This part is late because I was house sitting over the weekend. Last week I wrote about the reasons to do a journey and some general tips. Today I will write about how to journey.
Before doing any journey work, you should have a goal or question in mind. During the process of entering the spirit world, you should keep this at the forefront of your mind. If this is your first journey, your goal should be to meet a spirit guide. This guide can come in any form, so try to not hold any preconceived ideas about what form your guide should take. I have helping spirits that appear as animals, plants, and human forms. You can learn a lot about your guide and yourself by what form it takes.
The reason you search for a guide first, is because your guide will help you with all other journeys. The guide knows all the paths of the spirit world and the locations of other spirits you want to meet. If you want to talk to a specific god or goddess, your guide can take you there. If you need help with a problem, your guide knows the best spirit or spirits to help you.
Once you have a goal, the next thing you need is a way to exit your body and enter the spirit world. Creating a ritual is a great way to approach this if you have no prior experience with the journey process. Set it up as you would any other ritual. Take a ritual bath, wear special clothing, clear the space and call a circle. These things tell your mind that you are about to do something special. After you have experience journeying, going through the whole ritual won't be necessary, but it will still make it easier.
There are many different methods of detaching your mind from your body. Some physically push your body to extremes. Examples of these are dancing (very energetic tribal), fasting, pain, sleep deprivation, and anything that would cause exhaustion. Others affect your mind more directly. These include entheogens, meditation, drumming, rattling, binaural beats, chanting, and other forms of brain entrainment. You should use the method that is most appropriate for you. Entheogens are commonly classified as hallucinogens and are illegal in many countries. If you are not physically capable of handling the rigors of the more physical methods, you should try less stressful means. The most commonly used method is the steady beat found in shamanic drumming. There are many good CD's out there. Sandra Ingerman's book "Awakening to the Spirit World" comes with one that I use frequently.
So you have your goal in mind, you started the journey ritual, called the circle, and put on your drumming music. Now what? This is the tricky part. Sometimes you have to help things along. You can start with a guided meditation.
Picture yourself entering a cave. The cave extends deep underground, yet there is enough light for you to make your way down into the earth. the cool moist air envelopes you as you do deeper into the cave. You hear the sound of running water and soon come to an underground river. A small boat is tied to the bank. You step into it and it floats out into the river and the current carries it downstream. The gentle rocking of the boat calms you, and you release all your cares and worries, focused only on the task at hand. Soon, the river carries you out of the cave. At this point, let the images come to you instead of creating them yourself. What kind of landscape are you in? Do you hear anything? If you feel drawn to do so, land your boat and walk around.
That was the guided imagery used when I first journeyed. Feel free to personalize it. Anything involving going into the ground to come out in a new land will get you to the Underworld. Climbing down the roots of a tree, going through a cave or other hole in the ground, descending a stairway, etc will all work. If you feel you should search in the Upperworld, choose ways that take you up. Climb into the branches of the world tree, take a balloon, ride a broomstick, or just fly up into the clouds to the lands beyond.
Once you are in the spirit world, speak your intention. Someone or something should come to you. Ask if it is your guide. If it is your guide, get to know it. Ask questions, talk, build a relationship. This being is going to be by your side for a long time.
If at first you don't succeed, don't worry. Try again later. I was once told that all someone else can do is show you the door. They can't help you step through it. I've found this to be true. There was a man who joined the journey circle I attended. He had read about shamanism in his spiritual searching and was very enthusiastic. But for the last couple of months that I was there before I moved, he was unable to leave his body and mind to travel the other worlds.
I think I covered the basics. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.