moonvoice: (Default)
One of the things that's hard to find in contemporary shamanic practices (especially if you're not a Core shamanist), is a sense of community. Whether that be online, or in person.

Practicing as a shamanist can be a lonely path in general. I mean on the outside looking in, it sounds like a crazy religion. You have a person who talks to spirits and land-wights, who believes in gods and the power of sacred animals, who often works to shepherd dead spirits to their resting places, to heal the soul, to travel to invisible worlds that are more commonly accepted to be fantasy or make-believe, rather than the real places a shaman knows them to be. Being a shamanist often involves not just working with pre-existing spirits and deities, but meeting new ones, and bringing their stories back into the world. It is always about walking a fine line between respecting the past, and being a pioneer at the front of spiritual practice.

And any pioneer, in any walk of life, can be difficult for others to accept.

But I'm not talking about a sense of community outside of shamanism here, I'm talking about a sense of community within shamanism. I have this dream, you see, of being able to sit down with a group of people; either online or off, and discuss the ethics of tricking soul fragments into the body. This example, is just one of the many things I devote a lot of thought to, and wish I had more input on. You see, some of the more ancient shamanic cultures simply tricked, connived or plain trapped soul fragments to force them back into the body. With contemporary psychology - or at least, with my limited understanding of it - being as it is, forcing anything back into the body presents problems. How to reconcile the differences? I'd love to brainstorm with other experienced contemporary shamanists... but... where are they?

I've been a shamanist for about 8-9 years now. I run my website;, I've been a member of countless forums, both shamanic (including the once excellent, but now very quiet English-speaking Kondor forum) and general pagan. I used to be active in the Western Australian Combined Covens community (where I only ever met one other neo-shamanist, but I'm sure there are others), and I'm not exactly new to the crowd. And I can say that I don't know of any community setting where a group of contemporary non-Core shamanists could talk about the ethical dilemma I raised above. Hey, if you know of any, tell me!

I have people in a one on one setting I can talk to, via email. But no real sense of community with it. Once Google Wave comes out, of course, that will change. Because then email / community will be one and the same, and I'm hoping to see some changes in the way the often-solitary-but-community-driven shaman / shamanist responds to this kind of technology.

The things I'd like to do with groups of contemporary non-Core shamanists is extensive. I'd like to see new or learning shamanists experiment or offer soul retrieval / depossession to other shamans/ists with experience (who require it, by the way, not people who are splitting their soul for 'learning purposes'), so that both can go through the process together, and learn together, and create a bond. I'd like to see ethical discussions about the best soul healing techniques, and like on the old Kondor forum, discussions about the best ways of getting from place to place in the Otherworlds, and the best ways of settling down disgruntled spirits of the dead (which, in the past, has ranged from cupcakes, to tea, to chanting, to talking to them, to bringing touchable, affectionate animal spirits along with you). I'd like a community, or communities that worked to solidify otherworldly UPG, while at the same time; show fearlessness when it comes to bringing new UPG to the table, as is our responsibility as story-tellers and makers.

For now, I'm limited to writing posts like this one, and often resolving these issues by myself. Shamanism is a lonely path, my friends; but it should never be this lonely.
moonvoice: (Default)
When I first started out, as a pagan, I was in highschool and I was one of those kids who did tarot readings for her friends, made her own Book of Shadows, was very interested in all kinds of energy work and healing (including Reiki) and basically starting to become obsessed with animal symbolism and so on. By the time I was 17, I was in an Alexandrian Wiccan coven. I thought I was dedicated. I meditated every day, I ran a meditation group for friends, I did rituals and spells, I had my own huge altar, I burnt a circle of salt into the grass in the back garden (sorry Mum!) and so on...

So, on the outside, I was a dedicated young spiritual pagan. But there was a problem. A big problem. There was a huge divide between my spiritual work, and my real life. The person I was spiritually was more ethical than the person I was on a day to day basis. A lot of what I learnt in meditation, I didn't apply to my 'real life.' The animals I worked with taught and said interesting things, but I didn't really know how to bridge the gap. How did I take the problem solving skills of raven and apply them anywhere? I didn't. There was a big divide between what I did, who I was, the lives I was leading.

It wasn't until much later, when I split away from Wicca, and embraced shamanism and animism, that I started to see very clear ways that my spirituality could assist my 'real life.' And around that time I started realising that there's no point to a spirituality that doesn't assist your real life. And absolutely no point in any spirituality that lowers your quality of life. If you're in any spirituality or belief system, no matter WHAT it is, that lowers your quality of life; get out!!!

These days, I don't meditate every day. I don't have a great big altar (I have a few shrines). I have no circles of salt burnt into the grass behind our house (we have no grass, so...), and I don't run a meditation group. But it doesn't matter, because I live my spirituality. In my work as a spiritual artist. In my mental health and therapy where I now see a therapist who will actually bring up the totems I'm working with as a way to communicate assistance.

An excellent example of this unification was recently I experienced a great deal of anger over a serious betrayal. I am very dysfunctional when it comes to anger, I'll be the first to admit it. I rarely feel it, let along anger that is so strong that I shake from it, and feel my heart pounding and my face heat up... I had no idea what to do. So I reached out to my perevrjni, my spirit helpers, and I said 'what do I do? Help me.'

One of my spirit helpers, a grumpy old man who is partial to wolverines, came forward around me and brought another one of my spirit helpers, a water-horse (a horse that lives in the sea, with a mane and tail of fire) with him. He took a jar and said 'pour your anger into this jar.' I did, and it filled up quickly. He grabbed another jar, and said 'pour your anger into this jar.' And so we went, on and on, pouring out white, and then red, and then blue and purple and green shades of anger, until my water-horse was covered in clinking jars of anger that shone with energy. I was grounded and more calm, and I had a stockpile of energy to use for later.

In 'real life' it gave me the ability to respond to the person who had betrayed me from a rational and honest place. I stood up for myself, made healthy decisions for myself, and essentially got out of a very toxic situation with most of my soul intact and a gratefulness in my spirit helpers, and a proudness in myself for being able to manage serious anger in such a way for the first time in my life.

