Intro to Journeying Series : Part 3 of 3 : Sensory Triggers


Part three of the Intro to Journeying.
Link to Part one and two below:
Intro to Journeying Series : Part 1 of 3 : Preparing the Mind & Body
Intro to Journeying Series : Part 2 of 3 : Energy Bodies & Protection

You want your body and mind to get into the routine of journeying. While the general go to are drums, rattles or CDs which provide these for you, I once again recommend starting with yourself. You may not always have your ‘tools’ with you, so it is important to find controlled conditioned responses within yourself. Using yourself as a trigger brings the focus back within, where it should all start. I recommend using all your senses to engage the process.

The easiest to start with is your own Breath and Heartbeat connection. Consider your heartbeat, nature’s drum  After that You can start to introduce simple things to stimulate the other senses. Touch, Taste, Sight. Being a sensual person, I prefer to engage all my senses, but should you choice to only engage one or two, the one main recommendation I make, is that you reserve the instruments of the process strictly for journeying. What you are trying to build, is sensory memory, or triggers.


We all know that sometimes without conscious direction, we realize we are taking a deep, cleansing breath in, and slowly releasing it Generally this occurs when frustrated, stressed or under some other form of duress. We also know that it does clear our minds and gives us that one moment of clarity to find a direction to take. We then learn to incorporate this consciously into our practice. In Yoga, this is referred to as Pranayama. It opens the Nadis and removes blockages to energy flow in the body.

Pranayama, The Breath Of Life:
Breathing is one of the few autonomic functions of the body that we may also control. The breath is seen as an important link between our body, our mind, and our spirit – moving from the purely physical realm, to the mental, to the spiritual. In Sanskrit, the word for breath is the same as the word for life – prana. The first thing you do as you enter this world is to inhale. Your last act in this life is to exhale. When prana leaves the body, we die. The breath is a metaphor for life energy. Due to the deep penetration of prana, the blood receives a larger supply of oxygen, the nerves are calmed and purified, and the mind becomes still and lucid.
Pranayama are breathing exercises developed by the ancient yogis for purification. Prana translates into “life force energy” and Yama translates into “control or mastery of”. Thus, Pranayama is used to control, cultivate, and modify the Prana in the body. While you are practicing Pranayama, let go of any thoughts by focusing on the breathing involved with the Pranayama technique you plan to master solely for the purpose of transitioning the mind to a state of journeying.

Once you have mastered controlling your ascent or descent (depending on the location of your journeying), through breath, you can begin to experiment with scents to add to your breath work. Breathing leads directly to the sense of smell. Clearly, this will be Essential Oils. I use specific oils for journeying only. It is a blend of three specific oils that I use for all three of my main forms of in-depth forms of journeying. It is a combination of Sandalwood, White Lotus, and Jasmine. I do not use these scents for any other purpose, and each is emphasized depending on the location I am journeying to. Sandalwood is my ancestral connection. Jasmine is added to bring the journey to the middle realm. Lotus is reserved for lower world.

For more information and types of pranamaya you may wish to try, please see the links below to my previous posts on the topic.




Once you are in a calm place, with controlled, steady breath, close your eyes and place your hand over your heart, or your fingers on a pulse point. Move the focus from your breath, to the rhythm of the heart. This is when you begin the dance, for these two will eventually be in harmony. Generally, I find that at this point I begin to focus my closed eyes internally to the location just within/behind my third eye (for upper/middle world) or I draw my internal focus deeper within, to my pineal gland. The location of the true Soul 3rd Eye. Slowly, without intention (it truly won’t happen any other way) the only sound you hear is your heart beat, and it’s internal, deep within you…. this is the Soul Drummer. She may be a spirit ancestor, spirit guide, or your own higher-self. The journey begins… she leads you deeper within, till you ‘see’ her. For some, it is not the Soul Drummer, but the Soul Rider who approaches. The beating of your heart, becomes the echoing sounds of Hoofs, as the Spirit of Horse draws closer, in a breath you are riding on her back, and she takes you within the realms of possibilities to heal, retrieve, or visit.

Once you have mastered your own drummer, you can enhance the experience by trying any of the various shamanic drumming CDs available, but none can compare to the beats you generate within. The one benefit that I do attest to CDs is the trigger sounds to begin the journey, and the triggers that sound to help return you to the awaken world. I have a beautiful Djembe, which was gifted to me by my Soul Twin, but sadly, living in the urban centre, it can be too loud for neighbours; this is yet another advantage to CDs and headsets.


Like breathing and drumming, rhythmic touch can bring you into trance states. This can be through various forms of body work (active meditation) such as trance dance, or malas and prayer beads. Trance dance, can be a viewed as any series of asana for the body (yoga poses), a specific belly dance routine, or ecstatic dance. I find it poetic that as I type this I am watching a documentary on Netflix called: Sufi Soul: The Mystic Music of Islam.

