One of the practices I use for seeking spiritual guidance or discernment is shamanic journeying. I’ve been trained in this technique by both Dream Change and The Foundation of Shamanic Studies. With the aid of drums and rattles, I open myself up to the possibilities of other realms besides my own limited ego. The result is always a story:
I traveled to the upper world in the rising smoke of a campfire. I kept getting stalled and couldn’t progress. Self-judgments kept coming at me and I would grab them: you’re not worthy, you have nothing to give, it’s too late, no one wants you, and on and on. I would grab them and drop them into the fire far below, and each time I became more weightless until I was effortlessly ascending. I came to a place where I just floated for awhile.
I asked for a helper or teacher to come to me. The first thing that came was a lion that later shifted into a mountain lion. There was also an old woman. More self-judgments came that I taunted the lion with, basically saying I’m not worthy, you’re wasting your time. The lion promptly ate me and traveled out of the floating place to the top of a mountain, where he just as promptly shat me out.
I again asked for a teacher and an eagle soared overhead. I found myself lamenting that I can’t see what I’m supposed to do; I can’t figure it out. The lion then bit off my head and spat it out, and I “watched” it roll down the mountain. So I just sat there for awhile, my headless self, with the mountain lion on one side, the old woman on the other, and the eagle soaring above. I realized I was looking over all the world without my head. My heart sometimes seemed to be beating with the drums: call-ing, call-ing, call-ing.
As the journey was ending, eagle flew down and stood in front of me. We gazed at each other for some time. Then I got the sense that he was going to grab my heart and fly away with it. Instead, as the drums started calling me back, he retrieved my head and I journeyed back home.