Hey guys! I sure have been busy this past month, with my recovering from deaths doorstep and heading out to Standing Rock and all. I somehow managed to write up a Journey Track outline for beginner journeyers because my inbox was becoming full with people who had questions about doing it by themselves at home. With all of that being said and done, the next few months are probably going to blow by fast for me. I’ve taken up training with an indigenous teacher, as well as going out on my first retreat with Christina Pratt in June (I’m in her four year training program and starting year 1 this year). So that means that we are going to move a little bit quicker in the journey group.
The last two months we have been working on the topic of earth as an element, and exploring that relationship as a metaphor of our physical body. The rest will be as follows on this big medicine wheel we will be taking a dive into 😉
Main Post: Purity and the Elements – Exploring the four element system, what it means, and the inter-connectedness/inter-related aspects of it all
April: Element of Air – Exploring the mental wisdom body and how to bring about the clarity of the mind
May: Element of Fire (post coming soon) – Exploring the spiritual wisdom body and how we can use passion to fuel our drive in the world
June: Element of Water (post coming soon) – Exploring the emotional wisdom body and how we can use our emotions as a useful processing tool instead of drowning or being numbed by them.
Along with the basic journey group meetups, there is also a Shamanic Journeying Basics class on April 8th, as well as the Open Heart Path class on April 18th. Hooray for fun events this month!
Event listings for Eagle Therapies:
April 2nd – Heart Centered Sound Circle
This is the extended version of the 5-10 minutes of singing/chanting we do before we journey. It’s a ceremony that lasts for an hour. Begins at 1pm.
April 6th – Element of Air: Shamanic Journey Group
Today we will find the inter-connectedness and inter-relatedness of the element of air, and see how it fits in with the element of earth. Earth helps us cultivate a sense of wellbeing, as well as a sense of place, presence, and grounding. Earth helps us ask the question, “What do I stand for, and why do I stand for it?”. As earth helped pave the ground work, now we can step into the realm of air and be able to take on responsibility and power. The element of air helps us connect to vision as well as clarity, clear sight, and truth.
April 7th – First Friday in Fairfax – Drum Circle!
This is just a fun get together with drums, rattles, and shaky things 🙂 Come join in community!
April 8th – Shamanic Journeying Basics – The Bare Bones
This is meant for everyone from beginners who know nothing about journeying, all the way to experienced journeyers who want a refresher. This will also include a journey group right after, as well as a question and answer.
Cost: $15 – Please bring cash or paypal ahead of time
April 18th – The Open Heart Path workshop
This is one of my favorite workshops to teach, because the Open Heart Path is very near and dear to my heart (pun intended). Come find out what it means to live in todays world full of courage, and to bring your medicine to the table.
Cost: $15 – Please bring cash or paypal ahead of time
April 20th – Element of Air: Shamanic Journey Group
Whenever there is a light, if the light falls on an object of attention, it casts a shadow. The shadow aspect of the element of air is the tornado. Sometimes in life, we reach a point of hopelessness that it feels like an aspect of ourselves is suffocating. We feel stuck and can sometimes feel like we cannot move forward without being restricted in some ways. The tornado can help breathe a breath of life back into the stagnation that was there.
To all of my beloveds and family members that supported us as my teacher and I went out to Standing Rock, here is a synopsis of our journey. My teacher and I co-wrote this together, but it’s written in his point of view. I’m not going to bother changing it because I’ve had many other projects that I’ve been working on. Feel free to read, comment, share, and everything else. Based off of my Walk With Buffalo post, I find it very funny that a Buffalo Mother decided to walk up to the car to lick it 😛
Posted on his Facebook page at 7:00pm on March 29th
Greeting my Family, Friends and Earth Companions! I am home from my trip to Standing Rock, N.D, and here is our (Stephanie and my) combined synopsis of the trip and what we found and did there. I traveled there this time with a good friend and shamanic student of mine, Stephanie Seger. She is also a shamanic healer in her own right and runs Eagle Therapies to help others. When we arrived, we found out that all the original camps have been completely destroyed by the government with the approval of the Standing Rock Tribes Chief, Dave Archambault, and the council. You can read more about that here . The work on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is complete and the oil either is or will be flowing through it by the time I get this finished and out to everyone.
The journey started on Sunday, March 12, 2017. We drove for a little over 12 hours to Peoria, IL and stopped for the night to avoid driving in the blizzard that was coming east. It was a good decision, because we missed the snowfall pretty much completely and started driving again Monday morning to complete our trip to Bismarck, ND. We saw many vehicles’ in the ditches and medians that validated Lora and Stephanie’s counsel to stop and got into Bismarck, ND about 2am on Tuesday. A little over 1800 miles with no problems, we were blessed. We spent much of the drive both days exchanging stories while Stephanie worked on her many art projects. She tends to be a very creative person. One of her projects included free hand painting a buffalo on a new drum.
