Indigenous Shamans have long taken journeys to access healing and protection for their communities. These journeys are usually performed on behalf of and in service to others. They are soul excursions to non-ordinary reality. With honor and respect for the depth of training and initiation required of indigenous Shamans, I call it simply journey, following the advice of Pixie Lighthorse, who taught this as an ‘Earth Medicine technology’.
The practice of journey is one of intentionally entering the world of active imagination(a Jungian term), in order to gain access to the deep well of collective/ancestral wisdom. We may experience words, images, and symbols that will enhance our ordinary reality. Journeys for personal exploration can even offer specific creative inspiration for art and poetry or literally for any project you are working on.
The most important thing to remember when journeying is respect for the edge, the place of transition, which marks the separation of the ordinary from the non-ordinary. Basic journey ‘hygiene’ requires the going out and the return! Sometimes it’s so nice ‘out there’ we don’t want to come back, like not wanting to wake from a beautiful dream. The beauty of journey is that we are conscious throughout. And unlike with dreams (unless you are a lucid dreamer), we have a say, in what happens, we are able to change course in a journey at will.
Journeys are generally taken with the aid of a drum or a rattle (Jennifer Shryock, pointed out, a tic tac container works perfectly well too). The rhythmic beat affects a theta wave state, which is said to foster creativity. If you’ve never taken a guided journey before, it’s like listening to a story being told to you. Let your mind go where it goes. Don’t question what comes. Be curious! Think of it as an exploratory mission. If you are game, the following the link will take you to a guided journey I created for the Disseminating Moon. A gong will signal the start and the end/call back of the journey. All other instructions you need are on the Soundcloud recording:
Unpacking your journey.
These steps from Steven Aizenstadt will take you deeper:
- Associations – journal/free write about the journey. Who did you meet on the journey? What was something that surprised you? What gift did you receive? Are there any puns or plays on words, like ‘walking on water’. Try to use the present tense when speaking or writing of your journey.
- Research – What might be the meanings behind any symbolic, mythic or archetypal images that were present? What are the meanings of your specific companions (dictionary of meanings)? Were any words spoken or language uttered? Was it in a foreign tongue?
- Create – Express your journey through words, dance, music, art, theatre, film, or in any way you feel called.
- Engage – Maintain an attitude of not knowing. Stay Curious! These are living images. Invite them into conversation with you. Ask them what they mean? These are living images you can actually converse with, ask questions of, receive more information from.
Find something to remind you of the gift you were given on the journey. Live with it, spend more time exploring just what it might mean for you.
May All Beings Benefit!
*photo from Pinterest