We put ourselves in the Circle. Enter from the Eastern Door. Circle the fire once, always clockwise. When leaving, always circle once, clockwise, then leave by the Western Door.
This post continues the Class/Book Notes – Levels of Awareness, Trances and Journeying arc. Part 1 dealt with different kinds of trance states and how they can be useful in the initial stages of study, much like training wheels when you’re learning to ride a bike, and like training wheels, (what most people consider) trance states should eventually be discarded in order to ride trailbikes, enter races, et cetera. Part 2 dealt with shamanic work (what I sometimes call “working journeying”) and continued our exploration of Levels of Awareness. We took a brief diversion in Class/Book Notes – The Differences between Dramatic, Imitative and Ecstatic Shamanic Forms to flesh out the conversation and Part 3 dealt with Questing, Intentional and Functional Journeying. Now in Part 4 we discuss one aspect of The Practice specific to Questing, Intentional and Functional Journeying, being called to journey.
Sometimes we don’t go on a journey so much as we are invited or called to journey. This invitation or calling happens to me quite a bit. The invitations often come – sometimes when you don’t want them to – and it’s good to recognize and be willing to accept these invitations when they do come (I’ve rarely been called to journey at an inopportune time).
What Is Calling Us to Journey?
What are these things which come to us and ask our participation? As a therapist/practitioner, someone schooled in Jungian archetypes, I would be inclined to say these things are manifestations of inner-emotional states. I also know that Jung worked with Joseph Campbell and Erich Fromm, and that in his later years he acknowledged that there’s something out there we’re not aware of – at this level of conscious awareness. Part of this understanding came from Campbell’s finding so many similar myths throughout the world.
The Flute-Player, the Master Musician, is an example of this. This character shows up all over the world and against the migration patterns of humankind, which is a pretty strong indication that somewhere, either internal to the psyche or as a manifestation of something external yet which the psyche is aware of, there’s some thing that people from all over the world recognize as “Master Musician”. It doesn’t matter where it comes from because it seems to be panthetic; it comes from everywhere.
Kokopeli, Harlequin, the Adonai and similar energies are culture dependent regarding appearance but highly culture independent regarding function. The entity’s appearance assumes the cultural myth. The Master or Spirit Musician of the Jìvaro looks, acts and appears differently than that of the Anangu, yet they do the exact same thing in the sense of what they give and provide their people.
So, as a therapist/practitioner, I understand the concept of inner manifestations. As someone who studies anthropology, anthroecologies, ethnobotany, ethnoastronomy, et cetera, I recognize the evidence indigenous peoples provide us regarding what the Universe is made of and am not willing to dismiss so much as investigate (something touched on in Part 3.
For example, I’ve written and spoken elsewhere that some of my teachers regard any culture’s holy books as demonstrations of shamanic disciplines. This is especially true of the Judeo-Christian bible. Read the Old and New Testaments as a cultural anthropologist or ethnologist and you’re reading a very complete record of shamanic traditions; Healing, Visioning, Spirit-Talking, Journeying and more.
Recognizing such, the Judeo-Christian bible’s Creation myth is a completely realistic first-person account of how this cosmos came into existence once one recognizes that the narrator is at the center of the activity, not an external observer of what’s happening “over there” so to speak.
Once you recognize authorial viewpoint and cultural iconography, pretty much all creation myths are the same or close to.
This universality of experience applies to training, journeying and trance-work in that I can sit with people whom I’ve never met who’ve journeyed for a long time, describe a place I’ve been to on a journey and they will often concur, yes, we’ve been to that place as well. This goes the other way as well. Places they’ve been I’ve been.
I’m perfectly willing to accept that there’s inadvertent transmission of information (cultural contagion) and that’s how we can share such detail in our individual experiences. How that level of information transmission is done unintentionally and without either party recognizing it as such escapes me. I’m familiar with the concept of morphogenetic fields and this seems a bit beyond that. Cultural transmission is possible although at the levels I and others have experienced, we’re dealing with one heck of a panthetic culture, one that’s been around unchanged for untold millennia and acknowledged in all corners of the globe by extremely different ethnocultural groups.
Let me summarize by offering this: One of the things I’ve discovered by studying this is that everything is possible.
Being Called to Journey
I mentioned in Part 3 that you only go on Questing, Intentional and Functional journeys with good reason. Probably the best reason is that the Universe needs you to do something and the only way you can do it is by journeying.
These journeys can be to heal yourself, to heal others, to find things (yourself, someone else, a lost item), to share knowledge and information, there are more reasons (I’m sure) than I’m aware of.
What’s important (based on my own experience and the experiences of others I’ve talked with) is that there is no question you’re being called and that it’s the Universe doing the calling. The request may come in the guise of a person (talk of “angels unawares”!), animal spirits, elementals, energies, the vectors are as endless as the reasons for being called.
When you’re called, you’ll know. Everyone I’ve discussed this with knows without question that it is the Universe calling. There’s no confusion, no doubt, no second-thoughts. Imagine yourself being caught in a hurricane while you’re standing still. It’s that obvious. Imagine being caught in an earthquake and not moving. It’s that obvious. Imagine walking through a volcano and not getting burned. It’s that obvious. Imagine feeling the weight of the ocean on your chest, unable to breath, while taking normal breaths. It’s that obvious. Imagine a glacier freezing you while you’re standing in the warm sun. It’s that obvious.
And none of those imaginings will come close to the real experience.
And there’s one more thing you need to know…
You Can Say No
The Practice is all about choice. Choice is better than no choice and the Universe is nothing if not full of options.
But here’s the kicker.
Have you ever heard “God will not test you beyond what you can endure?”
The Universe will not call you to journey unless you’re able to do what is required of you.
And you can still say “No, not today, I’m not ready, …”, basically rejecting the call.
You may get away with it once. You could get away with it twice. Three times and the Universe won’t come calling again. Ever.
I do not know this for a fact, it’s what I’ve been told by my teachers. They also admitted not knowing it for a fact, yet the knowledge of “Three times pays for all” is so panthetic that it, like the archetypes mentioned above, must come from a very primeval source.
If you are called, I suggest you go with it.