Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Shamanic Blogging Journey

My mind has been more than murky lately. If it were a pool it would be like swimming in milk. Probably slightly curdled milk. I've lacked focus, confidence, and my ability to relax. Although the trip to Maui helped, my body and mind were still in the same confused state when I returned.

So when I opened my email up the other day and saw a message about a Shamanic Journey Circle (don't judge) I was both intrigued and curious. What the hell is a Shamanic Journey Circle anyway???


And then I saw the line...

"Experience the vibrations of the drum as you sink into a field of all possibilities..."
Did someone say drum?

I'm in.


I don't know what it is about drums, but I'm magnetically drawn to them. In fact, when I was younger I wanted to be a Taiko drummer which I suppose is more martial art than drum. Except for the fact that I couldn't hold a rhythm to save my life (and maybe the fact that the drum would be twice my size) I probably would have been one.


Although I consider myself a very spiritual person, I'm not a firm believer in Shamans, healers, divination and the spiritual world in general. Its just not something I can fully understand and feel completely comfortable embracing. I need some semblance of proof and logic in order to fully buy into some of these concepts. I also don't know a whole lot about the practice of Shamanism and what it really means.

I guess I was just seduced by the drum.

That being said, I've practiced yoga, meditation, and visualization off and on for nearly eighteen years. I truly believe that our brains hold more potential than we have the capacity to understand. Over the years I have experimented with meditation as a tool especially in regards to pain management.
 
Shamanic Drum
I was able to use meditation to cope with the pain of labor drug-free until around 9cm dialated. It worked until the pain was so unbearable I felt like I would literally go insane. Or someone would ask me a question and break my focus. Yeah. I'm not super-catatonic-meditation woman, but meditation got me to 10 cm and through delivery when an epidural failed. I hadn't exactly planned on using meditation to get me through childbirth, but as it turned out it was an acceptable way of coping for me. At least up to a point.

I've also deliberately attempted OOBEs (out of body experiences), kept an elaborate dream journal and voluntarily experienced lucid dreaming at a young age.

When I was in Junior High, I remember reading an article in my brother's science magazine that explained how to train your mind to experience lucid dreams. By the time I was in high school I had trained myself to fall asleep into a state of lucidity almost every night. I know. I was such a weinerdog.

I'm not sure how to explain some of the experiences I've had during these altered states of awareness so I won't even go there. Words dilute those experiences anyway and if I did describe them you would probably feel an urge to buy me a white jacket with extra long arms and little locks on the ends and then rent me a room carpeted with rubber. What I will tell you is that these experiences were undertaken without the use of drugs, wild fungi, or magic cacti, (which doesn't say much for my sanity) but suffice to say some of these experiences scared the living shit out of me. Its taken me a long time to gather the courage to access that level of awareness and lucidity again.

But I think I'm ready to learn more about what I've been doing all these years and get back into it with a stronger focus.

Since my miscarriage back in 2006 I've not been practicing meditation or yoga so this Shamanic Journey Circle was an enlightening substitute and something I plan on attending again.

If you've never been to a Shamanic Journey Circle its actually a pretty cool experience. Sorta like yoga but without the stretching and just the lay down on the mat and fall asleep part. But you're not supposed to fall asleep like the lady next to me did. And no matter how similar it sounds, snoring is NOT the same as using your Ujjayi Breath. 

The intention of the Shamanic Journey is to relax and open your awareness to visualizations, sounds or other meditative experiences.

Interestingly enough, cultures have been doing this over the last 20,000 - 30,000 years. As weird and "new age" as it may seem to us westerners, shamanism is a very old and embedded practice in many indigenous cultures. Often considered a "living tradition," peoples from New Zealand (The Maoris), Tasmania (The Aborigines), Hawaii, Nepal, Scotland and Ireland (The Celts), The Arctic (the Inuit) and even many Native Americans are still practicing shamanism today.

Shamanism is a "living tradition" in many cultures
As "out there" as it sounds to some of us ALL those people can't be crazy people. Their practice has a purpose and is a deeply regarded and respected part of their cultures.

The circle I attended was led by a Shaman who is an intermediary between the physical world we know and the spiritual world we cannot see. She uses a drum to invoke the spirits who will surround and protect the circle. 

My husband wanted to know if she entered the room swinging over us from the ceiling with her amped up drum kit.


Um that would be a NO.


She used a single largish handheld drum that, according to the Shaman (and some scientists who study "sonic driving" - the use of rhythm and tone to create altered states of awareness) when beaten at the rate of 3-7 beats per second and at the frequency of 4-8 hertz creates theta waves in the human brain which induces a level of deep relaxation or an altered state of consciousness. This is the state of consciousness in which a "journey" can begin.


For me I wasn't really sure what I was doing there. I'm not exactly sure why I responded to that email but I guess I was hoping to find some clarity on some things (including my upcoming hundo) or maybe just relax and ground myself, which is hard to do when you have a houseful of kids running around like wild ferrets on crack. 


I wasn't expecting much but deep relaxation and maybe some focus. Instead, I heard an annoying typewriter that wouldn't let me focus on the drum or explore much beyond any other level of awareness.


When I was finally able to ignore the typing (maybe I was experiencing a Shamanic blogging journey) I had some cool auditory experiences but wasn't able to stay focused long. 
Silencing my thoughts was a fractured attempt at best.

I have to wonder if that typing sound was in my head and part of my "journey." I find that slightly amusing but at the same time a little disturbing. There was no typing, typewriters, or keyboards of any sort in the room or the room adjacent to us. Maybe the blogging spirits
were calling me. I hope they like my post. *grin*

To be honest, I've had much more powerful journeys on my own. By accident. But all my past experiences have been with little research or knowledge of what exactly it is I'm practicing.


So my plan is to go back tonight and learn some more. At the very least it feels good to get back into meditation and focused relaxation again and now that I've written this post maybe I've freed myself from the Blogging spirits and they will let my mind rest and explore something different this time. We'll see.

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3 comments:

  1. This is a very unexpected, yet welcomed post. I am currently battling anxiety issues and have trouble with relaxing. i will be interested what this journey brings you to and how everything works out. I hope you can find some serenity, I know I have been looking for it!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement! Glad my blog fearthecarbs.blogspot.com makes you laugh... You are 50 % of the reason I got roped into this blog business.... I figured if a wacked out girl like you can blog, then a clinically insane person like myself can rant and rave too!! read on...If Beards make you fast, Perhaps I should buy a few fake ones and pile them on top of mine...maybe i'll blog about beards next...hmmmmm

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    1. haha! Or you could follow Jason Robillard's lead and grow a handlebar mustache. If beards make you fast, maybe the handlebar will make you fly. Or maybe the mustaches and beards should battle it out to see who's faster. Add beer and some heavy metal devil music and that would be an event I would pay to see. Hehe.

      Yes. I will continue to read your randomness. I find it genuinely amusing and laugh a lot. I love that.

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