Soul having a human experience
Learning how to do a Shamanic journey is a foundational aspect of most Shamanic practices. Journeying allows you to shift your consciousness from the physical state (ordinary reality) to the nonphysical state (non-ordinary reality), and it is within the non-ordinary reality that much of your Shamanic development happens. In the beginning of your development, a Shamanic journey may feel like a daydream or a fantastic story created by your imagination. If this is how it feels to you, acknowledge that judgment by the thinking mind and just allow the experience to unfold. Set aside any expectations of how you think it is supposed to be, and allow your Helping Spirits to take you on an adventure through the three worlds: the middle world, lower world, and upper world. In this article, I will explain how to prepare yourself for a Shamanic Journey, what each of the worlds are, and how to access them.
Preparing for the Journey
Before embarking on any Shamanic Journey, it is really important to prepare yourself on both a physical and energetic level. To prepare your physical self for the journey, find a place that you will not be disturbed. This may mean you will need to let your family or housemates know you need some privacy and request they not to come into the room. You may even place a note on the door that says “Meditating. Please do not disturb.” I would avoid a sign that make demands like, “DO NOT ENTER” or “BE QUIET!” On an energetic level, this kind of demand send out an energetic vibration that may indeed manifest exactly what you’re asking not to happen. Make certain your request for privacy comes from a place of love and compassion for yourself and for the folks that are living with you. Once you’ve secured your private space, it is time to rattle or smudge to clear out those energies that no longer serve you and the space.
I like to start by smudging myself first. I will light a stick of White Sage, or Cedar and use my feather fan to waft the smoke all around my body from the soles of my feet to the top of my head. All-the-while, I will say to myself (either in my head or out loud), “I ask Sage smoke to remove any energies that no longer serve me and to make space for love and joy.” I will then perform the smudging through the entire space, beginning in a corner and moving clockwise (you can do it counterclockwise if that feels more appropriate for you). If you live somewhere that does not allow for smudging, you may use a rattle instead in the same manner. I will often take a rattle with me when I travel so that I can rattle my hotel room since I can not use sage inside the room. Once you’ve developed a regular journeying practice, it is likely that you will not need to smudge the space every time.
After you have cleared yourself and the space, you may either sit or lie down in a comfortable position. I recommend that you use a blanket or cushion that will only be used for ceremony and journeying. Using the same blanket/cushion for journeying will build up its power, allowing it to become a power object that is paired with your energetic vibration and will help to facilitate future journeys.
At this time, you may wish to light a ceremonial candle and sit in meditation for the next 5-10 minutes. Regular meditation will help to quiet the thinking mind and lower your brain waves so they are more conducive to journeying. In your normal waking state, your brain waves are moving at a more rapid rate and are more attuned to the physical world. Meditation will slow these brain waves down to a more receptive energetic state and allow Spirit to more easily interact with you. From my experience, having a regular meditation practice is the key to accessing your Soul-Self and the Spirit world more easily. Once you’ve quieted your mind, it is time to activate your protective energetic field and call in the Helping Spirits. To activate your protective field, simply visualize a bubble of white light all around you or you may ask your Spirit team to add a protective field of love and light energy.
Once you’ve set your protective energy field, it’s time to set your intentions and get clear about what kind of Spirit you wish to work with. In every Shamanic Journey I do, I set the intention by saying, “I call in my Spirit Guides (I may call them by name) and any Helping Spirit of equal or higher vibration that is here for my highest good.” I don’t want any ol’ Spirit wandering by to interact with me, so I set the intention to only call in those that are of equal or higher vibration. Now, you may also set the intention for the journey at this time as well. Maybe you’re journeying to learn more about your Spirit Guide in the upper world, or maybe you’re journeying to the lower world to meet a Power animal. Whatever your intention is, be clear about it so Spirit knows how to best assist you. You are now ready to begin the Journey.
