Grimoire: Shamanic Journey Guide

[ For something a little different, I’m going to pop up an old Shamanic Guide walkthrough I wrote for meeting your spirit animals. Enjoy! ]

Meeting your animal guides: Travelling to the Lower planes.

Animal spirit guides are helpful when watching over rituals, needing advice, or just companionship (or a good swift kick in the butt). They are similar in many ways to familiar, and sometimes not at all you expect. To find them, you must have a shamanic journey, where you travel down into the lower planes to make your first introduction to them. You may find that this animal has been with you a lot longer then you realized. Or that it’s been watching you without notice for a while. Either way, there are some important things to know first..

The Lower planes is hard to describe is simple form. Most consider it the same as the Astral, but it is slightly different to those who experience it. In shamanic belief, there are three planes. The Higher plane. The Middle plane, and the lower plane. The higher plane is a place of ascension, of higher beings and those powerful but hard to conceive energies and entities. The Middle plane is this world. The physical and the etheric. The world we live in here. And the Lower planes are the area of the spirit.

It is a world of spirit, of guides, trails and learning. It is more primal and old. Ancestral grounds, a place of old magicks and the dead, and yet not. It’s a vast area which can be complicated and yet very simple at the same time.. A person could travel to the lower planes by different routes and every time step into an area which is completely different from the first time they walked there.

A shaman has one foot touched by this world, and one foot in the Lower planes. They walk between the lines. As long as you are respectful and are careful it is a great place of shamanic learning and innerwork.

When doing this ritual remember three things.

Guides in the end are the ones that choose to show themselves. You can’t force them, or pick them. They are what they are and come to you when they need to. Remember that just because you love a type of animal does not mean it’s the one that is guiding you at this moment. There are many guides which come in and out of your life when the time is right.

You can’t just bring in then ignore guides in your life, they don’t work like that. When you are open to working with them, there is a sacred responsibility with that. Your time with them is there until you accomplish what it is they are helping you accomplish. Yes there are guides who are with you through your whole life. Totems which are extra special to you, but some are teachers who come for specific reasons. Pay attention to them.

And third and most important, guides don’t know everything. As one of my most trusted ones has told me, they can make mistakes, everyone can. They offer advice to help you learn, and hardly ever give you the easy answer. They can be annoying, confusing, frustrating, but also the best of friends and teachers. Make sure you are up to learning from them if you are really ready to call to them.

Setting up your area:

  • Set up an area where you can easily lie down. Make sure you aren’t tempted to nap.

  • Create a sacred space, through opening a circle, shielding the area, or smudging.

  • Then light a candle – preferably only one so light doesn’t distract your eyes. Also if you are prone to falling asleep – perhaps change out the candle for the smudge or incense as it is less of a fire hazard. And just as a precaution make sure they are in safe holders and not around anything which could be flammable.

  • If you have a drumming tape or soft nature music put it on low. Make sure it isn’t distracting. I also suggest if you have your own personal drum, start the ritual off with your own drumming, to meditate and slow your heart rate.

  • When you are ready to continue, set the drum down at your side, and get comfortable.

  • Make sure there is a notebook or something to record the journey after near you.

The Ritual:

  • When ready turn off all the lights except for the candle and lay down. Make sure you have a good while alone to yourself where you will not be disturbed.

  • Relax your body and let your mind wind down some. Start the meditation by relaxing your body, start from your feet and move all the way up. Remember your breathing. To your knees, your hips, your stomach. Up your chest arms and shoulders. When you get to your head breathe and relax.

  • When ready close your eyes and visualize yourself in a forest, rich woods and tall trees.

  • Let the forest develop and grow around you. Know that time isn’t exactly what it seems and it can grow and change within minutes. Maybe there’s a waterfall or a stream nearby. Just spend time making that place in the forest completely real to you. Are there stars? Is it night or day? Listen, feel and experience this forest. There may be objects around you, a bonfire, a blanket. Is there movement in the trees or around you?

  • When you feel its real enough, or are just getting uneasy with staying in one place, start walking.

  • You aren’t exactly ‘looking’ for anything but feeling. Let your instincts guide you.

  • Eventually you should come to some sort of hole in the earth. Whether it is a hole in a tree, a foxhole, or just some sort of crack in the earth. Remember it and the things around it because this will be ‘your’ spot for going into the lower planes.

  • Will yourself to travel down the hole, if something blocks you and you can’t get past maybe your not just yet ready to seek your guides. Pull back and try another night and ask yourself why you are holding back.

  • If you can manage to travel down, continue to. For as long and as winding as they way may be.

  • When you arrive at the end of the tunnel you could be at one of many places. The Lower planes are diverse, a wide vast area. Depending on where you need to be, your surroundings could be any environment. Remember to stay calm, and watchful. It is an old world in the Lower planes. It is a sacred space, and one that needs to be respected. There is never all good or all bad there, It is neutral grounds.

  • You came to seek your guides and don’t let yourself be distracted. Relax and look around you. Take in everything you feel, see, hear, or sense.

  • There will be animals around you, watching and waiting. Not all of them are your guides. Instead walk and feel. One will be apart from the others, it will make itself known to you. And may not always be the one you would expect would..

  • If you see one waiting there for you and it has made itself known. Watch them, and then respectfully give them your name. (if you have a magick working name use that. Its common that guides will give you a personal name later in workings anyway. Your ‘Shamanic name’. Don’t be alarmed if they start calling you repeatedly by this new name. It will be how you are known in the lower planes. Just make sure you keep that name sacred to yourself.)

  • Tell them you seek your guides, and are now ready to pay attention. Now comes the part where you wait. Depending on how ready you are and how ready your guides are to work with you will determine how the rest of the ritual goes. Some people just snap out of the walk right then because for some reason there is something more they need to learn / deal with before their guides are willing to accept them.

  • And sometimes, they will accept that. And your journey working with them will truly begin.

  • After you are greeted you can spend some time getting to know them. And they, getting to know more of you. Don’t expect to get many answers or to start learning anything at this time. Instead, be glad of the opportunity, take very sharp notice of anything and everything they show you or tell you, then when you are ready you can return up the same opening you came down.

  • Now that you have met your guide, if you ever run into any troubles while walking the lower planes, call directly to them by using your voice or mind to reach out to them and ask for help. Build a trust factor with them and learn from them as they learn from you.

  • When you are fully out of your meditation then you can relax, sit up, and clear your mind a little.

  • You’ve just had your first shamanic journey.. write down all the details you can remember

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