JOURNEYING : INTRODUCTION : BASICS
In the fall of 2014 I started a series of posts relating to my hereditary path as a Shakti Shamanic Journeyer. Working within the realm of the Shadow self I travel to the lower world for healing, and acceptance of self. I wish to take a step back, and talk about the concept of journeying itself. There are many types and names for the process, but essentially it all comes down to travelling either within or out of body with consciousness and control. Be it lucid dreaming, trance work, astral projection, ancestral or shadow journeys, or the various other forms experienced by Shamans and Wise Ones (witches) throughout the various indigenous cultures around the world, the preparation required, both mentally and physically as the basis for the spiritual journey need to be addressed.
My way is not the only way. There are individuals whose blogs and vlogs I subscribe to that I greatly respect, yet who have different opinions on this than I do. Even some of the books I have listed that I used for research I don’t necessarily agree with all or some of the findings and suggestions… so why post them? Because as I mention, beyond the basics of preparing your body and mind, and protection, everyone IS different. Our frequencies, our spiritual age, our soul creation story, level of Kundalini awakening, DNA activation status, all these and more, play factors in what type of journeying we will be successful at, what types of protection we need, and what type of places we can journey too. To that end, the more opposing views you have the better, for they will provide you different approaches to try until you find the one that is right for you. Just please, always travel safe.
From my teachings from my grandmother, my own research and personal experiences, I believe in approaching spirit holistically (looking at the whole) and organically (ever changing with experience). You often hear the phrase: Mind, Body and Spirit. I believe it’s in that order for a reason. The mind and body must be addressed and prepared, understood and healed/healthy, before we can venture into the study of our spirit.
Research from the inside out: Before I was old enough to begin researching I had the experience of being born behind the veil, a NDE, a possession, soul visitations and soul walks. I was lucky enough to have a grandmother with her own years of experience to guide me at that stage, but both my Grands and I knew I had to study and learn all that I could to bring control into the equation.
As pagans we know that before we introduce tools of the trade into our shamanic or wise (witch) path, we must first understand our own energy and truly know how you connect through ritual to the Great Spirit. Once we have mastered these basics, we can then begin to introduce tools of the trade to extend our energies and incorporate theirs through crystals, botanicals, incense, and spiritual aids such as rattles, drums, masks, mesa bundles, bones, wands, cauldrons (you get the idea). The same approach should be taken as you begin your quest to journey beyond the realm of consciousness.
In addition to reading materials from various and opposing sources, you have to begin your journey within yourself, before introducing external stimuli or aids. Before looking into plants or roots to drink, burn or smoke, look at what already exists in your own body that aids in journeying. Extend your research into Psychology, Entheology and at later states Psychoactive Botany as it relates to Entheology in Shamanic cultures for spiritual development. Understand the chemical reactions which happen within you, first, it will help you have a better foundation when you extend your research to add Psychoactive Botanicals.
“Shamanic trance is a focused shift in consciousness” The Shaman Within.
REPARING THE BODY AND MIND:
Shamanic journeying was not something done as a quick and dirty process. It was something both the Shaman and, in some cases, patient prepared for in advance. If you take journeying seriously, like our shaman foremothers (and fathers ;),) you should be detoxifying the mind and body. This does not mean you have to fast in the technical term, but you should detoxify. Detox rids the brain of deadly toxins and reducing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. You can also increase foods which help the pineal gland manufacture DMT (See link below to Satvic diets). Super foods and neuro-nutrients bring about changes in your brain which assist in preparing you for journeying.
MENTAL STATE: Address and log your own mental state, noting foods and drinks consumed and how they might be affecting your sleep patterns, and endurance levels. You don’t have to be an athlete, I’m certainly not, but for all my Kapha imbalance at the moment, I continue to work on my endurance and breathing techniques. Yoga is ideal, for its original goals date back to spiritual evolution, NOT fitness evolution.
If you know you are going to be journeying, I recommend eliminating caffeine from your diet for at least 3-5 days prior to the process, and reducing or eliminating sugar and other stimulants. Caffeine affects the body and brain by keeping us at an unrealistic level of alertness which can actually add mental stressors, not just to our mind, but to our body as well. It leaves you in a constant flight/fight status. If you are unable to do this, it means you have a mild addiction to the stimulant and need to take the time necessary to ease it out your body and blood stream.
I’ve probably hit a soft spot with most Starbuck and Second Cup devotees, but when you do your research, here’s what you learn about how caffeine can be more than just counter-productive to those seeking spiritual connections, and hopefully, also reinforces my previous mention of the importance of research in understanding the mind and how it works:
The story begins with our need for adenosine, which is created in the brain, and binds to adenosine receptors. This binding causes drowsiness by slowing down nerve cell activity and expanding blood vessels and the flow of oxygen to our brain and throughout our body. We can agree, these are favorable conditions for regulating not just sleep, but meditation and provide at least the base for work relating to conscious shifting.
Here’s the problem: Caffeine effectively blocks adenosine by binding to the adenosine receptor itself, doing the exact opposite of what our body is programmed to do. As a result, the cell can no longer identify adenosine because caffeine is taking up all the receptors that it would normally bind to. Instead of slowing down the nerve cells speed up. Caffeine’s effect on the brain causes increased neuron firing, which, releases hormones that tell the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline (epinephrine). Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone and again places you in the opposite mind set for journeying. So by detoxing the body of caffeine, you are actually helping to prepare the mind to journey.
Another way to prepare the mind is through conscious awake states of meditation: it is very important that we attune our senses to the world around us, so that we can access these skills in the world of spirit. Build on your own abilities of intuition and conscious awareness. Here are a few simple suggestions, for those now starting out, or to help those who are advanced take a step back to basics. For individuals who are well advanced of this blog, we can at times let ego take over, assuming we know all there is, and have the skill sets in place. But ego is contra-spiritual, and yes, I do speak from experience, and had an elder teach me this lesson as well. We need to remember that we only know as much as our resources and Spirit has deemed necessary at any given point in our development. It is also important to remember that just like in any discipline, we need to keep the spiritual ‘muscles’ conditioned. Here are some simple suggestions on how – (consider it the same as doing cord drills on the piano, we all hated it, but it in the end, it strengthened our performance and ability to learn more complex compositions):
In addition, guided meditations help to develop and train the mind for journeying. It’s a way of staying in control and conscious but allowing the mind to travel through a descriptive journey.
I recommend you write and record your own journeys to start. I personally feel that this way you know the voice won’t irritate or distract you, and you can set the tempo of the journey.
BODY STATE: Physical fatigue, state of endurance and need for detoxification. Once you have your journalising analyzed, you can then address changes to your diet by reducing foods that hamper travel and increasing ones that improve it. This is where my Ayurvedic training has taught me to concentrate on Satvic foods during time of ritual work and spiritual journeying.
(For a quick intro, follow this link to a previous post: ayurveda-gunas )
Even with these guidelines you must consult your family doctor to account for your own health requirements (anemia, diabetes, asthma, heart conditions, etc.), and also you should factor in your knowledge about your energy bodies (chakras), Kundalini activation etc. For instance, do you have a very high vibration level with extremely open upper/spiritual chakras? If yes, you may need to balance the Satvic diet with a little more grounding foods, and definitely have something very grounding ready for your return trip.
JOURNEY CONTINUES AT:
Preparing the Energy Body and the Importance of Protection during flight.
STILL TO COME:
Journey Triggers – Conditioned Response
THE LIBRARY: This will be a new section on my website, and it will begin with a list of books, blogs and websites on this topic. As stated in this post, I am including all materials I have read. While I may not agree with all aspects of each book, I was able to resonate with some of the books, in part or whole. It is up to you to do your research and find what works best for you.
Please note this series will continue in the fall with a more advanced look at Upper and Lower world journeying, introducing tools and botanicals to aid advanced journeying.