The shamanic journey
To understand the ancient and sacred practice of shamanism is to understand our deep connection with nature and all that is. I define shamanism as having access to the spirit realm and the ability to retrieve information from there to serve as healing and learning in the material realm. In shamanic practice, the path to knowledge is gained through rituals, ceremonies, prayer, meditation, trials, and tests. The most important aspect of shamanism is healing, which is what the shamanic journey is about. It’s about addressing the current condition of our soul in order to deeply heal ourselves. Shaman believe part of the soul is free to leave the body, and the ritual of engaging in this cathartic act is called journeying. The key to the world of shamanism is understanding the vibrational energy of the Universe. All that exists vibrates with an inherent energy pattern, a matrix of creation. And because shamanic music is performed to open, influence and alter the vibrational state, it carries intense healing capabilities.
On the shamanic journey, the soul travels wherever it is necessary for the greatest healing to occur. It may trek across the Earth, or it may venture forth to the lower and higher planes of this Earthly realm. Since distance does not exist for the soul, there are no limits to how far your soul can journey. While anyone can embark on a shamanic journey for spiritual growth and healing, you should always have an experienced shaman to guide your ritual – someone to ‘sit’ and witness for you, as well as help you integrate the experience afterward. The process unfolds as you enter a state of shifted consciousness, one which allows the soul to depart on its voyage. Music is one key element in bringing about this altered state of consciousness.
Shamanic music – The elements
In shamanic journeying a drum or rattle is used to create a repetitive beat, which is in tune with the vibrational frequency of the Earth as well as the heartbeat of your physical body. The rhythmic drumbeat has proved effective for the majority of people as they embark on their adventure. The slow, methodical beating of the drum or rattle tunes in to your internal rhythm, which slows and relaxes your mid and escorts you into the state of consciousness needed to journey. The drumming may be used on its own, or in conjunction with other instruments, singing, and chanting. Animal calls and sounds are frequently present in shamanic music, as animals are often spiritually connected to us.
Drums have been used in many cultures for centuries; they are sacred to many spiritual traditions and practices. I use mine in ritual and to initiate shamanic journey work for others. I offer Shamanic Pellet Drums in my shop, and I use them in ritual, as well. If you seek to include stones in your journey Kambaba Jasper is a wonderful shamanic tool.
The volumes and tempos used in drumming elicit feelings in the one who is journeying, while communicating symbolic messages as well. The drum beat within the music serves as the bridge to the spirit world – it opens the archway through which the soul can travel. Because sound travels through space, it permeates visual and physical barriers, and conveys information from the unseen world. Many shaman believe the spirits of nature create their own sound world; it is possible for humans to communicate with them through the sound of the drum.
The shamanic music, or shaman’s song, is not a musical performance for casual listening and enjoyment in the way conventional music is. Shamanic music is performed with purpose, and its intention is for the spirit world rather than a human audience. The music serves as the escort of the soul on its journey, and it is said that the purpose is both to incorporate and re-articulate the sounds of nature. I’ve often heard and felt the songs of elements, such as wind or water, in shamanic music. The sounds I hear seem to embody varying aspects of all that exists in the natural world; music in this way becomes a sacred mirror of the universe. It’s as though everything comes alive in the song – a difficult experience to describe, but if you’ve ever journeyed, then you already understand.
What it means to me
Shamanic music has the power to alter a state of consciousness almost instantly for those who are sensitive to shifts in energetic vibration. I believe once you’ve journeyed and felt the vibrations, the memory is stored within on a cellular level, so upon hearing shamanic music, it will take you back to those moments of healing, bringing about soothing and calm states of consciousness. To me, shamanic songs represent all aspects of duality – light and dark, creation and destruction – and embody the principle of ‘as above, so below.’ In the songs you hear the story of all that is, all that has ever been, and all that will be.
Shamanic music is layered with emotion, experience, sound, vibration, and story. Like our first ever Sage Goddess shamanic song, “A Desert Dream,” the music tells a story as it unfolds. This musical collaboration shares the story of the creation of Sage Goddess, from the high deserts of southern California, to where we are today. It’s the embodiment of my soul purpose put to song, so I can share it with all of you. Use it to meditate, use it to journey, or use it to relax. I’ve included an excerpt below so you can experience my song and share in my journey. We are here to unite, heal, and share in our paths. In my story, you will find part of your own. Amen, Aho, and So it is.