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When studying shamanism, one may see the term "journey" used as a verb. What we call "journeying" is a process of navigating the spirit world.

How does one go about journeying?

There are different ways done by different cultures. Some methods are called shamanic and others have other names. For example, mysticism uses prolonged suffering of fasting along with intense prayer. Meditation uses relaxation and contemplation to reach a beta state. Self flagellation uses pain to eject the spirit out of the body. To me, "shamanic" means "whatever works" so I wouldn't rule out any of the aformentioned methods if that works for you. However, what is commonly identified as "shamanic method" usually refers to the stuff indigenous cultures do, and they tend to go with more direct ways to reach the trance that allows your spirit to move deliberately where you want to go: certain ways of dancing, or chanting, or substances, or rhythms of drums or rattles, or combos of them.


That's a lot of options! More than I've experienced, so I can only tell you more about what I do and say that what works best for me won't necessarily work best for you. But that said, I was not prepared to do anything shamanic without my initiation. I was too skeptical. But by curiosity I tried smoking some 10X salvia divinorum (legal in Texas so far) and it almost instantly destroyed my spiritual barriers.


I think you might say shamanism found me, not the other way around! So I became curious about the people who used this spiritually and learned about shamanism and it just fit well with me so I continued. I read books and found much help in Michael Harner's "The Way of the Shaman", which teaches practice using drums and rattles. I also searched for local practitioners and discovered a local open circle which was very helpful.

So how do I journey? The easiest way is to be with someone who can drum for me. Then it's a real drum, real presence, real vibrations throughout the body, and the shift in state is effortless.


The other way is by listening to drumming in headphones. Someone posted a mp3 in this forum that I had success with, but not at first. I need to feel the vibrations while listening, so for me it works when I am on the bus. Strange but true. Not just any funky drum track will work... it needs to be simple "hypnotic" boom boom boom rapid and repetative, keeping me alert and yet entranced. In the local circle, our leader tends to flow with it and that would be a distraction in headphones of a recording, so I can only guess the reason it works so well is the activity of the spirits among us.


Now, before doing journeys, I perform a few rituals. What we do as a circle depends on the leader's spiritual guides, and what I do in my home practice depends on that as well. You'll just feel inspired to do something one time and not another, or change it a bit, or whatever seems to call you. I don't do anything weird on the bus, though!

Here are the common pieces of it:

Calling the spirits (I do this by getting loud and lively with the instruments, shouting, etc), many North American cultures say "Hok Hey" to get the attention of the spirits. Stuff like that.


Next, calling the elements. One way I do this is by some kundalini poses the leader of our circle taught us. Hard to explain in writing. Whatever connects you to the elements should work ok, just follow intuition/inspiration.


Now that my companions are present, I like to honor the "cardinals" or directions. This is done by spending time facing East, South, West, Up, Down and saying something, waving or blowing smoke, or tossing seeds, or whatever at each direction. Just follow your heart or skip it if you don't get the direction thing yet.


Actually, skip anything ritual if you don't connect with it. Nothing should be forced or done just to follow some tradition. But I like to do these things. The reason I do the directions after the calling is because I want to make sure my companions were invited to do it with me.

OK, then I do a purification ritual. I smudge with california white sage, although I've also tried dakota and new mexico varieties which have a more bitter scent that might be good for certain powers, who knows. Stuff for me to explore and learn. Only when I am practicing alone do I smudge myself. Otherwise it is better to have people smudge each other. For this, I use a smudge stick fanned with a big feather that a bird dropped for me last spring. I'm not going to admit what species the bird was nor any connection to the silly federal law against picking up dropped feathers by certain birds or anything. Anyway, it isn't the fan that matters so much as the smoke, so use whatever.


Then I like to sprinkle something in a circle around me to signify the closing of the circle (I use tobacco for that, mainly because I'm a smoker so it has personal meaning).


Obviously, the above doesn't work for when I want to journey on the bus with drumming in headphones, nor does it guarantee a deeper experience. Perhaps it is just my way of communicating how serious I am to the powers in hopes they will take me seriously. That is mainly why I wouldn't force something if I didn't feel serious about it. They will know!

OK, now that the preliminaries are out of the way, this is how I do my journey:

1st, get comfortable. For me, this means I am wearing comfortable clothing, in a warm place, lying on my back or reclining in a chair.


2nd, no light. Blow out the candle, put on a blindfold, etc.


Now, drumming. This continues for 20 or 30 minutes or so, maybe longer. If you are able to drum for yourself it is as long as you need it to be. If you have an assistent you can signal them with a rattle the tempo and some other signal when you are finished. In group sessions or recorded drumming, there is some signal that tells you when it is time to finish up and find your way back. In our local circle, we use 4 sequences of rapid drumming, then fast drumming for a time to allow everyone to make their way back. In the recording that I mentioned earlier, the drumming pauses, then resumes at a slower pace then finishes with some bell sounds.

