Archive for February, 2010

How to Journey to the Otherworld

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Journey TunnelThis is an edited version of the exercise given in my book, Follow the Shaman’s Call, and is enough to get you started. For the drumming, use Track 1 of the drumming tracks you will find on the website.

Although shamanic journeys can be undertaken anywhere, for this first journey, try to find a time and a place where you will not be disturbed. Different people like to prepare themselves and their surroundings in different ways: some like to darken the room if they are indoors; others wear a scarf over their eyes. Some people like to lie down when they journey, whereas others like to sit. You will find your own preferences over time, but for now, I suggest you lie on the floor with some support for your head. Try not to get too comfortable though, as you don’t want to fall asleep.

Still your mind and let the pressure and demands of everyday life fall away. When you are ready to start, state the intention of your journey; in this case: I am journeying to the otherworld to connect and to look around. Repeat it a couple of times so that it really lodges in your mind and you might even want to say the words out loud; like most things in life, if we have a clear goal as to what we want to achieve it will make it much easier to obtain it.

When you are ready, begin Track 1 of the drumming tracks you can download from this site. Now, imagine a place in nature where you feel calm and untroubled. It might be a garden, a wood, a park, or anywhere else where you feel safe and comfortable. Then, find a hole into the ground. This might be a cave entrance, an animal burrow, an upended tree-root hollow, or even a rainwater drain; it really does not matter (and do not worry if it is only a very small hole:  just imagine yourself being small enough to fit inside it). Step into the hole and you will find a long tunnel before you. Move along the tunnel in whatever way suits you best. If you find yourself stuck then repeat your intention again and push further through the tunnel. After a while, you will begin to discern a light at its end: this is what you are aiming for. As the light gets brighter you might start to see a landscape begin to emerge. Keep going. Eventually, you will find yourself at the end of the tunnel and will be able to step out into this strange new world. This is the otherworld; the realm our ancestors have visited for thousands of years.

Do not worry about what the otherworld looks like; everyone will see something entirely unique to them. For some people, they might not even ‘see’ the otherworld at all but can sense that they have reached it in other ways. Take time to look around, maybe walking a little distance into this new place. Do not actually do anything on this first journey: just look around and marvel at what you are witnessing. When you hear the drumming stop (and you will definitely notice, however engrossed you are in your otherworld experience) finish your exploration and retrace your steps back to the mouth of the tunnel. The drumming will start again but this time it will be a much faster rhythm; this is to help you quickly move through the tunnel and emerge at the other end, exactly where you started from. As you return, become aware of being back in your physical body and, when you are ready, sit up.

Congratulations: you have just taken your first journey to the otherworld.