Shamanic journeying can be described as a state of trance during which one sets on a journey within one’s self with the goal of communicating with the inner self to retrieve information and guidance. Our inner selves are in constant contact with all aspects of our environment both seen and unseen.
The purpose of shamanic journeying can differ depending on the individual but the most common reasons for shamanic journeying include personal healing, connecting to one’s spirit guide or animal, and divination. Regardless of beliefs and backgrounds, anyone can embark on a shamanic journey. After leaving the meditative state one needs to interpret the meaning of the experiences one had.
To enter the mentioned trance state and to start your journeying, the shamans generally use a drum which provides an effective but simple way to induce a calming and meditative state. With the beat of the drum which transports you on your shamanic journey, you will be able to travel to the inner parts of your consciousness.
Shamanic journey experiences tend to be different for everyone since we are all unique individuals. Some people might feel like they are in a dream while others can have more vivid senses such as tastes, smells, or images.
During the shamanic journey, you might feel experiences that might seem unexplainable or odd but instead of ignoring them, you will want to remember them so that after the journeying session they can be interpreted. Remember that consciousness tends to communicate in metaphorical ways and one needs to continuously learn to interpret the messages better.
Shamanic Journeys as an Exploration of the Inner Self
The shamanic journey is a peculiar way to explore our inner selves. Our consciousness is affected by environmental factors, past traumas, smells, feelings, and more. All these effects can be felt for a short period of time within our physical state but their effects can last longer or even be permanent in the unconscious mind. Journeying to explore our inner selves is a crucial need to maintain balance in our lives.
Shamanic journeying to explore the inner self includes connecting with the spirit guides of the traveler. During the shamanic journey, one connects with their inner self and identifies the past traumas that still affect them – mentally or physically. Exploring the depths of your soul will help you have a better understanding of your feelings and reactions – and you can change or fix them if you need to.
Keep in mind that the shamanic journey is not about controlling your consciousness – it is about exploring the depths of your inner self and finding who you are, what your purpose is, and your spiritual gifts.
The Shamanic Worldview
The shamanic worldview can have differences depending on the culture in which it’s being practiced but some basics tend to stay the same. Some of the worldviews that are shared commonly in the shamanic community are;
- Identity is formed via intimate relationships with the natural environment, especially sacred places.
- An individual is inseparable from their environment while remaining unique – meaning that we are all unique parts of one world, one body, one flesh.
- Serving the human community while serving nature is necessary. Giving as much as possible to the daily needs of the human world while asking nothing more than the necessities.
- Material sustenance is necessary for daily life which means the local environment is perceived with the utmost importance and respect.
- All life on earth is of the utmost importance regardless of its economic value to humans.
These are the basics of the shamanic world. Without the basic principles of unity, there is no way to journey through consciousness or different dimensions of reality.
Theshamanic world has three inner planes of consciousness: The Upper World, The Middle World, and the Lower World. These worlds or realms are not inventions of humans, but are simply discoveries. In these realms, the collective unconsciousness and psychological inheritance of humanity are collected.
Across time and cultures, it has been reported that the Upper and Lower Worlds are occupied only by those who were compassionate beings. The Middle World also has compassionate beings but it also contains those who are disturbed or lost.
How to Look Beyond Ordinary Reality on this Journey
Imagination is the portal to the ordinary reality that we are all accustomed to. Internal imagination allows us to connect with the inner realms and perceive them. When a shaman is looking to retrieve information their first step is to imagine what to look for, which leads them to the inner realms and experience the journey within.
Arriving in this extraordinary reality can take some time or happen instantly – depending on the individual. Upon arrival, most of the time we arrive in the Middle World- the common area for shamanic journeys. Paying attention and noticing what is around you can provide information about your subconscious world. Notice the environment, what elements do you see, animals or people who appear before you, are all a part of this extraordinary realm. One needs to be open to unexpected events during the shamanic journey.
Communicating with the exceptional reality is mostly nonlinear, nonverbal, and exemplary.
Journeying to Retrieve Information
Knowing your intentions before starting your journey is important. Are you looking to journey to a specific destination? Are you looking for an answer to a specific question? Or do you have other intentions such as healing? In the extraordinary realms, the information we receive is direct to the questions we ask therefore asking clear questions is important.
If any animal or human forms appear before you, you may ask them questions such as whether they are there to protect you or provide you with information or support. They might be your guiding spirits.
Retrieving information about your shamanic calling, your purpose in life, your spiritual gifts and more can take some time – again depending on the individual. Journeying through the depths of your inner self will direct you to the information you have been looking for. As mentioned above, information and answers appear differently in other worlds, therefore you should be open to the unexpected symbols and images and remember them for later interpretation.
Shamanic techniques for the journey include three main parts: preparation, journeying, and returning.
Preparation: it’s recommended to eat lightly before setting on a shamanic journey. While it’s completely okay to journey on a full stomach, those who eat lightly before have reported having better experiences. Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, drug usage 24 hours before the journey is recommended because for some people such substances can inhibit the journey. Physical meditation is very helpful to the journeying process as it relaxes your muscles which leads to relaxation of the mind.
Journeying: Laying down can be preferred by some individuals while journeying although it is not the traditional way to do it. Depending on the individual it is possible to enter the altered state of mind while being seated, standing, or even dancing. What’s important is that the body should be actively relaxed. Once you feel relaxed it is time to start the shamanic drum sounds to help you journey to the altered state of consciousness or deep meditative state.
Returning: A shamanic journey can last between 5 minutes to a couple of hours in the physical world. As if you’re waking up from a dream, open your eyes slowly and return to the ordinary realm of physical consciousness while trying to remember as many details as you can and write them down or draw images that you saw. During the shamanic journeying, a lot can happen in a short period of time which may feel longer than it is.
Shamanism vs. Meditation
The difference between shamanism and mindfulness meditation is that shamanic meditation is used as a tool for shamanic journeying, healing, and connecting with the spiritual world whereas mindfulness meditation mostly focuses on clearing the mind and de-stressing.
Meditation has a big role in shamanic practices but in and of itself is not enough to help you find the answers you are looking for and heal yourself without shamanic wisdom.
Journeying with the Clinical Shaman
Whether you are looking for guidance to embark on a shamanic journey or looking to become a shamanic mentor to help those around you, here at Clinical Shaman you can do both!
We offer courses and mentorships during which you can learn step-by-step to go on your shamanic journey and become a certified shamanic practitioner with the guidance of Clinical Shaman’s experienced professionals!
Clinical Shaman is helping people step into their calling as a healer, overcome the stigma associated with shamanism, and integrate shamanistic practices into their everyday life. Learn how in their Shamanism Mentorship.