learning to travel to the otherworld... need help

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kaniie
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learning to travel to the otherworld... need help

Postby kaniie » 26 Jun 2006, 00:12

I'm seventeen (going on 18) and I've always been fascinated by the prospect of "traveling" to an other world. In 8th grade several of my friends seemed to master this, although they themselves weren't sure how. I attempted to learn for several months but got frustrated and gave up, forgetting about it for my first couple years in Highschool. Junior year I dated a guy for about a year and a half who was Druid. I was a Christian (still am, but am open spiritually to other ideas etc. I believe all religion and spirituality is more than just black and white, like the churches so often seem to make it) and he was shy and never told me until about a year into our relationship, and even then it was only parts. He is a shamanic druid and intrigued me. Not until after we broke up did I really feel a pull to learn, and he's helped me on and off by suggesting several books that I've purchased.

And though I've read them and tried everything, I just don't seem to be having too much luck. And I have a few questions:

1) Any tips on relaxing, getting into a medative state? I know there's alot of controvery over this, and maybe I just haven't figured out a method that works for me yet...

2) How do you "see" the other world? Is it just like imagining things in your head, without actually "seeing" it, or is it more like a dream, where you "see" it but you still know you can go back?

3) I was working with the shamanic tradition of visualizing a hole in the ground and going through the tunnel/cave, but I haven't had much luck with this. Is there any other methods? And again, are you actually suppose to "see" the hole or just imagine it, and it comes to you as you enter?

4) Do you have to ritualistically set up an altar and such to make it to the other world, or anything? And if you do set up an altar of sorts, does it have to be ritualistic to the tee or can it be whatever works for you?

The only things that have really struck me are two dreams, one where all I remember is being at the end of the cave and looking out. I remember what it looks like, and I drew it as suggested in one of my books. It was just a golden field with butterflies fluttering about the mouth of the cave and a forest off in the distance at the edge of the meadow, but I was on the inside looking out and never went out. I don't know if this has any meaning? And as far as totem animals, I had a dream that struck me seemingly, and all I really remember was I riding a black stallion with ice blue eyes and we were running on water and heading toward a waterfall and then he jumped off and dove down and (my biggest fear is falling) I felt no fear and right before we hit the water he spread wings and flew, skimming over the top. And that has stayed with me. I've ridden horses all my life, and have always felt a huge connection with them, so it would fit, right?

But how do you create a better relationship with your totem animal, and how can you tap into its power, so to speak??

Haha, I apologize I'm new to this,  :whistle:  but I'd appreciate anybody's input. The board members seem to all be nice and open and jump at the chance to help, so I'm sorry if I sound stupid- but the best way to learn is to ask questions.  :)

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Postby kaniie » 26 Jun 2006, 00:16

Oh, also, the guy I dated that has been trying to help me, when asked how he learned, couldn't recall because it had come naturally to him all of his life. But he says anyone can learn, if they try hard enough.

Is this true? Or am I just doomed to this world forever? lol. :D

Anyone's input on the actual process of learning to go will be well appreciated

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Postby Donata » 26 Jun 2006, 00:54

Hi Kanile,

Long reply!

Take a look at the sticky in this forum which gives some recommended books. There are some excellent exercises that will help you.

Begin with relaxation and meditation.
Relaxation can basically be done in a couple of ways.There are two basic forms of relaxation:

1) Autogenic, in which the mind is used to relax the body - which works through suggestion, and
2) Progressive relaxation, in which parts of the body are in turn contracted and released. In this form, the body relaxes the mind.

Autogenic Relaxation:

Find a comfortable position, and repeat to yourself:
“I am at peace and fully relaxed.”
(Go through the body....)
“My right arm is heavy .... “ going through the entire body.  Feel the warmth and heaviness of each part as you focus on it.  10-30 min. Time.
After going through the body, relax for a few minutes, and say,.
“I am refreshed and completely alert” or something similar......

If you prefer, visualize/imagine a small sun shining and warming each part of the body as you go through it.

