Journeying is an experience that begins from a trance state. There are already times in your life when you are in trance: when you are day dreaming, and when you are dreaming when you sleep. When you are day dreaming, you control where you are and with whom you speak. You control what you say and do, and you control the actions and words of whomever you meet. And you control the outcome of your adventure. You have complete control over a day dream and you can stop it at any time.

During your nighttime dreams, unless you lucid dream, you control very little. You show up somewhere, have interactions with someone, and you are along for the ride in the adventure. There is very little you can do, except experience what is going on. You can’t even stop it, unless you have developed the skill to wake yourself up.

Journeying is a combination of these two experiences. In a journey, you decided where you are going to go. You decide how you get there. You make an intention to meet a certain helping spirit. Most often that helping spirit meets you where you have indicated. But you don’t control the interaction with this being. You have control over what you say and do, but the helping spirits you meet are independent beings. They control what they say and do. And you don’t control what helping spirits do appear. Most often, the helping spirit you call to is the one who meets you, but sometimes, others show up. And like a day dream, you can end a journey at any time. You do not have to wait for the call back of the rattle or drum to return.

Journeying is a spiritual technique of traveling “outside of time and space” to the spirits for the purposes of healing and problem solving. This technique can be used by anyone, and can supplement the individual’s personal spiritual practices. The most common way to reach the journey state is to use percussive sound (i.e., drum or rattle), and “ride” the sound waves into what Carlos Castaneda called non-ordinary reality.

Non-ordinary reality is subdivided into three areas: Upper, Lower, and Middle Worlds. In the Lower World, the helping compassionate spirits usually (although not always) present themselves as animals. The terrain is usually experienced as jungles, forests, seas, mountains: earthy type landscapes. The Upper World is usually experienced as a more ethereal place, where the compassionate helping teachers usually (although not always) present themselves in human form as deceased ancestors, religious leaders, or figures from history. The landscape maybe crystal cities, ancient civilizations, or simple clouds. The Middle World looks a lot like ordinary reality. Here you will find compassionate helping spirits in the form of the nature spirits and the “little people” or “spirit people” which are also know as fairies, elves, gnomes, giants, etc.

There are many benefits to learning to journey, and I will list the two that I think are the most important. I think the main one is that journeying is empowering. You don’t have to rely on someone else for your answers. In my opinion and experience, the spirits have the answers to my life problems. I no longer have to give my power away by asking other people to solve my problems for me. I journey to get my answers. Another wonderful benefit is that I experience direct contact with the Divine in myself and the world. It has really changed my perception of the world and what goes on around me. And that change has had a huge impact on how I am in this world, and how the world interacts with me. For the most part, I am very happy and joy filled.

The question often comes up as to who can journey. My belief and my experience is that anyone can journey. Sometimes it doesn’t happen on the first try, but with practice, anyone can journey. I would like to voice a caution here: if you have problems with determining what reality you are in at any given time, then this practice is not for you at this time. I would advise you to pursue other healing work, until you are more grounded and have more control of your abilities to “travel”. Journeying is a skill of discipline. We leave from the same place every time, and we return to the same place, by retracing our steps. We return on the call back from the drum or rattle. It is imperative that you have the ability to work within this disciplined framework.

And, I want to include some information about children and journeying. I think the experience of journeying is very empowering for our children and youth. We live in a society that is constantly dis-empowering our children. I think anything we can do to change that tide, and to help children to find their inner voice is no longer an option. However, parenting of empowered children is much more difficult than parenting dis-empowered children. It means that we as adults will have to step up our level of parenting, and work with our own dysfunctional behaviors and beliefs. But the alternative is bleak. Children are our future, they are the world’s future. Do we want a future of empowered youth, who have found their voice and there inner strength, and are taking positive action in the world, or do we want more people living within the victim mentality, afraid to be seen, and passively letting life happen around them?

I chose to teach all three of my children to journey when they were around the age of ten. Children take to this practice a lot easier than adults, and my children are amazing journeyers. My two older ones are teenagers now, and this process isn’t “cool”, so they don’t practice journeying very often. My hope is that they will come back to it as they get older, and time will tell. My youngest, on the other hand, uses this practice on a regular basis. He journeys to get information that helps him with school. He used to struggle with ideas for creative writing. Now, he journeys to his power animal for ideas to write about. He also journeys to get information to solve personality issues with his friends.

There are two ways that I teach journeying. One way, is in a two day format, usually over a weekend, with a group of people. In this format, you will learn to journey to the upper and lower worlds. You will also experience a divination exercise and you will have the opportunity to do a power animal retrieval for a partner. The cost of this workshop is dependent upon the rental cost of the facility, and the number of students that attend. I prefer to have at least six students in a workshop, or it is too difficult to hold the energy. Ten or more people is much better, and twenty is great. The timing of this workshop is to start at 10:00 AM. on both Saturday and Sunday, and to end at 6:00 PM. It is possible to start earlier and end earlier. There is an hour and a half break for lunch. The cost is usually around $175.00 for both days, but that is only a ball park figure. At the end of this workshop, most participants (but not always everyone) are ready to journey on their own. They may choose to take another workshop to learn more advance shamanic techniques, but as for journeying, they only need to practice the skills they have just learned.

The second format I teach journeying in, is an individual format. In this format, I would schedule seven sessions with the student, who would meet with me in my office, each session one week a part from the previous session. The student would learn to journey to the lower and upper worlds. In this format, the student is taught to journey and narrate the journey as he goes. The student wears head phones with a tape of the drumming or rattling, and the student is hooked up to a microphone so that as they narrate, their journey is taped. As the student journeys, I take dictation, writing down the journey. This keeps me engaged, and helps me to locate the areas the student may be having difficulty with or where they need pointers to improve their journeying skill. At the end of the seven sessions, the student will 99% of the time be ready to journey on their own. They have accomplished the basic journeying skills and they only need to practice these skills. If there are still unresolved issues, the number of session can be extended. The seven sessions range in appointment time from 90 minutes to 120 minutes. And because the student is doing this in an individual session with me, this format is more costly than the workshop format. Because it is important that the student completes the entire set of sessions, I have reduced my fee from what I would usually charge for individual sessions, to help defer the cost. The cost of this process is $480.00. My fee does not need to be paid in full at the initial visit, it can be paid in installments over the seven sessions.

Because I think it is so important to teach our children and our youth this experience, there is no charge for them in the workshop format, and I will halve the cost for the individual format. I also run workshops just for children and youth, and the cost there is just to cover the rental space. There is one caveat to this. Sometimes it might not be appropriate for a particular child to be in an adult weekend format. Children sometimes need more movement to hold their focus. So, I would want to discuss bringing a child to an adult weekend format with you before you sign them up for a workshop. We may be able to arrange a better learning situation for your child.

How to decide which format to choose? I think the workshop format works for most people. However, some one may want to learn to journey sooner than I have a workshop scheduled. One way to help yourself out here, would be to find at least five (nine would be better) of your closest friends who would like to join you on this adventure. Then contact me, and I will do a workshop for your group. A reason people might want to do the individual sessions, is that they tried the workshop format, and it didn’t work for them. They had difficulty journeying. In this case, working with me on an individual basis, I can help you identify the source of your problem, and work with you on a solution. And then, there is always the personal reason. Maybe you don’t like groups, and would much prefer working on a one-on-one situation.

Which ever format you choose, journeying is a phenomenal experience, and I invite you to join me on this adventure. I wish you all the very best with fruitful journeys. Shilo

For more information about my current workshops, click here.

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