Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guidesam
by Sandra Ingerman
Sounds True, 2004
80 pp. plus CD, $19.95
Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide is an attractively packaged hardcover book that comes with a CD that includes drumming. The practice of shamanic journeying, Ingerman writes, involves parting “the veils between the seen and unseen worlds and to access information and energies that can help awaken us and restore us to wholeness.” Shamans act as mystics, healers and storytellers, but they never brag about their abilities as apparently this will take away their power.
Ingerman states that there are three worlds beyond the physical world. Celtic shamans might call this the “Other World,” while Australian aboriginal shamans call it the “Dreamtime.” The author states that there is the Lower World, the Upper World and the Middle World. It is in the Lower World that you might meet and develop a relationship with your power animal. You might encounter fairies, devas, or elves when you journey to the Middle World. And in the Upper World, you might encounter a teacher in human form.
The author provides exercises to help you undertake your own journey to these worlds. She encourages you to leave your questioning and rational self behind as you encounter these new realities, urging you to release your doubt that this might be just your imagination at work. Ingerman writes authoritatively and with compassion as she accompanies you on your travels.
I was a bit disappointed that the CD only contained the drumming to guide you on your exercises, which are actually explained in writing. I was hoping to have the instructions available in an audio format instead of reading them, trying to memorize them and then undertake a shamanic journey. However, the drumming is varied with three tracks — one a drumming track with whistles and rattles; the second a double-drumming track; and finally a 30-minute single-drumming tract for longer journeys.
The author is practical when giving instructions for shamanic journeys — she says she has even used an Advil bottle for a rattle out of necessity, and it was quite effective! And in addition to giving information on divination and healing journeys, she also poses different questions to ask when going on a vision quest, such as “How can I use my creative energy to create a positive present and future for myself?” or “What is the lesson or gift for me in this difficult time?”
Finally, Ingerson offers some sage advice: “People in our culture often forget to ‘lighten up’ when doing spiritual practice. We tend to take everything too seriously, putting too much pressure on ourselves. Traditional shamans and healers are always laughing. Being overly serious in our journeys and lives disconnects us from our own creative potential. Learn to laugh at yourself and have fun with your practice.” I, for one, am playing the drumming CD now, so excuse me while I go shamanic journeying. I’m looking forward to seeing who or what I encounter!
Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide, by Sandra Ingerman, Sounds True, 2004, 80 pp. plus CD, $19.95
Review by Diane Saarinen