Shamanic journey and sacred space

Here is some background information for the interested layman. A little look under the hood of shamanic work, so to speak. Admittedly only a small and very superficial insight. Anything else would certainly go beyond the scope of this article.
Gerhard Zirkel

Shamanic journey

The shaman understands a shamanic journey as a conscious connection with the spiritual world and its entities, such as spirit helpers or nature beings.

An experienced shaman does not necessarily need this framework because he can also connect with the spiritual world naturally and without great effort at any time. However, such a framework is particularly useful and helpful for more complex issues or when working with clients.

How such a journey is organized varies greatly. A very popular tool is the shaman drum, a specific type of frame drum. It puts the shaman and the client into a light trance state, which makes it easier to block out the material world and concentrate fully on the spiritual level.

The drum is struck in a steady hypnotic rhythm that often corresponds to the heart rate of the person, but does not necessarily have to do so. The drum rhythm varies from user to user and from case to case.

Various types of rattles or other percussion instruments are also common aids. The only important thing is the constant rhythm to promote the trance state.

In the process, everyday life and the material world are partially faded out up to full trance, in which the shaman is almost exclusively in the other world. Although this is rarely practiced, because as a shaman it is about connecting both worlds and not about leaving one of them.

The procedure

The beginning of a shamanic journey is often a small ritual, for example, the cardinal points are invoked, Mother Earth or the heavens, the sacred space is opened, the personal spirit helpers are called and, if necessary, the ancestors.

This initial ritual serves to generate an energetic protection under which it is possible to work and it serves to focus the shaman and the client completely on the goal of the journey.

After this ritual, this small ceremony, the drumming or rattling begins for the time it takes to realize the intention in the spiritual world. This can be a few minutes or many hours.

At the same time, the shaman always maintains contact with the material world, he does not leave this world completely. Which is why he can never “forget” the way back, he cannot get lost in the spiritual world.

As a layperson, it makes sense to be accompanied on your first shamanic journeys. You can’t “get stuck”, as some horror stories would have you believe. But the first few trips in particular can also bring up frightening or at least unsettling images.

It is good to have an experienced shaman there to help process the experience afterwards.

If you would like to learn shamanic journeying, take a look at my beginners’ seminar. This is precisely to give you the confidence you need to continue working on your own.

Sacred space / shelter

The shaman understands the sacred space as a spiritual shelter, an energetic framework in which his shamanic work can take place.

There are several reasons why the sacred space makes sense. First of all, he ensures that the shamanic work takes place in a protected environment. External influences are muted, except for those that are explicitly included in the work.

You can compare it to closing your own office door so that you can make a phone call in peace. It also works with the door open, but then you are constantly disturbed.

But it is not only about protection, the shaman also asks for the help of his spirits and, if necessary, the local spirits or the spirits of the client.

The opening ritual sets a clear starting point for the shamanic work and the closing ritual ends it again, both at a clear point in time.

When will the sacred space be opened

In principle, the sacred space is opened before any kind of shamanic work. Whether working with clients or alone and whether the shaman works in his practice or in other places.

It is opened before each job and closed again afterwards. However, this does not have to happen after every client in the practice. The Sacred Space can remain open until the day’s work is done.

How the sacred space is set up

There is no definitive recipe for this, because the way it is done was and is different in all cultures. A Mongolian shaman will have different rituals for this than a Peruvian shaman, and a Peruvian shaman will have different rituals than a German shaman.

One basic possibility, for example, is to invoke the cardinal points plus Mother Earth and Father Sky. Either in words or in prayers or in songs or simply in silent prayer.

The many elements of fire, earth, water and air are often called upon. You can ask your spirit helpers and power animals for help and guidance, the ancestors, helpful nature beings and, if necessary, the spirits of the client.

Protection is requested, but also the necessary energy for the work. Active help is requested and thanks are expressed.

You can turn to the cardinal points and smoke something, for example. Depending on the application, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a ritual. An experienced shaman can set up a sacred space within seconds without an outsider noticing.

Or he makes a half-hour ritual out of it, if that seems advisable and/or the client possibly expects and needs it.

Here too, the actual process takes place on a mental level and requires neither time nor space, so it does not necessarily have to be visible.

The closing of the sacred space at the end of the work often takes place in the reverse order to the opening. However, this does not necessarily have to be the case and depends on the user and the application.

Would you like to learn how it works in practice and try it out for yourself? Then let us accompany you.

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