The Middle World
In a Shamanic journey, you will be leaving ordinary reality and will journey to the non-ordinary reality of the middle world. When you shift your consciousness to the middle world of non-ordinary reality, you will find yourself in an energetic layer that is unseen to most of us in our waking state. The middle world exists all around you, even now, for you exist in this the middle world. The difference is, in non-ordinary reality, the middle world is unbound by our laws of physics, allowing you to pierce the energetic membrane of normal reality. This energetic state of reality is essentially laid right on top of (or woven through) ordinary reality. This middle world looks just like our reality except that, while journeying, you are able to fly, move through objects, or see as clear as day even when it's nighttime. From this point, any time I mention the middle world, I will be referring to the version you access in non-ordinary reality.
When I enter the middle world, I will typically find myself in a vast field of golden wheat with a dirt path in front of me that leads to the great Tree-of-Life (I will sometime refer to this as the World Tree). I will feel pulled to walk towards this tree and so the journey begins. The Tree-of-Life can be any kind of tree and will often be unique for each practitioner. It will serve as the access point to the upper world, lower world and other layers of reality. Once I reach the World Tree, I will walk around it’s trunk, looking for the access point to the lower world. I will often find a hole at the base of the trunk, and will begin climbing down the roots of the tree. Slowly, I will move through the layers of earth towards the point of light below me. Once I reach the opening at the bottom, I will let go of the roots and drop into the lower world.
The Lower World
Here, I find myself in vast and diverse landscapes. These landscapes will look similar to the middle world but may feel more dense and contained. I will often see a sandy desert around me, a path leading to a tropical forest in front of me, mountains off in the distance, marsh lands to the left, and a meandering creek flowing through all of them - connecting the landscapes together. It is in the lower world where I will work with my power animals, retrieve lost Soul parts for myself and for clients, and meet with specific Helping Spirits. It is also in the lower world where I am most cautious for this is where you will most often come across trickster Spirits, lost Spirits, and lower vibrational energies. I recommend that you do not attempt a lower world travel on your own until you build some experience in the middle and upper world first. When you do finally travel to the lower world and come across a Helping Spirit or a Power Animal, ask it three separate times if it is here in your highest good - allowing them to answer you each time you ask. If they are not there for your highest good, they will quickly leave by the third ask.
When you are done journeying in the lower world, go back to the opening that you entered through and climb back up the roots to the middle world.
The Upper World
Once you’ve reached the middle world, you may now look for the access point to the upper world. Sometimes elevator doors will appear in the trunk of the tree and will take me up seven floors to the upper world. However, most of the time, I will simply climb up the branches of the tree, going higher and higher. I will climb so high that I find myself moving through clouds until I reach the very top of the tree and step onto plain of the upper world.
Here in the upper world you will be filled with feelings of love and joy. Many of your Spirit Guides will reside here and work with you in your own sacred spaces. The upper world may present simply as a brilliant white space, or there may be familiar earthly landscapes with more vivid colors and dream-like qualities. In the upper world, you will feel less dense - almost as if you can float on air (because you can!). It is here that many lessons will be taught and relationships with your Guides will develop. I recommend you spend much of your journeying here in the upper world when you are first developing. You can ask your Guides to show you to your own “house” here in the upper world so you can find a spot to return to, time and time again for your spiritual development. This “house” and surrounding landscapes will change over time as you grow and develop your journeying skills, so do not be surprised then that house grows another level or the river in front of it turns into a lake. Whenever a change occurs in this sacred space in the upper world, pay attention to the change because it is telling you something. In my sacred space in the upper world, there is a house on the opposite end of the lake. It’s been there for 2 years, yet I have only recently gone to it for the first time! I never felt drawn to it but knew it was there for a reason that would be shown to me when the time was right for it.
When you are ready to leave the upper world, simply climb back down the World Tree or enter the door through which you came. You will find yourself back in the middle world where you will then walk back down the path that lead you there and back through the portal to ordinary reality. I will often see my Soul-Self climbing back into my physical body, merging my hands with my hands, my feet with my feet, and my head with my head. I’ll take in a deep breath, wiggle my fingers and toes, and then open my eyes when I’m ready. I will then end my journey with gratitude and leave an offering of some kind for my helping Spirits. I will also take a moment to journal about my experience so that I may reference it again in the probable future.
It is my sincere hope that this article will inspire you to explore non-ordinary reality with the aid of your Spirit team. Allow your curiosity to propel you forward so that you can access the deeper layers of reality and gain experiences that will aid in the expansion of your Soul. May you dream often, and may you dream well.