Blog: Journey On It: More on Healing with the Journey
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
The shamanic journey works on the level of epiphany. Similar to muscle memory when we learn to hit a tennis ball or ride a bike, the realization that comes in the journey is beyond the rational mind. It is beyond thought. When we learn something at this level, it stays with us and we have the opportunity to change long held patterns of behavior, and shed ways of being that no longer serve us.
In the following teaching, a student was struggling with the issue of setting appropriate boundaries. This was her second journey to her teacher, the seal.
Journey question: How can I be open to others without getting swallowed up by them?
I’m going back down into the sinkhole again. I’m at the bottom now. I’m crawling through the tunnel. I am back in the cavern. There are some stone steps down to the water. There is the boat. I get back into the boat and sit down. I’m floating into the middle of the lake. The seal pops up in front of the bow of the boat. It’s floating on its back. I feel glad to see it. It doesn’t frighten me. It doesn’t want me to be frightened. It’s playing so I won’t feel scared.
Actually, I feel frustrated. I want to be in the water, not in the boat. The seal lets me know it’s okay to go into the water. I take off my clothes and jump into the water with the seal. It swims around me, not circling, but just so I feel comfortable with it. I swim over to a place that is like a series of rocks coming out from the shore. They are smooth and rounded. I get onto the very tip of one.
The seal swims back and forth in front of me. I ask the question. The seal swims further out into the water. It starts swimming with the top half of its body out of the water. It is glowing. It is as though I can see an aura around it. It is a white light, about two feet out from its body. Then it dips under the water. It swims off to the left and floats on its back. This time it’s got a yellow light. There is a yellow, doughnut-shaped ring around its body – about a foot and a half away from its belly. It’s trying to teach me how to see the energy so I know what kind of energy it is.
It swims, still on its back. It floats up towards me. I am supposed to touch the yellow light. I put my hand six inches into the light. It makes me a bit agitated. But what I can do is use the energy coming from my hands to push back on the aura from the seal. When I push it back, I feel safe. I can see the energy that comes off my hand when I do that. The seal comes out again with the top half of its body out of the water. There is a bluish white light all the way around it. I can’t see under the water. It is too dark. It comes closer. I push my hands onto it. It doesn’t feel threatening. I can feel where it begins.
It feels like the seal is trying to show me how it can transfer beneficial energy to me. I don’t have to protect myself against this energy. It doesn’t deplete me. I put my hand through the aura and touch the seal’s skin with my hand to say thanks. I want to give it some of my energy without feeling threatened by that. It feels really good. A good, loving feeling is going back and forth between us.
The seal is swimming with its head out of the water, looking at me moving away. It fades into the darkness. I get up and go back toward the narrow tunnel and crawl along. I am going up through the hole and up out of the water. I am on the path walking out of the sinkhole. This is the end of the journey.
In this journey, the seal helped the journeyer understand that personal relationships are exchanges of energy, and he gave her very clear lessons on how to see and work with energy. The journeyer expressed that, as a result of this journey, she understood how to keep herself safe and stay open to others for the first time in her life, even though she had spent a lot of time trying to understand this issue.
After years of teaching and working with the shamanic journey, I am still amazed at the clarity and depth it offers and the relative simplicity of the process when done properly. Through the journey, students can access a level of understanding that could have taken them years to achieve in other ways. Of course, it may take more than two or three journeys to get the hang of journeying, but the point is that the shamanic journey is simple and anyone can do it. It does not require that you believe in anything but yourself and your experience.
Editors note: Visit sacredstream.org to learn more about our Applied Shamanism program. Here you can find our Applied Shamanism classes and trainings, as well as free resources such as videos, articles, blogs and podcasts.