Those anger jars came in handy. I use them in energy work, to protect myself against being attacked by two spirits, and as offerings to other spirits (including a local crocodile god, who now has all my anger jars, and I have to wait again until I'm very angry to make some new ones). It wasn't a psychological technique I was using, taught to me by a therapist; but a spiritual one with psychological and real life implications. It was taught to me by a spirit helper named Aka Oslo, who lives on a house, on a rock that reaches out of a rough sea, that smells of salt and fur...who may or may not be a figment of my imagination. It doesn't matter if he is; because any figment of your imagination that teaches you spiritual and therapeutic tools that keep you safe and true to yourself, is a wonderful, helpful figment. Of course, I think he is real. :)

Not only that, but a couple of other people who heard this story are using anger jars themselves now. This is a technique that can be very helpful. It reached into other 'real lives,' because of its practical implications. It allows you to keep your anger, which means you're not 'getting rid of it' (don't get rid of your emotions, they're valuable!); but it also allows you to take a step back and see exactly what you have, what the energy looks like, and how beautiful it is. Anger might be overwhelming, but when it's shining out of many many jars, it's beautiful too. And colourful! And mostly, practical and helpful as well.

So how does your spirituality translate to your every day functioning? Do you have problems making connections between your spiritual practices and your 'mundane' life? When you work with animal totems, where are the real life results of that? When you walk or commune with the land, what do you take back to your workplace or your other environments. When you are in crisis, how does your spirituality assist you?
moonvoice: (Default)

I was describing the story of the emugirls, as I had learnt them, to a fellow artist and user on DeviantArt, and it occurred to me that it wouldn't hurt to share them here too.

I first met a solo emugirl by a stand of sheoaks or casuarina trees. She was hiding in one of the lower branches, and materialised wild and shaggy. Her eyes were bright, large and lucid. Her mane of hair continued down her back and flared out at her hips, like that of the actual emu. And like the emu, her feathers were doubled onto one shaft.

She didn't say anything, but smiled with her impossibly wide mouth. The smile widened and I saw she had no teeth. I smiled back, and she nodded, and I nodded, and we went out separate ways. I felt warmed. I had never read about emugirls anywhere and to this day I don't know if they exist, and I don't claim that they are real to anyone but me. I often wonder what would happen if someone else tried to contact them in the otherworlds.

Recently, in the semi-rural suburb I find myself living in now, I travelled in a journey-state across the lands and came to a plain of kanya, balga, lechenaultia and grey sands. There, I saw 9/10 emugirls, slight and frail, but shaggy and wild all the same, come together in a circle under the stars, and begin singing to the stars. It was the strangest song I had ever heard, filled with the bass 'OOM' sounds that emus make, but also high-pitched girl's voices in unison and harmony. They didn't sing any song I knew, but the melody was simple and soaring. I wanted to know what they were doing, but out of respect I left them alone and cherished that I had witnessed this event.

I don't know if there are emuboys, I don't know if there are emuwomen and men. I don't know much at all. I only know that when I communed with the land-wights of Koondoola and they suggested I honour them through my gift of artwork, emugirl was the second spirit who immediately came to mind.

I hope to meet her, and others, again some day.
moonvoice: (Default)
(Making this post public, because I'm insane. Sorry to the non-interested people on my LJ!)

A lot of people are familiar with the otherworlds as places to visit in order to perform soul healing for the self or others (including soul retrieval, extractions etc.) or to psychopomp / shepherd the dead, or help a deceased spirit on its way to a more peaceable place. These functions of the shamanist have been popularised in contemporary and anthropological literature, and I personally do think they are two extremely important functions of the shamanist in the otherworlds.

However, there are other spiritual things one can do in the otherworlds. Both before you feel qualified to do active soul healing or psychopomping, and in between these events. And all are important things that can be done.

here's a big list!!! )

This will eventually get put on my website. For now though, it's just here.
moonvoice: (Default)
Hai, look, a new article!
ZOMG, I haven't done one of these in aaaaaaaaaaaaaages.

Not under filter or friends-lock because... well it's going up on my website anyway.
But for those who are not interested in the slightest in my woo-stuff, DON'T READ!

the transient soul, and soul injury. Including causes and symptoms of soul damage )

I has a link:
moonvoice: (Default)
I work with Thylacoleo. I couldn't tell you exactly what species I work with, and nor could I tell you exactly what the Thylacoleo I work with would look like in real life. They've been extinct for a good 30,000 years after all.

to know or not to know )

x-posted to my fancy new 'spirituality only' wordpress blog. And probably to [ profile] the_animist too.
moonvoice: (Default)
Some of these situations listed here have exceptions to the rule, etc. It helps to use logic and maturity when implementing these into your life (if you so choose, after all, your path will likely be different to mine).

Laws of the Otherworlds )
moonvoice: (Default)
What follows herein are some personal perspectives on drumming, and this is only a brief article outlining what I feel are some necessary steps in my practice for having a harmonious relationship with the drum.

The Sacred Drum )
moonvoice: (Default)
Landmarks of the Underworld

Although the underworld(s) are considered transitory - like all otherworlds - there are fixed landmarks that can be visited across time, which can act as 'starting points' depending on your culture or your practices. Here are some of the 'landmarks' found within my own practices, and the practices of others. Many of these are universal.

You may notice other landmarks in your own journeys, feel free to make a note of these places, or any rules that you learn in these places that may be specific to it - such as certain offerings you may have to leave, or certain places you might have to avoid. When I say things in this article like 'it is considered a safe place' etc. I am referring to the collective wisdom of my ancestors, and other shamans and shamanists that I have interacted with over the course of 10 years. It is all a collection of personal gnosis, but valid none-the-less. This list will be added to as I continue to gain experience and learn of the experiences of others.

The Fountain - The fountain seems to be a place that I have known a few shamanists to come to when they descend to the underworld. This fountain tends to be ornate, and 'man-made', though it seems ancient and not specific to any one religion. This fountain trickles fresh water, as though from a spring, and smells sweet and tempting. I have heard some say that the water is refreshing and helps them back to the middleworlds, but I have also heard others say that to partake of any food in the otherworlds is also dangerous and unwise.

It is considered one of the few safe places in the underworld, though I would still tread cautiously.

The Forest of Dead Trees - A forest of dead, grey, skeletal trees that never seemed to fall down. They sometimes shelter dead, grey, skeletal animals that never seem to die or disintegrate. All this happens on a dead, grey ground that never shifts and changes. This is the forest of dead trees. I have found in my own practices that this is a place I come to frequently. It stretches out what seems endlessly, and it is said many doorways to many other worlds, places, events and times happen within this forest. Strange gods and spirits, and the ancestors of lost Oraite drift there. Many are not benevolent.

The Underground Palace/s - Often made of bone, ice, sculpted rock, grey stone, these formidable palaces tend to house demons (powerful spirits) or deities that can lure you into traps, or alternatively grant favours at a high price. Many shamanists are steered clear of such places by their spirit helpers. Often, travelling near these palaces, one encounters great villages, tempting foods and material wares. In the Norse mythos, these Underground Palaces are sometimes inhabited by Duergar and other earth-based wights that can be benevolent or malevolent; but mostly just indifferent to humankind.