What to do during the drumming?

At 1st, I don't do anything, just listen and wait. I am waiting to feel some effect of the drums. What the feeling is I can't describe, but after a little while I feel "ready" and then begin to communicate with the spirit world.

Here is how it works. I imagine a fantasy. I build it. That is me speaking my intention to the spirits. This creates a symbolic message. I move through the fantasy. So what?! Same thing I used to do in math class! But here's where it gets interesting. Things happen to my fantasy that I didn't will. Things don't happen that I want to will. Now it's not a fantasy, but an experience.


So, here is where I start. My experience with smoking salvia divinorum was sliding backwards kinda inside out into myself. I relive that when I journey by drumming. I can't explain it really, so I'll mention some other things. Some people think of a hole or opening into the earth and imagine themselves going to it. Some people follow roots of a tree into the ground. The common thing seems to be a descent of some sort. Now... where does this lead you? Do you see anything? Is the journey verbal or visual? Or is it some other senses? Different people experience it differently.


For the 1st journeys, you might want to just go down a little way then come back. Give that some thought, then try again and go farther, maybe the same session maybe another session.

Now consider seeking a guide. So descend to the starting place/chamber/whatever. Then look for a way to a place full of stuff: things, beings, etc. Harner says skip past any reptillian or insectoid entities and watch for other kinds, but my guide is a spidery one so maybe he is wrong or maybe someday I'll learn he was right the hard way! You may see multiple creatures. If you see the same one make an appearance 4 times from different angles/aspect/whatever, then ask it if it wishes to be your guide. If it does, maybe it will give you its name too, and maybe you will know if it is a he or a she. If not, keep going and watching. Maybe it will happen this session, maybe another. Eventually it does, so then become acquainted.


Once you have a guide, you may find it waiting for you each time you journey in the future. Now, you can ask the guide to take you places, to help you find what you seek. To protect you while doing this by letting you know when a spirit is being tricky or something.

At that point, the two of you should be able to take further journeys to find and gather additional companions. Some find the axis mundi to be helpful. This can manifest in journeying as a tree with roots to the lowerworld and branches to the upperworld, or a river with tributaries and delta, or a mountain above a cave.

Post journey stuff: I like to take some quiet time to contemplate what I experienced. After the final journey of a session, light the candle, thank the spirits, open the circle, and spend some time outside just chillin'.

May you find what you seek.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Having done quite a bit of journeying myself, I found your post refreshing and well written. I want to commend you on presenting shamanic journeying in the light of - there is no right or wrong way - . So often when people present ideas on things like shamanic journeying, crystal energy, healing energy, meditation, etc, they represent that there is only one way and it's their way of doing it. I personally find this frustrating and sadly limiting. Your post was terrific!!! Thank you!

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

In my studies of various spiritual paths, I have come to Shamanism. I have always felt the need to enter a Spiritual State of Consciousness. Having had one horrific childhood, that is only natural to find a coping mechanism. However, as I am much older, and have done enough work already dealing with that childhood, I find that I prefer to continue exploring my Spritual Potential. Here's my problem: I am diabetic, and a severe enough fast is beyond my reach. I continue to listen to the drum, but havent achieved a Shamanic Trance yet. I have considered using a plant helper, but do not know the best one that wont mess with my prescription medications. Of course, I'm talking about Legal Plant Helpers here. I will have to study up on Salvia Divinorum, and find out if it is Legal, and see what counteractions I would have to watch for. If I do, then I will have a medically knowledgeable friend keep an eye on my vitals while I Journey.

Thank you for your posting of such helpful Shamanic Journey information. I will keep you posted on my progress so that others with Diabetes can learn from it.

Love to Learn

Learn to Love

Rev. Jeri Stewart

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:bag: Drat!

Salvia Divinorum is illegal in Missouri. I will have to find another way to achieve a "Shamanic Trance". If anyone out there knows any other plant helpers that I may Legally use to Spirit Journey, I would welcome your advice.

Still Trying the Hard Way

Rev. Jeri Stewart

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:unsure: Okay, uppon searching the internet, I have found that I will simply have to continue my journey without the help of plant helpers. Maybe a day of light eating, and plenty of camomile tea. Opening my pineal eye too soon would probably invite the wrong attention. Thank you for your 'sounding board'.

Love to Learn

Learn to Love

Rev. Jeri Stewart

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:unsure: Okay, uppon searching the internet, I have found that I will simply have to continue my journey without the help of plant helpers. Maybe a day of light eating, and plenty of camomile tea. Opening my pineal eye too soon would probably invite the wrong attention. Thank you for your 'sounding board'.

