Hey there. I had a little trouble making the time earlier today to write about the next chapter in the book, Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Journey, but I finally got around to some time with Pandora, and some decent contemplation to spell out my thoughts on this leg of the journey.
In this chapter we explore the Three Worlds, how to access them, who we meet while we are there, and how best to understand them so that we can better ourselves in that exploration.
From Buddhism, Hinduism, ancient Greece, and tribal traditions, there is a recognition of a multi-layered reality usually manifested in three or more worlds. The basic composition of these worlds take the form of a lower, middle, and upper world. We have examples such as Hell, Heaven, and Earth; Underworld, Middle World, and Upper World; Desire, Form, and Non-Form.
They aren't always so neatly separated, or accessed, many of the myths describe specific cultural practices to enter these dimensions of reality... some were one way trips, others by journeymen, adepts, shamans, and deities who came in went through various rituals, or ecstatic states, returning transformed to the world new beings.
For our purposes, the three worlds as I have learned them are as follows:
- The Lower World / Underworld, a place of ancestors, healing, and deep power in the unknown. Underworld journey's can connect us to our subconscious, unconscious, the Psychic Mind, and those beings that have gone before that we know as the Ancestor Spirits.
- The Middle World is the world most of us are familiar with the accepted "physical reality" of time and space. It is also connected to the planetary, elemental, astrological, and astral powers and forces that directly interact with our here-and-now. This is our Conscious Mind.
- The Upper World is the realm of the Gods, the Super Conscious, or Higher Self. It is here that our "spiritual" guidance is accessed through interfacing with Divine Forms and Archetypal powers, Gods and Goddesses, Angels, and Avatars.
In the book, Awakening to the Spirit World, The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation, I find a well know method of accessing the three worlds. Sandra and Hank direct us to a cave or some entry into the earth for our Lower World Journey, and a Mountain or Tree to access the Upper World.
I have become very comfortable with a vast tree as my three world access. Through the roots I find a cave that leads into the nether realms. The forest and land about the trunk and the earth that it has rooted in supplies the Middle World journeys. Finally I climb, fly, or ascend the tree to the highest branches, where in a blaze of light the leaves become energy, stars, the stuff of the cosmic universe, and I find myself in the realm of the Gods of the Upper World.
It's a simple but a powerful tool for accessing and awakening the three minds and our awareness of the three primary worlds.
In the journey into the three worlds we meet guides, guardians, and teachers. In my opinion I have not found that the worlds are specific to certain types of energies. For example it's suggested that when we journey to the Underworld we will meet an animal spirit, and then a "Helper Spirit" in the Upper world, I do want to say that animal archetypes and totemic spirits are present in all three worlds. This is not a criticism, more of an observation. I think the authors make it clear what to generally expect by pointing us in the right direction.
Within the chapter we find guidelines for the journeys the reader will embark upon. Deeply personal voyages that will lead us to revelation through interaction with the animals, plants, energies, and beings that populate these worlds. There are tips and tools such as the use of lighting, music, and basic limits of the world details. Beyond that it's recommended that we look within to find the meaning of what we encounter: Feel, listen, ask questions, and interact. Notice how we react to the world. Some of us visually see things, others may experience sensations, memory or even smells that are essential messages. We are unique beings with at least six senses. Individually we process information and deal with reality in common and unique ways. Some people are listeners and so may hear message with very little or no visual experience. Some of us may see something but have an emotional message, or even a physical sensation. In this chapter we are directed to take note of these reactions, or messages.
Lately in my journey work I've found that I encountered several types of beings in my travels between worlds. Deities, animals and plants that were teachers and markers when I traveled. All are teachers that relate to my life experience in the Upper, Middle, and Lower Worlds. For example in my middle world journey at this point in my life I found myself at the trunk of the tree. Spending time there I found clover, and a little white flower, a snake, a fox, and the God Pan stepped out from around the tree to greet me.
My most intense journey was in the Underworld. There I was faced with some seemingly horrific, monstrous imagery that related to fear and shadow. I believe that the "Seer should not be afraid to SEE" and so I embraced the images, passing through my recoil and found my first messenger, a white osprey, which lead me down a shining path to a Goddess in the Dark, composed of a shining silver light. That Goddess turned was Hekate, and a lot of my work in the last 3 months have been centered around working with her lessons, reflecting on what I experience there and how it relates to my family, my fears, healing myself and others.
When we become accustomed to the journey, comfortable with the experience, then we can begin to translate the messages we receive with greater clarity and insight.
The Shamanic Journey is also a path of ecstatic release from the bonds of the self. We can use music to achieve this state but dance, breath work, and other forms of ritual work that have been employed throughout the ages can be used, such as fasting (denial) to reach altered states of being. For the new traveler I would stick with the basic practices of safely adjusting lighting, the use of sound, and scent to reach altered states. Save the more advanced work, safely, for later when you reach a more practiced method of journeying.
My suggestion, if you are new the magickal path, is to work with this chapter for a few weeks until you are confident in your interaction. Remember that intention is the backbone of your journey work. Before you begin a journey to the three worlds follow some simple guidelines.
- Set aside the time when you can do the work without being interrupted.
- Keep a journal of your work so that you can reflect back accurately what you have experienced and compare it to previous journeys and your day-to-day life when you receive messages, lessons, and anything that seems significant while you meditate and travel.
- Try a cleansing exercise before you begin like a ritual bath to cleanse the physical and psychic bodies; a meditation to release your connections to the day; smudging or the use of incense to cleanse your Auric field and focus your mind; or all of the above.
- Set your intention for the journey. Initially you may wish to meet your guides in the three worlds. Later you may choose to seek aid in healing, answers to questions / problems, or paths to greater awareness. Writing out, and meditating on why you are performing the quest is important. All life, all things we do are a meditation, make your journey's a conscious meditation (as they should be) so that you can get the most out of them.
- Record, reflect, compare. All things are connected and the psychic or archetypal imagery has meaning.
There is much more to the chapter, "The Shamanic Journey" but I find the important thing to take away is the internal landscapes that you will travel and the lesson of the practice. Find your method and stick to it, routinely, as this is one of the "basics" that creates the foundation for all of your future work.
If you are reading along, or you have your own story to share about a three worlds journey. I'm all ears. :)
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- Journey to Find Your Spirit Animal (dharmaauthor.com)
- Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner's Guide Reviews (shamanism.knowledge-pool.com)
- Didgeridoo for the Shamanic Journey (whitecranes.wordpress.com)