History & Evolution of Sacred Journeys

If you want to know the truth about who you are, walk until no one knows your name. The journey is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, more cruel than a mirror. A good stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of silence.

~ Patrick Rothfuss


Shamanic or Sacred Journeys have been used since ancient times to incorporate trance states and imaginative metaphors to attain wisdom, foreknowledge, and interaction with the spirit world. This module provides a brief background and history into the concept of Sacred Journeys and provides you with a sample script to use as you incorporate this work into your healing techniques.

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History and Evolution of Sacred Journeys

Shamans are known as the "medicine people" of indigenous tribes worldwide. They typically guide individuals or groups on sacred journeys. Other common words used for these practitioners include medicine man or woman, druid, sage, wizard, priest or priestess, witch, witch doctor, and healer. 

In a traditional Native American shamanic journey, a shaman guides a participant through an imaginative world to collect pertinent information, advice, and wisdom. This type of experience is helpful in opening communication with spirit guides as well as with a participant's higher self or subconscious mind, and it can provide valuable wisdom regarding a specific area of the participant's life. This module provides a modified version of such a journey, which I call a Sacred or Spiritual Journey.

A Sacred Journey aims to gather information, wisdom, and guidance from the subconscious mind and spirit guides. It can be used to show future outcomes on the client's soul path, supporting the client in becoming their own psychic!

Numerous methods can be used to facilitate a journey. I'll present two versions in this module for your consideration.

Modifying a Traditional Technique

The Shaman traditionally uses drumming, chanting, or rattles at the beginning or throughout the Sacred Journey experience to enhance the trance state. After the initial instructions, no other conversation occurs until the participant has completed their journey.

I have used a drum or rattle in my practice, although, in my smaller office, it is more comfortable for everyone if I use music. I guide the client into the trance state using typical hypnotherapy techniques and then take them step-by-step through the journey, allowing the client to relay images and messages while they are occurring rather than at the end of the experience. In this way, the journey is fully recorded in my notes, the details remembered, and I can discuss them with the client afterward in a counseling fashion.

The journey is frequently in a canoe or boat, with a guide coming along for the ride. If the client is uncomfortable with water or boats or uncomfortable for any other reason, begin the journey on a path. A treasure of wisdom, guidance, and fresh perspectives are all a part of the adventure.

In the next unit, I'll show you how to facilitate rich and meaningful Sacred Journeys.