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 Post subject: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:46 pm 
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Hi all,

I've experimented with shamanic journeying on and off because I don't find my current spiritual path satisfying, and I have to say the results are hard for me to interpret.

On one hand, if a 'real' journey is mostly kind of conscious intent fed into visualized landscape and my power animal and so on, then I guess I can journey at will wherever I am and whenever I want, with or without drumming or any kind of preparatory stuff. What's odd though, is that my journeys seem sort of stale for one thing..I tend to go to the same two or three places, and the path there looks almost identical every time. Plus, I don't gain any unexpected wisdom or anything once there from the other assorted characters I meet. In short, I haven't found anything so far to convince me there's anything "other-dimensional" or mystical about it. It just seems like mental garbage. I'm curious but I also have high standards. :) What's more, if I invest mental energy into believing that every random visual and auditory imagining that comes into my head in the course of the day is REAL in its own sense and that it's my power animal talking to me or something, well I can easily see myself going bonkers with that! I mean that's freaking exhausting, trying to tell the difference between what's worth paying attention to and what's just normal thoughts cycling in and out, especially if the difference is some vague thing. I've been hoping for an adequate answer to these questions in a couple of more well-known books on practical shamanism I've read, but the question is only sort of addressed, and that in the context of a formal journeying, not walking around during the day.

Another odd thing is that my power animal and some other recurring characters tend to suddenly morph into threatening or disturbing creatures and back again..which oddly enough is unsettling for me but not exactly disturbing or even unexpected as it should be. What doesn't match up is that if "power animals" and so on have their own kind of reality, then why would mine do that?

My current interpretation then is that everything seen in the imagination has the power to inform me about my conscious and sub-conscious wants and needs, but only psychologically speaking..like I said I haven't seen anything so far that's mystical or that leads me to think I'm actually encountering other intelligences, and not any that especially have my best interests at heart either. Just my own ego, and that's all.

I'd appreciate some honest and in-depth answers if you folks have any.

~Mike


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:10 am 
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imo people started believing that thought is reality (not being able to differentiate between inner dialogue and outer reality) when agriculture become dominant and hunter/gatherer culture started dying out, in other words when people stopped being nomads and started building towns and cities . imo its not only reflected in the way they lived, but also in their religious practices (do some research you'll see it as well). today in this day and age thought (and by thought i mean inner dialogue not problem solving) is how a person defines their reality. several spiritual philosophies touch on this, one being buddhism (zen) and the other being nada yoga. this is imo one of the main reasons why many religions are now faith based instead of stressing the experience of ecstatic practices from older, nature worship traditions.


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:00 pm 
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hm, interesting idea but it doesn't answer my question. My question isn't whether or not I'm my thoughts, but instead how do I evaluate for myself what is a marked shamanic experience, and what's just not? Because if everything imagined is a shamanic journey, then why is anything "shamanic" or whatever at all? Michael Harner should've just written "the big book of imagination" in that case, which actually sounds like a pretty boss title for a book. In that case too though, then there's no standard for, "hey this guy's qualified to be called a shaman" as opposed to "hey this guy doesn't know which way's up."


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:46 am 
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douglas_funny wrote:
hm, interesting idea but it doesn't answer my question. My question isn't whether or not I'm my thoughts, but instead how do I evaluate for myself what is a marked shamanic experience, and what's just not? Because if everything imagined is a shamanic journey,


thats what i was trying to explain to you, using your imagination while in meditation or day-dreaming isnt journeying, however using imagination in meditation is good for other things but journeying is more akin to lucid dreaming.


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:14 am 
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I feel like you would know, instinctively, deep down if you were on a true journey or not. When you 'came back' you would feel it! The fact that you have questions suggests that you may know you haven't been.

A journey, like astral travel, (more so than lucid dreaming maybe), involves you, your spirit (energy body or double if you will) actually going elsewhere for a time, not just a picture in your mind of this.


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:26 pm 
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soulflower wrote:
A journey, like astral travel, (more so than lucid dreaming maybe), involves you, your spirit (energy body or double if you will) actually going elsewhere for a time, not just a picture in your mind of this.

astral projection and lucid dreaming are one and the same, i just use the term lucid dreaming because i think it de-mystifies the experience and makes it more within peoples grasp, something that they can obtain if they strive for it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:52 pm 
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ShimmerSnake wrote:
astral projection and lucid dreaming are one and the same, strive for it.


Not at all.

Lucid dreaming is when we (while in the dream) recognize we are dreaming and are then able to direct the dream accordingly.

Astral Travel -- or Astral Projection is an out of body experience, wherein the astral body leaves the physical body.

This is when we can travel to other planes or take part in journeys and such.


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:15 pm 
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ok, that's seems legitimate enough. I really don't know though what I should do differently to make it a "legitimate" journey..I mean drumming is nice but it doesn't seem to really do it, so are hallucinogens really necessary?


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:30 am 
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douglas_funny wrote:
ok, that's seems legitimate enough. I really don't know though what I should do differently to make it a "legitimate" journey..I mean drumming is nice but it doesn't seem to really do it, so are hallucinogens really necessary?


drumming is a very powerful tool and its own reward, just learn to trance and things that you didnt know before will be shown to you. then its just following each experience like a stepping stone to the next, if all your interested in is journeying then your not going to keep your interest in this practice, learn to experience everything the drum has to teach.


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:47 am 
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so for drumming, would you recommend an mp3 of drumming, or trying to go out and find an actual drum for myself? I've only done the former so far, so that could have an effect. Could be because I'm someone who overthinks, but I have difficulty getting into a true trance state..I hear each beat of the drum and end up concentrating on slowing it down in my perception or something as if I want to solidify the experience more, if that makes any sense. That might just take practice, but it might also just be me.

Also, other than djémbes, actual hand-drums are kinda difficult to find and usually very expensive (around $200 or so).


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:08 am 
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i would advice you to make your own hoop drum, do some research their not hard to make and you can make one far cheaper. id also advice you to make yourself a rattle, just go find a gourd that looks like a rattle and your all set.

i personally prefer a rattle over a drum, but i also fitted several rattles to my drum and im enjoying the combined sound of the two.


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:25 pm 
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Try this:

http://shamanportal.org/forum/post3894.html?hilit=drumming%20mp3#p3894

I've used it recently, both in a meditative state and before sleep with very good results.


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:35 pm 
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Also, just in case you are unaware, there is a wonderful and vast selection of articles related to Shamanism on this forum. Go here for more info about everything from extremely well versed and practiced authors:

http://shamanportal.org/display_articles.php


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:00 pm 
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soulflower wrote:
Try this:

http://shamanportal.org/forum/post3894.html?hilit=drumming%20mp3#p3894

I've used it recently, both in a meditative state and before sleep with very good results.

drumming cd? its like your intentionally trying to steer people in the wrong direction..is doing this how you get off or something?


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 Post subject: Re: The Difference between Imagination and 'Journeying'
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:40 pm 
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I believe it is like anything ... practice makes perfect.

Just like when learning to make music with any instrument - at first you have to concentrate on the movements and the forms to make the correct notes, it doesn't come easy, and the music is stilted and jarring because you are still stumbling through it.

Then you start getting it down and can then focus on the timing, the roundness, the depth, enhancements. Then with enough practice, your body can then do the movements without having to THINK about them, it becomes automatic, fluid, like a second nature - and THAT is when your music will flow and gain true soul and spirit.

Well I think drumming to journey is the same exact way. At first yes, the drumming itself will likely be a distraction that works against you - but eventually, with time and practice ... it will become like breathing and it will then no longer be the obstacle, but a integral part of the path itself.


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