In my last blog I wrote about core shamanism and shamanic journeys. This morning I thought that I would write about the other worlds, place to which I journey. In a future blog I'll give you some ideas to help you embark on a shamanic journey of your own. But first you need to know where you are going and who you might meet.
What makes shamanic journeys different from other types of spiritual experiences is that they are intentional. A shamanic practitioner initiates contact with the other world . Many people have what I would call random spiritual experiences where they are visited by a spirit, it could be in a dream, while day dreaming, or during full consciousness. The point is that in these experiences the spirit has initiated the contact. In shamanic journeys the shamanic practitioner initiates the contact and travels to the world of the spirit.
I like to think of our three-dimensional consciousness in term of something that I can relate to. A box. We live in a 3-D box and everything we know with our conscious, rational mind is inside that box. There are other dimensions outside that box. The underworld is underneath the 3-D box, the upper world is on the other side of the lid of the box. Shamanic journeying lets us experience live outside the box.
We live in the middle world, our world of day-to-day reality. The two other worlds than shamanic practitioners visit are the underworld (no, it is not hell) and the upper world. Both types of journeys lead you through portals that lead down into the earth or up into the sky. If you think back to childhood, the story of Alice in Wonderland is really the story of an underworld journey. The Wizard of Oz, on the other hand, is an upper world journey. Alice found an opening in the earth and fell down into the underworld realm. Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz was taken up by a tornado into the upper world, and remember, it wasn't Kansas anymore.
Journeys to the underworld lead you to earth spirits, the spirits of nature like sprites (water spirits), tree spirits, faery land, and to your power animal. The underworld doesn't exist in the ground. If you were to journey into the ground you would find dirt, roots and bug. Rather, when you travel down into the underworld you are traveling into a realm that exists beneath the surface of ordinary reality. I enter the underworld by walking across the street from our home, in my mind of course, into the forest and entering a portal formed by an opening in the bottom of a tree.
If you choose to journey you can expect to find your power animal(s) in the underworld.
An upper world journey takes you to the realm of the angels, spirit guides and ancestors. I feel that this realm exists about three feet above the ground that I walk upon. Journeys into the upper world don't take you into outer space. Outer space is still part of the 3-D box that you live in. The upper world is the world that lives on the other side of the lid that contains your 3-D world, the other side of the sky if you will.
I have found that the upper world is a wonderful place to which to travel to seek wisdom and guidance.
In my next post I'll write more about power animals, in the following post I'll walk you through a shamanic journey.
I'm Dr. Dave, a modern druid. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice Druidcraft and contemporary shamanism.