I’ve long wanted to get a tattoo. When I was in college–well before it was cool to sport ink–a fellow TA had a tiny American flag in the shape of a heart on her ankle, and I wanted one, post-haste.
In my woo circles, I’m the Reiki Master that no one knows is a Reiki Master. It isn’t because I don’t use or teach it, or because it’s become the Catalina Dressing of the holistic healing world.
Over the weekend I worked at the largest MBS event hosted on the east coast–the Mind Body Spirit Expo, in Raleigh, NC. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s gone on for almost 20 years, and it attracts certainly the most involved esoteric arts practitioners in NC, but a a great many from the east coast. It’s a huge undertaking, and this year’s spring event was no exception.
“I’ve sent my brightest and bravest men to search for this [grail]. How did you find it?” the King asked.
The Fool laughed and said, “I don’t know. I only knew that you were thirsty.”
— The Fisher King
Originally published at Pagan Square.
I’ve long wrestled with the concept of ‘life purpose.’ Foremost, it seemed limiting–just one? And it smacked of New Age woo. The true wrestling part, though, was that I felt a deep calling, always, like since I became aware that I was aware, between 5-6 years old. I didn’t know what the calling was, and for most of my youth I was satisfied to just recognize that it was.
I recently had the honor of writing for TarotWikipedia, on life as a modern shaman.
To many who find the modern shamanic path, the summation of that work is learning to journey. Sometimes called skywalking, starwalking, or soul flight, journeying is the term most often applied to ecstatic trance. It is the cognisant dreaming state of willing an aspect of the soul to travel out of the body, into a destination in the spirit realm, for benefit of self, other, or community. That’s a mouthful, yes, and it’s intense travel.
Many learn to journey by taking classes taught by someone who has mastered the technique. It’s actually not hard to find classes on ecstatic trance all over the world now, often flavored with many cultural influences. Certainly many books and websites outline various approaches to spirit travel. This jaunt into the unseen is not just an exercise in experiencing the self out of form, but an opportunity to map the Dreaming, to greet spirit guides and totems, to heal, to bless. The act of shamanic journeying, itself, becomes a relationship one has with All Things.
I teach ecstatic journeying, and have since 2000. I’ve mastered the technique of journeying, despite that it dips and dodges, shows me new faces and territories, then swings out and loops back to familiar climes and allies. The thing that I work on to this day is rooting into everyday life what my shamanic journeys teach me. This is the part that can’t be taught in a weekend class, or perhaps even through years of classes. This grounding is the part that can only be learned by doing it, everyday, all day, through every aspect of life.
Learning to journey isn’t a technique, it’s a lifestyle change. I tell this to students who take my classes; I’ve said it repeatedly in the many articles and essays I’ve written on modern shamanism. Ecstatic journeying changes our lives. It rearranges our synapses and priorities, and allows us direct contact with the spiritual manifestation of all that our imaginations can perceive. When we journey, we return changed in ways that can’t be planned for, and most certainly can’t be ignored. That attention must be given in sharing, doing, being, creating the world of imagination–where we live.
Originally published at TarotWikipedia.