Journeywork, shamanism, animal totems… It’s all you read about these days. I see so much of it I would almost assume that this is what everyone is doing, right? And if everyone is doing it, it must be easy, right? And if I can’t do it, it must be an issue with me, right?
Only life isn’t that simple. Shamanism and journeywork aren’t things that everyone can do, they aren’t our heritage or birthright. Look at tribal cultures across the globe. If we imagine a tribe of 50 people, how many of those would be shamans? 2? 1? I want to be very clear here, since this is a controversial topic. IMO, if you haven’t been initiated, you aren’t a shaman. And if you aren’t a shaman, there is a chance you don’t have the mental wiring or spiritual support to do journey work. This is not a fad, this isn’t the next cool thing to do in the pagan community. This is something that I almost died for.
You heard that right. I died and they rewired my brain. On the plus side, I can talk to Gods and spirits and I am starting to see ghosts and other… things. On the minus side, I have sacrificed my chance for a child and my chance to be “normal”. By normal, I mean… not having people look at you weird in the grocery store when you smile at them, being able to follow a conversation at work and not slowly be phased out of the talking because you cant relate and you cant keep up.
I wont get a chance to go back to school and finish my degree, I have other things I need to do. This isn’t whining, this is called tradeoffs. We all have them, we all have to chose.
Did I have a choice? I’m not so sure. Somewhere along the line, after a hospitalization for mental illness, homeless for a year and an illness that had me in fevers and hallucinating for appx 3 weeks, somewhere in there choice became a moot point. I have mourned the loss of “normal” and the loss of any children I might have had and then I have picked myself off, dusted off the dirt and moved on down the path.
So here comes the controversial part: do I think that core shamans and shamanic practitioners and little Betty Wiccan/Druid/Kemetic down the road are doing journeywork? No. Do I think that anyone besides shamans are doing journeywork? Yes. They are the witches and seers and hedgewitches and oracles and siedhworkers and spirit-touched and God-chosen. They are the hidden and the unseen and the ones who DON’T talk about their work and WON’T put their latest travel on their public blog. If someone online and in a public setting says “Oh yeah, I do it all the time and its perfectly safe” chances are they have no idea what they are talking about. But if you peel back the layers and you see hints of death and blood and madness and them lying on the floor crooning kill me… just let me die… just let it be over, I guarantee that you have found a true practitioner.
Journeywork is NOT safe. Those spirits don’t care if you come back in one piece, five pieces or at all.
Journeywork is NOT easy. It takes practice and training and dedication. It has taken me 3 years to learn it, and I only get it right about 30% of the time.
You can’t learn this in a weekend class or seminar. You learn it by dying and then learning how to make your way back from the dead.
I can’t teach you if you aren’t already on the path.
Ok rant over.
I can see your sad faces “But Raan, I really wanted to learn how to visit cool places.” Well, you can. Its called guided meditation. Journeying to you inner psyche is still as cool and untamed and dangerous as journeying to NOR, the difference is anyone can do it cause the majority of us have psyches. The trick is it is your own inner landscape. Want to heal? What to unleash your potential? What to give up bad habits and anger and other things holding you back? Want to meet totems and spirit guides? You can do all of that, I promise.
Google guided meditation and close your eyes and click and most of the links will take you someplace good. You can even listen to drumming. I love you guys so much I’m gonna link my favorite MP3’s here. Its in German which I don’t speak or read but the music is awesome.
Its not journeywork, but hey, someone has got to maintain the sanity, yes?