Great Ladder / Great Stairs - They go on forever, upwards or downwards. You can walk a great ladder for days or weeks or years in the underworld never reaching a new destination. Are they tricks? Maybe. Or are we trusting too much in the solid familiar? Maybe that too. I avoid these, unless I am directed to use them.

Ropes - Ropes are far more helpful than the great ladders / stairs, but they tend to be harder to climb! These usually lead directly to the middleworlds. They can hang directly from the sky or from ceilings / tree branches etc. As always, be careful, some ropes are just tricks! When in doubt, trust the advice of your spirit helpers.

Gates - These are usually guarded by beasts, underworld dogs, people etc. and it's not easy to get through them much of the time! Yet you will find that you need to negotiate these barriers (in all the otherworlds) if you want to get to certain destinations.

Dunes - A great desert in the underworld seems to go on eternally, it is hot, desiccated and dry (or alternatively it is a desert of ice; cold and windy). There are traps here laid by mischievous spirits and malicious ones, caves to fall into, illusions and delusion to follow. These dry places are unpleasant, but many demons who take soul fragments tend to hide here, and so traversing the deserts of the underworld is a skill required by Oraite and many other shamanists.

The Ocean of Black Water - It is said that when a deceased spirit drinks this water, they realise they are truly dead. When shepherding the dead to a place where they find peace, encouraging them to drink from this ocean can help them move on. It is further said that when they cross the ocean of black water, they reach a place where they can no longer be contacted by any except those given the training to reach 'the land of the dead.' Many Oraite and ancestral shamans choose to stay in the otherworlds, instead of moving onto the 'land of the dead,' but sometimes it is necessary to cross this ocean. This is only done by experienced shamanists.

There are different ways of doing this. Some cultures had a boatman who could be coaxed to carry a living soul over by trickery or coin, other cultures required the spiritual animist to depress their breathing, to give away their 'life' and make themselves feel and be 'dead' on the inside. This technique was dangerous, because it meant that the shaman risked losing their own life-force on what is already a dangerous journey. In our practice, we swim across the ocean ourselves. This is also a journey that carries great risk, as soon as we absorb, swallow or breathe in the spray of the black water we believe ourselves to be truly dead, and it is only through the help of our assistant spirits and spirit helpers (many who cannot cross over with us) that we are able to make the journey back.

Incidentally, looking into the lapping waters of the ocean will reveal precognitive visions.

The Land of the Dead - The place/s where many of the deceased go. The appearances of this place are many and diverse, depending on who you are visiting and how they died. It is a dangerous place where dead people can still be holding onto the soul fragments of person's living. It can also be a place of trickery, despair and longing. Anyone who has lost a loved one and has unresolved business (i.e. is still grieving) is not encouraged to go here alone, or without the assistance of another human who can intervene if necessary. This in my experience is a preliminary place before an actual paradisical land of the departed which I don't know of anyone having reached.

The Great Tree - A gigantic, gnarled tree. The Great Tree is sometimes known as the world tree, or Yggdrasl in Norse culture, and is a common fixture in many different cultures. The root system in the underworld is usually complex and enormous, containing numerous openings. Some of these openings lead back to the middleworld, and some don't. By the root system of this great tree live spirits, gods, some of the greater ancestors, and are also places that many deities frequent. The root system of the great tree is a source of wisdom. It is possible to find an opening that leads to:

The Centre of the Earth - A place I haven't myself visited. Thought to be an empty place, either filled with heat and fire (the sun within the earth), or like a limbo place without any solid matter at all, it is thought that the Void could be found here; that lack of spark that existed before this universe, and yet is a part of this universe. This is very rarely a place that any soul fragments visit - in fact I'm not sure myself of any soul fragments visiting here if lost. Therefore visits to this place are not often called for.

The Happy Village - A village which appears to be happy, prosperous and hardworking. People smile to each other, children play in the street, and you can smell bread baking and meat cooking over a fire. The longer you spend in this place, the more sinister it becomes. Some people might have animal tails, yet other children may suddenly turn into dogs and chase and kill a chicken that was once a child. You notice sleight of hand between the false smiles of merchants, everyone is ripping each other off. And the more you notice how deceptive this place is, the more they tend to notice you.

The Happy Village is a place where soul fragments can be tricked into staying, taken in by the external appearance of the place. However once the residents in the village notice you (especially if you are looking for soul fragments), they become more obviously dangerous, attempting to trick you into giving your real name, into abandoning your spirit helpers or ancestors, and decrying your own flaws and insecurities. Given the chance, they will steal fragments of your own soul. You may even notice - or have noticed - that they 'money' they steal off each other each belongs to a person who has lost a soul fragment. In this village, the souls of other people can become trapped here, turned into money that is only used for deception and the continuation of falsehood.

The Plateau/s - Grey, green, black, brown plateaus of endless soil or mud or dirt or even concrete. These are flat, dark places, often not illuminated (and certainly not be celestial beings like stars or the moon), and frequented by lost children, shadows, demons and prowling animals and beasts.

The Killing Fields / The Abbatoirs - Gigantic places of dismembered / brutalised body-parts. For me, it is a great black place underneath a giant pyramid, that Sekmet Het-hert often visits. At other times it is a series of artificially created abbatoirs designed for mass slaughter, sometimes decommissioned yet still stinking of death, decay and haunted by demons. For others it might be a battleground, or some place that is literally knee deep (or more) in body parts. None of the body parts are alive per se, but sometimes they animate, shift and seethe underneath the force of all the bugs and creatures feasting on flesh - cleaning bones that never seem to become clean.

During initiations, body pieces are sometimes scattered here to confuse the initiate.

The Homes (Tents) of Ancestors - On a winding trail, and kept well separate, is a variety of homes / tents / yurts filled with ancestor after ancestor, keeping their own home and tending their own bleak garden in the underworlds. They can be visited and offered gifts and in turn offer wisdom, but beware, not all ancestors mean well and some are outright malevolent (and some are demons, tricking you into believing they are your ancestors). I met Aka Oslo, an ancestor, on this trail, when I travelled the underworlds as a wolverine.

The Northern Plains / The Ice Fields / The Frozen Wastelands - Here you can find a woman; maybe a goddess, maybe a demon, who created all the illnesses, hardship and 'sins' that populate the middleworlds and our own earth. In Vilturj, she is often known as Ucza. She goes by many names, and many appearances, and can be hard to find. She rarely bothers herself with taking or looking after soul fragments in her 'domain,' but will visit those who visit her. I have heard (having not visited her myself) that she is polite and well-mannered, and often appears as a once-beautiful middle-aged woman, or a beautiful woman. She is more trustworthy than a deity like Lesavny, but it seems just being in her presence can transmit mysterious illnesses, bad 'luck', and other adverse conditions which most humans generally try and avoid. Some people believe the polite advice she gives is worth the 'price' of health or wellbeing.
moonvoice: (Default)

In the middleworlds, I plant things. This is a traditional practice, and not one I think many neo-shamanists do.

