Month: November 2014


Explanation of Shamanism and Shamanic Journey

Seeing in the Dark

The practice of shamanism is 30,000 to 40,000 years old. As a cross-cultural, worldwide phenomenon, it is part of the human spiritual heritage. Indeed, in the book, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Mircea Eliade concludes that shamanism has much to offer contemporary Westerners.

The word “shaman” comes from the Tungus tribe of Siberia and means “healer” or “see-er in the dark.” Using the strong eye, or the heart, one “sees in the dark” by means of a technique called journeying. Easy to learn, journeying allows one to move into the world of spirit (also called non-ordinary reality), outside of time and space. Usually journeying is done to the accompaniment of monotonous percussion or rhythms such as drums, sticks or rattles; singing, breath, Tibetan singing bowls, didgeridus or dance.

Practitioners of shamanism use the journey to enter visionary states of consciousness and to explore the usually hidden realities known more often through myths, dreams and mystical experiences. Rather than receiving information second hand, journeying provides the opportunity to interact and communicate directly with the world of spirit. When journeying, one has access to information, loving wisdom and guidance that can be used for personal growth and healing, and/or for the healing of others and the community.

The journey itself is similar to a lucid dream. When daydreaming, one has control over everything in the dream. When night dreaming, usually one has no control over anything in the dream. In a lucid dream, however, one has control over oneself, but not over anything else in the dream. This is what a journey is like, except that when journeying, one makes a choice to enter an altered state of consciousness at will to contact and utilize non-ordinary—and mostly hidden—reality.

When one journeys, one usually does so in the company of guides and guardians. Guides may appear as mythical figures, angelic beings, wise women and men, and animals. The term “power animal” refers to an animal that takes pity on us, volunteers to protect us, keeps us healthy and safe, and helps us to connect with the loving energy of the universe. Most shamanic cultures believe that each of us is born with at least one power animal and guide. Most of us have two to three power animals around us at any one time. Indeed, some of us seem to have a whole zoo. Other guides may come and go as needed.

Many of us forget about our power animals by around age seven (those so-called “imaginary playmates”). If we lose the connection completely we will likely start showing signs of power animal loss. These signs include chronic illnesses such as colds, viruses or flu, where we seem to have difficulty protecting the body’s integrity. Other signs include chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, or persistent “bad luck.”

Shamanism is a methodology, not a religion. It is remarkably safe. The techniques require a kind of relaxed discipline; and, if one does not remain focused and maintain the requisite discipline, s/he will simply return to ordinary consciousness. Most people can accomplish in a few hours what usually takes years to achieve in meditation. It is estimated that 95% of persons, if properly taught and willing to practice, have the ability to journey.

If you are interested in learning to journey, come join us in one of the basic workshops we offer on shamanic journeying.

Barbara Bloecher is offering a series of (mostly) one-day workshops on shamanism. The basic workshop on how to journey (including meeting your power animal and upper world guide), or equivalent experience, is required for the intermediate workshops.

For further information about the workshops, e-mail Barbara at [email protected] or visit her web site at

Books of Interest

Michael Harner:

The Way of the Shaman

Sandra Ingerman

Shamanic Journeying (a Beginners Guide) **

 Soul Retrieval

Welcome Home

Medicine for the Earth

Awakening to the Spirit World

Tom Cowan:

Fire in the Head, Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit

Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life **

Hank Wesselman:




Journey to the Secret Garden

Ted Andrews:

Animal Speak

Animal – Wise

Steven D. Farmer

Animal Spirit Guides

John Perkins:

The World is as You Dream It: Shamanic Teachings from the Amazon and Andes

Psychonavigation: Techniques for Travel Beyond Time Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation

Roger N. Walsh:

The Spirit of Shamanism

Mircea Eliade:

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy

Nan Moss and David Corbin:

Weather Shamanism: Harmonizing our Connection with the Elements

Shamanic Definitions

Shaman – one who sees in the dark. Healer. A hollow bone.

Shaman – utilize aspect of sacred technology to expand their conscious awareness, allowing them to engage in visionary journeys into the inner dimension of reality.

Shaman – master of trance. They dissociate aspect of their soul and literally spiritwalk into levels of the inner worlds where they encounter spirits…of nature god’s, deceased ancestors, spiritual masters etc.

Shaman – a man or woman that interacts directly with spirits to address the spiritual aspects of illness, perform soul retrievals, divine information, help the spirits of deceased people cross over, and perform variety of ceremonies of the community.

Shaman – act as healers, doctors, priests, psychotherapists, mystic and storytellers in a tribal community.

Shaman – a person that can voluntarily enter altered states of consciousness, experience themselves journey to other realms, and use these journeys as a means for acquiring knowledge, or power, or to help people.

Shaman – a person who understands that there is life in everything, who has direct personal experience of realms of non-ordinary reality and is able to function within them. A shaman is a harmoniser, one who heals at all levels – physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual – and in a particular way.

Shaman – spiritually developed men and women who recognize that life is in all things, who are able to work with cosmic and natural forces and to experience different levels of awareness from physical reality.