Rattles for Journeying, Meditation, and Energy Work

As a shamanic practitioner, I employ rattles in my work. Rattles can easily take the place of a drum when drumming is inconvenient or too loud, or — if you’re like me — you find it hard to keep a rhythm or keep drumming during your meditation. Rattles can produce a variety of sounds depending on how they are made. I have some that are very quiet which are great for moments during travel, or just when your spirit wants something subtle. Some of my rattles are loud and distinct.  In any case, rattles don’t require musical talent to use — just make sounds that you enjoy!

Rattles aren’t just a shamanic thing. If you are any kind of empathic, meditative, or energy-working person, you can use rattles for meditation, intuitive healing, energy work, space cleansing/clearing, blessings, and other ceremonies. In shamanism, rattles serve as a “sonic driver” that helps guide the mind into a trance like state. But this state is simply an altered awareness that can be used for setting intention, affirmations, grounding, and mindfulness. Engaging all your senses and creating a moment for yourself by “making noise” is a powerful thing.

My rattles on Etsy.

 

 

Emptiness and Qiinuituk

In emptiness we come face to face with ourselves and the infinite. There is great peace to be found if we can accept a moment alone with our soul and the land and the universe.

Where I live in Canada there have been weeks of grey days. But I feel the heartbeat of the land that is more authentic joy than a glint of sunlight…the beat of Life.

The Inuit have a word for the meditative peace of emptiness, which in their barren landscapes has been anything but empty.

Qiinuituk

“This is when you are alone, the lonely living thing far away from earthly things and filled with peace. This sense of peace fills every corner of your mind. It is more satisfying than any joy you have ever experienced in your conscious life because it runs deeper than happiness. It can mend broken thoughts and feelings, and having experienced it gives you the knowledge that it can come again when you feel there is nowhere to go.” (Quoted in Inuit Women: Their Powerful Spirit in a Century of Change By Janet Mancini Billson, Kyra Mancini)

Shamanic Journeying is for Everyone

The greatest stumbling block we face when trying to use our natural spiritual powers is the fear that we are not powerful enough to use them at all.

Shamanic journeying is a prime example. In a shamanic journey, we enter a different consciousness to interact with a different world. It sounds like something only the most disciplined of monks could do, and yet it is so simple. We are ourselves spiritual beings, and the only thing stopping us from entering the spirit world is our own fear or doubt.

Close your eyes, let your mind drift, and ask for a spirit to show you what you need right now, or what your purpose is, or what is missing in your life presently.

Almost immediately a person will start to have an experience, only to doubt it because it seems like they are merely imagining it. We fight our imagination because it feels self-created, and we want a spiritual experience to feel out of our control. In the physical world, things seem to happen to us, so we want spirituality to happen to us as well.

The truth is, everything in life is both completely created in our mind and completely created outside of ourselves. This is the yin yang or yanantin duality that springs from our existence as an instance of being, one half of the greatest duality of all: the instance and the infinite. Both are equally powerful. You, as an instance of being, are as important and powerful as the infinite.

Close your eyes again, and let your mind drift, and speak to spirit. Simply ask for a spirit to visit you. Yes, you are imagining it, but simultaneously it is also completely real and happening. Your imagination is the way you understand the infinite. After all, the infinite contains everything possible — therefore everything you imagine is contained in the infinite.

Sometimes a shamanic journey will feel like a daydream, but if you have faith you will know that any spirit you could possibly imagine is real and exists in the infinite. It’s a paradox; you are dreaming them into being and the infinite is dreaming you into being. Your power IS your imagination. Let it work for you.

Building a Cosmology

A cosmology is necessary to navigate the spirit realm. It is your personal map that provides contextual understanding for what you experience within it. A cosmological understanding also helps focus one’s intention in what one is truly trying to accomplish.

The composition of a cosmology should contain an explanation of the landscape of the spirit realm, and how it functions, as well as how the physical world and the spirit world relate to each other.

My cosmology assumes that the definition of spirit is equal to that of pure potentiality. This world is an “ideal”, but not in the sense that everything is good and perfect.  It is abstract in the sense that it is not physical, and taken together it contains all aspects of all instances.

The spirit world is not bound by time. In spirit, everything that is possible exists simultaneously.

One of my spirit helpers has told me that the spirit world can be thought of as a coil. What extends the spirit world from being one infinitely-packed point is the idea of time. Shamanic societies usually break the spirit world up into three realms: the upper, middle, and lower worlds. However, the explanations of these realms are fairly vague across the board. In my cosmology, the real distinction between the realms is time. Future, Present, and Past represent the upper, middle, and lower realms respectively. In my studies I have not encountered this idea specifically, but the whole point of building a cosmology is that it needs to be what resonates with you at your core.

In the end, all cosmologies are metaphors and stories, as existence escapes human definition and the limitations that our understanding always puts upon it. The stories we create are the vehicles for our imagination that take us beyond the physical world. We don’t want these stories to limit us, but to help carry us forward. It’s important not to get too wrapped up in our cosmology, but to let it transport us.