Sheoak - Casuarina - for example, is a tree energy that I'm very close to (along with swamp paperbark and karri). In order to cultivate that energy in more than just real life, I took a fertile seed from 'real life' and held it in my hand, journeyed to the middleworld and planted it in the small haven/meadow that has - because of the hard work of my ancestors before me - become a sort of place that I exert some influence over.

It grew faster than it did here, but it still needed watering, love, attention, nutrition etc. As it grew, so did its spirit, and soon I found I could talk to spirit of sheoak as a person or tree spirit or however it chose to appear if I visited the tree. Now, when I bushwalk, if I meet a sheoak, I see its otherworld counterpart and spirit as well as the 'real life' tree.

Sheoak doesn't 'journey' with me, but sheoak is a rich repository of wisdom and I will sometimes just journey to sit with the spirit and talk, or listen, or even just to hear the sound of the wind through its branches.

I am one day hoping to take the time to create a greater forest or grove of sheoaks, but the one is enough for now.

The same goes for swamp paperbark and karri. Karri spirit in the otherworlds is... very strict and almost arrogant, but also deeply loving. There are otherworld forests of karri that exist, that I haven't planted, and they call to me sometimes.

So while I can't answer what a plant might be like as a personal totem (maybe you'd have a shaman who actively journeyed less, but still learnt a great amount of wisdom, for example), I can say how I choose to interact with plants in the otherworlds.

As for stones, I encounter stone spirits a lot, I think because of where I am in Australia, and also because there is a pre-existing culture of Indigenous Australians who cared for and acted as custodians to many of the rocks and rock landmarks here. I think this has helped to create a culture of respect to anyone who is willing to listen.

There is for example a granite outcrop not too far from where I am, which is said to be / house sleeping spirit of a Waugal, or sacred rainbow serpent (who brought water to this dry land). The Waugal there has been respected for over 10,000 years, pretty much continuously. The rock isn't just a 'metaphorical' place for the Waugal, in the Noongar/Nyungah beliefs, this granite outcrop is the Waugal. Harm done to the rocks, will harm the great sacred spirit within it, and in turn will harm the people who live near or who have a connection with that granite outcrop or the Waugal.

So for me, many rocks and landscapes are not just 'rocks and landscapes' but gods and spirits, that could literally be killed, hurt or sickened if their manifestation (a granite outcrop for example) was damaged.

They're not so much totems then, like 'amethyst totem', but greater gods or spirits. I don't really believe (sorry to those who do) that a tiny tumbled piece of quartz could be a totem. Nor do I believe that a particular granite outcrop could be a totem if it was being revered as a god spirit. Maybe that just makes me close-minded, because I haven't encountered it yet. If anyone has, I'd be happy for you to let me know.

BUT, I do believe that say the 'energy' of all amethyst could potentially be a totem. Maybe.

It's one of those 'potentially in theory, but not necessarily in real life' thoughts, because I've never met anyone who has ever claimed to have a rock as a totem.
moonvoice: (Default)
Mapping the Otherworlds

The otherworlds, though vast and ever-changing, generally have specific landmarks and paths that are familiar to us, and cultures. Some landmarks may even be familiar worldwide, such as the presence of a world-tree, in some shape or form, with roots that stretch into the underworld, and branches that stretch into the upperworld.

Some people ask how we know that we're journeying in the otherworlds, and not just 'daydreaming' or visualising something that is internal only, and one of the ways that we can tell - though we can never 'prove' it - is by the presence of landmarks, and the way things happen there. After all, it might be a magical place, but it still seems governed by 'rules' in the same way that our own 'real world' is governed by natural rules.

When I journey, I take note of landmarks, such as forests or hills, animals or landscapes, doors or trees. I have noticed that I tend to 'enter' into the middleworld into the same two or three areas, every time. My explorations of the underworld, so far limited, are always in the same places, with the same features. These landmarks form a mental map in my head.

Consider mapping your experience of the otherworlds, draw a mud map, or just a vague sketch of your surroundings. Is it familiar? What kind of landscape is it? Where you in the middle, upper or underworld? Who did you meet there? What did you learn there? As you go on in your experiences, you may find that other landscapes connect to this one, or that certain paths take you to specific places. Sometimes drawing a mud map may even enable you to journey to specific places more easily in the future.

Certain cultures have mythologies that suggest or indicate 'places' or landmarks that may pre-exist in the otherworlds. For example, in Norse mythology, the presence of Helheim, or an underworld kingdom for the dead, may be a particular 'landmark' that you may encounter. The world-tree, found in many cultures, is another. Look into the stories of your heritage, or look into the mythologies of your childhood and your adulthood that have interested you and pulled at your spirit, and notice if there are landmarks there which resonate with what you have encountered in the otherworlds.

I feel it's important, if you do journey, to find a 'place' in the upper, middle or underworld where you feel safe and protected. It might be a small, quiet place. Or it might be a big sunny field, or it might be many places that each mean something different to you. Remember this place, and aim - if you can - to start your journeys in these places, or to finish them there. In the middleworld, I often come to a grassy plateau, surrounded by trees. In the underworld I come to a dead forest of skeletal trees and a hard, brown, packed floor. But for some reason I feel comfortable there.

Ask yourself the following questions:

- are there certain places I have been to more than once when I journey?

- do I have a sense of 'direction' in the otherworlds? (do I know if I'm in the middle, upper or underworlds, and what 'direction' I may be headed or in?)

- what do these different places and landmarks teach me?

- where do I do the most healing?

- do I have a place, or places I can go to where I feel safe?

- what could be the benefits and or cons of a map that I could always refer to?
moonvoice: (Default)
Landmarks of the Upperworld

Although the upperworlds are considered transitory - like all otherworlds - there are fixed landmarks that can be visited across time, which can act as 'starting points' depending on your culture or your practices. Here are some of the 'landmarks' I have heard others make mention of, or referred to in legend. Many of these are universal.

You may notice other landmarks in your own journeys, feel free to make a note of these places, or any rules that you learn in these places that may be specific to it - such as certain offerings you may have to leave, or certain places you might have to avoid. Having not been to the upperworlds yet myself, I apologise for the sparseness of this page.