Love to Learn

Learn to Love

Rev. Jeri Stewart

I have a suggestion if you are having trouble achieving altered state without drugs (I have never used drugs (nor fasting,to journey and do just fine). Obviously drumming has been suggested and there are drumming tapes available. My suggestion if some of the more traditional ways don't work, would be to find a Certified Hypnotherapist and have them take you down a time or two. Once your psyche gets used to the "feeling" it should be MUCH easier to do it yourself.

In reality, being hypnotized, guided meditation and guided journeying are much the same thing.

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I have a suggestion if you are having trouble achieving altered state without drugs (I have never used drugs (nor fasting,to journey and do just fine). Obviously drumming has been suggested and there are drumming tapes available. My suggestion if some of the more traditional ways don't work, would be to find a Certified Hypnotherapist and have them take you down a time or two. Once your psyche gets used to the "feeling" it should be MUCH easier to do it yourself.

In reality, being hypnotized, guided meditation and guided journeying are much the same thing.

Thank you! Yes, I have the drumming tape with the 15 minutes of just drumming, the 15 minutes of drumming and rattle, and the 30 minutes of drumming. I have tried hypnotherapy for weight loss, and several sessions later I was still gravity challenged with no benefit from the sessions. I will try to find a hypnotherapist who understands what I'm trying to achieve. Good suggestion. I'll let you know what happens.

Rev. Jeri Stewart

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It is always easier for me when there is a real live drum vibrating not just my ears but my whole body. Perhaps there is a shamanic circle that meets in your town or a nearby city.

It's unfortunate that salvia divinorum is no longer legal in your state. I've heard of an even more powerful plant helper (ayahuasca) but it contains DMT and is therefore illegal everywhere in the USA. But last I checked people could visit Canada for the experience. A couple of months ago I was exploring a wild place near my home and came across an interesting legume, so I checked into it and discovered it was Desmanthus Illinoensis, containing quite a bit of DMT in the roots. I also learned some people brewed what they call "prairiehuasca" from a mixture containing the roots of this plant. Maybe someday the federal government will stop controlling our spiritual options. But even if they did, I would continue to work with drum-induced trance.

Good luck.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi new to the site.. well a couple of months new. If there are any Shaman out there that would like to chat about this study please Skype me.. -at-cynastry would love to share some thoughts with you.

This journey of finding myself in between the chapters is a wonderful self discovery. It would be great to hear your thoughts on the subject.


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  • 1 month later...

Rev. Raz,

A pretty good outward explanation of Shamanism. Thanks. Great pictures too. However, some important points as to the nature of Shamanism were neglected. The following is my own point-of[view about it developed from my own experiences and life journey.

Have you ever read the book "Breaking Open the Head?"

There is an incident described in that book which is also confirmed to me by two bio-physicists that did field work in SA concerning Shamanism. Western scientists saw and recorded a SA Shaman come back from his astral journey with an unknown medicinal plant materialized in his hand.

The new Life Physics is in the process of discovering how this works and why it works. Materializations can take place under certain conditions. 1) the Shaman has the greatest good of the tribe as his vector intention. 2) he is in the proper psycho-physiological state, 3) he is highly experienced in interfacing with various species.

For the benefit of the tribe, he can "remote view" a plant or animal, interface with it and come back with specific knowledge about it. The Shaman's say, "the plant told me." Yes. The information fields that surround all things carry information that can become communicable to a biotuner who is interfacing with the energetic dance of life.

Such materialization takes place from what they call the template of all things and is extant between the EM and Scalar fields. It is called the Light Encoded Reality Matrix. (LERM) Of course, this ability of advanced Shamans is for the purpose of protecting, healing and prospering his/her tribe and such intent is essential to the process. A very strong emotional component drives the process. It is a heart matter. An overall vision drives the work.

Of course the Military/Industrial Complex would like to weaponize it and, indeed, have already created "psychic" soldiers to kill and destroy designated "enemies. However, that requires the complete mind-control of another being and the unnaturalness of this is counterproductive. The one who is mind-controlled eventually has severe problems. And the ones doing the mind-control even have worse problems because their intent to control backfires on them. Such a rebounding is the way the Universe works.

Seeing an unknown medicinal plant materialize, of course, greatly stretched the belief system of the western scientists who observed it, but at the same time opened new vistas to them about what is possible. Vistas not covered in the present materialist/realist paradigm which has become known as the "Standard Model" of our present science. Since they do not understand how the Universe works, they would call this "supernatural magic." It isn't.

This "lerming" of physical or living objects completely undoes our traditional concepts of "reality." However, among Shamans and indigenous cultures, this view and experience of reality is accepted, even if not understood. The Shamans understand it but could not give a precise outline of how or why it works. They use traditions such as drumming, chanting, ayuhausca, meditation etc. They only need to know that it works.

But now, scientists are finding out the "why" and "how" of it. There is actually nothing "supernatural" about it and every human being on earth has the capacity already built into their human bioform. Only, in the Shamans these abilities are unfolded and become conscious rather than subconscious.