Progressive Relaxation:

Focus on body sensations while alternately contracting and releasing parts of the body.  Muscle tension, followed by a conscious effort to relax the muscles, allows us to recognize the difference between tension and relaxation.  

MEDITATION

Breathing methods,  relaxation, focusing on the present moment, and visualization are components of meditation. Meditation is not in itself a spiritual practice, nor is it in conflict with any religious beliefs. All it requires is some time alone, in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.

Start by following the breath. If you choose, you can then go to a place in nature - one you know or one you visualize -  for as long as you wish. Try to meditate for 15 minutes minimum for greatest benefit. Meditation brings us to the present moment without the stress of the past and the future.

A Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation:

Breathe in and out - breathing in say to yourself, “May I be Healthy May all Beings be healthy”.
Breathing in and out, say to yourself, “May I be at Peace. May all Beings be at peace”.
Breathing in and out, say to yourself, “May I be Happy. May all Beings be happy."
Think of someone else, a relative, friends, someone you know of, anywhere:
Breathing in and out, say to yourself, “May they be Healthy. May all Beings be healthy”.
Breathing in and out, say to yourself, “May they be at Peace. May all Beings be at peace”.
Breathing in and out, say to yourself, “May they be Happy. May all Beings be happy”.

When you are ready, return to this time and place.
This can be done anywhere, anytime - it’s a great way to start the day.
.....

Different people experience the Otherworlds differently. Some imagine/visualize it - don't worry if you think you're only imagining it! this is imaging, which is another name for visualizing.

Some do 'see', other 'see' in their heads, some don't see at all, but 'hear' or sense. No one way is the right way.

Don't rush this process. Take it slowly and believe in it. Yes, anyone can do it, but you have to believe you can first.

No altar etc is necessary. For some, a ceremony or altar is an aid. Many shamans have a 'crane bag' or 'mesa' - a portable altar. It's not necessary but may be helpful.

Your horse may indeed be an ally for you. Meditate with and on him, and recreate the experience as much as you can. Relax while doing this. You don't need to force an outcome. It will happen.

Good luck,
Donata
In some mysterious and wonderful way you are part of everything. And in that same mysterious and wonderful way, everything is a part of you. ---Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE

If I destroy you, I destroy myself. If I honor you, I honor myself. --- Hunbatz Men, MAYAN ELDER

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Postby kaniie » 26 Jun 2006, 05:34

haha, I think my main problem is, I have no patience. I have gained so much in just the little time I've been working at this- at first I couldn't sit down for five minutes, and I would try to rush everything. But that has gotten way better.

And it frustrates me to think I'll never "see" anything, I want to touch it feel it see it like its real, like in this world- only with a more surreal hint or what not... if I just imagine it in my head, like I can sitting right here at the computer, that dissapoints me. lol.

But thank you :D I will definatly try that.

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Postby Kat Lady » 26 Jun 2006, 11:32

...I have no patience. I have gained so much in just the little time I've been working at this- at first I couldn't sit down for five minutes, and I would try to rush everything. But that has gotten way better.

And it frustrates me to think I'll never "see" anything, I want to touch it feel it see it like its real, like in this world- only with a more surreal hint or what not... if I just imagine it in my head, like I can sitting right here at the computer, that dissapoints me. lol.
Welcome to the Board kaniie!

First, the fact that you see that you have made progress in the area of patience is excellent. Patience is the key.  It is in the quiet of the moment that we find our path more firmly.

Secondly, you may never "see" with your physical eyes.  But that does not mean you are not journeying.  Each of us journeys in her/his way. Some will have experiences so real that they are as solid as those they see in the physical world. Others "see" with their psychic eye, in a hazy state. Some just smell or feel. And some just sense.  Each experience is as real and important as any other. So don't be disappointed in your experiences.  Your connection will increase and become less difficult as you master the arts of visualization and meditation.

For myself, when I began, instead of concentrating on emptying my mind, I concentrated on filling it with one thing. Usually I concentrated on my breathing which allowed me to slow down and relax. Or I concentrated on a sound, like a waterfall or rain. I found by concentrating on one thing, the business of my mind and the world around me settled into a state that allowed me to concentrate more.