The Homes of the Weather Gods / Celestial Gods - There is a 'street', upon which there are many houses. Some are well-maintained, and some are not. In each house lives a 'weather god.' One can knock on the door of the Sun (Karijiana) when she is in the sky, and get no answer, but when one knocks at night-time, you might be gifted with the appearance of a celestial god; personified or not. Many of these houses have offerings left by them from hundreds of other shamans and spiritual people over time. Some houses will be very neglected, others like that of the Moon, or the North Wind, will be 'new' and attractive. Of course they may not appear as houses, they may also appear as tents, or manifest in other ways.

The Birthing Ground - I think this may be specific to Vilturj. In our practices; shooting stars, rainbows and lightning strikes are all dragons. The birthing ground is a dark, starry place where each of these dragons is born into a 'spark' of life. They are then commandeered by gods (such as the thunder god Hrum) to journey back with them to Earth, or they find their own way about the universe (such as shooting stars) having little to do with us. If you find a 'shooting star' dragon and follow it as it grows and coasts across the skies, give it gifts of art, jewellery, scarves and diamonds (and other faceted gems) it is thought that occasionally you can gain it as a powerful spirit helper that will take you anywhere in the upperworlds.

No Place - A place which gives no sense of direction, space or time. It is amorphous, without features. Most people find their way here accidentally. It is also the place of mist and fog - and mist and fog deities - appealing to them and their spirits can help you 'find your way' again. It's possible to get trapped here. Those who leave a part of their spirit here go through life unable to experience or feel anything. They live in a No Place, filled with dense nothingness, unable to access personal power or mature.

The Fountain - All of the worlds seem to have an ancient fountain, a 'safe place' if you will that is specific to it. The upperworld fountain has great healing properties, and can confer gifts onto whoever drinks from it. That said, not too many drink from this fountain, since partaking in any food in the otherworlds can be dangerous, and can have its own 'price' that you may not be willing to pay.

The Gates - This seems to be an image common in Christian iconography, but the idea of 'gates' or a barrier stopping the living from entering the realm of the gods has an ancient grounding in many religions. There are thresholds in both the upperworlds, middleworlds and underworlds. The 'gates' of the upperworld bars the living from the street of gods, and from some of the deceased who have moved onto exist with the celestial and weather gods rather than with the underground or Chthonic gods of the underworld. It is thought that only shamans and other spiritually adept people are able to move through to this place, often on behalf of negotiation between spirit helpers and whoever is guarding the gates. In Vilturj, the gates are often guarded by a white stag, or bear.
moonvoice: (Default)
The Three Worlds
A brief overview

An Oraite and Oraiyjek are generally accomplished at letting their soul or souls travel to places known to neopagans and shamans as the 'otherworlds.' I will use that term, since it is more familiar. These otherworlds are realms that exist without us, and therefore cannot be visited by visualisation alone. The Oraite and Oraiyjek visit these places in order to heal and work with their guides and gods. The otherworlds are split into 'realms':

1. The Upperworld (So'uslaijka)
2. The Middleworld (Ur'a)
3. The Lowerworld / Underworld (Y'czm)

Depending on your chosen beliefs or paths, you may believe that there are more worlds than this. You may also believe that the 'middleworld' is simply our material earth. In Vilturj, the middleworld is another realm separate to the earth itself.

Each of the worlds can be thought of as having fantastic features not found in ordinary reality. However, they can be distinguished from the Disneyland of visualisation by the presence of strict rules and natural laws that occur. In most places in the otherworlds there is gravity, for example. In the otherworlds it is not usually possible to just immediately transport yourself from one location to another. Oraite and Oraiyjek must travel either through their own locomotion, or by riding or flying on the backs of animals, spirit helpers, gods etc.

These worlds are entered through the technique and skill of journeying or ju-ouczyrt. This is different to visualisation, which is what we do when we imagine something. We may 'imagine' going through a doorway into what we 'imagine' are the otherworlds, but this is not the same as a literal journey to the otherworlds themselves.

The Oraite and Oraiyjek can enter a trance state through techniques such as drumming, dancing or chanting, or they may know how to 'look' for doorways in this world without such modalities, depending on their training. These doorways, which might be better known as 'portals' in contemporary times, generally lead to the middleworld. From there, we may find other doorways to the upper or underworld.

The Middleworld (Ur'a)

The middleworld is where deities of the 'earth' reside, and by that I mean deities of earthly landmarks such as the forest, the ocean, the swamps etc. This is also the place where many totems, vili (wights such as lskowicz - elves), rock and plant spirits and other earth-based creatures are thought to reside. It is the most common entry-place into the other worlds. It is also the place that people most commonly begin 'shamanic' training.

We may find the middleworld through our dreams, and sometimes will wake up from dreams that are particularly vivid, where we have seen, felt, touched and smelt another place that we may have never visited before. In Vilturj, we consider these dreams to be important, though they can be dangerous too as they expose the sleeper to harm from demons and other malicious or mischievous entities.

The Upperworld (So'uslaijka)

Doorways or paths to the upperworld are often found by climbing a tree or ladder, by climbing a cliff-face or swimming up-stream. Generally there must be 'upward' motion in order to locate the upperworld.

This is the place where the sky deities reside, and tends to be a more remote and inaccessible place than the underworld and middleworld. Few animals can travel to the upperworld, and few are found there. However birds like the eagle, vulture and raven can travel to the upperworld. We may also meet some of our ancestors in the upperworld, and those of the dead who have been favoured by sky deities, such as deceased Ilkara'te (sky shamans).

The upperworld can seem disorienting and overwhelming, and it is here that time is most transient. Certain physical laws do not always apply here, such as the law of gravity. It is also a place where doorways can be found to interstellar locations, and it is said in stories that there are worlds beyond the upperworld that can be located if we find the right doorway.

The Underworld (Y'czm)

Doorways or paths to the underworld are often found by descending ladders and stairs, by crawling downwards through caves, by literally moving into the earth or underwater, or any other means that follows a 'downward' motion.

The underworld is the most dangerous for the inexperienced, though all the worlds are not without their dangers. It is here where the Izyr'te (demons) reside. However it is also in the underworld where you are most likely to locate damaged and lost soul fragments. They may be stolen by entities there, or they may have fled there. It is also in the underworld that you are most likely to be possessed or injured if you do not have a healthy relationship with your spirit helpers.

