This post is meant for the more seasoned practitioner since crafting a journey question is a skill that we develop over time as we deepen our practice and our relationship with our helping spirits. Journeying is a tool that we can use to communicate with the higher source/God/The Universe/Great Spirit. Learning to ask the right questions is a skill in and of itself, and is one of the necessary steps to having a valuable journey experience.
If you are a beginner and still interested in reading, go right on ahead. Sometimes less is more, and if you want to start off with the basic posts and information, here are some great resources for you:
- Shamanic Journeying – What is it and how is it useful?
- Beginning Journey Questions – Basic outline for starting a journey practice at home
- Strengthening our Connections to Our Guides – A basic post about how to deepen your practice once it’s started
- “How to Begin Shamanic Journeying” Why Shamanism Now – an hour long podcast about Journeying
- “Should I Learn Shamanic Journeying” Why Shamanism Now – podcast about reasons why to journey.
Alright, still with me? If you are, then great! I have personally been studying Shamanic Journeying for at least 5 years at this point. In that time, I’ve stumbled upon a lot of pitfalls and have had a wide array of experience – especially in leading the weekly or Bi-weekly Fairfax Shamanic Journey group since 2014. Here are some tips and techniques for crafting a great journey question.
First of all, let’s back up. What is the purpose of journeying? If we review the basics, it is an altered state of consciousness that has the ability to access deeper realms of the mind then a meditation. In fact, it’s so deep that it goes from Ordinary Reality to Non-Ordinary Reality. In this state of us traveling to Non-Ordinary reality, we enter into the realm of Spirit, where it is best practice to interact with Spirit Guides who take us on an adventure. Hence why it’s called a Shamanic Journey. What makes it Shamanic is going into Non-Ordinary Reality with the help of Spirit Guides.
When we begin interacting with these Spirit Guides, we have to remember that a vast majority of them are not human. In this realization, we have to recognize that since we are meeting them in the realm of spirit, they commonly assume that we are a Spirit as well, frequently forgetting that we have a human body. In this, we must state the obvious to us, because helping spirits tend to be very literal and forget that at times we have limitations, and we need to take steps to get to where we are going instead of just “being there”. Some common limitations that Helping Spirits can commonly overlook (especially in the beginning part of the relationship) are time and spatial awareness. As you begin to work with your guide, they will become aware of your current status and where you want to go, but it is your job as the human to ask for more direction of where exactly you want to go (it’s one of the reasons why I push for adding “at this time” to the end of any journey question).
Helping Spirits are here to help us become better humans. They will teach us whatever we want to learn about. We are assigned at least one helping spirit into this life when we are born (in my cosmology, this is known as our “Non-Egoic” Helping Spirit), and they are always there with us even through the mistakes. They are here because they love us, and we are spirits in a human body, having a physical reality experience which they cannot experience. Since they do not have a body, they come to understand that physical reality and “life” as we know it, is a gift.
That being said, many people in our Western Contemporary Culture don’t view life as a gift. They view life as something that “happens” to us, and instead are coming from a place of superficiality instead of appreciating that life is a gift. When we are asking Journey questions from this place of life “happening” to us, asking, “Why did this happen?” or “Why did I lose my job?” – we can get superficial answers. Our helping spirits are here to help us get the most out of life so we can begin responding and engaging with life fully instead of just surviving. If we keep asking questions about things that don’t necessarily matter and are just distractions in our life, then our journey answers could be loose, fragmented, and potentially confusing. An example would be if we were to journey to ask what the next step to get that promotion at work is, but working at that job is not an expression of your lifes true purpose – then your helping spirits can show you what steps you need to take to do that, but instead you’re feeding a distraction. If you break up from a toxic relationship, but you don’t do anything to transform yourself – if you ask your Helping Spirit how to attract another relationship into your life, you’re going to manifest a different version of the same thing. The questions we ask are the framework of which we see things.
Crafting a journey question is part of the process to getting the most out of your journey practice. Sometimes if the questions we ask are too vague, we can receive really confusing journeys, or they just plain won’t make sense. In crafting a great journey question, we learn the discipline of holding an intention, as well as the brevity of getting in and out of the journey space efficiently. If our focus scatters, we may begin to receive answers to other questions we have on our mind, which blurs the line of clarity. If there are too many intentions while going in, or too many things on our mind, our Guides won’t understand what question to answer – so they either won’t answer it, or they will answer all of them at once.
So! Here is where we get into the meat of the task! Asking good questions.
One of the beautiful things about Shamanism is that it’s not just forcing your will or intentions on a certain situation (power of positive thought, etc). We can ask to be shown the true state of things now instead of just blindly visualizing a healthy and well root chakra. Yeah, yeah, eventually positive energy is just going to flow into it and make it whole, but what if we have a blockage in our root chakra that’s eating up all of the positive energy we’re sending it, and instead it’s feeding our anxiety? Sound familiar? Going “oh crap” yet? Here’s a basic formula of journey questions that you can apply to almost anything.
- What is the current state of __________________
- (examples: heart chakra, emotional body, relationship with coworker, etc.)
- What would the state of _________________ look/feel like if it were aligned with my lifes true purpose?
- What are the first three steps of what I can do to bridge this gap?
This is a good series of questions because you can do this with almost anything in your life and get a clear picture of what’s going on, and then act on it. A lot of us get spurred into inaction because of our indecision based off of the unknown. Ask questions, get answers, then act on them. Life is made for experiences, and if we keep holding ourselves back, how can we cultivate wisdom from experiences never had? It’s only hypothetical and it’s not real. We’re looking for authentic answers because it’s our authenticity we are seeking. If we didn’t bring our life’s true purpose into it, we wouldn’t have context. Sure, we can probably say “for the good of all” or “for the highest good”, but sometimes for the “highest good” isn’t exactly what’s good for you right now. The “highest good” can sometimes leave journeys out in the open with answers that don’t make sense or don’t apply at this time. When you bring in the context of your true purpose, that’s the reason why you were born on this Earth. You were born here for a reason, and your gifts are what you are meant to bring to this world.
True Nature Journey
One thing that won’t impede upon ethics or morals is if you do a true nature journey. Did you have something that recently popped up in your life and you think it might be a wonderful opportunity? One way to gain clarity on it is if you do a true nature journey on it, and see if it aligns with your true nature. This journey sometimes doesn’t give definitive answers, but you might get shown more “flows of energy” and get more feelings/sensations with this then cognitive definitions of things. Note the turbulence, smoothness, and sensations you get in your body when you feel into these journeys.
- Show me the true nature of ________________
- (person, job, pet, opportunity, etc)
- Show me how the true nature of _______________ were to affect my true nature at this time
If you’re still getting lost, stuck, or unsure where you’re going with a specific journey answer, you can always stop and ask who is asking the question. Sometimes we can spin around in circles because we find out that our biggest fear or our biggest wound is the one that has a tight grip on the reigns. Then once we focus on the wound/fear to overcome, all of a sudden the urgency to the journey question falls away, because you heal the part of yourself that was fixated on the need to know.
These prompts and information should help you deepen the process of asking better journey questions. Remember context, time, spatial awareness, true nature, and boundaries. Journeying is a skill to hone, and will keep evolving as you evolve. If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are also forums up if you’re interested in participating in a journey track and interacting with others in an online forum, or join us in person at the Fairfax Shamanic Journey Group either on Meetup or Facebook.