Good luck!
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

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Postby kaniie » 26 Jun 2006, 23:33

" I concentrated on a sound, like a waterfall or rain. I found by concentrating on one thing, the business of my mind and the world around me settled into a state that allowed me to concentrate more. "


That is a good idea. I've never tried filling my mind, I've always tried emptying it. I have tried listning to my breathing, but I still get distracted. I have a problem sleeping sometimes because my mind just races. I think I am ADD, but when I was younger my parents just disciplined me well enough to where I learned to leash it in when I needed to, like for school and stuff. But it still makes things like this more difficult. But thank you for the suggestion, I'll definatly try that one. :)

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Postby Kat Lady » 26 Jun 2006, 23:43

Well, glad I could help. Feel free to let us know how it goes or if you are more comfortable, send us a private message.
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

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Postby kaniie » 28 Jun 2006, 18:35

ahem, so, the ex I referred to earlier and I have started talking more seriously, as friends, and he has decided to mentor me through this- which is good, because i'm completly lost. :) he says i'm trying to run before i can walk, and that you have to take baby steps and build up... i'm rather the ambitous one.  :devil:

so he's loaded me down with a list of books (he says the first step is to read! read! read!) and supplies and off I go to the bookstore today to get the first couple. I'm heading to florida and the beach for a good week and I'm hoping to get some good reading/learning/soulsearching down down there at my favorite place (disney world! no doubt... the hotels are amazing) and the beach, my all time favorite place to be. :)

but if i come upon anything i can't comprehend, i'll definatly let you all know... thank you very much. :) i'll let you know how it goes. :D

i feel very called to this, and i really want to learn- my problem is i just want to know how to do everything NOW instead of being patient, but i'm working on that. :D

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Postby Lora » 28 Jun 2006, 18:44

I think a lot of us struggle with wanting to know or do everything now, kaniie.  I know I do, but it's when I slow down and try to curb all the expectations when things seem to flow a lot better.  What books did your friend lend you?

Lorraine

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Postby kaniie » 29 Jun 2006, 00:46

I went out and bought The Complete Idiot's Guide to Shamanism.. heh.. and I have Exploring Celtic Druidism (like that book alot) and Advanced Celtic Shamanism-  definatly not there yet though, lol.

But any other suggestions would be gladly welcomed. :)

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Postby Iconoclast » 29 Jun 2006, 04:06

Well...I'm curiuos as to what your thoughts are on the existence of the Otherworld? What do you think it is?

For me, it is the dream realm. The other half of this existence. The realm of the Mind where the dead dream of being "allive". So, in my thinking, to travel to the Otherworld can be done by dreaming. And in realizing that dreams are real, this world becomes so much more. Illsuions, visions, shadows, dreams...all are "real" and are a part of our lives.

The dreams you described are journeys into the Otherworld. At least, one kind. I think your intention is to have a waking Dream, or journey. I have not been able to do this yet, not inentionally anyway. I have done it in fevers and states of half-conciousness but never through meditation. Or maybe i have. I think part of the experience is the mystery.

As for "seeing" the Otherworld, I have only ever heard of a very few that have been able to open their inner eye. The Otherworld is not something to be seen, so much as conceived. I believe those with the ability to see it just have a knack for knowing both realities and visualizing them. I don't know. You should answer these questions for yourself.

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Postby kaniie » 29 Jun 2006, 05:03

I agree with you for the most part... about it being a dream world. And I suppose what I am trying to do is have a waking dream. I don't know. Good things to ponder while I'm on vacation. Thanks, and I'll get back to you.

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Postby maire » 29 Jun 2006, 12:38

Some people need a repetitive noise, like a drum, to distract and therefore 'turn off' their minds and allow them to sink into an altered state.  You might want to try listening to a tape of drumming.  I know when I first started journeying (and I use traditional shamanic practices,) I couldn't get into an altered state without a drum.  After time, you can slip in and out, but a monotonous beat can be very helpful.