Tuesday morning when we woke up, we rolled out and went to Standing Rock to see what was going on. We were met by a Federal Marshall, who told us that we were not allowed to go into or see the area where the Oceti Sakowin Camp or Sacred Stone camps were. As we had approached Standing Rock, we had seen two small camp areas that had teepees and tents. When we went back to the larger camp, we introduced ourselves to the Four Bands Prayer Camp (Cheyenne River Camp). We met with the leaders (Leon Red Dog and Johnnie Aseron) to find out what they were doing and how we could help. Cheyenne River Lakota Chairman Harold Frazier has authorized the Cheyenne River Camp on the Cannon Ball River. Its purpose will be educational and spiritual. They gave us a copy of their rules for the camp (attached) and said that they need labor, supplies and financial support. So we rolled up our sleeves (figuratively, since it was about 6 degrees out) and help put up tents and clear snow. They didn’t have a general sleeping area yet, so we headed back to Bismarck to sleep since our tent was not going to be warm enough to allow us to stay on site.
It was still light when we left, so we stopped at the second, smaller camp on our way out and found out it was the Wolf’s Den (Sacred Buffalo Prayer Camp). It was an interesting and magical introduction. I stayed in the car while Stephanie walked up and introduced both of us. Stephanie has the gift of working with Spirit Guides, and met the crew outside. They almost turned her away, indicating that this was private property, when somehow her charm and way with words won them over. It also helped that at the same time of explaining her gifts, a Silver Hawk (my Native name and totem) flew in through the middle of camp, catching everyone’s attention. This is a rare occurrence and piqued their interest. It helped us as we introduced ourselves and asked about the camp. The Wolf Den is a smaller, independent camp that is trying to maintain the spirit and purpose of the Standing Rock camps that have been dismantled / destroyed. We went in to their primary tent and listened to their story and then Stephanie was asked to drum on her newly painted Buffalo drum. As Stephanie shared her story of being guided there by a buffalo spirit, the Lakota Song Keeper picked up on the holiness and exchanged song for song. It sealed their acceptance of her and they asked us to come back the next day, since they also didn’t have a general sleeping area yet. They only had one request for supplies to make a good beef stew and maybe some pork chops and bacon. Little did we know, but this camp is home to the “Walking Thunder Buffalo Project”, where they have many buffalo hides available for fleshing/tanning purposes as an educational tool. The hides will be used in sacred ceremony, to teach people about the spirituality that once thrived in these areas before colonialism.
Wednesday morning we rolled out and returned to the Wolf’s Den Camp first and delivered a very large top roast, 20 pounds of potatoes, 20 pounds of carrots, 20 pounds of celery, 20 pounds of onions and several packs of organic beef broth for the stew as well as two large packs of pork chops and two large packs of extra thick bacon. To say the least, it was well received. After catching up, Stephanie was asked if she would like to help with the fleshing of a sacred buffalo hide. She was excited about the opportunity and went out to work in the cold with one of the people. I went on to the Four Bands Prayer Camp (Cheyenne River Camp) to continue to help set up tents and organize supplies and materials. While I was working there, the camp had visits / inspections from the BIA, FBI, and state and local police departments. I believe that the visits were staged to interrupt our efforts, because all of them happened about 2 hours apart and took the better part of an hour. They required we show our ID’s and took photos of our vehicles. Overall it was a good productive day and we were both exhausted by the end of it. Since there still was no general sleeping area available yet, we returned to Bismarck and had dinner with a friend of Stephanie’s who happens to be the lead attorney for the Water Protector Legal Collective. Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) provides on-the-ground legal representation and coordination at Standing Rock, North Dakota in partnership with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). Sandra La Huracán went to North Dakota and left her loved ones in Colorado to stand for the people, and is a big reason that many are not still in jail. I truly honor her work and heart. We are all connected.
