Dabbling with Shamans: Embrace the Journey 

Guest Blogger Kristin Furjanic

When you open yourself up to new things, the unexpected can happen. As I walked into the Highlands Event Center, Kari Rivers cleansed me with sage, had me pick out a precious stone, and told me to find a comfortable seat inside.

I had heard of Shamanism before, but didn’t really know what to expect. It was an intimate class – myself and one other student – and I immediately felt at home on my mat (I spend a lot of my free time on it), but the event center itself was a new space for me.

Kari began the class with a little bit of background, “Shamanism is an ancient way to gain wisdom.” She went on to explain that a Shaman is “one who can see in the dark; they have a strong eye, can see into the heart, and travel into different realms.” It’s really about varying your states of consciousness; believe it or not, dreams and Shamanic journeys tend to parallel one another. Shamanic Journeying is more of a conscious dreaming where you can gain incredible insight and understanding on the issue at hand including the information you receive in your dreams. Similar to yoga, Shamanism teaches us that everything is connected; everyone we meet, the stars, the universe, etc. In other words, we are all one. Also, just as a yoga teacher holds a safe space in a studio, a Shaman’s role in the community / room is to assist practitioners in finding balance and harmony, through drumming. This particular type of drumming can be replicated in your own private space by using The Drum Journey App, which is specific to this shamanic practice, and can be customized according to your preferences.

It was hard for me to explain what it feels like to embark on a Shamanic Journey. First, Kari started drumming – slow, and then faster – at first, it was uncomfortable and louder than I expected, but I closed my eyes and began to try to relax. I focused on my breath, and settled in; it took a few minutes to actually allow my mind to roam freely. The drumming continued for 10 minutes, until it abruptly changed pace, from fast – to fastest. This is the ‘call back,’ that notifies you to start saying your goodbyes to those you’re visiting with in your journey. After a few minutes, the drumming stopped completely, and Kari slowly turned on the lights; we did this three times.

Did I experience Shamanic Journeying? I think so. I was taken somewhere in my subconscious, and when I got back, it felt oddly familiar – similar to fluttering my eyes open after a 10 minute Savasana, post-yoga class (that’s how I knew it did some good). However, Kari did a great job of summarizing her experience as a whole, “[..] I feel a deep surrender and trust in all that shows up in my life, or that feels difficult, knowing that there is more to let go of and learn from. [..] The journey to ‘enlightenment’ requires us to become disillusioned with ourselves. We are not our bodies or our thoughts… We are elemental spiritual beings that are connected to all that surrounds us; and we are here to learn, grow and evolve into all that the spirit demands, and that is pure love.”

Exploring the different landscapes of your psyche will be a unique and grounding experience for each individual; therefore, I encourage you to try it out for yourself. Definitely take Kari’s Dabble class if you can, otherwise, peruse my list of tips to prepare yourself for the journey of a lifetime:

1. Connect. If this is a new practice for you, I recommend finding a teacher or guide that you’re able to connect with on a deeper level. They will answer any questions, hold a safe space, and contribute to your shamanic experience with positive words of encouragement. Learn more about Kari here.

2. Cleanse your space; burning sage or eucalyptus will help shift the energy of the room. Clear your mind by taking a few deep breaths (or yoga poses) prior to starting your journey.

3. Be Present. Should any emotions arise, acknowledge and stay with them. Trust in those feelings, as they may lead to deeper understandings or moments of clarity later on.

4. Be Patient. This practice requires a lot of patience and discipline. Allow yourself to remain open and conscious of the things that you might need to let go of, as your journey continues.

5. Find Balance in the approach suits you best. A multitude of holistic practices? Running three days a week? The combination will vary depending on your own mind, body, and spirit. Finding balance and walking in awareness are both continued efforts that require commitment.

Maybe your journey wasn’t quite what you expected? Or, you felt like your first try was unsubstantial? Fear not – I think those feelings are normal, and again, it will take a little practice. Above all things, know that significant healing occurs in any space – and it’s all a part of the journey, friends.

Kari Geurts BSN CHT teaches Intro to Shamanic Journey once a month.

Kristin is a Digital Media Coordinator, freelance blogger / content creator, yoga nerd, and night owl. She loves exploring the outdoors, surfing the web, and painting accent walls in apartments she doesn’t own. Follow her: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

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