The shamanic journey is one of the oldest spiritual practices known to man. Anyone, with the proper guidance, can take a shamanic journey and connect to the world of spirit to receive guidance and healing, regardless of their personal spiritual or religious beliefs.
While I can't hope to cover everything that shamanism embodies in one post, I hope to inspire you to partake of the ancient tradition of the shamanic journey. Doing so will strengthen your connection to the web of life.
Everything in our universe is connected; Indeed, the actions of one species or element can have a ripple effect on the entire eco system. Shamanism is a celebration of this interconnectedness.
Many indigenous and traditional cultures view themselves as a part of this web, rather than as separate or dominant over the natural world. We exist in a delicate balance with nature. This concept is a core belief of all shamanic traditions.
Experiencing the interconnectedness of all living things is powerful and life changing. I hope, that if you feel guided to take a shamanic journey, you come away with the understanding that our human actions have a direct impact on the environment and other living things, and that we need to take care of the web of life for our own survival.
What Is Shamanism?
The term "shaman" comes from the Tungusic language of Siberia, but similar practices exist among indigenous cultures all over the world, each with their own unique traditions and beliefs. In fact, shamanism is the oldest spiritual practice, dating back over 100,000 years ago.
Shamans are people who act as mediums between the physical and spiritual world. Using trance-inducing techniques, they enter the invisible world (or spirit world) on what's known as a shamanic journey. It's here that they communicate with spirit guides about issues that are pertinent to the community, or to a particular individual. Soul retrievals are one important reason a shaman might undertake a journey into the other worlds. The spirit world gives them information to help with ancestral healing, bring guidance and restore balance to the collective or individual.
Essentially, whatever is out of balance spiritually will manifest in the physical as challenging circumstances or poor health. The shaman's role is to redress the balance by seeking guidance from the spirit world.
Music And The Shamanic Journey
The shamanic journey is almost always accompanied by music, which helps the shaman and those present enter into a trance state, call in spirit helpers, create a protective barrier against negative energy, and as a part of healing ceremonies. Sometimes plant medicine is used, though this is not necessary or advised for the personal practicioner. If you're interested in incorporating a non-psycoactive plant into your shamaic journey, consider ceremonial cacao.
The music used in a shamanic journey is sacred and powerful. It's typically repetitive and may feature traditional instruments such as drums, rattles, and flutes.
The shamanic drum is the instrument I've chosen to introduce you to in the shamanic journey videos below. I've chosen the drum because it holds a sacred place in traditional shamanic practice, and is considered to be one of the shaman's most important tools.
The drum, like most shamanic instruments, is used for inducing a trance state, which allows you to journey to the invisible realms for healing, divination, and communication with spirit guides. The steady beat of the drum helps the shaman and those present enter into a state of altered consciousness, allowing them to access other realms of reality.
Going On A Shamanic Journey
This is a brief guide to going on a shamanic journey for beginners. If you feel guided, I encourage you to seek out a skilled shaman to deepen your understanding of shamanic journeying.
- Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the journey by setting an intention and focusing on your reason for undertaking the journey. Have a question prepared for any spirit guides you might meet on your shamanic journey.
- Create a safe and comfortable space where you will not be disturbed.
- Use techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or visualization to enter a relaxed and open state of mind. If you are new to shamanic journeying, I recommend using a guided meditation, such as the one you'll find above for accessing the spirit world. With more practice, you'll be able to journey with just shamanic music, such as the shamanic drumming track you'll find below.
- Begin to play (or listen to) a steady, repetitive rhythm on a drum; or use other methods to create a steady beat, such as a rattle, singing, or chanting.
- Allow yourself to be drawn into the rhythm and the journey, letting go of your everyday thoughts and concerns.
- As you continue to journey, pay attention to any images, sensations, or messages that come to you. You may or may not encounter spirit beings in the form of animals, light beings, plants or even in human form. If you don't encounter a spirit guide on your journey, that's perfectly ok. It doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. It simply means that your guides will reveal themselves when they feel the time is right.
- Trust in the journey and be open to whatever may come, whether it be positive or negative.
- Remember to stay grounded and connected to your physical body, and to return to your physical body at any time if you feel uncomfortable or disoriented. The drum beat will change towards the end of your shamanic journey. This is known as the "call back. " When you hear the call back, it's time to return. If you have met with a spirit guide, it's time to thank them for any advice or guidance they may have given you.
- When you feel ready, bring your journey to a close and take a few moments to come back to your everyday reality.
- Take time to reflect on your journey and any insights or messages you received. I recommend journaling as soon as your journey has ended. Also, it's important to note that sometimes the information you receive from your guides will only reveal itself days or even weeks later.
Sacred Drumming For Your Shamanic Journey
Above, you'll find find a sacred drumming track that I love to use for shamanic journeys.
This drumming track is by Shamanic Spirit Medicine, the leading certificate training program in applied shamanism, offering comprehensive shamanic training both online and in person in Hawaii. Shamanic Spirit Medicine was founded by Scott Silverston, who personally leads all the courses and who will guide you all the way from embarking on your first shamanic journey through to developing your professional shamanic healing practice.
I prefer pure drum music with no added voice overlays or additional music, as in the above track. However, you may prefer a different instrument. It's always best to start with a guided meditation to get you familiar with what a shamanic journey actually entails. With practice, you can move onto sacred drumming, if you feel so guided.
If you've made it this far, I hope I've played a small part in inspiring you to explore shamanic journeying.
With dedication and practice, shamanic journeying can give you incredible insights into the deeper meaning of life. Connecting with the spirit world is a powerful tonic for self doubt, loneliness, trauma and all of the ills that beset our planet today.
Most importantly, practicing shamanism will give you an enduring compassion for all living things. When you fully understand that everything is truly connected, there's really no other way. If you've experienced a shamanic journey, feel free to leave a comment that will aid others on the same spiritual path.
Frequently Asked Questions
Shamanism is not associated with any specific religion, but is rather a practice found in many different cultures around the world, including those of indigenous peoples. Some people may incorporate shamanic practices into their religious or spiritual beliefs, but shamanism can also be practiced independently of any particular religious or spiritual belief system.
Shamanic journeying is a practice that's central to shamanism. It's a technique used to enter into a trance state in order to communicate with the spirit world. This is usually done by drumming, dancing, singing, or using other forms of repetitive movement or sound. During the journey, the shaman will typically leave their body and enter into a spirit world where they can communicate with the spirit world. The purpose of the journey can vary depending on the culture and the specific shaman, but it can be used for healing, divination, and gaining knowledge or guidance.
The experience of a shamanic journey will vary greatly from person to person, and can depend on factors such as the individual's mindset, the purpose of the journey, and the specific techniques used. Some people may experience vivid and detailed visions, while others may have a more subtle or abstract experience. Many people experience vivid and detailed visions, often involving interaction with spirit guides. These experiences can be highly personal and symbolic, and may involve colors, shapes, animals, and other imagery.