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A Shamanic Journey Guide for Beginners

This past weekend I had the privilege to participate in a Full Moon workshop. Now before you go judging and chalking it up to some hippie-dippy bullshit, I can assure you I felt the same way. But, my life has been quite chaotic in the past few months (anyone who has been keeping up with my blog can understand why), and I think since I currently have time off from work, all the trauma and sadness that’s been percolating since November needed to be released. That’s why when I saw an ad for a Full Moon Workshop at a studio within walking distance of my house, I jumped at the opportunity… well, cautiously jumped would be more appropriate. I definitely has some hesitation and reservations and tried to convince a few friends to join. When I realized I was going to go on my own, the fact that this particular moon was in Virgo, my astrological sign, was the serendipitous shove I needed to take the plunge.

I didn’t know what to expect, and I was quite nervous beforehand. Would we disrobe and burn sage in the moonlight? Probably not, but one never knows. This is the eastside of Los Angeles, after all. I’m not a complete newbie when it comes to this sort of thing— I meditate and do some form of yoga nearly every day. My friends do witchy things and I’ve always had a fondness for crystals. I even can read fortunes from playing cards. But, I would like to think of myself as a reluctant spiritualist. I enjoy these things, but I don’t go around flaunting it either.

The workshop started with some meditation and yoga focusing on the throat chakra since the Virgo full moon was all about truth (another serendipitous moment that was not lost on me). Both of those felt familiar and I was able to fully relax into the experience. After a breathing exercise that was set to trance-like music (it was awesome), we were ready for our Shamanic Journey to begin.

Each Shamanic Journey is given an intention— you have a goal or “mission” in mind when it starts. Without getting into the specifics because it truly is something you have to experience to fully understand it, you close your eyes and set forth on your “objective” to the sounds of a drum beat. It’s similar to a sound bath, but with a specific goal in mind. Our guide told us to not get discouraged if we had false starts and stops and to just let the images come up. Basically, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. That was encouraging.

During the course of my journey, many images came up for me. Some more poignant than others. Some were just downright strange. Riz Ahmed and a Groundhog made frequent appearances (not that I minded, we all know how lovely Riz is). And there were other images like my body being punctured by rays of light similar to when a superhero goes through a transformation that seemed so real, and I could actually feel the warmth on my skin. I felt calm the entire time— like I was in a warm bath, even though I was laying on a yoga mat on a wood floor. And then, very quickly, it was all over. I felt disappointed that I didn’t have a cohesive journey and I wasn’t even sure that I accomplished my “mission.” But, I wrote down all the images that came up and our guide told us to just sit with them for a few days and see if anything reveals itself.

When I walked home that night under the light of the brilliant Virgo moon, I felt like something had been released within me. All the anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger that I’ve been holding onto vanished. I knew that it would probably return in a few days time (it has), but I wanted to relish that feeling. And I did. I treated myself to a nice dinner, watched a movie, and basked in my own glow, even if I didn’t know the exact cause. After months of stress and uncertainty, to have a calm permeate your very being is a gift unlike any other.

In the days since, that serene calmness I felt right after the workshop did dissipate— but not as much as I thought it would. I’m still sad and angry about things, but it doesn’t feel as heavy. I don’t feel as heavy. And just like the teacher said it would, my journey that seemed so random and unaccomplished at the time began to reveal itself, which gave me a greater sense of peace and clarity.

It was a profound experience, and one I am extremely grateful for. I can’t wait to go back. And if nothing else, perhaps I’ll be more comfortable waving my spiritual and hippie flag a little higher. This post is certainly a start.

For more info, or to go on your own Full Moon / Shamanic Journey, check out:

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