Shamanic Journey – Travelling between the worlds …
Shamanism is the oldest belief system on earth practiced by tribal people who live(d) in harmony with nature. In the shamanic system everything is alive and can be related to in an appropriate and specific way. Although most of us live in a quite different world now, the shamanic principles and practices are still valid and can be applied to today’s way of life.
The shaman is a priest, healer, advisor in personal and social matters, artist and musician all in one. He makes contact with the spirit world or the “otherworld” to communicate with the invisible forces, the soul and the spirit, to bring about positive change, healing and well-being for all.
In tribal societies all over the world the shaman’s drum is the most common tool for travelling between the worlds of ordinary and non-ordinary or spiritual reality. The even and regular pulsating sound of the drum enables the shaman to enter a state of trance and to travel out of his body into the timeless realm of the spirit world. It is the task of the shaman on his shamanic journeys to find answers in his “visions” that help to restore the well being and harmony of an individual or the whole tribe or community. For getting the information how to improve life, the shaman might for example undertake a shamanic journey and enter the spirit world to retrieve the soul of a sick person or seek advice from the ancestors.
Shamanic Journey Experience
- drumming and moving to the beat
- chanting or the shamanic use of the voice
- entering other consciousness levels and transformation
- safe trance techniques
- holistic healing
Hearing Voices – putting things into context … and moving on
(a response to the Hearing Voices conference in Cork City, Ireland 10-11-06)
Trapped (in our mind)
The western world with its predominantly materialistic view of today’s world classifies someone who hears voices as being schizophrenic, meaning someone with a split personality, who is a scare and potential danger to the community. Most voice hearers in our society are either on medication as a standard measure or institutionalised. The majority of voice hearers stay in that situation over a long period of time and become even more isolated and marginalised. There are hardly any options available even to the ones who don’t agree to the common routine of being numbed by chemicals just to function. There is generally not much of a therapeutical approach or a thorough research of the phenomenon of voice hearing in order to help a fellow human being to cope with the situation or to improve it.
Hearing voices is an individual phenomenon, which can vary greatly. Voices can range from evil and threatening to benevolent and spiritually guiding. It can appear at any stage of the life for obvious or unknown reasons or it can be drug-induced. A thorough and open-minded individual research of the voice hearing is fundamental to develop coping strategies.
As hearing voices is a social stigma in our society a lot of voice hearers have gone ?under cover? early in their lives to avoid being classified, ridiculed and bullied as being crazy or mad. They would generally not speak about hearing voices, even not to their close ones. It’s a fair guess to assume that there are a lot of voice hearers among us that fall into this category, who obviously would have a wide range of coping mechanisms to live their lives with little or no outside help.
The bigger picture
Our western industrial civilisation with its mainly materialistic and egocentric attitude and its alienation from nature is a fairly recent development in the history of mankind. For at least 50000 years people in tribal societies all over the world have lived in harmony with nature in their environments. Their philosophy was animistic, which means that they believed that everything around them was alive and had a soul and feelings. Even today some tribal people in very remote places still live in that ancient way according to their shamanic belief systems. In the animistic world everything is alive, which includes the earth and the universe and all invisible forces. It is therefor important to maintain good relationships to all beings. This ancient belief is known as shamanism, a religion that existed long before today’s world religions came into existence, a belief where all levels or parts of a being – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – are equally acknowledged and dealt with.
The shaman, being priest, healer, advisor in personal and social matters, artist and musician all in one person, is the key figure in a tribal society. One of his important tasks is to make contact with the spirit world or the otherworld to communicate with the forces thought responsible for the different aspects of life and the well-being of all. Hearing voices is the listening part of the shamanic communication with the higher forces much in the same way as the privileged or chosen followers of all world religions hear the voices of God, the angels or the saints and prophets. Voice hearing has been always and still is considered as being close to the spirit or God and is part of a dialogue.
A simple, but proven approach
If people today, regardless of the conventions of our society, can accept and believe for themselves that a human being has a body, feelings, a mind and a soul or spirit, then there is generally no problem with hearing voices from other realities than just the material level. Hearing voices is an invitation to enter a dialogue and talk to the voice like you would to a real person, most of us have done this as children already, before it became a taboo. Even if some voices are malicious or threatening, there is no big difference to any scary situation in our everyday world, as we can react by voicing our opinion in various ways, by fighting back or asking others for help.
To openly talk about hearing voices is important to bring the issue into the open and to eventually lift the existing taboo, especially as there are more voice hearers than we think out there anyway. It is equally essential to talk to the voices, which will most of the time set a process in motion, that will improve the situation. Some voice hearers would, especially in the beginning, need support with any new step they are going to make. Local peer group meetings and workshops are as important as the availability of open-minded, experienced and responsible therapists, who preferably work with a compassionate holistic approach.
Shamans in tribal societies have used sound along with other practices as an effective remedy for thousands of years to get in contact with ?voices? and to communicate with the invisible world. Sound resonates in the body and the soul and changes our consciousness and the state of our whole being profoundly. Certain sounds and rhythms reduce the over-activity of our mind and allow us to drop more into our body. This can bring about positive change by dissolving stagnant energy and connecting with forgotten events earlier in life. Sound Healing ultimately restores harmony, which is the natural, unharmed and happy state of being.