You already have access to the Spirits. There are a lot of people out there who believe you have to go to someone else to get wisdom or insight from the Otherworld. There are people who think that you must go to someone else to gain insight into the situations that pop up in life. But you really do have access to the Spirits already.
In a Shamanic Practice, most access to the Spirits takes the form of Journeying. This is where direct communication with them happens. And where direct revelation (or intuitive, or psychic, experiences) can take shape. Once into a Shamanic Journey for these reasons, you will sometimes be awe-struck at the accuracy of what the Spirits tell you. But there’s more than just one type of Otherworld Journey.
Journeying into the Otherworld just to make friends. Seriously, it may sound silly to some people, but this is the primary reason I do Shamanic Journeys.
It never hurts to make friends with the beings around you. I don’t think most people realize this, but the world is full of spirits. There are spirits of dead people; spirits of trees, plants, animals, and minerals; spirits of houses; ancestors of your blood, and bone; ancestors of the land (people who passed away there, and their own long line of ancestors). There are so many different spirit beings that it seems senseless not to befriend them.
There are several different types of Ancestors (Ancestors of your own blood, and bone, and Ancestors of the land only being two types). Ancestors - when they’re well-adjusted, healed, and what I call “elevated” - can be super-beneficial.
Your own blood, and bone Ancestors have a vested interest in your well-being, like it or not. And when we’re talking about the well Ancestors (not the hungry dead, or the maladjusted ghosts), they can pass on benefits, and blessings that are (spiritually speaking) your birthright.
Generally, I’ve noticed that Ancestors of our own bone, and blood are found within the Lower World (if you’re using a three-world model, which is my favorite). Ancestors of the Land are generally found in the Middle World.
The benefits of Ancestor veneration, and journeying to spend time with them, are endless.
The fact is - from a Shamanic standpoint - that we’re all born with Animal Medicine. This is the “permanent” animal spirit ally that comes with you at birth, and travels with you throughout your life. More often than not, Power Animals seem to be found in the Lower, and Middle Worlds, although I have seen Bird Allies in the Upper World.
Sometimes, trauma will cause us to lose touch with these beings. And so we experience a certain set of symptoms that allude to Power Animal Loss.
When that happens, Journeying to find your lost Power Animal, or finding one that is willing to take the space of the disappeared Power Animal, is a boone. That Power Animal, whether old or new, once re-inserted into your energetic system, and your Spirit Court, does wonders for the emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Soul Retrieval is a little different from Power Animal Retrieval in the fact that you’re not finding a Power Animal for this one.
Trauma can be superbly spiritually damaging. The truth is that we can often experience a loss of a piece of our soul due to trauma. Our soul can either shrink down, and hide in its entirety, or it can splinter off. When it splinters off due to trauma, that soul shard is what shrinks down to hide.
Often, when we fail to do Shadow Work, that’s precisely what happens. We leave a piece of our soul unprotected, and trauma can cause it to splinter, and seemingly disappear.
The Soul Retrieval Journey allows you to go into the Otherworld, and seek out that lost piece of yourself. Of the several Journeys I’ve done for soul retrieval, about 95% of the soul shards have been found in the Middle World. It gives you the opportunity to call yourself home, to re-engage with the lost piece of your soul, and put it back into its proper empty spot.
There are times when, if we’ve lost of a piece of our soul due to trauma, we have unwanted energies or entities take up that space. In general, this is going to happen in the Middle World, where the hungry dead, and the unwell ghosts tend to hang around. When there’s a gap to fill, something will try to come in to fill it up.
This is why, when we do home cleanings, we call back in blessings, and positive energies, and spirits. We fill that empty spot with something positive so that negative energies don’t get the opportunity to fill the space.
The same thing happens when we lose a bit of our soul. We have to go into a Journey in order to find, and remove the unwanted energy or entity attachment. And then we replace it with the good stuff.
This happens to be the most common Journey. Most of us who go into our inner landscape, or out into the Otherworld do it to find our Spirit Teachers, Guides, and Guardians. They become what I call a “Spirit Court.”
All of the Spirits that we communicate with come together to form that group of Spirits that has an impact on our lives. That group can often act like an Advisory Board, or a team of counselors. I find that when I make contact with my full Spirit Court, it’s usually in my inner landscape that I created for my inner/energy workings a long time ago. This landscape isn’t found in any of the typical Upper, Middle, or Lower Worlds. For me, I’m not exactly certain of where it’s located, other than it’s my own Inner Landscape.
You don’t always have to accept their advice verbatim, and enact it without question. You can negotiate with them, or even completely disregard what they say. You are a sovereign entity in your own life, after all. But having a Spirit Court to go to for advice in some of life’s hard situations is one of the most beneficial reasons to go on a Journey.
I'm sure there are plenty more types of Journeys that I have not yet found, or have not yet categorized for myself. Often, a Journey might not be able to be categorized succinctly. I’d almost bet that there are twice as many reasons for Journeying as there are people who practice it. But these are the types of Journeys I’ve found to be most helpful for my own life.
Why do I think you need to be able to do your own Shamanic Journeys? Because I’d rather you have access to the Spirits yourself, so that if the time ever comes that you’re absolutely alone, and have to rely on yourself, and your Spirits for direction, and guidance, you’ll have the skills to do it. Do I think you should have training in Journeying? Yes, absolutely - from someone who actually Journeys - because there are nuances in Shamanic Journeying that aren’t going to be covered in a “weekend intensive.” But you already have access, even if you’re not fully aware of it yet.
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