Shaman from Papua New GuineaThis guide will take you through the necessary steps to achieve a shamanic journey. A shamanic journey is where your soul (or part of it) leaves the physical body and travels to non-ordinary reality, usually in order to contact spiritual forces for healing or guidance.

Things You Will Need

A shamanic drumming cd/tape or a shamanic drum (will require a partner), a blindfold, a warm blanket, paper and pen, light snack or drink, privacySami shamanic drum

Step 1

Find a dark, quiet place where you will not be disturbed for at least half an hour. Create a secure ritual space.

Step 2

Turn out the lights, lie in a comfortable location, cover yourself with the blanket and secure your blindfold.

Step 3

Start the drumming tape or ask your partner to start drumming. Tell them to recall you after no longer than 15 minutes on your first journey.

Step 4

Breathe in to the count of four, hold for the count of three, exhale to the count of four. Breathing should feel comfortable so you can adjust this pattern if you feel any discomfort. Relax each part of the body in turn as you exhale ; the feet, lower legs, upper legs, pelvis, stomach, chest, hands, lower arms, upper arms, neck, face,scalp. Tell yourself the purpose of your journey (it is recommended to begin with the purpose of acquainting yourself with the surroundings).

Step 5

Imagine yourself in a place in nature that you have affinity with. It can be imaginary but it is best if you know it well. Imagine all the sights, sounds and scents around you. Is it cool or warm, sunny or cloudy?

Step 6

Look around for a place of descent (a pool, a hole in a tree trunk, stone steps...whatever inspires you). Step inside and imagine you have entered a tunnel which descends to the shamanic 'lower world'. This is where your power animals reside.

A hole beneath a standing stone could be your entry point

Explore the details of the tunnel. What are the walls like? Does it descend gently or steeply? Is it narrow or spacious? Practice leaving and re-entering your tunnel.

Step 7

When ready, imagine you are travelling along the tunnel. Let the drumbeat carry you. You may feel you are flying or get flashes of clairvoyance (spiritual seeing) or the experience may feel more imaginary. Don't try too hard, every journey will be different.

Step 8

Look for (or imagine) the exit at the end of the tunnel and move through it. Look around you and explore your surroundings. Take special note of any animals or objects you encounter.

Step 9

The tape or your partner will play the recall signal. Retrace your steps back through the tunnel and emerge at your initial starting place.

Step 10

When you're ready open your eyes and relax back into ordinary consciousness. Switch on the lights and record your experiences. Ground yourself with some light food or drink.

Be aware of any unusual coincidences,strange dreams, intuitions, etc. in the days following your journey. The spiritual forces you have contacted will probably respond to your intentions to work with them.

In subsequent journeys you can intend to meet your power animals or receive spiritual gifts in the lower world. For spiritual guidance you can journey to the 'upper world' using a tree trunk, shaft of sunlight or rising smoke, etc.

Buryat shaman

Tips & Warnings

You will need to be familiar with creating some kind of secure ritual space to provide spiritual protection. In the unlikely event you feel threatened during the journey it is best to retrace your steps and try another day.

If a partner is drumming for you, they will need to be familiar with shamanic journeying techniques. Ask them to demonstrate the recall signal they will use.

It is best to read some shamanic literature beforehand to enhance your understanding.