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Shamanic Journeying techniques for beginners; step by step ‘how to’

Why Journey?

Aim of the ‘shamanic journey’ is to seek  guidance, healing and answers to questions. For me, shamanic journeying  started with wanting to know more about my ancestors. We most certainly can have a DNA sample tested to provide us with facts about our lineage going back to the 1500s. But the stories of these people’s lives were revealed to me through shamanic journeying. Indeed shamanic journeying to the invisible worlds have been used for millennia, predating religion, to connect us to our ancestors, nature and each other.

Born in the sixties I grew up with one anthem and that was ‘backpack around Europe’ and come home to Australia via Asia. Upon reflection now I believe this to be a calling for the young to walk their ancestral homelands and more. I too have walked in the homelands of my ancestors including Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, and Italy.

I am told that knowing your own ancestral origins is of vital importance when it comes to understanding and respecting the culture on whose land you currently reside. Our forebears traversed oceans, mountains and or perhaps desserts to make a better life for themselves and their children’s children. 

How to do a Shamanic Journey?

The key to effective journeying is to set your intention for your travels through the ethereal planes. For example, it might be to find a guide or an answer to a particular question. Another important key is protection. Not all spirits have your highest good or your best interests at heart. Some lost souls have not made it to the other side, and are trapped. The key to protection is traveling with a spirit guide you know and trust.  

Step One

Firstly, get yourself comfortable and set aside 20 minutes and have a notebook at the ready. If you are likely to fall asleep lying down, then it is best to sit or you can even stand. Darken the room and prepare to cover your eyes.

Step Two

Typically the spirit realms are described as upper and lower worlds and we exist in the middle realm.  There is no heaven or hell in a judeo christain sense. Your first task is to find a guide to take with you on this and any future journey. For many this is a spirit animal. Spend some time distilling your thoughts into one single question for example ’Who is my spirit guide?’ Write it down. 

Step Three 

This is a drug free approach to attaining shamanic consciousness. Repetitive sound is one way to take us to theta mind, and a state of trance like consciousness. In this state, we are able to surrender to the journey of the soul to other realms.If there is a creature that comes to you whilst in this state three times, ask it does it come to you with unconditional love or your highest good as its intention? If yes, be inquisitive; start talking, playing or dancing together. 

Step Four

Once you feel that sufficient time has been spent in communication with your new helping spirit, then bid your farewells and allow the drum beat to bring your soul back into yourself. Breathe deeply into the silence that follows. Take pen to paper and write down all that has transpired. What did you see, hear, say, feel? Set an intention to meet with this guide again soon for more specific tasks or questions.

Step Five

Keep your relationship with that spirit guide strong, consider how you might symbolically keep this guide with you. Often this spirit guide will already be active in your life. You may find you have a poster, picture or figurine of it at your home entrance or in the bedroom.

What Tools Do I Need?

A drum is the typical symbol of the shamanic journey. But there are many cultures in the world whose ancient healing practices involve sound, for example, clap sticks used by Aboriginal Australians can induce a trance-like state. Trance dance is another and the list goes on. These are all auditory catalysts. Darkness allows for single-mindedness that’s also necessary for a clear line of vision to the invisible realms. Movies depict the magician with his staff, the priestess with her talisman. These are power objects to assist you perhaps with direction or safety.

My personal aids over the years have included Australian Bush Flower Essence of Angelsword for spiritual discernment, or essential oil of Douglas Fir for accessing the ancestors. I like to wear no synthetic attire because this weakens my capacity for endurance travel. There are particular yoga asanas of positions that facilitate the meditative state and I attribute my long history of meditation to an ability to stay focused and ‘in the zone’. 

Another essential ingredient often not mentioned is imagination. To truly embark on a flight of fancy one must know how to let go, surrender to what is revealed, and let it lead you where it may. There is no room here for judgment. Playfulness enables many riches to be revealed along the way.

Where Can Journeying Take Me?

A writer and editor once said to me there are no hard and fast rules with grammar and punctuation, just be consistent. I would say the same for journeying. Find your routine. Is it with a drum, at dusk? Is it with a drumming circle? As with a yoga group, you might join with others to develop a journey group where you share ideas for journeying. One way of perceiving the ethereal planes is that there is an upper world and a lower world, both of which carry good and guiding spirits. The middle world is where we reside but spirits also walk with us and to see into these realms it is wise to travel with a trusted spirit guide.

If you are not confident with drumming and journeying alone, find something on youtube. Once you ahev your spirit guide for protection, another journey idea might be to ask ‘who is able to answer this question for me?”. You might ask for wisdom from a relative. There are many modes of operandi but the world tree is a typically launchpad to the upper worlds, its root system to the lower world. 

Can I Find Deep Healing Through Shamanic Journeying?

One thing about traveling through the ethereal planes is that there is a special kind of clarity that comes when someone journeys for or with you. Somehow it bolsters the journey. You can be too close to the issue, trauma, family member to see clearly, this is where solidarity comes into play. No matter where you are in the world, a shamanic practitioner can send their soul to yours for healing or to bring back answers for you. Time and space are neither linear nor a barrier when it comes to spiritual healing. We are only limited by our willingness to surrender.

Gheebulum, Nhugi Aboriginal elder of the Quandamooka says that life is a journey And now you have become part of my journey and I have become part of yours and it is not where you come from nor where you end but who you meet along the way that is the real telling. 

During my spiritual online course we talk through the act of surrender, I journey for and with you and together we traverse some terrain that may well be hard going, but transcendence is possible.

© Author Jo Fay Duncan 2022