Tuvan Shamanism

During a ‘nap’ I journeyed to spirit and saw Siberian elders who spoke to me of healing. I am now reading up about Tuvan Shamanism in Siberia. Here is a fantastic article full of beautiful photos, showing how Tuvan shamanism is very much alive today:

Siberian Times article on Tuvan shamanism

I also found this photo, which is EXACTLY what my inner world looks like, where my alter spirits/personalities live and play:

Tuvan Village

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Shamanic Healing, and Curses

I believe that thoughts are forces. This is the centre of my belief in magic. So if you come to me wanting a curse removed, this is what I will tell you: that anyone can do magic, and that you only feed the curse’s power by believing that it is so effective. That is only my opinion, of course, and I respect that others may think differently. But I believe in empowering oneself.

Shamanic healing is, to me, only a spark that helps to initiate a bonfire of one’s own healing. Ultimately we heal ourselves. Thus shamanism requires effort from all parties involved. No one will be healed without some effort of their own, whether it be faith or action.

Shamanic healing is a magical thing, but that doesn’t mean it is instant and saves you the trouble of working things out for yourself. I’m sure that is very disappointing to some, and I understand the desperation of needing to feel better or get out of a tight spot. But one cannot gain strength without being strong enough to carry any weight in the first place. You have to pick yourself up, bit by bit. Shamanic healing is, to me, a guide, an inspiration, and a blessing. But you still have to carry yourself forward.

My aim here is not to criticize or be passive aggressive. Rest assured, I have had wonderful experiences in my spiritual work. However, people coming to me may have very different spiritual opinions, such as on the matter of curses, and occasionally people lash out at me in their fear and pain. So I thought I would put forward my stance.

Love and blessings to all who stop by!

Inducing Trance for Shamanic Journeys

The hallmark of a shamanic trance is that it is induced. Consequently, shamanic practitioners and journeyers are very interested in different ways of inducing trance. I’ve tried some different methods myself, one of which I haven’t seen mentioned in this context, so I thought I’d share.

Probably the most common method used by modern North American practitioners is drumming. Live drumming, either performed by oneself or a partner, is excellent, but I’ve always used a drumming track and headphones. Shamanic drumming tracks are readily available and are said to be just as useful as live drumming, though I imagine that drumming for oneself adds to the rhythmic, hypnotic experience. That said, I know I could never keep up drumming and journeying at the same time!

Another method is the use of consciousness-altering chemicals, otherwise known as plant medicine, entheogens, or psychedelics. One needs caution and know-how to go down this path. In addition to research, one ought to speak with the plant spirits themselves as well, otherwise you are doing no more than just taking a drug. What I’ve tried is mild — a so-called flying ointment of my own making — but has produced some good results. Still, I don’t use it often.

Rather, my favourite method for inducing trance is through the act of sweating. I don’t know the physical mechanics of why it works, though I can guess at things like changes in hydration, electrolytes, and body temperature. It’s definitely not a unique idea, but I haven’t seen in mentioned in the wealth of literature available on how to journey. Certainly great physical exertion and exercise would be a great way to sweat and alter your consciousness, but I take an easier route (and perhaps safer one, given that I faint easily). I simply take a very hot (but not uncomfortable) bath. It brings up my heart rate and aids my poor blood circulation for starters. Then, as I begin to sweat more, I find my focus sharpening and the Otherworlds coming within close reach.

Naturally, everyone works differently. I’d be very interested to hear of other ways of inducing trance, or your experiences of what works best. Happy journeying!

Sleep, Dreams and Shamanism

I have always found sleep an easy thing. My wife can tell you that I fall asleep remarkably quickly and usually sleep quite deeply too.  I never thought much of it, even though for the past few years I’ve been experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness too.  I suppose I thought it had to do with my iron deficiency, or not enough coffee in the morning.  It’s hard to believe that for the past six months or more I’ve been falling asleep at work and not thinking much of it at all. The only reason I’m thinking of it now is because when I fall asleep at work, I instantly slip into a dream.

What little I’ve read suggests that such instant dreaming is not entirely normal, and I’m going to talk to my doctor because getting through the workday is becoming excruciating. But I’m interested in the link between my dreamworld and the Other Worlds of shamanism. Perhaps my brain works a little differently and this could actually be beneficial to my journeying. Perhaps I slip into the Other Worlds easily because the dreamworld is always just a moment away. Or is it vice versa? Maybe I should work on lucid dreaming next.

This is fascinating to me, so if any spirit-workers out there have a dream story to tell, please share!

Free Shamanic Readings: My Process

I’ve been doing shamanic journeys for others for a month now, and it’s been an incredible experience. I get so much out of doing this and I’m grateful to everyone who wrote to me, and anyone who will write in the future. Tonight I thought I should talk a bit about my process and clarify a couple things.