The underworld always has gravity, and many encounters with demons can be navigated by following what we consider to be basic rules of etiquette. Rudeness in the underworld is rarely tolerated. Many Oraite broker bargains with Izyr'te here. Not all animals are able to travel to the underworld, though there may be 'variations' of earth animals in the underworld. There is usually something off about them, such as a stag possessing cat eyes, or a robin with teeth, etc. The underworld is generally considered more dangerous than the upper and middleworld because of the heightened presence of demons and malicious entities.
moonvoice: (Default)
- a world mountain -

Many traditions have a world tree, but in my belief system, the Axis Mundi in the otherworlds is the Undu'urta, a mountain whose roots are in the underworld, and whose peak stretches up into the upperworlds, poking through a sea of clouds.


In the upperworld, the Undu'urta can be seen surrounded by a sea of white or grey clouds. Its peak is covered in snow and ice, and is very jagged. It is the home of the first birds, ancestors of all birds, and all bird maidens. All ancient or great birds, like the slavae and incarnations of the firebird may visit, or nest here. The peak of Undu'urta is treacherous, and Oraite (shamans) prefer to fly off the Undu'urta in the middleworld, rather than climb the mountain into the upperworld.

The skeletons of failed shamans line the nests of the great bird ancestors. The spirits of Ilkara'te (sky shamans) ancestors live in small caves along the peak. They are small and shrunken from the thin air. Ilkara'te trainees make initiatory pilgrimages here for wisdom and learning.

The tip of Undu'urta isn't affected by weather changes and has never seen L'yuvotn'r (rain) except in his incarnation as the Arctic Fox. The skies are always blue above the clouds, and even the night sky - while showing stars - is still lit by the sun.

The peak of Undu'urta is a place where dismemberment occurs, and a site where fragments and dismembered parts are hidden. It is particularly a site for dismembered or fragmented shaman spirits, as malicious or more harmful shamans know that it can be particularly difficult to retrieve anything from the peak of Undu'urta.

All water-related animals may not travel to Undu'urta (including my own spirit helper Ovatne). The exceptions to this are water-birds like the geese and swan, and water-related serpents, or those serpents that are thought to bring rains and fresh waters in other mythologies. All storks and herons are able to access the tip of Undu'urta safely, which may be one reason why Ilkara'te almost always had a stork or heron type spirit helper.


- Bring a solid (trustworthy) spirit helper. If you have more than one, bring more than one.
- Do not touch Ilkara'te bones. The wisdom that they contain is so overwhelming that it can cause the splitting of souls and fragmentation.
- Treat Ilkara'te ancestors with respect and with silence. Do not speak first. Ever. Bow deeply and do not turn your back on them at any time, including when leaving their cave.
- Bird ancestors talk and can impart wisdom, but are ravenous and consume people given a chance. Smoked meats can placate them. Make offerings to them both in the mundane world (at the base of hills, granite outcrops and mountains) and in the otherworlds.
- Remember to take deep, slow breaths.
- Remember that the tip of Undu'urta can - by its very nature - be an exhausting place. Plan time to rest beforehand. Never visit this place if you are tired or not alert. This is not a resting place.


In the middleworld, you can see the underside of the sea of clouds and also a 'base' (though not the true base of the mountain, which is found in the underworld. All animals can access the middleworld part of Undu'urta. It is riddled with caves, caverns, hollows etc. It is connected to significant middleworld crossroads, such as the path that leads to the houses of the gods in Vilturj.

The Undu'urta is home to some 'storehouses' of Urt pieces. Two notable ones are:

1. Chiaji Ana's cave. Chiaji Ana is a wizened old Oraite woman, and ancestor of unknown origin. She lives in her cave and sustains herself off the offerings left to her by people. Like many Urt storehouses, the Urt pieces find their way to these safehavens and are kept here safely. Chiaji Ana's cave is well-hidden and enchanted to shift. Pine-tree spirits can usually help you find it. If you have a good relationship with a old juniper spirit, you will never have problems finding this place. Chiaji may test you with a task (or several) in order to gage your worthiness. She is exceptionally powerful, and will trade Urt pieces with you for retrievals, and also store pieces safely if you need to keep them somewhere temporarily.

2. Dja Murak. Dja Murak is a storehouse maintained by the djajajyk (or malicious, mischievous, imp-like energies, basically). Djajajyk will attempt to steal Urt fragments before shamans, gods, or anyone else can gain access to them. Due to the djajajyk ability to also exist and harass people in the mundane world, this can be very problematic as they sometimes have first access to soul fragments. Some Oraite regularly 'clear out' this place and give these Urt back to more healthy storehouses, or their original souls. Sometimes tasks given to the Oraite by spirits or gods involve helping to continually shift the spirit pieces left in such places.

All sorts of forests can be found in the middleworld around Undu'urta, including cloud jungles. It is influenced by all types of weather. Snow does not last long, here.

The side of the middleworld Undu'urta in the shadow of the sun is dangerous, and is patrolled by more malicious spirits. However, travelling here is sometimes the only way to visit certain night-preferring entities, animals and gods. Besides, Lesavny is sometimes found on the sunny side of the Undu'urta, in the forests, so it's best to always keep your wits about you.


- The sunny side of the Undu'urta is safer than the shadow side.
- Gods can be found around here, and it is a good place to leave offerings.
- One of the 'safer' places in the otherworlds. Can be an excellent place to make a home or a journeying starting point.
- A lot of wild animals are found here, this is an excellent site for totem and guide work.
- Some well-work paths here to the Undu'urta peak.
- Never visit the middleworld Undu'urta during solar eclipses (even partials).
- A good place to search for caves or guides to the underworld. The ground here is thinnest and the journeys down don't tend to take as long.
- This is a good place to end journeys.


The 'roots' of the Undu'urta are the home of T'klit'zi, the god of justice and strength, among other things. It is the home of Wyrms, giant insects, all ground digging wights, most mining spirits, as well as underworld demons, black hounds and other typically underworld creatures. Different levels of the underworld Undu'urta feature different types of living spaces, including one entirely underwater realm which is home to giant squids, ancient sharks and strange underwater kingdoms.

This place is rarely affected by weather changes, much like the peak of the Undu'urta. It is almost always night-time, or shadowy here. Even during the day, when the sun is shining, it often appears dimmed or turned down in strength. As a consequence, many night loving fungi and flowers, like the jasmine, can be found here. This is an excellent place to acquaint the self with spirits of fungi.

Many of the entities here have no love of humans, and may even go out of their way to attack those who are alone or don't have the help of spirit helpers. Make sure that you travel here well-prepared. It is worth having a good negotiating spirit in case you encounter demons or those gods who do not serve humanity. Make sure you have an escape route, if necessary.

It is difficult for some types of bird to visit the underworld, and bird guides or spirit helpers must be consulted with before visiting. Most four-legged animals can visit the base of the Undu'urta, and many human guides, including ancestors, have no problems visiting here.

