This weekend I facilitated a shamanic journey for some friends. While they all made themselves comfortable on the ground, I lit my sage wand until I had sufficient wafts of its cleansing smoke coming off of the end. I stood in the center of our space and connected myself to the Underworld, pulling the dark shimmering energy up into my body. I reached out for the Upperworld and pulled the brilliant white energy down into my crown and into my body, mingling the two energies of the faces of the God. I called to the spirits of the land, asking for their assistance and their support to our process, and finally I called in the spirit guides, ancestors and teachers to be present for this journey.
I faced north, and drew the symbol I was given for earth with the smoking sage wand. I pushed the wand through the symbol offering smoke to the spirits of the land in the north. I turned to the right and drew the symbol for fire and offered smoke to those spirits. I then turned to the right and drew the symbol for air and repeated the same process with water for the west. I honored the Light God above, the Dark God below and the Dark Mother that is at the center of all things. With the space properly cleansed and prepared, I sat on a cushion with my drum in my lap and began to lead the travelers on their journey.
With a very slow steady rhythm I guided them through a relaxation, counting from 13 down to 1 – each number getting them into a deeper state of relaxation. When they reached 1, I had them visualize the World Tree before them. They took a moment to feel, experience and make a relationship with the World Tree, then when they were ready – they sought out a hole near the base of the tree. The rhythm picked up to a fast dronal pace, and they entered the hole and began their journey.
Travelling on the beat of the drum, they journeyed the landscape of the spiritual world, meeting guides, ancestors, having spiritual truths explained to them in visual language, metaphor and surreal experiences. As they journeyed, I stayed present in the physical world, but my consciousness had also shifted into the shamanic state. While I wasn’t travelling I was watching over their bodies, drumming and monitoring the energy. A veil of mist formed over their faces letting me know that they were deep in the midst of their journeys. My hand ached from the continued drumming, but I let the discomfort take me deeper into my own shamanic consciousness. I struggled to stay in the present as my spirit wanted to fly on the rhythm. After about twenty minutes of drumming, I began the call-back rhythm: one loud strike with several quick lighter strikes, repeated over and over again, letting the travelers know that their journey was coming to its end. They found their ways back to their bodies, and at the last strike of the call-back rhythm, I began to speak again.
“Return, return… find your way back to your body by the same route you left it. Step out of the hole at the base of the World Tree and give your thanks to the Tree. Touch its bark, feel the texture, smell the aroma, and know that you can return to this place any time you’d like.” I then began a very slow steady rhythm like the one I originally began with and guided the travelers through a count up (1 to 13) in order to bring them out of their trance and into a normal waking consciousness. “Thirteen, you are fully awake and present in the physical world. When you are ready, open your eyes.” The travelers stretched their legs, tightened their fists, wiggled their toes and opened their eyes, returning to the physical world.
“How did it go?” I asked. One by one they each told their stories of their experiences. Some saw more than others, some had a harder time getting into the trance than others, but each received and experienced exactly what they needed to in their own visual language. The pervading message between all three journeys was that we had our own power to create our own experience and that we needed to put it to use. I was honored to facilitate the journey and be able to help my MWLM brothers travel the spirit world.