My wife SingingWolf is a Shaman. Among other things, I once saw her divert the intense energies from a Hurricane into a man with terminal cancer who was completely set free of cancer and healed. This was a man whom she didn't even know but was so moved by his plight (he was also faciing homelessness) that her compassion simply could not allow it to be. This was confirmed by the doctors after he went back to them and they were amazed that he was healed and all cancer was gone. He never even met SingingWolf. Has no idea who she is. She never met him, only heard of his extreme plight. She interfaced with him in her journey and understood what to do spontaneously. No specific training in this whatsoever. However, she had already been journeying for a long time. All her life in fact.

I once was praying for a girl whom I knew in the emergency room. She had tried to commit suicide by swallowing draino. Her entire esophagus and stomach was burned. She could not speak and had huge blisters all over her swollen mouth. The doctors expected her to die. I suddenly and unexpectedly found myself inside her body addressing her cells. I had just read a scripture from Issaiah and strongly told her cells, "CELLS, OBEY THE WORD OF GOD." They did. Next day she was on the road to recovery.

Form doesn't matter. Only intent and psycho-psychological preparation. The emotional and intentional focus can even over-ride any need for preparation as it did this one time in my case. That specific type of thing has never occurred again in my own experience. Does this happen all the time? No certainly not. But, yes, it does happen and we are beginning to learn the reasons why. The basic keys are: 1) strong vectored intention, 2) powerful emotional interface and 3) personal compassion. This allows an energetic "vacuum sink" in each of our several trillion bodily cells. A "vacuum sink," as they call it, is a tapping into the Universal Energy Field of infinite energy and intelligence. This is very strongly interfacing with the Universal Energy/Intelligence Field. Our bodies do this all the time anyway, in a less intense manner. It is your life energy. The Orgone as Wilhelm Reich called it. The Quantum-Kenetic Field as one scientist calls it. Radiant energy as Nicola Tesla called it. There are thousands of names for it. It exists in the Time-Domain and enters the EM spectrum via the Scalar Standing waves.

Yes, the chant and drumming is a good way to produce this proper psycho-physiological state because it boosts up the energy in the bodily cells. It has long been known and practiced that SOUND vibrations produce extreme energy. Think of the very low Tibetan chants.

However, without a heart for the highest good of the tribe, it can be destructive and even kill. Shamans who "put a curse" on people are actually cursing themselves and through terrible and bitter experiences finally learn that fact by direct experience, if they don't kill themselves first. You get whatever you put out. Likewise, those who use this ability to heal, also heal themselves.

So, let us be sure that our core intention is of an evolutionary nature before tapping into this power--which is the Universal Energy/Intelligence Field, the very Matrix of Creation. Let us be humbled by the vastness of this infinite energy field in which we live, move and have our being.

"Ego" is not "bad" but cannot be in the drivers seat in this holy endeavor. This Universal Power requires a surrender of ego because it is much bigger than any ego, which only restricts it. Also, there is a considerable amount of heart valor required to enter realms and worlds not usually in our restricted frames of reference.

The purpose of the ancient initiation was not simply to "break through." One can simply do that by injesting Ayuhausca or LSD. The purpose of the initiation was to breaktrhough with a non-destructive and healing intention. The initiation weeded out those with selfish purposes by offering tasks so difficult that one could only do them through spontaneous interface with the Universal Matrix. Selfish ego would get you killed in the original ancient initiation and the aspirant knew that before going in. Yes, many did die. The ancient Egyptian initiation became polluted by religious priestcraft later on as did all the earth's religions. Politics entered in and spirituality fled. That's why today in many cultures the term "occult" (meaning "hidden") is associated with evil. But "evil" is only "life" spelled backwards. Same energy, different intentions.

There is a very severe price to pay for attempting to destroy anything of Creation, including "evil." "Evil" is not to be destroyed. It is absolutely necessary in a dualistic Creation in which we exist. However, one must learn to choose between the destructive path and the evolutionary path of life. However, experiments will take place, although fingers get burnt.

The "Evil" is a restrictive chrysalis which strengthens the butterfly to finally emerge and "evil" is a catalyst for evolutionary transformation (upward evolutionary change) to occur. The bondage, restriction, fear and suffering of evil produces slavery but the slave's intensity to be free is increased. His/her vector intention becomes more focused on liberation and how to achieve it.

All things work together in the great conspiracy of life which is built into the most subtle sub quantum realm up to the singularity beyond the thought boundary which is the unknowable Creator-- First Source.

So, can "God" be known? Only through the perfect and most communicative expression of the intention of the Great Creation which is Christ/Buddah (the annointing) in you the hope of glory. Folks like Jeshua and Gutama (and many others) point us in that inward direction--each in his/her own way. You or I can do the same.



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