Spirit Garden: Explorations in the Spiritual
Author, shaman, and psychic medium Catt Foy shares experiences and knowledge on a wide range of spiritual topics.
Credit for the above image: "Шаман Ташоол Кунга" by Alexey Gaponov - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Beneath the oculus of the yurt
My "cough" signals spirits are waiting
To come through.
The mirror opens doorways, portals
To other dimensions of non-ordinary reality.
My third eye opens
And the drumming begins.
--(c) Catt Foy, 2014
For years, I searched for inner peace through meditation. And after long hours of practice, I actually did manage to reach a meditative state—once in a while. Then I discovered drum journeying. Shamanism had found me.
Traveling in my mind’s eye through fanciful spaces seemed at first an exercise in imagination—something my writer’s soul reveled in. But more than simple imagination was going on here. The more I journeyed, the more real it seemed; indeed, the more real it became.
In one of those early journeys I saw myself standing on a dirt road on the side of a mountain in the moonlight. I could feel that on the other side and down into the valleys below lay the Amazon. A medicine man appeared, a green-feathered crown sprouting in a circle around his head. I knew I was standing in the Andes.
Months later, I physically traveled to Ecuador on a study abroad program. Wandering in a museum in Cuenca one day, I came upon the headdress I had seen in my vision. It belonged to an Amazon medicine man. Tingles ran through my body and I gaped in awe.
Several days later, we traveled higher to the little village of Principal. At dusk, I took a walk alone, up the dusty road we had ridden in on. When I turned to walk back to the village, it was nearly dark and a near full moon was hanging over the mountains. There before me lay the scene I had experienced months earlier in my vision. I knew I had been called there. It is such a privilege to have such experiences.
Journeying to drums is one way to soothe the brain into alpha or theta waves, opening up the inner world. You can journey alone by simply listening to drum music, or you can journey in a group by participating in a drum circle. I have learned so much from the several drum circles I have joined.
If you have never journeyed before, here is a beginning exercise:
Play some sacred drum music in a quiet darkened room. Sit or lay down. Some people like to cover their eyes.
Non-ordinary reality has three realms: the Upper World of angels, teachers, and masters, the Middle World which is our human realm in non-ordinary reality, and the Lower World, the realm of animal and plant spirits.
For your first journey, imagine yourself in nature somewhere. It can be a real place where you have been, a place you’ve never been but feel drawn to, or an imagined place. Picture it as vividly as possible, listen for the sounds, smell the wind, see the details of your surroundings.
Look around. Somewhere close by you will see a place where you can enter the earth. It may be a cave, a staircase, a waterfall, or an opening in an old tree. This is your entrance to the Lower World. Picture yourself entering the opening and traveling to the Lower World.
As you journey, ask to meet your power animal. Once you are in the Lower World look for an animal. You may see several or only one. Ask each one if they are your power animal. You will receive an answer. Once you have found your power animal, introduce yourself and ask them for one thing you need to know. Listen with your spirit. When they have given you a message, thank them and return to your starting place in nature. Open your eyes and write down what you experienced for future reference.
It is important to not judge anything you see or experience. Simply note the experience, thank the animal or guide for the information, and contemplate its meaning later. There are many good books that list what each animal means as a power animal, or totem. Or you can look it up online. Your power animal may be an eagle or a cricket, a bear or a spider, a dolphin or a mouse--any animal. Remember not to judge or dismiss any information you receive.
For further reading, I like Medicine Cards by David Carson, a Native American style oracle, and Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer, Ph.D. You can learn more about shamanism in Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation, by Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman. This volume also comes with a drumming CD for journeying on your own.
Check your local Meet-Ups online for drum circles, or drum journey groups. You can often find drum journey groups through your local Unitarian Universalist Church. Remember to trust the information you receive, and happy journeys!
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