The roots of the Undu'urta are also riddled with caves, many forming labyrinthine passages into the centre of the mountain itself. Within these, you may find / visit the spirits of precious gems and stones, entities that mine or work with rock, and the deities of stones, like the Lady of Malachite. These places can be confusing, and there are entities that exist love to confuse visitors, so make sure before going in, that you trust you can get out again.

Not too many Urt fragments are found here, and the roots of the Undu'urta tend to be a lot quieter than the middleworld or even the upperworld manifestations of the central mountain. Offerings to T'klit'zi, Zirczekaja, Ucza and the ancestors can be left here. Initiatory dismemberments can occur here, but the fragmentary results of that are often scattered elsewhere.

If you journey through the underworld around Undu'urta with a light source (like a candle or lantern) be prepared to attract light-loving entities. Some will simply want to be around a warm source of light, but others may know that you are not used to the 'dark' or travelling in the underworld, and attract trouble. Once more, a good team of spirit helpers will be invaluable here.


- Never travel here alone.
- Avoid visiting the underworld manifestation of Undu'urta during lunar eclipses.
- Be aware that you are far more likely to meet deliberately misleading entities here, including those that will attempt to masquerade as your spirit helpers, ancestors or even gods.
- Leave rocks as you found them, wherever possible.
- Don't make much noise here. Chanting, drumming, loud singing is pretty much out of the question. The attitude here from many of the entities is much the same as you'd find in a large, self-important library. *grin*


So there you have it, a short description of the manifestation of the Undu'urta. I believe in other Axis Mundi and believe I have encountered Yggdrasil before (from a distance, safely, one 'centre of the world' is plenty for me to deal with currently). This is just the one that I work with the most, and am the most comfortable with.
moonvoice: (Default)
Basic Rules/Laws of the Otherworlds

1. Never give your true name (the name given to you by birth, or a name gifted to you by gods). Do not expect to be given 'true names' by others either.

2. Carry food and drink on your person. You will often be asked to dine or partake with food with other spirits and gods, but this is not generally considered wise. It is often considered polite then to respectfully decline by offering your own fare.

3. Treat all living and non-living entities of the otherworlds with respect. This might be as simple as asking a rock permission before sitting on it. Or as complex as not letting your fear govern a rude response to a god or demon.

4. Exercise vigilance. Use your brain. Don't speak without thinking first. Instinct is good in the otherworlds, impulse is not.

5. Do not expect that everything will want to give you attention. If you signal that you wish to speak with an entity and it ignores you, then leave it alone. If it signals back, approach respectfully, do not invade its space (leave a distance equal to your height between you), act with courtesy. You may be talking to a god in disguise.

6. Do not lie. In the cases where you have to give 'false' information, be creative. If you are asked where you live, it is acceptable to say 'in a house by the road' (if that's true), but do not say 'on the moon.' If you are asked for your name, do not give a false name, give a nickname that you have been called in the past, or give a name that you have given yourself for these circumstances.

7. Unless you are in the presence of certain deities, try not to indicate irrational fear. Normal fear - such as that which you might present a snarling bear - is fine, but irrational fear leaves you extremely vulnerable, and will end up with you earning a somewhat contemptuous reputation.

8. Learn to master your ego. Do not ever boast of what you can do to other entities if you can't do it when they ask you to. Do not ever brag to gods.

9. If an entity indicates a wish to travel with you, you are obliged to accept. If you feel your path may be dangerous, indicate this.

10. If an entity does you a favour, is a temporary guide, or helps you in some way, it is considered appropriate to repay it in some way. You can ask how, or travel with pre-prepared gifts. If you feel an entity is offering to do something for which you cannot offer appropriate payment, show the gifts you have available and say 'this is all I have right now, but if you can indicate to me what you would like, I can let you know if it is possible for me to give.' You will not ever be able to give an appropriate gift to every creature that helps you. There will be cases where you end up in the debt of other entities (and they end up in yours). This cannot be avoided if you plan on long-term journeying.

11. If you are asked to give a favour, and it is within your power to do so. Give it freely, and do not expect a reward. The law of the otherworlds indicate that they will be in your debt anyway, so asking for a reward or favour is simply rude and ignorant.

12. Do not make promises you can't keep.

13. Do not indicate deadlines you can't meet.

14. If an entity plays a trick on you, or hurts you, brace yourself before fighting back. Petty anger has little place in the otherworlds.

15. Don't preach to, or assume you know what's best, for any other entity in the otherworlds. This also includes wounded soul fragments. They have their own innate knowing, and if they don't come back with you, it may not be a slight on your own character, it may simply be the soul fragment doing what is best.

16. If you are ever offered a token, say thank you and accept it. If you are worried it may be a curse, place it in a 'safe place' or 'neutral place' in the otherworlds. Never decline a gift, no matter what it is, whether it be animal gore, or treasure. If given an article of clothing or jewellery however, do not put it on.

17. Ugly people can be helpful. Beautiful people can harm you. As in the real world, 'beauty' is not a true reflection of character.

18. Compassion, canniness, a generous spirit and wit can get you very far in the otherworlds.

19. Remember, if you feel you are faltering, or don't know what to do next, always ask your spirit helpers, guides, totems, ancestors for help. If they are absent, ask them for a sign or indication. If they have left you because you have offended them somehow, get out of the trance state as quickly and as safely as you possibly can. I find a quick method to get out of the trance state is to have a pin in my 'pack' which I prick my finger with (which in the real world rests under my right index finger). The physical shock of such an 'awakening' is preferable over the dangers you can be in unprotected and unsupported in the otherworlds.
moonvoice: (Default)

A lot of people are familiar with the otherworlds as places to visit in order to perform soul healing for the self or others (including soul retrieval, extractions etc.) or to psychopomp / shepherd the dead, or help a deceased spirit on its way to a more peaceable place. These functions of the shamanist have been popularised in contemporary and anthropological literature, and I personally do think they are two extremely important functions of the shamanist in the otherworlds.

However, there are other spiritual things one can do in the otherworlds. Both before you feel qualified to do active soul healing or psychopomping, and in between these events. And all are important things that can be done.

Things to do in the Otherworlds

Establishing a 'starting place' - The starting place, or starting base, or safe place, or whatever you want to call it ; is a place that generally sits in a liminal frontier between your own inner universe, and the external otherworlds. It is a place where you feel safe, where you can access at least one of your guides, and where you can store objects for later use and work with the landscape and land spirits. Some people have more than one, depending on how often they work in the otherworlds, what places they travel to etc.

