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 Post subject: Help getting started w/ Journeying
 Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:20 am 
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I am new to Shamanism and Journeying, but I am hoping to get some pointers from some of you that have been on this path for awhile. I have started reading Michael Harner's book "The Way of The Shaman" and I have gotten to the part where he suggests trying Journeying. I am having a hard time getting started.

I have only tried twice so far, but not real sure I am doing things correctly. Both times I was in a quiet room with my eyes covered. I would just relax for about 5 mins trying to calm myself and clear my head. Then I would start the drumming cd and put on the head phones. The first time I think I was just trying to visualize the cave too hard. I kept visualizing the outside and going in. Nothing would happen so I would do it over again. This went on for the full 15 mins of the drumming track with nothing else happening.

The second time, which was the next day, I didn't try so hard on seeing the cave. I just visualized the the opening and went in. I accepted that it was just black and dark and I couldn't see anything. I tried to keep a since of moving forward. I never saw any of these vivid colors of visions that people talk about, just mainly black. After a little while, out of the black I saw this white outline of a wolfs head. I remembered seeing that same outline as a kid somewhere so I thought my mind was making it up. But once I acknowledged that I could see the wolf, it disappeared and was replaced by a white outline of a bear's head. I don't remember seeing the outline of the bear anywhere before. Again once I acknowledged that I saw it, it went away. That was it. Nothing more but black until the end of the drumming.

I know that I am just beginning and can't rush this, but it would help to know if I am proceeding the right way before I develop bad habits. Also, does just seeing the outline of the wolf and bear's heads mean anything or am I just trying too hard to see something? Thanks for any advice you can give.


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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:38 am 
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Something I haven't paid much attention to until recently (see my post previous to the one I just entered under the topic of the neccessity of the indigenous shaman) is posture. Now I thought Harner did not suggest a posture, but then I found out that he does---a South American posture, I don't recall it exactly (and I'm too lazy to dig out my Harner book), but I think it involves putting your right arm accross your forehead, or whatever. (This is based on the book by Dr. Felicitas: Where the Spirits Ride the Wind). So pay close attention to the posture he suggests.

Your attitude of not rushing it is very good too, perhaps it is just a matter of time for you. Or it could be a question of intention---are you sincere in your quest? What do you want to attain by visiting the spirit world? Even if it is the self-centered goal of personal or spiritual growth, that is fine. But you need intention, as it is not a game.

You may also try making an offering to the spirit world beforehand. One traditional way would be to give an offering to the spirits of the East, South, West, North, Mother Earth, and Father Sky. For example, you might thank them, and throw a little bit of cornmeal, or some other offering in each direction as you thank them, and even ask for guidance in your journey. Or, if the cave you visualize is close to you, make an offering to the cave, by leaving a gift there. Or you may have some other way you may wish to make an offering to the spirit world.

I spent many years in Japan, and I was very impressed at how, before the Japanese entered a Shinto shrine, or even a Buddhist temple, they would walk over to a... I don't know what you would call it... a water trough----a cement man-made spring with a roof over it basically. There would be bamboo dippers, and you would scoop up some water, pour it over your hands, and then pour some in your mouth, swish it around, and spit it out into the drain that surrounded this man-made spring. This was a symbolic purification, that made you worthy to enter the shrine. But it was really a very effective way of putting yourself into a spiritual and sacred state of mind, of letting you step out of the mundane world into the sacred.

Before I drum, I will do something similar----usually I will use a rattle, with the understanding that with the sound of the rattle, I am no longer in the mundane world, but have stepped into the spiritual, I use a special rattle for this, and I only use that rattle for the purpose of stepping into the spiritual world. When I am done, I usually rattle to step back into the mundane world of common reality.

If you have the chance to make your own medicine drum, then you may find that to be very effective---you could drum alongside the CD. (Again, you must put intention into this proccess----make the drum with the express intention of what you will use it for). You could also buy a Remo hand drum, for about $25. But on the other hand, drumming with the CD may be a distraction for you, atleast until you get used to journeying----if you could find someone to drum for you----that would be much more effective.

Also, I would not enter the journey with any preconceived notions of what you will see, or meet. In other words, did you think beforehand that you would see a wolf? Did you expect to meet a bear? I question this because you had seen the outline before. If you had no idea that you would see that outline, and it was just coincidental----then I would suspect that it was something from the spiritworld.

But, don't fret too much over it either. Let everything happen naturally. If you are getting caught up on questioning if anything will happen, or if it is working or not, or if you are doing it right or wrong----you will probably have to struggle before you can achieve success (having said that, my very first journey was----an experiment----but it was very succesful. And I think I did a bit of questioning on my early journeys----as I have related elsewhere in this forum---I think it is in the posts under the topic of where do we journey to the most. I have also related about my wife who never even really knew how to journey, but she does it just the same).

If all else fails, try going to a natural portal---such as a hotspring---do it at a natural hot springs resort. Or close to the cave you are using, if it is a physical cave. Or near the ancient ruins of indigenous people. I don't know where you are located, but surely there are such places near you.

And if you question how this stuff really works? I can assure you that the synchronicities are really amazing. Is it the power of our own minds and we are tapping into an incredible power and knowledge source at the seat of our own consciousness, or is it the animisitic spirits, ancestors, and other spirits that inhabit this quantum universe of ours? Whatever it is, it is pretty amazing------but I have a gift: an animal tail, that I am 100% certain was not on the ground late one night, in the full moon, when I went to that spot, but suddenly it was there, still freshly wet with blood on it's end, when I turned around after drumming to look, that has given me my own conclusion to those questions.

Mountain Valley Wolf


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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:49 am 
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If you wish to try the journey without the music, may I suggest you find that quiet room or even somewhere outdoors in nature where it is quiet and focus on your breath. Each time you hear a distraction noise acknowlege it and then come back to your breath. The harder you try to put some images in the visual path, the more likely you will be confused if it was "real or made up". Just float along and listen to your breath and don't place expectations of what you may see. Wolf is a guardian, and Bear is introspection. It may be that you have just peeped into the darkness a little way and the guardians met you at the doorway. Perhaps before your next journey you may like to send a message of respect to those two and ask for their assistance to guide you through a little further on your journey.
Remember to thank them when you return to your normal state. The doorway keepers are there to guard and to discern who passes through. The first step into those realms is to find respect for the path you are about to embark on and the guides that may walk with you. If you forgot to bring respect along, chances are you will not find your way past the first doorway keepers. Give that a try and let us know how your next attempt goes.

Elizabeth


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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:00 am 
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I think you are doing fine.

Don't fight it because "it" that you are fighting against is yourself.

It's hard for many people to let go of the control they normally struggle so hard to keep throughout the day. And that makes the altered state of perception hard to do. The trick is to let go of all your expectations, don't expect vivid colors of vision as you mentioned: Just accept and don't expect!
Also, don't just use your "eyes"; while journeying you must use all of your senses, including the sixth.

Two pointers:
Always have a good intention. The intention is the purpose, aim, goal to why you are doing the journey. It must be a good one, something that would make it worthwhile for both yourself to do the journey and for the spirits to help you.

If you feel you cant relax, then meditate or take a walk in nature before you lie down. Remember that the natural place to do journeying is in Nature. It's Harner's way of doing it through lying down. I myself often sit upright or dances.
There are more way's to get into trance then you can imagine. Traditionally everything from Entheogens to vision quests and dreaming has been used.


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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:42 am 
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Travellingman

Funny you should mention other ways of getting into trance...

