Shamans in traditional cultures use their knowledge, gifts and intuition to help their community in many different ways. Shamanic Journeying is one way of achieving this. Their acute awareness of what is happening around them in the present moment allows them to recognise and interpret the symbolic messages provided by Great Spirit and use them for guidance.
How many times in everyday life do you find yourself doing one of the following?
- Thinking and visualising a past event while you are doing something else like driving or washing up – just as though you are there again.
- Imagining yourself at a future event (conference, party, meeting) as though you are really there and doing it – maybe while you’re planning it or doing something else.
These are all examples of what could be 'journeying' in Shamanic terms. Shamanism recognises the benefits of treating these journeying times as part of our reality and taking them seriously. Each of the above examples have benefits for us as we are able to reminisce and find solutions to problems, prepare ourselves for the future and envision what we would like to manifest.These are examples of what we do unintentionally and don't pay much note to what is happening.
Traditional Shamans accept that these dreamings are other worlds and realities that we can journey in. This means that they pay attention to what is missed by others, as being ordinary. Shamanic Journeys are made more effective because they are taken with a clear intention set before they begin.
Shamanic practice takes these incidental journeys to another level by journeying consciously; both with clear intention and through acute awareness of the details of the journey. By having a clear purpose and intention for journeying, symbols, events and metaphors encountered during the journey provide guidance and wisdom for the person journeying.
Research into meditation and living mindfully in the present moment show conclusively the benefits of these practices for relaxation, dealing with anxiety and mind clarity; and both relate clearly to the journeying process.
Deep slow breathing, the regular beat of a drum, a calm voice each serve to slow brain waves so that a different level of consciousness is achieved and the journey into the world of the intention that has been set, can begin. As in good meditation practice, while the level of consciousness is deeper, the person remains alert and present.
So, yes, it can very much be a guided meditation where the provider guides you along the way with directions and signposts. This is a really good place to begin practicing Shamanic ‘journeying’.
AND, Shamanic ‘journeying’ can be much more. We can journey to the past to identify and clear past trauma. We can journey to find answers to problems. We can journey to find our strongest archetype, our power animals and spirit guides and also to receive messages. The worlds to travel are as numerous as the intentions we decide upon.
Added meaning and depth of each Shamanic ‘journey’ comes from what is done with the information found during the journey. Each journey is rich with symbols, events and metaphors that have deep meaning for the traveller when properly explored.