Also, if you are interested in learning classical shamanic journeying, you might want to sign up for a workshop.  There are other things to consider when journeying - like meeting up with a teacher and your animal guide.  There is so much to learn, and although I've never experienced it, there are dangers associated with journeying (apparently possession by a stronger spirit is one of these.)  If you are in touch with your spirit guides you should be able to travel safely.  

I'm actually not familiar with traveling to the Otherworld via meditation, but I've slipped into altered states while walking (which is a form of meditation for me.)  It takes time to become comfortable with the imagry and to let go of your fears that you are somehow making it happen, creating all of the images yourself through your imagination.  There is a difference between seeing in your mind, and seeing while in an altered state.  In the end, the message is the important thing.  If you are doing healing work, divination, or journeying to learn, the information you return with is the key to whether what you see is 'simply your imagination' or interaction with the spirit realm.

I see you are in the USA - I highly recommend shamanic training through the Foundation for Shamanic studies (http://www.shamanism.org/workshops/basicwk.html,) at least their Basic workshop.  It will give you the minimum to get you started, and in a class setting you can get all sorts of great advice and answers to your questions as you go.  I see there is a basic workshop scheduled in Nashville in July - not sure if this is helpful to you, but its how I started in 1989.  

July 8 - 9, 2006
Nashville, Tennessee - Basic Workshop with Dana Robinson. Contact: Eddie Bailey, 7205 Icarus Ct., Fairview, TN 37062; (615)945-4232; touchworks@comcast.net


After taking the basic, I ended up studying 'long term' with Tom Cowan (who focuses on Celtic Shamanism.)

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Postby Donata » 29 Jun 2006, 14:44

"There is so much to learn, and although I've never experienced it, there are dangers associated with journeying (apparently possession by a stronger spirit is one of these.)  If you are in touch with your spirit guides you should be able to travel safely."

Always do any work - meditation, ceremony, shamanic journeying - within consecrated space, usually a Circle you set up with the intention of being in sacred space, and protected.

If you ever encounter a negative or maleovent spirit they have no power over you unless you allow it. Always ask any being who it is and what it's purpose is re you. They must answer or leave. You can tell any being to go away and leave you alone. Don't let curiosity or any feeling that you are stronger mislead you - that's where the danger lies.

***No being can simply possess you - they must be invited or allowed in.***
That's true in journeying, meditation, spellwork, or any other situation. This is why daily reinforcement of your aura, and daily protection work is so important. Ground daily as well to stay centered.

As already said, know your Guide/s. Don't journey alone - be sure your Guide/s are with you. When learning, it's best to have another human with you to watch over you (and maybe to drum), and to bring you quickly and safely back if you seem in any difficulty.

This is just sensible practice, like locking your doors at night. It's not meant to make your fearful or paranoid! I've been journeying, etc. for years and have never encountered an unfriendly or negative being. I do energy and protection work daily.

BB
Donata
In some mysterious and wonderful way you are part of everything. And in that same mysterious and wonderful way, everything is a part of you. ---Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE

If I destroy you, I destroy myself. If I honor you, I honor myself. --- Hunbatz Men, MAYAN ELDER

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Postby maire » 29 Jun 2006, 15:23

I've never encountered anything negative either, although I did have an odd experience once where I ran into someone else, also in the Otherword.  

Recently, while I was doing a long distance, healing journey for the New Orleans area, I realized someone was watching me - measuring me.  This was someone from our side, someone who was apparently in the New Orleans area (or that was the impression I received.)  He didn't interfere, he just watched - and this is the only time I've ever experienced anything like this, but its something to keep in mind.  There are indigenous cultures that still possess traditions and knowledge (and great power) that we've long forgotten, and some still practice sorcery.  As Donata said, its always important to enter into this work with good intentions, in a sacred space and with spirit guides to protect you.  

Some people are naturally empathic and therefore more susceptible to negative forces.  I know, because I was just such a person when I was growing up.  I had no idea how to protect myself, and I could sense spirits all the time, all around me.  Not all of them meant well, but I apparently had terrific guardian spirits at work without my knowledge.