I have been to a few outdoor rock concerts and one I remember from the beginning of this year, I felt the surge of energy rising in the crowd and began to follow the heavy drumbeats with my feet during the intermision of changing bands. (It was a full day concert with many bands). As I moved my feet, I started to fall into trance and found myself taking on many different spirits from the crowd nearby. I kept the feet moving with the beats and there were young children, war soldiers, pregnant women, teenagers, indians, Jesus carrying babies, angels, horses, witches, wizards and shaman that stepped through me and marched for perhaps 10 steps each before they moved on and let the next one take a turn. It was an amazing journey and I felt that I stood my ground the whole time as my intent when I had started the trance was to create my own "stomping ground" so that when the rush of the crowd pushed towards the stage my space would be protected by my own energy spirits. It worked wonderfully. There were perhaps 35 or 40 or more spirits that passed through my energy circle that I had created within my aura in the space of about 40 minutes. I felt very humbled and at the same time very strong in soul spirit throughout and afterwards. I remember whilst in the trance a tall and large man standing right behind me calling out obsenities to the band that was playing on stage.... I kept stomping my ground while marching and turned to face him front on. I kept marching and he kept yelling and then noticed the short girl infront of him watching him. At first he didn't know what to do as it was most likely unsettling to him having someone faced the wrong way around infront of him, however I stood my ground and kept marching with all the army of spirits guiding me. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a mirror that I had placed there hours earlier (I did not know the reason why at that time, but I was guided to do so before the concert ) I held the mirror up to the man's face whilst he yelled obsenities and insulting abusive words to the band and it reflected back to him in the mirror. People around him saw what was happening and recognised it before he had a chance to recognise it for himself. They began to laugh and he laughed at the silliness of it. He was quiet for a few minutes and then his abusive language started again. This time (still marching to the beat) I reached into my pocket and pulled out a cigarette lighter (also placed there earlier as instructed - I do not smoke). The man was reaching up with his hands over my head and pointing and yelling. Again I showed him the mirror whilst I faced the band and he behind me yelling. He saw himself in the mirror and laughed again. The people behind me and beside him laughed also. Then he began louder than ever to yell and again reached his hands over my head to point to the band. I turned on the cigarette lighter and raised it above my head and swayed it about with the beat of the music. He realised he was not going to vacate me from my stomping ground and laughed again, saying "you are good... that was very funny." He was quiet after that and the crowd enjoyed the concert from that point on. After about 15 minutes I turned to see that he had left quietly. I thanked the spirits for giving me the strength to face my adversaries and challenge someone twice my size who was intimidating others around about me also. My intent was to create a sacred space in a crowd of people where I would be safe. He invaded my space and my spirit guides were not having a bar of that. It showed me the trust and loyalty my guides and I have towards each other. It was very liberating! And the objects that I was guided to place in my pocket were tools that I was to use in a battle that I did not know I was embarking on. I am so happy I listened to my guidance !!
The message from the concert: Face your fears front on and stand your sacred ground, respect others space and walk with spirit always.

Elizabeth


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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:30 am 
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I enjoyed your story enocheye, thank you for sharing it with us.

I have no doubt that what you experienced was very powerful. Although I feel that we must try and do battles with more scrutiny then wanting to hold our stomping grounds. Who knows, the man might also have been on a quest. And then where would both of you have been. :wink:


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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:46 am 
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Quote:
I enjoyed your story enocheye, thank you for sharing it with us.

I have no doubt that what you experienced was very powerful. Although I feel that we must try and do battles with more scrutiny then wanting to hold our stomping grounds. Who knows, the man might also have been on a quest. And then where would both of you have been.


Greetings Travellingman,

LOL!!! Standing my ground STILL Sir!!! LOL!!! He standing his untill he shook!!! And weeks would have gone past!!!
And thinking about the day brings back memories of whilst I was stomping I had the most humble strength that inbetween the changes of spirits I became an ant. Very small and very determined. I guess if he had threatened me further I would have picked him up and carried him off to the nest to throw into the ant nursery! LOL!!

Elizabeth


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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:18 am 
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I have been trying to journey since 2001 and gave up last year as I thought it impossible. I have even attended a workshop and was the only one who could not journey. I was using the classic Michael Harner method, lying flat on back, arm over eyes and listening to rapid drum beats. Then reading books on traditional shamanism all agreed that you cannot journey the Michael Harner way. For example, each shaman has his own unique drumbeat, it does not have to be rapid as Michael Harner claims. Also they all agreed that you cannot drum and off you go on a journey-instantly. It takes time to go into trance. Anthropolgists studying the Lapp shamans (noaijdes) in the 17th century they drummed for at least fifteen minutes before they journeyed. The books list the methods used by traditional shamans as drumming, chanting, dancing, taking alcohol, plant helpers or travelling plants, hyperventillating breathing. They state not all shamans use every technique but each has his own combinations and unique dance, drumbeat or chant. This gave me the inspiration to try journeying again. However, it is extremely difficult to find the right combinations. What I need I believe is a traditional teacher or better contact with the spirits who hopefully will show me the right methods. It is not easy contacting the spirits directly, I find they contact me spontaeneously when they want to. Does anyone have any experience with the traditional techniques of journeying and can offer some advice?


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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:24 pm 
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Greetings Barry,

Journying is not about trying, it is about letting go of trying and just being.
Make it as simple as possible, such as staring into a candle flame or a fire place and just watching the smoke rise or the embers burn.

Sometimes I just sit in the dark with a box of matches and light each one one by one and just observe the beauty of each spark. They are each unique and no two are alike. A spark and then it's gone... a very short life but completly unique to anything else. Watch for the sparks that fly away from the match when being lit... they are the "scouts" just like scout ants that venture away from the ant nest. Then let the mind visualise the journey.

