ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion

Twilight journeys

As part of my clan work, we did three shamanic journeys and one magical journey (at least, I think that's what he called the non-shamanic one). I have some experience with shamanic journeying, which is kind of like hypnosis, except you do it to yourself with the help of a drum. Another way of looking at shamanic journeys is as conscious lucid dreams. Basically, you lie down, ask yourself a question, someone plays a steady drumbeat, and you imagine yourself moving through the world in a particular way. Strange things can happen to you, and when you're done, to get to interpret them as messages from a part of your brain that doesn't normally get to talk to you very much (or from the spirits or gods or whatever, if that's your bent.) Magical journeys are similar, but you do them in the physical world.

The shamanic journeys we took were interesting mainly because I like shamanic journeys. None of them was ... oh, wait. I was about to say that none of them was hugely insightful for me, but I just looked at my journal and was reminded that the first one really was. But I'm not going to describe it here, so let's just say that it was really good and symbolically clear and useful AND is what led into the tree masturbating exercise, so Saturday morning was a good, powerful time for me. The other two journeys were less significant, to the point where for one, I didn't even write down more than a couple of keywords, and for the other, brief snippets. (I usually make a lot of notes and especially about details that felt important while I was flying or swimming or flipping upside down like a money, or whatever.)

The magical journey, though, was awesome. Our leader also called this divination, and he gave us three questions to meditate on:

1. Who am I? Who have I been?
2. What do I need to know right now?
3. What do I need to do? Where am I going?

So, we had these questions and we took our journals and went out into the woods to pay attention. When something caught our eye, ear, nose, or some other sense organ, we stopped, paid attention to it however made the most sense, and used that as the message we were receiving. This was, for me, completely great. The way I did it was this:

I fixed the first question in my mind and walked until something grabbed me, in this case, some beautiful roots (pictured in this icon, in fact). I sat down next to the tree and noticed things and wrote them down. I ate some bark (not the tasty part of a birch tree, it turns out), snuggled with the tree, listened, and basically just paid attention. Once I had the feeling that I had everything I needed from that, I got up, fixed the next question in my head, and walked again until the next thing captured my attention. Then I repeated the same process in that spot, and finally, got up from there, thought of the third question and repeated the same process again.

So, this process was great fun, because it was so useful and so completely not wifty! And, yet, it was pleasing and insightful in similar ways to super wifty stuff, and that made me feel sane and also like it's okay that I'm getting stuff out of the wifty parts, because it's not actually important that they be wifty so much as that they be useful and interesting. It was also fun because it meant turning off my brain in an interesting way and just letting the world come to me and give me messages and then I could make of them what I would.

And I got a hell of a lot out of it, actually.

Another nice benefit to this is that it would be incredibly easy to do by myself. I don't need someone to play a drum for me; I just need to take my journal and go for a walk in the woods. And who doesn't like a nice walk in the woods?

spike let me use his camera to take a picture of some of the things that seemed important during this meditation, and while we were there, he took a couple of (really great, if I may say so!) pictures of me with the beautiful birch that was the site of my first meditation stop. Those pictures are in this set.
Tags: twilight, wifty

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