Thursday was another work day for both of us at the respective camps and I was also asked to go and assist with two PTSD veterans who were having issues with the local authorities and were being moved to the VA Hospital in Fargo. While I did this, Stephanie helped dig out the sweat lodge from a good half foot to a foot of snow. The weather had begun to warm up and it was just a beautiful day to be out doors in nature. It was a beautiful enough day that some of the native plants were peeking up through some of the snow, and the Lakota Song Keeper had decided to share some indigenous knowledge with her. I remember her smile as she shared the splendor of the freshly harvested sage and bison berries. This works agrees with her spirit and energy. But our mission and purpose was about to change. Stephanie had been invited to go to the Rosebud Reservation to talk to a chief and medicine man who runs the Sun Dance there. It was a very exhausting day both mentally and physically for the both of us, and we rested well until we packed up and headed out to the Rosebud reservation about 5 hours south of Cannon Ball, ND. Again, our trip was filled with magic, love, craft projects, and stories exchanged between us.
By the time we arrived, Stephanie was very nervous about meeting a medicine man of such power. She felt him miles out from our destination, and was more reserved then what she normally is. It was a lovely meeting that turned into a deepening kinship between people of a shared purpose. It’s hard to describe, but there’s something special about recognizing who your family members are, and realizing that we are all apart of the same tribe. Once Stephanie got her drum out from the car, the medicine man did an impromptu drum blessing for her newly painted drum. She was moved to tears and couldn’t speak for a little, and we continued conversation – all of us respecting the sacred nature of what had been unfolded before us. There was a lag in conversation when the medicine man turned to look at Stephanie as she held her twice blessed drum, and asked, “So are you going to sing?” Again she was taken aback, but obliged anyway. They asked if they could record her song by video, and she happily responded with a yes. It was another magical moment of a blessing exchange (because the song Stephanie sang was a blessing for the Earth). After her song and in between the discussion, I noticed that Gilly (medicine man) kept moving rather quickly through the background, gathering and collecting certain items and writing things down. Our conversation evolved, and when there was a lull in conversation, Gilly invited us to a ceremony in the Black Hills. We both voiced we were interested in going, and then he hands me a piece of paper with information already written down on it, and informs us that he already told people that we were coming. This adventure seemed to not end as we got another tip in our scavenger hunt of a trip. From this meeting, we drove down to Rapid City, SD where we got a hotel room for the night and got some much needed rest and stretching from being in the car all day.
Saturday was our last day in the Dakotas, and we spent it in prayer, ceremony, and blessing. We made it out to the Black Hills, which is a sacred site for the Lakota Sioux. We were gifted by live visits from buffalo, prairie dogs, antelope, hawks, deer, and many other types of wildlife. The buffalo even walked up to the truck to lick salt off of it! Stephanie felt called at one point to gather rocks from a buffalo wallow (this is where the buffalo roll around in the grass and leave a depression of dirt). We found the perfect wallow in the middle of a field where there were no buffalo (because you know, safety). She took some of the sage seeds that she gathered while she was with the Lakota Medicine Man at Standing Rock, and did a small ceremony to bury the seeds at the four corners of the buffalo wallow. She picked the three most perfect rocks, for her, my wife and I. As she was walking back, she smiled brightly as she found a sprig of sage that was broken off from the root, next to a buffalo hoof print. Funny that she got gifted sage from the earth that was broken off by the very animal she visited the wallow of. It was the perfect ending to our magical journey. From there, we gathered some gifts for our families from a local native gift shop and set our sights on the journey back home.
The journey home was a bit longer than the drive out, since we were over 300 miles farther west than Standing Rock. It was evening and I just put myself in Road Warrior mode and off we went. I drove all night and had the pleasure of meeting an Iowa State Trooper around 5:00am when he pulled me over. I was not speeding, but had a headlight that had burned out. He was polite and helpful and only gave me a repair ticket to keep me legit as I finished the drive home. It shook me to see the flashing blue lights and I was just a little rattled when he let us go. Stephanie suggests that I stop somewhere and get some rest and after consulting with Lora, we stopped and slept for a few hours. We woke and hit the road to finish the journey. I drove for 17 hours straight and we arrived back home at 9:30am for a trip total of 6,200 miles.
We both will be going back.
Thanks for reading this post! And thank you to those that gave donations 🙂
This post is an at home journeying guide, which will either guide you into your own journeying practice, or deepen the practice you currently have. If you are interested in joining the Shamanic Journey Group at a distance, click here. If you stumbled upon this page because you would like a little extra help framing your journey practice, then feel free to peruse at your own pace. This is a helpful guide that pieces all of the journey topics from the past two years, and compiles them from basics to more advanced.