With respect
Elizabeth


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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:23 pm 
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Hello everybody, I really enjoyed all the great reply's and enocheye's story. Hello Barry hope you and your brother are fine. And don't give up 5h4m@n because it will happen for you. There is only a couple of things I would like to add is try not to eat before journeying. And we all are vibrational beings and we all respond to different tempo's or drum beats. I learned from teaching people to journey is that if a person was tense or haven't meditated much that a slower drum beat work well for them until they progress more. For me know the faster drum beat is great. Try to mix it up and find what works best for you. And also I call the drum beat the heart beat of Mother Earth and before journeying I go through a ceremony and thank Mother Earth, Great Spirit, and all my helpers. Just make the journey sacred to you and know that we are all connected and it will happen. I was going to say good luck but there is no luck involved. Because you are in control of your reality.And Barry there is one thing that you could do. And I'm only telling you this because I know you are seriously trying to sort out your problem. I know you live in london so I don't know how or if there is any such ceremony's in your area. But attending a native american church ceremony or Ayahuasca ceremony. Make sure that it's a traditional ceremony. I think this would help you reconnect with your spirit. Grand fathers medicine is powerful. Stay positive Barry! With Respect Jim :)


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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:52 am 
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Interesting thread. Thanks for asking - and answering.

My first journey was to find my Power Animal. It was lead by two Mayan shamans who were drumming. I didn't get it. Nothing. No visions, no sounds, no nothing except the blackness behind my eyes. And the shaman leading the journey said that was ok.

Second attempt with the shamans drumming: same thing - nothing. No visions, no sounds, no nothing except the blackness behind my eyes... UNTIL I gave up trying to see something. Then the blackness turned into the black dusty void and I could sense a place, sense a presence.

Third attempt: this time the drums SHOVED ME into the black dust void and things started happening. And I freaked and lost the journey.

It seems the minute you try to understand or identify what you are doing or seeing, you loose the ability to do it. Same thing happens during meditation. The moment you realize "I'm floating!" you pop back into this reality and all you are is sitting on the floor.

So, once I got past trying to "get it" right, I was able to journey. The key is to simply set your intent, relax and let whatever is going to happen, happen.


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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:22 pm 
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Fear plays a major role in blocking the self as an insitnctive reaction, because the journey into darkness and the other worlds is very mentally, physically and emotionally demanding because of it's very nature and the energies that occupy that space at the time of the journey. One never know's quite what to expect when stepping into the "dark side"so fear can grip you and carry you away.
The trick is to transcend fear and confront it with compassion in the "ordinary world" with "ordinary people" that you meet and greet every day. Once you are no longer fearful of the ordinary things or unexpected things in one world then you are better prepared to step into the other worlds without fear that blocks your path.
Having said all that, one must still practice discernment with all things that present to you, and recognise your own truth so that you always know where the "real you" is at all times.

With respect
Elizabeth


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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:16 pm 
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Hello my friends, And welcome Rachara El ! Enocheye you touched on some things I'm going to write about. I have taught people that had a hard time journeying to go for walks in the forest at night and just feel all the different energys that are all around you.And if a person can spend a couple of hours in the dark forest with the many critters and energys flying around them and stay focused ans listen and learn when there out there than the usually can start there adventure journeying without fear. Best of luck and ask the SPIRIT of the owl to help guide you with your new appreciation with the forest at night. I know you will learn many things about the night, animals, trees, moon, stars, etc. And most of all about YOURSELF!!!! Many Blessings :D Jim


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 Post Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:48 am 
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and greetings to you, FoolsHawk

You are right about night walks. When I was young, I feared the dark basement in my home. I would race up the stairs after turning all the lights out, certain that some demon was right behind me in the black recesses of the stairs. And that thumping noise was always right behind me!

Only years later did I realize that racing shadow as my own and the thumping noise was the furnace. We must see our fears for what they really are in this reality. Then when we travel in non-ordinary reality, we will be able to recognize what frightened us and kept us from our true path.


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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:07 pm 
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Oh-Ho Rachara El, You are right! And something else is follow our hearts for our answers instead of looking for a teacher that will change us into Shamans. POOF!!! We have all the knowledge inside all we have to do is believe andwalk our paths. There are so many people looking for a person to make them happy, companionship,change them into Shamans, medicine men, healers and they in most part keep struggling along in a big rebounding circle instead of looking inside and knowing that we are all GODS. With Respect ,JIM


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