Shamanism involves entering an altered state of consciousness in order to connect with a hidden reality and help oneself or others heal. A shaman is assisted by one or more spirits or power animals. A journey is a tool of exploration utilized by a shaman to leave one’s body and descend to the lower world or ascend to the upper world.
The purpose of journeying is to restore power or to retrieve a lost soul by entering into a transcendent state of awareness. Drumming or rattling can assist this process. While journeying, one closes his or her eyes and through the stillness begins a meditative state. Darkness can enhance the journeying process. A stream, cave, hollow tree stump, hole, tunnel is utilized as an entrance into the lower world. One uses whatever places he or she has known which might provide this access.
After entering the lower world, one journeys through it for several minutes, accompanied by the drumming or rattling. When it is time to return from the journey, the pace of the drumming or rattling will increase.
While journeying, one may encounter animals, plants people or spirits. A journeyer might bring back a beneficent entity. A typical journey lasts between 10 to 15 minutes, but could be shorter or longer in duration.