Starting places don't need constant maintenance, but specifically and diligently working on maintaining your starting place will give you a place to start from and return to, a place to practice energy techniques before you're ready to try them fully in the otherworlds, and often a place to simply 'be' without risk of harm or malice. It can also be a good place to become accustomed to the sensations of journeying. Finally, it is a self-nourishing act; the starting place is primarily for you and your wellbeing, devoting any time to it is a way of devoting time to yourself.

Soul-healing - The most popularised contemporary function of journeying to the otherworlds. Sandra Ingerman has written about it, Michael Harner, Jeanette Gagan, Roger Walsh… it goes on. So I had to include it in the list. As soul fragments often travel off to the otherworlds, soul-healing by travelling to the otherworlds is the next logical step.

Acting as psychopomp - Shepherding the dead, or acting as psychopomp, or assisting spirits or gods who are psychopomps, is another primary function for many shamanists; though less popularised in contemporary culture. It basically involves going to the otherworlds (middle, upper or lower depending on the culture / event / situation / placement of the land of the dead) in order to locate a deceased spirit, and guiding them to what can be termed a resting place. This may involve taking them to the entrance point of a land of the dead, like Helheim; or it may simply involve taking them to a place where they feel comfortable, until they are ready to move on. It's hard work, as it often involves knowing the locations of different lands of dead, or knowing how to call on if you are unable to assist.

Establishing relationships - It is crucial work to establish working relationships with other spirits (gods / kami / ancestors / animals / plants / angels / demons / whatever floats your boat). Relationships are always re-established no matter what you're doing, but it is important to sometimes just put time aside specifically for your inter-relationships with helpful spirits. That may involve taking them offerings, asking them for counsel, speaking your gratitude directly in the otherworlds (as opposed to just paying fealty at an altar in this world), or learning more about them and where they've come from, their motivations, and your role with them. Of course with gods this might not be something feasible for you, depending on their nature. But many ancestor spirits, animals, wights etc. are often happy to simply chat, be shown that you care about them, and know that you will visit them. After all, as a shamanist who can actually visit spirits / spirit helpers, it's kind of rude to expect that they will always visit you. Sometimes you have to go and visit them.

Trade secrets - You know, I've not seen this written about in books at all and it's a real shame, because it's been one of the most helpful things I've done. The fact is, there are many artisans in the otherworlds; dancers, artists, tradespeople, craftspeople, smiths, wordsmiths, gardeners. Some are gods, wights, other spirits, ancestors etc. Learning 'tricks of the trade' from otherworldly sources is immensely valuable.

Firstly, it means you can get otherworld help creating your shaman's tools, but perhaps more importantly, it means you can learn how to do craft-based energy work a huge, and diverse range of sources. If you make wallets, why not visit wights specifically connected to prosperity? If you do shamanic dancing, why not find an ancestor shamanist or spirit who can teach you how to dance in ways you've never considered? If you want to create art from the heart, why not see if there are spirits out there to teach you some of their techniques? Nothing comes for free, and an exchange might be asked for, but it's usually - in my own experience - very reasonable.

Events - Events basically involve special occasions. It might be one of the human-based sabbats, Solstices, Equinoxes, festivals that you celebrate. Or alternatively it might be a wight-based event. Those who work primarily with animal and plant spirits won't be exposed to otherworld events as often as those who work with wights, ancestors and Gods. Events are often rewarding (though sometimes draining!), and can involve extending your circle or network of acquaintances in the otherworlds, as well as being exposed to practices you would not necessarily witness in our corporeal, 'real' world.

Rituals and Magic - Most people do their rituals and magic work in this world, sending out their intent into the otherworlds, or realms of energy without actually going there. And this works perfectly well. But for those who can journey, and want the benefits of being around guides, or getting their specific assistance with the crafting of a ritual, or work of magic; doing this work in the otherworlds can be extremely beneficial. It's also worthwhile to see how magic and energy-work in the otherworlds can differ from 'real world' work, i.e. if you feel it's more potent, if you find it's more useful for certain types of spells or rituals, or just to test out if there is much of a difference.

Creating and crafting - Currently, I'm working on building a boat in the otherworlds. It's taking some time, because I've never built a boat before. Thankfully, I have a couple of guides to help me with the more technical stuff, but the rest of it is hard work. I had to find the wood and thank the tree spirits involved, I had to find a place of land/land spirit willing to let me rest my boat on it until it was finished. I will need to talk to cotton plants and other spirits about creating sails. This boat, once finished, will never see the real world; but will be a working boat that I can use to help in my psychopomping work, and with travelling over large bodies of water. It's a complex task, but I am enjoying it and it's teaching me a lot.

The otherworlds are a great place to create objects or materials specifically for your work in the otherworlds. Tools for soul retrieval, extraction (I have a glue I was given by my patron goddess), psychopomping, events, magic, ritual etc. Sometimes you can take the essence of real world objects into the otherworlds, sometimes you may be able to just 'find' what you need, but personally I think it's more meaningful to actually craft what you need in the otherworlds. It takes longer, but it creates a more lasting, reliable object which has been specifically designed for you and what you need it for.

Mapping - Mapping is a task that can be done both in this world and the otherworlds, but it's an important one to do. I hear, these days, of people falling back on saying 'no point in mapping something as spatially challenged as the otherworlds,' but if there was no point; then why did traditional shamanists in countries like Australia, Russia, Asia etc. frequently depict mud-maps of otherworld locations and places? Probably because there was a point to it, and it was important for them to share the places they travelled with trainee shamanists, colleagues, and even just for personal use.

Mapping the otherworlds is an important task that is often overlooked these days, perhaps because people fear that they'll get it 'wrong.' Well, here's the thing, it doesn't matter if you get it wrong, it may help someone else to know that you get to a particular healing place by starting at X, going through X forest, and negotiating with X spirit (and knowing they like offerings of bamboo or rum or something). This kind of knowledge is important stuff and should be documented. Not just for your own benefit, but also - if this is a part of your path - for the benefit of others.

I know I often counsel people about gratuitously going to the otherworlds. New shamanists often start to feel a distinct appeal in spending a lot of time 'over there' rather than being grounded in the real world, and escapism is a dangerous indulgence; especially in realms that you cannot assume to be safe. However, as you can see, there are definitely a lot of different things that one can do in the otherworlds that don't count as 'gratuitous escapism.' It's still important to not journey too much, or more than you can handle at any time. But remember, the otherworlds isn't just about soul-retrieval and psychopomping. It's not even just limited to this list. The more you journey, the more you'll realise just how rich and diverse the other-realms are, and how rewarding journeying can be.


moonvoice: (Default)

October 2017

8910 11121314
15 16 1718 192021


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 23rd, 2017 09:56 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios