HOW TO TAKE A SHAMANIC JOURNEY

1. Introduction
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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Before the Journey

In order to take such a journey you will need several things:
  1. an open mind
  2. a clear intention
  3. a drumming or rattling tape (these can be bought over the web at www.shamanism.org. I prefer the multiple drumming tape but any one will work just fine.)
  4. a blindfold
  5. a quiet place to do the work, and
  6. a mental picture of an entrance to the earth you have seen at some time in your life.
Find a quiet and comfortable location where you will not be interrupted. Avoid distractions like telephones ringing, children yelling, and television blaring. When you become proficient at journeying you will be able to do so in your office while sitting at your desk. If, while you are journeying and a noise or distraction does occur, rather than letting it derail you, simply use it to go deeper into your journey.

Two vital aspects of a successful effort are your starting point and your intention. Your starting point will be an entrance to the earth that is known to you from your own life's experience. A swimming hole, a well, a cave, a tunnel, a hole in the center of an old stump, an uncovered manhole. I always use a cave I explored in the Philippines. It is very important to have a clear image of this place. You do not have to have entered it (like the well) but the picture in your mind must be vivid. I find that many people have difficulty when they are learning to journey because they don't have a good departure point.

Once you have your entrance, determine what you want from your journey. Intention is one of the most important and powerful tools used by the shaman. So before each journey, state a single intention for that experience. For your first effort your intention might be: "to experience a journey to the lower world to explore." When you have done that, on another journey you might ask to find a power animal. And when you have met your power animal, on yet another journey you might ask it, "what advice would you have for me about a current opportunity or dilemma you are facing. It is best to have only one intention per journey.

If you are going to find a power animal, check your ego at the entrance. When you embark on this journey be prepared to fully accept and embrace whatever the spirits offer. I remember well my first effort to retrieve an animal totem. I have always loved cats and was certain I was going down to get a nice big, powerful, sleek, awesome hunter. I was mired in my own ego. Imagine my shock when I saw a cow, then a close-up of a cow's eye, then a herd, and finally a little calf. I remember saying to myself, "You've got to be kidding me!" Well, the spirits always give you exactly what you need. Whether you like it or not, your power animal is always perfect for you. As for me, I had that masculine macho thing handled and didn't need a big cat. A cow is about nurturing. It is a provider of sustenance and clothing…a decidedly feminine energy. And that was perfect for me at that time. As fair warning on this issue, know three things:
  • I have never had anyone yet successfully predict what his/her power animal would be.
  • In addition to retrieving eagles, lions and deer for others, I have also brought back ants, eels, squirrels, snakes, monkeys, and spiders.
  • It is not appropriate to reject a power animal and ask for another one. Trust that what you received is perfect for you. Just spend time with it and you will come to this realization yourself.
In order to learn about your power animal, its history, legend in myth, and meaning, I recommend a book called Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small by Ted Andrews.1952, Llewellyn Publications Worldwide, Ltd. P.O.Box 64383, St. Paul, MN 55164.

Have the drumming tape cued and ready to play.



go to part 3: The Journey
 

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