Because we are all different, not all of these forms will work for everyone. Although I have provided several as examples based on conversations I have had in circle and workshops with others, I personally use prayer beads as a form of active meditation leading to altered states of consciousness.

With prayer beads, for example, you create a rhythm of movement as you rub and move each bead along the strand. Consider each one a step on your journey within, each one a connection to your breath, and your heart beat. The same process works for beating a drum, or shaking a rattle.

While asanas and belly dance may work for others, my personal experience has lead me to utilize yoga for releasing tension and readying myself for prayer, and belly dance for raising energy, readying myself for ritual. Ecstactic dance I try to avoid, as it opens my body up for soul riding, or possession. The only way you will know what works, is by trial and error. Your journey is your own, and unique to your constitution.

As a result, I do recommend that you tailor the way that you journey to your unique doshic constitution. In Ayurvedic terms (Ayurveda = the science of life) your constitution is comprised of the combination of variations of the five elements, the doshas. These vary for your body type, as well as your emotional and mental states. As this blog is about my journey, I can give broad examples, but only provide you with examples for the effectiveness of those directed toward a Pitta mindset. Pitta means that your mind is always ‘on’ therefore active meditation process work best for me.


I recommend adding this once you have developed internal triggers as mentioned above. Incorporating taste as a trigger is a little harder to do, as it has to be something with a distinct taste that you use only for this purpose. I have a specific lotus tea tincture that I make when I can afford it, for journeying. Besides the unique taste of the lotus tea, the properties of the plant medicine are deeply routed in the shamanic and ritual practices of Nepal, Tibet, India and Egypt, to name but a few ancient cultures. I usually consume the lotus tea tincture at the very start of the process. I light my camphor, provide my offerings, state my intentions for journeying, and then the first step of my journeying ritual is the tea. Again, none of this is necessary. I will always encourage people to work from their own body first, but as I have been doing this for over a decade, I have added, and continue to add new dimensions to my journeying rites. I recommend you experiment with different blends based on your path. For example you may combine specific herbs to make a journey/dream tea based on your research. Additional journeying herbs I personally use include: Blue Lotus, White Lily, Brahmi Powder, Sughandi Powder and African Dream Root. I have also tried tinctures by other witches and shamans which include: Mugwort, Vervain and/or Poppies. Sarah Anne Lawless of Fern and Fungi receives my highest recommendations.

Before utilizing any herbal magick as salves, tinctures, ointments etc. please always consult with your family doctor, holistic practitioner, and any other health professionals you may be working with. Your own mental and physical state, as well as any medications you may be on may cause you to have adverse reactions to any of these items. This is serious shit people. Take it seriously.


The final trigger is sight, and for most it can range from a destination, to a specific layout on our altar. When I was living in Banff Alberta, deep in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, there was a small waterfall in the woods surrounding the hotel I worked at. On the other side of the shore was a rock formation that was a Mother Bear with her paw reaching into the water. I would sit in meditation with her, and if my guides wished me to journey to connect to the spirits of the middle realm, I did it here. Her paw in the water was the ripples of the portal that allowed me access. If you do select outdoor settings for your journeying, I recommend it always be the same location and not used for any other type of ritual work. I also highly recommend that it be on private property for your own safety, or that you have a guard with you, if it’s public land.

For safety reasons, now that I live in the city, my altar serves as my portal for journeying. Now my altar is different than most witches, as it is more on the shamanic side of my practice. The main items that remain on my altar at all times are a bell for clearing space, a sensor for offering camphor and resins and that is it. My ‘altars’ consist of what may be called Mesas (table, or portable altars). Depending on the work I am doing I bring the mesa to the altar space and open it, bless it, and call to it’s energy for healing, ritual or journeying. I have three mesas specifically for my journeying. Specific crystal grids and markers are used to create the portals, and provide the location for the Phoenix Root/Rose of Jerico that I utilize as my portal/stargate/doorway to other realms. These stones are used for no other gridding. The creation of the grid, the opening of the Phoenix Root, the reveal of the crystal skull or journey sphere within, are all visual triggers for me. For you it might be as simple as a sigil, a statue, a flower, or a print of a location that begins your mind on a journey to another place and time.

I hope you have enjoyed my series on an introduction to journeying. It is a fundamental part of my practice, both for personal development and in service for others.

In the fall I will continue with a new series on Types of Journeying, covering topics such as lucid dreaming, astral travel and actual journeying for ancestral work, as well as tools and botanicals for more advanced workings. After that, I will continue with the initial work I began on my website into shadow/soul retrieval.

Safe Travels,
Shakti-Shaman, your Fireside Witch, in Service.

One thought on “Intro to Journeying Series : Part 3 of 3 : Sensory Triggers

  1. Pingback: Intro to Journeying Series : Part 2 of 3 : Energy Bodies & Protection | Fireside Witch

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