2. Before the Journey
3. The Journey
4. After the Journey
5. The shamanic journey in perspective
6. Summary: The 9 Steps
7. Troubleshooting the Journey Process
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After the Journey
When the journey is complete you might want to thank the spirits for supporting you in this effort and record it in a journal.
- Except for a power animal and, for more advanced journeying, a soul part,
never bring anything back from the lower world with you.
- Power animals and teachers (often in human form) will frequently
communicate metaphorically. That is, they may behave in a certain
way and it is your job to interpret the behavior. For example,
I recently journeyed for an audience before a speech and my
power animal first stretched his arms very wide and then did
a little jig. To me that meant stretch or challenge them and
play with them a bit. I did this and the feedback from the group
was very good. It is your job and no one else's to get comfortable
with this translating of behaviors. The first action of your
power animal or teacher is always the most significant message.
On some occasions your spirit helper might speak to you directly,
particularly if your learn best through hearing.
- Inevitably a newcomer will be in the middle of a journey and wonder, "Am I making this up?" The experience of those who journey regularly is that very rarely is this so. And since there is no way to answer that question, why not decide that you are not creating it. If you say, "Yes, I am making it up", you end the experience. If you say, "No", you deepen it.
- Be light and have fun with your journeying. It is an enjoyable experience so enjoy it.
- A journey is different than a dream. Dream interpretation is not what a journey is about.
- Many people (not all) experience going through a tunnel at the beginning of a journey. If you feel yourself slowing down or not progressing, simply push on. If this doesn't work, you can return to your place of departure and then start again. Sometimes it takes several journeys to negotiate the tunnel. Because everything is part of your journey, use being in the tunnel for extended time as a teaching. What is the message to you? What can you learn from it?
- Be an observer during your journey, not a judge. Leave your critical mind when you start the journey and just enjoy the proceedings. And if you drift, gently bring yourself back to the voyage you have undertaken.
- Allow the experience to unfold rather than rushing it or trying
to force it. Michael Harner says that you are in charge of you
on a train which is taking you to your chosen destination, but
you are not in charge of the scenery or the inhabitants.
- As strange as this may sound, take care of your power animal.
It likes to visit our world as much as we enjoy a journey to
its world. Study it, read about it, dance or move like it. Several
times a week invite it to join you in some activity. And most
importantly, use it to empower you and give you advice. That
is why it showed up and you honor it when you allow it to achieve
its purpose by helping you. You can journey to it and ask it
what it needs from you for its well-being. If you choose not
to use it, over time it will leave and, no doubt, seek someone
who will use it well. This is simply a natural consequence of
it not being honored or used.
- "Do I tell other people what my power animal is?" Shamans
differ on answering this question. Some will never divulge theirs
while others will. The response I have gotten is that if it
is in the service of healing work or with those close to me
like my family, I can divulge my power animal(s). If it is frivolous
(like at a cocktail party saying "I'm a lion, what are you?")
it is inappropriate. The best thing to do is to journey to your
power animal and find the answer directly.
- "Can you have more than one power
animal?" Yes. I have seven and each is a specialist in a different
aspect of shamanic work. The number of power animals you have has
no relation to your effectiveness or ranking as a shamanic
practitioner. In this case more has nothing to do with better.