Category Archives: Shamanism Series

Shamanism #6: Journeying

“In shamanic practice it is believed that part of the soul is free to leave the body. There are various times the soul might leave the body, during dreaming or to protect the soul from trauma, see soul retrieval. When a shaman is initiated onto the shamanic path, they usually learn how to send their soul forth intentionally, on the soul flight which is commonly called a journey or the shamanic journey. In early shamanic societies, many shamans were initiated because of having a near death experience. Death being an experience when all of your soul leaves the body, the near death experience is thought to teach an individual to travel with the soul.

When a person journeys the soul leaves the body, and may travel to a spiritual aspect of places on the earth, or may go within the earth, or above it. In certain societies there are destinations that are peculiar to the culture. There are also destinations, that appear to be the same for many different cultures despite the separation of these cultures by nature and geographic location. The map of these common destinations is referred to as a cosmology. Terms such as upper, lower and middle world are used to divide the cosmology, but there are a wide variety of destinations.

How Does one Journey?
The shamanic journey occurs by shifting awareness or consciousness in order to allow part of your soul to leave the body. The drum or rattle is frequently used. The slow repetitive rhythm shifts the individuals “rhythm” so that he or she can journey. Just the way a soothing song can help an somone achieve a calmer state. The rhythm of the drum puts you in the right state to journey. The drum beat used is very close to the frequency that is measured from the earth, and has proved effective for the majority of people.

The journey is then achieved by a person’s intent. The person intends to leave and so she does. How you get the soul to leave is tough to describe. Try to describe walking. It is difficult to put into words how you get your legs to move. The same is true with journeying.

What is the Journey For?
Journeying like meditation is a tool for spiritual growth. It is also a tool that can be used for healing, to obtaining information, and in working through psychological issues.

When someone goes on a journey they are able to communicate on a spiritual level. So journeyers can go and visit guardian spirits, they can go and visit spirits of the land. During a journey an individual can also examine the health of their body or another’s body. The journey can also be used discover things about the physical world.

Why do people journey?

Psychologically some people use the journey to work through emotional issues. They may confront a deceased or living relative about past abuse. The journey provides a safe environment to express anger, or to work through grief.

The shamanic journey provides a tool for spiritual growth because the individual can seek out evolved spiritual teachers. The messages given often have an unexpected depth of meaning. Journeyers often report that their journeys “add up” to a deeper spiritual teaching because one journey has built on another. Sometimes, going back to read a journal of your journeys you see that your were walking a path of deep learning. Journey messages will often come in the form of symbols, which have a depth that only becomes clear over time.”


Shamanism #5: The Five Elements

“In nearly every indigenous culture on Earth, all of life is thought to be made up of a handful of elements. Depending on where you get your information, there are either four or five of these sacred building blocks of creation, each carrying their own innate wisdom. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the elements are wood, fire, metal, earth, and water. In medieval alchemy, it was thought that four elements- earth, water, air, and fire, were the main players in every process on the planet. Many shamanic traditions, including modern New Age philosophy, have added a fifth element, Spirit (also called ether), to the alchemical collection, and we will explore these components here.

Our ancestors tapped into these elements for everything in life- nourishment, inspiration, knowledge, surrender, and empowerment. These five energies were essential to living in harmony and balance with all that is, and were considered the main “food groups” of daily existence. Our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies are constantly being fed and supported by these elements, whether we are aware of them or not. Over the centuries, we have lost touch with the delicate frequencies of the five elements, and our relationship to them. Each one brings its own wisdom and intuition.

A quick note: this is the Western 5-element theory, which isn’t to be confused with the Eastern or TCM 5-element theory.

The fluid movements of water invite us into a place of creativity and surrender. Water does not get stuck on problems, but simply flows around them, finding a new path. This element works with our bodies to provide hydration, nourishment, and lubrication, and aids in physical movement, alertness, digestion, and detoxification. Water washes away what is no longer needed in the moment, and does not stop to second-guess its own power. In ceremony, water is used to bless, purify, and cleanse.

2. AIR
The air element is ripe with inspiration (a word that shares an origin with “to breathe”) and life force energy. Air moves in to blow away the dust, create change, and ignite our intellect. We can work with the air element with our own breath, inviting fresh, cleansing air to infuse our cells, awaken our minds, and move oxygen into our blood. Air is invigorating and clarifying, and provides the buoyancy for birds and other spirit messengers to travel and deliver their wisdom.

Hot and bright, the fire element is all about bringing the light where there is none. Fire burns with intense energy, warming our hearts and souls, in a flame of hope and action. The sun is a classic example of fire energy, rising and setting each day in a sacred cycle that reminds us of optimism and new beginnings. Fire is powerfully transformative- burning away the old to create space for the new, and calls us to keep our inner purpose burning bright. In ritual, fire is thought to cleanse the soul, as well as deliver prayers to the Heavens.

The grounded and stable earth element is the embodiment of our Pacha Mama’s (Earth Mother) wisdom. The earth provides nourishment, safety, security, and a place in which to sow our seeds of manifestation. We experience this element in the bounty of fruit, flowers, herbs, roots, and vegetables, as well as through the vibrations of crystals, minerals, and stones. The element of earth is protective and empowering, and is important for our survival.

The most ethereal of elements, pure Spirit is what gives the life force energy to all that we experience. This element weaves through every fiber of the natural world, infusing everything with a living vibration, an active aspect of the Divine. Pure Spirit is what animates the other elements, and forms our connection to the Universe. It is representative of the invisible thread that holds our existence together.