If you are still relatively new to Shamanic Journeying, then I would highly suggest that the first journey that you take is either one that establishes a place of power where you always start off, or to meet a Spirit Guide/Helping Spirit. Whenever learning a new skill (such as journeying), it’s very much like working out a muscle to make it stronger. Some people are innately going to have no problem lifting heavy weights, while some might have to work at it a couple of times in order to produce some results. Remember to not judge the experience of others, and remember that we all have different strengths when it comes to interpreting messages from the other side. Some might be able to hear things better, others might be able to see things, while yet some others tend to just “feel” or “know” that they’re going down through a tree or sitting next to a river. The point about journeying is to be as into the experience as possible. See if you can get as much detail as you can. If you see a waterfall, what does it sound like? What does it taste like? Where are your feet? What type of ground are you stepping on? Do you hear any other things in your environment?
It is helpful to turn off all electronic devices and either let other people know that you’re doing it so they don’t disturb you, or choose a time when no one else will be home
Call up protection, or set the intention for safety. There are many people who put up sacred space or set up crystal grids so then that way their bodies are protected.
This is a small advisement that some people still don’t know what it’s like to be “fully embodied” and tend not to be fully present. Traditionally in an indigenous culture, they would take their body with them when they journeyed (trance dance states, singing, chanting, etc.), but many individuals in this society have to peel off so many layers just to have an authentic spiritual experience that experimenting in different techniques (such as laying down, sitting, rattling, etc.) would be good to find out what works best for you. This is an experience based skill that is based off of what is best for you. What works for some people might not work for others. The main thing, is to try and stay fully embodied while you travel to the realm of spirit, otherwise if you leave open a space – then that could leave room for another entity to come in. Light some incense, dim the lights, and shake a rattle 🙂
Try to sing, dance, or do something that will get you into the right brain state. The left brain state is about words, communication, and invoking. Leave space for repetition, and conscious trancing. All of these things (especially singing, chanting, and dancing) will help get you into an altered state of consciousness, which typically will mean a deeper journey.
There are some people who lay down when journeying, but I don’t typically recommend this when first starting out. This reminds us of sleeping, and even though there is a such thing as lucid dreaming – that is a different avenue and is very different then shamanic journeying. Get a comfortable chair or if you want to try dancing your journey, put on an eye curtain (piece of fabric that goes on over the eyes so you can’t see ahead, but only where your feet are), and put a hula hoop on the ground so you stay in the confines of the hoop (this is a purely practical thing, so you don’t bump your shins into the coffee table – nothing takes you out of a journey faster then pain).
Don’t forget to grab a journal! It’s always good to have scraps of paper lying around if you don’t have a journal. It’s always fun and interesting to read them later after you have digested the message a little bit. Remember that when coming back from the journey state, short phrases or simple words that will bullet point your journey are best. If you write in full sentences, it put you into the left brain state, and that will take you away from being in the right brain state (which makes journeys harder to remember).
Journeying is a question driven activity. If you do not have a focused intention while going into the realm of spirit, most often our guides will just take us on a wild imaginative ride that might not make sense. Remember to have an intention and to really feel what your question is – other wise your answer will be as non-productive as your question was. It helps to not ask a yes or no answer, because it will not be as open ended and you could potentially trick yourself into hearing something you want to hear.
Great beginning journeying questions:
I would like to meet my entrance to the spiritual world, as well as find my place of power
It always helps to have the same visualization that will bring you over to the realm of Spirit. It will help even more if this starting point is a real place in nature that brings you comfort. Start by finding a small hole or opening, and then imagine yourself going through. You should feel a going up or down sensation, and then you will be transported to your place of power. Explore your place of power, and be as into it as possible. This is where we will be doing a lot of work (if you will be following some of the journey tracks listed below). It tends to be a place we’ve either visited before, or a place that we’ve always dreamed of being (like a beach, lake house, mountain cottage, etc.)
I would like to meet my non-egoic connection to spirit at this time
There are many different types of spirits that we can encounter in the journeying state. It is my belief that we are all born into this world with at least 1 to 2 non-egoic helping spirits. These are the helping spirits that we do not need to feed, we don’t have to hide their identity, and they often change form as we learn and grow as individuals. Non-egoic helping spirits are directly connected to Source/Universe/All that is and only care about our own personal development and teach us to be better humans. I have run across many different individuals that practice different forms of Shamanism, and some might call this aspect a “higher self” version of a spirit guide. But this is a very big difference then working with an egoic spirit. A spirit that has an ego is very much like us humans here on the physical reality. They have their own personalities, their own likes/dislikes, and they definitely have their own opinions. These helping spirits tend to be specialists, and can offer very unique advice that non-egoics sometimes cannot give a clear opinion on (because they only care about character development and see everything as a lesson). There is a benefit to working with both of these types of generic spirits (for example, I primarily work with about 80% egoic spirits, but have 2 constant non-egoic helping spirits that I use to vet everybody else), but the benefit of working with a non-egoic helping spirit is that they cannot be fooled because they are directly connected to source. An egoic spirit can be tricked or lied to, possibly bribed to work against you (hence why some traditional cultures do not share their helping spirits identities). The trick is, that working with non-egoics is more about asking the right questions because they are not as opinionated as an egoic helping spirit. Which is why I have the journey tracks listed below, so that it can be easier to ask non-egoics some of these questions. The reason why “at this time” is added on at the end, because we want to be present about what will be beneficial to us right now. I have had a person get a past guide or a future guide that they are not meant to work with, or have had past debts with, so it made journeying challenging for that particular person. These are just suggestions I offer.
