An article written by Pia Poulsen in 2010 after she attended the Shamanic Journey workshop with Jenny Ray in 2010.
A Shamanic Journey is a form of guided meditation, using Native American traditions and methods. The experience can be rather powerful, and is usually very enlightening and a stepping stone for personal growth and healing.
My own experience taught me new things about myself and also confirmed things I already had an idea about. It also reminded me to just trust myself and my intuition.
The day starts with laying the Alter, Smudging and tying Prayer Ties. While sitting in the circle, we are told about what will happen. As the Journey goes into the animal kingdom, no names of animals are spoken as not to influence our subconscious minds before the actual visualization.
During a Shamanic Journey various rhythms and beats with the drum is used to bring our minds into a relaxed alpha state. Words spoken guide us into relaxation, so we enter a dreamlike state. Much like how you feel just before you fall asleep and pictures begin to float before your eyes and your awareness of the body slowly disappears.
Once deeply relaxed, you are guided into a nature scene, where you eventually become an animal. All you know is that you have four legs, a tail and so on. During the Journey you walk around, and might encounter other animals, eat your favourite food, see your own reflection and so on. At some point you will identify what animal it is you embody.
You might not just become one animal, but change between several or meet several as you walk through the scenery. Some will see things clearly, as if you were actually there. To others it might be more vague and scattered, and yet others again might sense or feel the animal instead of seeing.
After you have been brought back, you will write down your experience while it’s still fresh in your mind. Then the group will gather in the circle again and taking turns, you will share what you have experienced. The symbolism and messages of the animal will be discussed.
During my first Journey, I didn’t really see things but rather felt it in my body. I could feel how I was a puma. How it was to walk like a feline, the smoothness of the gait, the way I would stretch my body and so on. A rather fascinating sensation. It did take me a bit of learning to accept that I would feel the animal instead of seeing it. So at first I wasn’t sure if my experience was even real. I had to trust that which came to my mind was the messages I was to receive, not doubting myself. I had to trust myself.
Two Journeys are never the same. Depending on the guide and your state of mind that day, you will experience different things and receive different messages. It is certain though, that as long as you keep an open heart and mind, you will learn new things about yourself or a current situation. The animals and their messages are surprisingly accurate. Perhaps it’s not so surprising after all, as it is your subconsciousness which is giving you messages and you’re in a situation where you are willing to listen to it.
If you get the chance, do go onto a Shamanic Journey yourself. It can be very profound and amazing.