There are a lot of ways that you can work with the wisdom of the five elements.”


Guest Post: Practising Shamanism During Covid-19

This is a guest post by shamanic practitioner Nick Levitt.

If you’d like to guest post feel free to connect by going to the blog’s connect page.

I have been a shamanic practitioner for nearly 20 years. I have absorbed many teachings from indigenous shamans, in several countries, as well as from ‘modern’ western teachers and

Currently, I wake up wondering what the day will bring: what changes of freedom, what restrictions on movement, socialising, working and living (as we knew it) may be presented to us.

Not only is Covid dominating our intercourse, but Brexit has slipped into action under it’s’ cape, with little comment or objection, and will affect may many lives socially, economically and spiritually.

This is a time of what is labelled as ‘turmoil’ and chaos. A time of strife and for many a time of a fight for pure survival, and subsequently a time of global panic. It is true that, despite some serious conflicts across the world during my lifetime, the world has not seen such a global threat to humanity. Why? Not because of Covid 19, but because the unsustainable, weak, short-
sighted foundations that have beencreated by the ignorance of our global ‘leaders’ for decades.

Those who have allowed ego and self-importance to mean they put their needs (both political and personal) first. Allowing money making and short sited vision to be the basis of the policies made. We have clung to notions of economy and consumption, repeating destructive patterns that we have been handed again and again. Patterns tied to economy, lack of respect for the planet and peoples of all nations across the planet. But it still feels like our politicians want us to
go back to ‘normal’. But we know ‘normal’ has not supported the greater community of humans and ‘all our relations’ the plants animals and land of our mother earth. It is clear that, during this ‘pandemic’, we have been experiencing a bombardment of signs from Mother Earth, making her voice heard, showing us, the obvious lessons we have ignored, if we do not nourish her, she cannot nourish us. This pandemic is, in the great scheme of things, only a wee nudge, a reminder, along with the climate change catastrophes the world over, of what will happen if we do not stop, take stock, and change our path of self-destruction.

The word ‘extinction’ is now being freely used by scientists and politicians alike to describe the current threat to our planet. But with this comes a sense of fear and powerlessness. So how do we move forward and bring about change?

What we need now is collective bravery.

This is an opportunity to change, to capture this moment. We are in the middle of a seismic shift, a change of paradigm, a change of our values, a change in our models of existence, a change of our capitalist structures, a change of our very humanity, that has not coincidently collided with the pandemic.

We are being asked to wake up and partake, to join the change, to join Spirit, join infinity, join the invisible forces that shape our existence to model a more sustainable and nourishing future. This is the challenge! None of these changes can happen without Intent. Intent, the massively powerful energy that exists within Spirit. It is our intent that moves energy, intent that creates change. Intent is not a thought, but a force of invisible energy that interacts with Spirit. The underlying conduit of our collective dream. Voicing our intent to the universe, voicing our intent of positivity and hope, however hard and contradictory to our current challenges, is this maybe the way? The way we that we can help steer the change to a way of living with love and respect for all humanity and love and respect for the planet that enables our existence.

We need to make a statement with action, make our voices heard, send our arrows of intent to the universe, let Spirit hear us and feel us. Is this the way to help our brothers and sisters on a universal level, one more arrow of hope?

The dilemma we have is how to engage those who have lost loved ones or who are ‘witness’ to suffering, physical, mental and financial.

“Change is neutral” I heard an elder say, “change is there for us to hold and flow with not against”, this is also my belief and I try to absorb and adhere to this philosophy; but I ask how do I convince someone who is struggling to survive, to ‘go with the flow’ of positive change? How do I present this knowledge and portray positivity and hope?

How does the family who cannot eat or cannot even see their families to support them react to this overwhelming information and how do they believe or even have time to consider that we collectively can affect the future in a positive way? I am blessed with my family’s health, blessed with space around me in nature, blessed to be able to feed and educate those around me, so I can at least begin to absorb the myriad of information coming from the wisdom and knowledge of the world of Shamanic Elders. But how do I support those less fortunate?

I was told many years ago that my path was not to withdraw from the everyday western world’ and practice shamanism in a bubble, but to embrace the world I lived in, by bringing the healing methodologies I had been taught, into my community, into my work practice and beyond, that is practicing shamanism!

So, Shamanism has become to me, not just a healing methodology, but an attitude, a way of living, a way of communicating with those around me, a link and a marriage to nature and all that nature gives us; a practice of ceremony and rituals of celebration, that send prayers and intent across the sacred bridge, to meet my spirit guides and teachers to spread hope and optimism.

But most of all, it is a responsibility to use my intent for hope, to represent those who are locked in a struggle and cannot muster the energy to make their ‘arrows’ of intent.

So, I feel that those of us who can, must draw the bow for those that cannot and send those arrows of intent, to step forward and walk a path of strength and love and to create the web of

In the current circumstances, it seems ever more important, that I look at my fellow humans with respect and try not to judge those whose opinions maybe differ and do not fall within step to my
own. To look at their purity not at their darkness, to offer light and love to support them and in parallel to mother nature as she instigates the changes that are happening and that will happen in the future. To swim with the tide and not fight against it.

Some might perceive we are walking on a path of darkness for some time, but this path will only lead to an explosion of light and to a new humanity of love, if we will it, walk it, dream it and allow it to be so.

Nick Levitt
Shamanic Practioner

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