After repeating those journey questions to yourself at least three times, I would then listen to a good drumming track with anywhere between 180-220 beats per minute. Here are some good ones that are out there right now:
Of course there’s shameless self promotion for the journey track that I created. It’s on the sound cloud. But in case you can’t access that or have trouble downloading it:
12 minute track – Has whistling in the beginning to call in protection and the ancestors by Sandra Ingerman
30 minute track – Beautiful Taiko drumming with Nagado drums, Odaiko, and rattles by Sandra Ingerman featuring Taiko Sol
If you would like more information, follow Sandra Ingerman for up to date Shamanic Journeying Basics courses. She is the person who I learned from, and her online training’s work quite well! Sounds True also has a lovely website dedicated to all things Shamanic Journeying. I will also hold a once monthly Shamanic Journeying Basics class with a journey session afterwards so you can try out what you just learned. Sign up for the Newsletter for up to date events.
Alright, so you’ve got the basics down. You have a place of power and you have a guide that’s willing to work with you. What’s next?
The first step is learning about energetic hygiene. What is energetic health? This is where I introduce the concept of the “energy bucket”, and I refer to this quite often. This is meant to be a daily practice, as well as something that is to be maintained whenever life starts to go awry. It can change from moment to moment based off of what is happening to you in the moment. When we get exposed to different triggers, and enter into a reactive state – our bucket can sometimes become a little unstable. There are many things which can change, but remembering to take care of yourself as well as your energy level is crucial/critical to having a good foundation for shamanic journeying. When we have these introspection’s about ourselves, then we can be of better use for those that we help/serve/love.
The energy bucket meditations are guided visualizations that can help, and I also have a link to a journey track that you can listen to at home as well.
These are optional, but are good starters to anyone that is beginning to step onto a more shamanic path. I also digress slightly when I say this – but the purpose of me putting all of this information into one space is not to promote more shamans out there. Shamanic Journeying is a helpful tool that is very valuable. It can be added to any practice, and is not a religion. It’s a way of looking at life, and it is completely okay to have one helping spirit that constantly helps us rather then more “facebook friends” that we don’t really know that well. On that note…
Some good journey questions that come out of this article are:
What does my personal/inter-personal container for transformation look like now?
What does my personal/inter-personal container look like for __(name a particular event you are having difficulty with)____?
What is this particular container supposed to look like?
What is missing from this container so that this transformation can be a powerful one?
Show me the steps to take so that my container for transformation aligns with my path and is healthier for me
Show me an example of a transformation that tried to take place but it backfired instead
Courses to Take and Expand Upon
The most basic one that is helpful for anyone wanting to deepen and enrich their inner world/landscape is exploring the elemental system. Each page has it’s own suggested journeying questions and follow through.
Purity and the Elements – A beginning introduction to the Four Element System, how they are inter-related and inter-dependent, and a wonderful tool of introspection which can provide clarity to any spiritual practice.
Earth – Metaphor for our relationship to our Physical Wisdom Body. Our physical body contains the innate wisdom of how to heal, and how we can live well in this world.
Air – Metaphor for our relationship to our Mental Wisdom Body. A lot of people in our society are prone to an excess of this element, and can become subject to headaches, migraines, and anxiety. This is how we begin turning an unhealthy relationship into one of balance.
Fire (coming soon) – Metaphor for our relationship to our Spiritual Wisdom Body. Fire is one of those elements that really depends on the other elements to thrive. If its too damp, a fire can’t burn. If it’s too dry, a fire will burn out of control.
Water (coming soon) – Metaphor for our Emotional Wisdom Body. Many people in this society tend to have a very unhealthy relationship with our emotions. There is either a tendency to excess and drama – or the complete opposite which is not having emotions at all.
This is a lot of information, and hopefully this all helps and fits together! If you have any questions, concerns, or are just lost – please feel free to text/call 571.306.3197 (just leave a message, please) or email firstname.lastname@example.org