From Chapter 14. Going Beyond the Limits
Now that you have had some practice with the Lower and Upper Worlds, it is time to begin journeying into more of the numinous world. While an extension of the journeying you have already practiced, I have found that these kinds of journeys expand your perceptual map even further. In so doing, these journeys expand your minds ability to more easily process new, unique information - a critical part of the learning process. Stretching the mind’s perceptual limitations also enhances the ability to visualize and pre-test any new concepts or possible solutions to problems in your mind. In other words, you become much better at developing and refining new possibilities prior to actualizing them. This is a skill that can save time, energy and reduce materials that would have been used in prototyping ideas. . . .
Journeying is designed as a method for perceiving that which isn’t as readily available in ordinary reality. For instance, journeying is a way to experience that which is too small, too large, too distant, or too faint to perceive with ordinary senses. When we stretch beyond the reality that is currently defined by our senses, we also expand our current construct of what is “real.” In some ways, it also boosts our sense of connection as we extend our internal map to encompass the non-ordinary.
In thinking about our connections to nature, when we have had an experience of a tree’s sentience in a journey, we can no longer go back to seeing it as a thing. The “it” becomes a “who.” If we then expand that idea to our larger cosmos, to the past and to the future, we begin to perceive ourselves and integrated into a larger context of being connected through multiple temporal and spatial pathways. We understand in a visceral way that we can never truly be solitary or alone. This feeling of being integrated into the infinite web of existence changes how we are able to be in our world. With such a perspective, we are more likely to be courageous about sharing our ideas and talents. We are more likely to extend ourselves by stepping into new adventures. We are also much more likely to be willing collaborators with others for achieving those things that serve our community and our environment.
These forays beyond the usual shamanic landscape can be of many different kinds. For instance, you might choose a journey experience of a time in the distant past to witness something you only read about. Choosing to voyage into a potential future that is not yet fixed or predetermined but based on current choices might be an exciting choice. Journeying to the furthest galaxy or into other dimensions of reality is also possible. Frankly, with the companionship of your power animal and teacher, you can “boldly go” where you have never been before! For these “beyond the map” journeys, it is equally important to merge with your power animal! This will allow you to have deeper experiences while also knowing that you are both safe, and able to more easily return to ordinary reality.
As you journey into truly unknown territory, you will find that you are also having experiences that not only stretch your mind’s perceptions but also teach your body that you are not limited by ordinary time-space. Your physical body holds memories that can limit your creativity. They might be memories of loss, of failure, or some other restrictive belief. When you allow it to make new, extraordinary memories, it has a way of displacing what no longer serves you. This is especially important as you age or if you have a physical challenge. To be able to experience true wonder and joy and to explore that which felt “impossible” is liberating! In that liberation, you unleash more of your vitality and that can easily translate into having more “creative juice!”
The journeys that follow will take you through a series of these “off the map” experiences. As you have done with other exercises in this book, take time to familiarize yourself with the directions before you embark, merge with your power animal and always return at the call back. The return to ordinary reality is where the real benefits of the journeys will be experienced. The effect will be that you will be able to “Be here, now” with more energy and vitality! You may find that the snack and water help you to ground yourself more fully.
As I’ve stated before, if you feel vague or ungrounded after any of the journeys in this book, go outdoors and feel the breeze touching your face. Then focus on your feet and allow yourself to really feel that you are standing on the body of Mother Earth. Notice any trees, plants, animals or birds that may be around you. Take deep full breaths and feel the gift of being alive in this moment in time-space!
Journeying into the Past
In this section, you’ll be taking journeys into the past to have experiences that can inform your present. Whenever we undertake any journey, we can be transformed by the experience and by the information we receive. When we go into the past, we can learn from those who contributed to us being alive.
Cruising to the Primordial Sea
For this exercise, you will need:
• A comfortable place to sit, lie down, or move safely
• Your sketch/notebook and a pen
• A clear question you have written down in your sketch/notebook
• A blindfold or bandana for covering your eyes*
• A way to listen to your shamanic journey rhythm recording
• A small, post-journey snack and water
*If you are more comfortable standing or moving, you may do so to help you feel more inspirited both prior to and during the journey. Make sure you will be safe if you move around. Lift your blindfold slightly onto your brow so that you can partially see your environment.
Making the Journey
1. Begin your journey in your special place in Middle World.
2. Call your power animal to you.
3. Great her or him and state your intent, “Take me back to the Primordial Sea that incubated the first life on earth.”
4. Merge with your power animal to guide you through time.
5. Once you arrive at the Primordial Sea, ask your power animal to show you the life forms that flourished there.
6. Meet a lifeform you are curious about. Get to know this new ally!
7. This being may communicate with you. You may also connect through metaphor or symbols. They may even take you on a journey within a journey. Whatever it is, just allow the process to unfold before you. If something doesn’t seem to make sense, ask for clarification until you understand.
8. When you hear the drumming change to the callback signal, thank the lifeform, and retrace your steps to pass back through the boundary into Middle World, and return fully to your starting place and ordinary reality.
9. When the callback is finished, take a deep breath and thank your power animal for this new experience. Open your eyes.
10. While drinking your water, think about how you and all life on Earth depends upon the waters of the world.
Take time to internalize and process what you experienced. Write down all of your thoughts and feelings about the experience this journey provided.
What was it like to witness the earliest lifeforms?
What did you learn from observing them?
How do you think that meeting them will change your way of living?
How did your visit change how you perceive the “little things” you meet in your life?
If your first visit left you wanting to learn more, make a list of potential questions you may want to ask in your sketch/notebook.
Additional Journey Experiences into the Past
• Journey to meet the first tiny mammal that is the ancestor of all mammals–including human beings.
• Journey to meet and thank humankind’s mitochondrial mother.
• Journey to visit your ancestral landscape 10,000 years ago.
• Journey to meet an ancestral spirit of a landscape feature near your home.