Submitted by Howard G. Charing
The Shamanic Journey is a technique, which facilitates a visionary experience into expanded awareness. This activates our imagination and creativity, and allows us to bypass linear, familar and rational thinking. In this state of expanded awareness we can find new insights, perspectives, and ways to resolve problems.
What is Shamanism?
Shamanism is the oldest way in which humanity has sought connection with Creation. The origins of shamanism go back at least 40,000 – 50,000 years to Stone age times. All of us have evolved from shamanic cultures; it is our roots wherever we live.
A shaman knows that all things are alive and ‘walks with one foot in the everyday world and one foot in the spirit world’. Contemporary shamanism is the application of these ancient timeless ways to life here and now.
Shamanism is not a belief system. It is a path to knowledge, which is gained through experience of life, through rituals, ceremonies, prayers and meditation, trials and tests. Knowledge is something that works, that stands up to the test of time that is known from the inside.
Cosmology of the shaman
Shamans divide non-ordinary reality into three other regions, the upper, lower and the middle worlds. Each has its own characteristics and whilst each individual traveller experiences initially their own version, once one becomes a proficient journeyer, it is amazing just how connected we all are at these levels.
The Lower world is the place of instinctual knowing where our animal-like powers reside and where we can find practical earthly help and guidance.
The Upper world is the word of spirit teachers, cosmic beings, great wise elders, ancestors who appear usually in human form. Their help and guidance is often perceived to be more general and philosophical.
The Middle world is both the everyday physical world that we live in, the world of ordinary reality, the tonal, and also a parallel non-ordinary version of our world.
It is a CD specifically made for shamanic journeying, and to do this, the drums have to be as monotonous as possible and maintain a consistent beat between 205 to 210 beats per minute. At this specific beat, the brain is stimulated to synthesise natural beta-endorphins, which facilitate a person to move into what is known as the ‘second attention’, an altered state of awareness, or shamanic state of consciousness. This state of awareness facilitates the shamanic journey.
A Shamanic Journey to the Lower world.
To begin, find a place that you feel comfortable and will not be disturbed for about 30 minutes. When you are ready, lie down comfortably, and darken the room, or at least cover your eyes. It is easier to journey in non-ordinary reality in the dark. Remove tight clothing, take off your shoes and allow your breathing to move to a gentle rhythm. Relax for a few minutes, focusing on being centred, and grounded.
When you are ready visualise or imagine, a place, which reminds you of the Earth, a place which you know of. This place should be a real place; perhaps somewhere you have visited, or seen in a film or photograph, and it can be anywhere, a hill, mountain, grasslands, forest, by the ocean. At this place allow yourself to perceive an entrance or opening into the Lower world. This entrance can be a hollow tree, an animal burrow, a cave entrance, a man-made opening e.g.; a trapdoor, it can any entrance into the ground or water. You will find that the right entrance will feel comfortable to you, take a minute or so to study it in detail.
Now when you are ready, enter into the opening. The beginning of the tunnel may appear dark, it may angle down in a slight incline, or it may incline steeply. The tunnel may appear to be ribbed, and often it bends, sometimes it may become spiral-like, but it will always lead downwards.
Continue down the tunnel until you come out of doors into a landscape. If you come into a cavern, you will need to move outside and into the landscape, there will be an exit for example a door or an opening, which will enable you to do this; it should be easy to get sight of it.
Now in the landscape, just look around. It may be daytime, night-time, forest, woodland, or near water. Extend your senses, listen, can you hear anything, the sound of birdsong, the sound that the wind makes as it blows through the tree tops, perhaps the sound of running, flowing water. Feel the ground underneath your feet, feel the ground pushing up against the soles of your feet. Sense the wind, the breeze, sense the movement of air around you. What does it feel like? Have an awareness of being there.
If you want to explore the landscape, remember where the entrance is, keep track of where you go. Just as in any ordinary-reality journey, it helps if you keep a note of landmarks so you can retrace your steps to return.
• Track 1. Solo Drumming (with call back) 20 minutes with Leo
• Track 2. Solo Drumming (with call back) 20 minutes with Howard
• Track 3. Double Drumming (with Call back) 40 minutes with Leo & Howard
The CD comes with detailed notes describing the cosmology of the shaman, and instructions for a journey.
The drumming was recorded live directly onto digital tape at Sync City recording studio in London. The drumming was played in the ‘live-sound’ studio and no sound modification process was used.
Both drums were single headed frame drums. For the double drumming track, both drums were held facing each other in a position to optimise the natural reverberation.
The recording engineer was Wan Hewitt, himself a professional drummer. He has been dubbed the ‘drummers darling’ due to the great live sound he gets.
More info on the CD:
Drumming for the Shamanic Journey – With Leo Rutherford & Howard G. Charing
Howard G. Charing is a partner in Eagle’s Wing Centre for Contemporary Shamanism. His initiation into the world of Shamanism was sudden, which was caused by a serious accident, which resulted in severe injuries and a near-death experience. After many months of physical pain and disability, he had a transformational experience, which started him on a path to healing. If you like to know more about his work, Howard conducts “Plant Spirit Medicine” journeys to the Amazon Rainforest.