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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The Journey

You are ready to start your journey now but before you do, a couple of words of advice. First, the irony of a successful journey is that you let go of your need to control…you adopt the attitude of a curious child and release yourself into the entrance. But at the same time, you are in complete control because any time you want to end the journey, all you have to do is open your eyes. In a strange way you can have your need-to-control cake and eat it too. You let go of your need to control and at the same time are in complete control.

Release any expectations you may have about what a journey may be like. Since each person's experience is different and you have not ever done a journey, how would you know what to expect in the first place? Too often people reject what they are legitimately experiencing because it doesn't fit their picture of what should be happening. The key is to trust that what is happening is exactly what is meant to occur that particular time.

Also, although it is not likely, if, during your journey, you see anything that you don't like just go around it, retrace your steps back to your entrance or simply open your eyes.

9 Steps

  1. Lie down and relax. The floor is probably better than your bed because you are less likely to fall asleep. Take at least three deep breaths, hold each at the end of your inhale for a few seconds and then exhale until there is absolutely no breath left. Make each inhale-exhale cycle longer and deeper than the previous one.
  2. Put on your blindfold. (It will also help if the room is darkened).
  3. State your intention. Do this in a relaxed manner. You are signaling to yourself and the spirit helpers what you want. Think of it as a respectful request rather than a goal to be pursued and achieved.
  4. Start the drumming either start the tape or signal your drummer to begin.
  5. Visualize your entrance to the earth and restate your intention several times.
  6. Enter the entrance. When you feel ready go into the entrance, you can go head first, feet first or any way you like. Again, it doesn't matter if you have actually been in it in your life or not. Also the entrance does not have to be bigger than you. For example I have entered through a small opening in a tree which would never accommodate me in real life.
  7. Enjoy the journey. Be prepared to experience the journey with any of your senses. For some it will be visual. Others will hear things. Others might smell or feel what is happening. Whatever sensory channel opens to you is the one to use for that particular journey. If you see something you don't like, go around it or simply return by retracing your steps or opening your eyes. If you are journeying to find a power animal, look for an animal that shows itself to you four times. When that happens it is saying, "I am your power animal and am ready to return with you." It doesn't have to be the exact animal that shows itself four times. For example when Jason found Wolf, he saw a real wolf but also saw a wolf emblazoned on a patch. If you are not certain you can ask it if it is your power animal. But if you see it in four clear and different forms, you do not need any more proof. Trust that it is your power animal.
  8. Return from your journey. It is a good idea to have a specified amount of time for each journey. Eight to 10 minutes is what I usually recommend to begin with and up to fifteen minutes thereafter. Some drumming tapes are set to signal the "recall" for various times of duration. If someone is drumming for you, the recall is four sets of seven beats each (at a slightly slower interval than your journey drumming), followed by 30 seconds of very rapid drumming, followed by another four sets of seven beats. If you are journeying alone you can set a watch alarm or a timer for the prescribed time. If you do this make sure the alarm is not so loud as to jar you out of your journey. When the recall sounds it is time to return. To achieve this simply do your journey in reverse. There is no need to rush and it is not critical that you retrace your steps precisely. The reason for retracing your steps is to "groove" the journey so in subsequent trips you will be able to arrive and return from the lower world with greater ease and efficiency.
  9. Reflect on your journey. When you have returned relax for a moment. Don't try to get up right away. Notice how you feel. Reflect on what experiences you had and what you learned.

go to part 4: After the Journey

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