, a fantasy garden, or anywhere you feel safe. It does not have to be somewhere you have physically been before. Tap into your fantasy realm and be creative! 4. Ask silently to go to your sacred place. Then, just wait. Notice what feelings, sensations and thoughts you experience. Keep your eyes closed and your focus inward. As you journey, you might see your sacred place in your mind's eye, or just feel that you are there. If you are in darkness, keep holding your intention to be at your sacred place. If you are having difficulty getting to your sacred place, ask for help. Maybe a door will appear, or you'll find yourself greeted by an animal or spirit guide who will take you there. 5.Once in your sacred place, ask if there are any spirit guides or helpers present. See who shows up! There might be animals who come into your inner vision. You might also sense that your higher self or over soul is present and available to you. Ask questions so that your helpers and higher self can help solve problems. Ask for guidance. You could be surprised at what answers you receive! 6.Take note of any symbols, colors or numbers might show up. Also, pay attention to what your spirit guides are saying to you. Continue on your journey. 7.Near the end of the music track, the drumming will become rapid. This is your signal to begin completing your journey. Be sure to thank and say goodbye to your spirit guides and helpers. Your garden or sacred place might slowly dissolve, or you might feel like you are flying away from it. As your consciousness returns to the physical realm, be gentle with yourself. Don't get up right away. Stay reclined. 8.Write down in your journal what you saw, heard, sensed, etc. Writing the experience will help you integrate it, as well as uncover any answers that you may be seeking. Welcome back! Tips & Warnings Taking regular journeys will strengthen your connection to spirit guides and your higher self. Journeys will become more clear and vivid.

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The Basics of Shamanism

18. How to Contact Spirits Through Shamanism Shamanism, the practice of communicating with the spirits, is a religion that has been practiced since Neolithic times. People who practice shamanism believe in 2 different worlds, the material world and the spirit world. Shamanism is used to try to treat spiritual and physical ailments, ranging from serious health issues to simpler problems like insomnia. If you are seeking to contact spirits to heal yourself, you may wish to do so through a drumming ceremony. Drumming is said to help put your consciousness into a meditative state, opening you up to the spirit world. Things You'll Need: --Drum or Drumming CD Decide to Contact Spirits Through Drumming 1.Understand what you hope to achieve by contacting spirits. Some people hope to ask for healing, speak to ancestors or gain more power on their path of shamanism. (This is also called ―forming your intent.‖ 2. Speak with a shamanism practitioner for recommendations about how to improve your drumming session. You can find a drum circle, as well as a list of practitioners, at The Foundation for Shamanic Studies 3. Consult with a shaman to understand the intricacies of a drumming ceremony. Someone who has been through contact with the spirit world can give you advice.
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The Basics of Shamanism
Set up the Ceremony 1. Find a drumming ceremony to join that works under shamanistic principles. Contact your local health food or New Age store for nearby options. (Or, if you have some experience already, consider forming your own shamanic drumming circle to set up a shamanic ceremony). 2. Purchase or borrow a drum for the purpose of the ceremony. Consider having it blessed by a shaman, depending on your beliefs. 3. Gather any herbs that were recommended by the shamanism practitioner you spoke with. Consider performing an allergy test to make sure you aren't allergic to any of these herbs before taking them during your ceremony. Participate in the Drumming Ceremony 1. Meditate on the day of the drumming ceremony to get clear on what you hope to achieve during the ceremony. 2. Take the herbs, if any, prescribed by a shamanism practitioner. Follow instructions he or she had to achieve contact with the spirit world. 3. Join the drumming circle. Follow the rituals and rhythms of the drums to be transported to the spirit world. 4. Learn more about shamanism at the Shamanism FAQs Web page (see Resources below). Tips & Warnings 1. Do not spend a lot of money on drumming circles. These circles should be free to moderately priced. 2. Educate yourself on what you put into your body during a drumming ceremony as some plants are extremely dangerous. If you take an herbal remedy to achieve an altered state and have an allergic reaction that affects your ability to breathe, seek immediate medical care. 3. Before you start any alternative medical technique, be aware that many have not been scientifically evaluated. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and discipline has its own rules about how alternative medicine practitioners are licensed. If you decide to visit
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The Basics of Shamanism
one, choose one licensed by a recognized national organization. Consult your primary health care provider and keep your doctor informed about the alternative medical technique you undertake

19. The Shamanic Journey by Ross Heaven Regardless of other specialties - which may include plant medicine, divination, or healing rituals - the key approach of all shamans both ancient and modern is the shamanic journey. This is a special state of trance consciousness that enables communion with the energy or spirit of the universe. The Sora of India believe, for example, that the shaman can command his soul to leave his body so that the spirits may speak through him. In Siberia, the shaman takes flight to the Otherworld to rescue lost souls. In Haiti, the soul of the shaman goes to Gine (primal Africa) so the Lwa (spirits) can take over his body and transmit their healing through him. The shamanic journey is a method of exploring the spiritual universe, making contact with tutelary spirits, recovering energy that has been lost, or simply finding out more about ourselves and our purpose. It is also quite a simple practice. Anyone should be able to take a basic journey for themselves by following a few easy guidelines. To take any shamanic journey, you need to find a time and a place where you can be alone and undisturbed for 20 minutes or so. Dim the lights or cover your eyes, and lie down on your back with your legs outstretched. Make yourself comfortable. Keep your right arm by your side, fingers straight, and the whole arm relaxed, then bending your left arm and placing it over your forehead so it shields your eyes. This is the classic posture for shamanic journeying. This trance posture comes from the Amazonian Jivaro people and was first described in the book The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner, following his field research there. (1).
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The Basics of Shamanism
Most shamanic journeys are taken to the sound of drumming, which encourages a specific state of trance and "dreaming" brain wave patterns which take us into a deeper and more holistic experience of the world in all its fullness. You can either drum for yourself (although you will not be able to maintain the posture, of course), have a friend drum for you, or use a drumming tape to guide your journey. All are equally effective. Expressing your intention - the purpose for your journey - and keeping this in focus is very important as you journey. Intention is the energy that guides the journey and ensures you do not wander aimlessly in the Otherworlds. So the next thing to do when you are lying down is to express your intention by putting whatever question or purpose you have into a positive statement of intent. So, for example, the question "should I move to another part of the country?" could be expressed positively and definitely as: "My intention for this journey is to explore the outcome of moving to [whichever county or state has appealed to you]." This statement of intent alerts the spirits to your purpose so they can work with you more effectively. To put it another way, it begins to direct your energy and the energies of the universe towards your specific purpose. It also ensures that you do not get distracted, that you have a clear and definite purpose in mind. As soon as the drumming begins, imagine yourself entering a place that will take you down into the earth, such as a well or a cave (for a "lower world" journey). Continue in your imagination until you reach your destination. The light of the Otherworld and the spirit guides will be waiting there to help you with your question. Remember to stay focused on your intention throughout and, if you lose your bearings at any time, focus on the sound of the drum and come back to your purpose again. Once you are in the Otherworld, do not try to control or dictate the action that takes place or the information you receive. Just relax. Imagination is the bridge we use to cross to the Otherworld, but once we are there the spirits are our guides. All we need do is receive. Drumming tapes have a special call-back signal at the end to bring you back to ordinary reality and normal consciousness. When you hear this, or when you yourself are ready, retrace your steps out of the Otherworld and come back to normal awareness. Then write down your thoughts and feelings as well as the answers to your questions so you have a record you can refer back to. References
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The Basics of Shamanism
1. Michael Harner, The Way of the Shaman (HarperSanFrancisco, 1979)

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