I do offer my readings free of charge, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I can’t imagine myself needing a monetary exchange; people tend to be so appreciative and that alone feels like a proper energy exchange to me. I think that charging for readings would ruin the whole experience for me. I’m not frowning on people who do charge for readings; I actually think my situation is a bit unusual as I have not felt drained or used in any way. Perhaps the Universe or my spirit guides are compensating me for the work. It does feel like a gift and an adventure.

I want to emphasize that I don’t consider myself psychic – I am nothing without my guides. Because of this, I have decided not to continue offering card readings. It is not my strong point at all and I need to do a lot of work around trusting my own intuition. I adore oracle cards and often consult them, having first asked my guides to help me choose meaningful cards. But I feel my interpretations are lacking and I don’t want to disappoint anyone.

So what will you get if you ask me for a shamanic journey? It does vary from person to person. All I need from you is a question or issue that you want me to explore. You can give me as much or as little detail as you like – a simple question is okay, and so is a very complicated one. Then I’ll take your question to the spirit world. Usually I will first ask one of my spirit guides to take me to one of your spirit guides. I believe that people have multiple guides and lots of useful helping spirits, so I may contact a spirit you have not yet worked with. Spirits can come in many forms, too: animals, humans, places, or deities. I may be able to contact a specific spirit or deity if you ask me to, but please understand that it is really up to the spirits themselves as to what happens in a journey.

What kind of questions can’t I deal with? There are a few, though thankfully these kinds of questions have rarely come up. First and foremost, I can’t do any journey that would invade someone’s privacy. That means that I need permission before I journey for someone, and you cannot ask me to journey about another person specifically. Questions such as “What is Mr. Right thinking about me?” seem harmless but I can’t address them without permission from the relevant person. I also can’t delve into matters of health, because I’m not qualified to give medical advice and it’s not smart for me to try. This also means I can’t tell you what will be the result of life-or-death situations.

The best questions to ask are ones concerning your own path, purpose, and development. I haven’t had a truly trivial question yet; people generally want direction for their own growth and that’s fantastic. The spirits are happy to oblige when you are working towards fulfilling your life’s purpose.

Whatever your question is, I will try to get as much specific information as possible by asking your guide a variety of questions. Be aware that knowing more about your situation will help me ask better questions, so feel free to tell me as much as you are comfortable.

After the journey I will write you a report detailing everything I can possibly remember. I’ll tell you a bit about how I entered the Other World, either through trance with a drumming track, through a very hot bath similar to a sweat lodge, or even through the help of an entheogen. If an animal appears in the journey, I will look that animal up in Ted Andrews’ book Animal Speak and tell you a bit about the animal’s significance. Sometimes I’ll offer my own interpretation if something in the journey was unclear and I had an intuition about it. You can always ask for clarification about any aspect of the journey. Ultimately though, the messages I receive are for you to interpret; I’m merely the messenger. Sometimes you just won’t get a straight-up answer and I assure you, it drives me crazy too!

I think that about covers it! Please comment if I’ve missed something. And if you think you’d like me to journey for you, please write to me at janicejove(at)gmail.com.

Communing with Spirit Guides

I am working on strengthening my connection with my spirit guides. I recently took down some out-dated affirmations around my mirror and replaced them with small pictures honouring my spirit guides. I also have jewelry that symbolizes various guides, and my meditation altar is home to clay sculptures of some of my guides too. This is probably the easiest part of connecting with one’s guides. A little harder is the on-going practice of prayer, journeying, and channeling (which in shamanic terms would be called embodiment).

Even harder than this is the obligation to honour them in specific ways that the guides themselves request. Sometimes they require things that seem odd or awkward or even meaningless. I do readings regularly and I ask other people’s guides how to honour them as a show of respect and gratitude for their willingness to speak to me. Usually fulfilling these obligations is work – and I’m not complaining. It should be work.

So communing with one’s guides is not all white light and love. It is a real relationship, and has much of the give-and-take that human relationships have. It takes time and effort; there are misunderstandings; one must be willing to reach out even when one’s guide seems to be silent.

The rewards are well worth it.

Shaman sickness

After I felt the calling and journeyed upon it, meeting a new spirit guide, I fell into a disturbing state of mind. I have suffered from depression before and this felt different — but upsetting nonetheless. I felt like I was going mad and didn’t know what was wrong. But because of the context in which this state of mind appeared, I labelled it as shaman sickness. This was the one comfort in several days of turmoil. I could at least have faith that I was suffering for a purpose, and that if I persevered, it would come to a completion.

I meditated on letting go and ego death but my suffering only grew worse. Finally, upon the advice of a dear friend, my wife took me to a beautiful tree in a conservation area. I gave it offerings and sat beneath it and journeyed. I met my initiatory helping spirit and through the journey was transformed, killed, and remade. I was given new eyes through which to view the worlds. Instantly I felt better.

My wife then took me down to the river and spoke of my transformation, pouring water over my head as a ritual. It was done; I have been well since.

I am now gently coming to terms with my new eyes, my new perspective, as this world has been shattered and the spirit world peers through the cracks.