Updated: Oct 29
The Shamanic Worlds
In the shamanic courses that I teach, I am often asked if the parallel universes that we experience in shamanic journeys are real. Do they really exist, or are they figments of our imagination? Are they a way for our mind, intuition, and wise self to speak to us? Are they part of our unconscious or superconscious as defined in Jungian philosophy?
The indigenous shamanic teachers I have had the privilege to work with have no doubt that these worlds are as real as our own. From an early age, it is common for shamans to have experiences where spirits manifest and guide them in their shamanic path, the ancient spirituality of the Earth. These experiences are accepted, acknowledged, and encouraged by their family and community.
In the west our rational mind questions our sanity when we engage in spiritual work. Even when we have a deep spiritual experience in shamanic courses and shamanic circles, we try to analyse and explain it afterwards. We may be in tears when touched by an experience of the Divine and in the next hour, day or week we can convince ourselves that we made it up. Our egoic mind can also downgrade and pollute a shamanic experience with expectations. ‘If you are real,’ we say to spirit, ‘fix my life the way I want it. Otherwise I am going back to my old ways.’
Acceptance and Surrender Any spiritual path of inner transformation requires trust, acceptance and surrender. This has always been the way. In the early Christian tradition, in the quest for the Holy Spirit, I was shown how an ascetic sat in their small hermitage praying and waiting. The more they wanted and expected the Holy Spirit to come, the further away they pushed the experience. Likewise, shamanic journeying becomes an act of surrender.
When I teach the Introduction to Shamanism course, the spirit helpers often say "These worlds you call the alternative reality, are as real as your own."
We experience the Earth reality as physical because we are part of it. Our body is made of the four elements. As the Australian aborigines say, we are standing Earth. Yet, we are also spirit and therefore we can access the spiritual realities.
Most of the time in western life we are not in touch with our spirit. We may meditate or practice once a day, week, or month, and the rest of the time we spend in our mind. Then we attend shamanic courses and have experiences that our mind wishes to reject. It is common for the conditioned mind to reject spirit and the alternative worlds. How can we prove to our mind that these worlds exist?
The only answer in shamanism is through direct experience. We keep journeying, calling spirit to us and connecting with our spirit, no matter what the mind says. We look for spirit in nature, in life’s synchronicities, in the little miracles that happen around us. We give up our expectations about what our spiritual experience should look like and what it should give us, as they may be based on other people's accounts. We surrender and let our heart speak. This is a journey of discovery where we find our own answers, and learn to trust ourselves.
When I teach shamanic courses we follow the beat of the drum and our brain waves change; we may come into a point of deep connection where the mind is finally silenced. It is in this space of high vibration provided by the drum, movement, song and the spiritual energy generated, that we can open to different realities. When we truly connect we experience a sense of euphoria and awe.
Many people who come to the shamanic courses say that through shamanism they find their place on the Earth. Before shamanism they did not feel at home. They may have felt a lack of belonging, a lack of connection. This is what happens when we do not acknowledge or explore our spiritual side.
In shamanism there is no dogma, the ancient methods I teach are not a tablet in stone. They open a way for us to discover that we are much bigger than the image we see in the mirror. We become aware of the pulsating web of life, the network of life-force that connects us all and connects all life. We start to feel, see and experience the network of life in nature and within ourselves. And as we connect with Earth and Spirit, we realise that we are multi-dimensional beings that can travel and access parallel realities, to bring awareness, healing and light to our own reality and life.