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Postby Kat Lady » 29 Jun 2006, 17:18

I agree with all of Donata's suggestions, especially having another physical person beside you while you are mastering the skills. But, Lesson 1 of Journeying 101: Don't put the cart before the horse or you may trip up the horse!

Sometimes in our eagerness to reach the end, we forget some of the steps needed and miss important details along the way.  My suggestions to any beginner is read, study, ask questions and practice with someone there to guide you. First master the art of quieting the mind and visualization. As with building anything, you need a strong foundation.

So kaniie, I believe that you are correct in taking it slowly and pondering on what it is you are hoping to accomplish. That is a good first step.
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Postby maire » 29 Jun 2006, 18:57

Something I should have mentioned... I was originally trained, in an introductory class, by Sandra Ingerman, and she is a real stickler for protection in shamanic journeying.  I have enormous respect for her, and so I took her warnings to heart early on.  I am new here, and to different forms of crossing over to the Otherworld and returning with information or healing (which is our definition of shamanic journeying) but her warnings stuck with me.  I felt compelled to pass them along, because it is better to be safe, always.  

It was Sandra that warned about possession - she has dealt with the results of this in some of her students, most specifically in psychopomp work (helping departed souls cross over.)   This is advanced work, and shouldn't be relevent here, but any time you actually journey into the Otherworld, you may meet other beings there. She also specifically warned about wandering around, unaccompanied by a guardian spirit - especially in what she calls the 'middle world' (here, where we reside.)  I'm definitely not trying to scare anyone, because my experiences have been wonderful - magical and lifechanging.  Just passing along the cautionary messages that were taught to me when I was starting out.

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Postby Donata » 29 Jun 2006, 19:59

Both Kat Lady and maire have given some great advice! Take this slowly, and do your protection work. Do meditation and visualization. Look for a teacher. Don't rush the process.

Donata
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If I destroy you, I destroy myself. If I honor you, I honor myself. --- Hunbatz Men, MAYAN ELDER

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Postby Iconoclast » 29 Jun 2006, 20:56

I really like this thread...I wanna go journey now, hehe...

The ideas of protection make a lot of sense. In the Otherworld or Dreamworld, I'm most certain there are "negative" forces, or at least those who are confused or full of hate, and they lash out. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that those spirits, the confused and the tortured, cause nightmares. I'm sure everyone is well aware of the power a nightmare can have on someone, and I'm sure a number of possessions occur while people are in a half-dream state. Whenever in the dream world (I'm a cognitive dreamer) or while meditating, I always imagine I'm protected by a blinding aura fo faith. Hehe, I guess this is my protection, though I need to work harder on that.

How do you guys suggest going about finding one's guide? I have never encountered what you might call a companion on my journeying. Do you summon them? I don't know. I wonder why a spirit would spend its energy guiding someone...unless of course its actually an incarnation of a former/future self. That would make sense. Sorry... ranting...bah

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Postby Toadflax » 06 Jul 2006, 13:51

How do you guys suggest going about finding one's guide? I have never encountered what you might call a companion on my journeying. Do you summon them? I don't know. I wonder why a spirit would spend its energy guiding someone...unless of course its actually an incarnation of a former/future self. That would make sense. Sorry... ranting...bah
I've not posted on this forum before and feel rather hesitant but am so fascinated by this thread I've just got to chip in...

I've always suspected that my guides are somehow aspects of my present self.  They seem to 'rule' different parts of my life experience: the three grove guardians for the three aspects of druidry in life, plus the wild woman, the wanderer, the child - and the beekeeper who seems to be about domestic things.  They act independently and turn up unexpectedly duirng journey work.  Tarn the child, for example, walked into my grove towards the end of the Ovate grade and I still don't know quite what to make of him/her.  I think of them as separate beings and also as the deeply buried parts of my psyche that I can't access in normal consciousness.

That's what I think at the moment, anyway!  

Toadflax


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