Shamanism 101: Highlights from The Other Worlds


It has taken me longer to report back with notes from the field before … I finally got to this, though only highlights from the first of two days before I can’t keep my eyes open any longer on this flight home from a very fast business trip to the west coast and back.

Maybe that I applied the free (/imprisoned) hours to transcribing these overdue notes for you evidences my dedication to doing so. Aka I’m on this high road for us, and until I make good on my promise to share the good word/work, it sits at the top of my to-do list.

Also, I took a hell of a lot of notes. Pretty excellent stuff if I do say so though.

Enjoy, I hope you will!

As “Cliff Notes” because, you don’t need a narrative and because my brain is at whatever altitude in whatever time zone and no one reads long-form anymore anyway, this is Shamanism 101: Day One:

“The Way of the Shaman: The Shamanic Journey, Power and Healing” was a two-day intensive from The One Center, as taught by Nan Moss in January, 2015.

Nan Moss did not look like this:

The teachings were cross-cultural, “core” Shamanism. That is, not regional.

And, they’re best received with a “beginner’s mind”. Frankly, our teacher simply instructed that logic be abandoned. I don’t do that well, but a happy middle ground revealed itself – you’ll see.

To open the course, she began with meditation. Lit tobacco and sage in honor of the earth; in a shell for water; with a candle, fire – and then honored the cardinal spirits, “winds of the edge of the land” (air).

Next, we moved. Physical movement changes vibrations – personal and within a space – which is magnetic, and “attracts the spirits”. Spirits, spirit guides, animal spirits, all of those concepts, which are central to Shamanism.

Movement is powerful. We are meant to. We don’t enough, anymore.

The movement was optional and drowsy – an entranced sort of compulsion to stand (should you be), march, dance, or simply not. Eyes open or closed. But if seated, some part of you at least was proceeding around the circle (e.g. psychologically).

That procession was counter-clockwise in order to undo “natural reality” and accompanied by a beat-matched drumming/rattling, lead by Moss.

After several minutes, the group disperses and Moss leads an invitation for the spirits “seen and unseen” to join the circle.

When she does this, immediately, I could cry. The sound of the rattle and her non-words, some sort of singing sounds are deeply penetrative and sweet, good, right, welcome, cathartic. I’m taken by how strongly they strike me. I smile and have no idea why it feels so good and so am further convinced that there are things we know from sources or experiences beyond our general understanding of, sorry but, “life”.

Soul Songs:

We sing. (Optional. I am shy – you may know by now.) A “soul song” is the song you were born with, to sing, but which we rarely know any more. Singing is powerful. Not singing is a wound, and “power loss”.


  • Shamanism is about power. Accruing personal power in order to affect beyond oneself.
  • Shamanism is archaic but not obsolete.
    • “Excessive rationalism left behind the spiritual side of reality.”
    • Shamanism may be the earliest human spiritual practice.
    • Shamanism may be considered “the reality of the spiritual”. Moss calls this “non-ordinary reality” (NOR).

A Shaman:

  • Extraordinarily dedicated to “good work”
  • Wisdom keepers
  • Environmentalists, healers, psychologists, guides
  • Shaman are capable of channeling, and journeying. That is, traveling to the spirits, for healing, on behalf of others.


  • Is compassion and sentient.
  • Not, life-force. (Meaning, not the power you need to operate daily and healthfully, but a power beyond that – grander, wider reaching, more encompassing).
  • It is excess and connected to the helping spirits.
  • What we consider luck or the individuals we encounter who seem to be recipients or attracters of a good life, are likely powerful.
    • Those who appear unlucky or troubled, struggling, may be suffering from power loss. Or, more severely, “soul loss”.
    • It is possible to lose or gain power. And it is possible to lose or regain soul. (“Soul loss” is one of the first and more resonant tenants of Shamanism I’ve encountered. More on that in Day Two.)

Journeying: Non-physical travel, in pursuit of betterment on behalf of oneself or others. (my definition)

  • Journeying involves entering an altered brainwave state. Alpha, or deeper (theta, delta). (A trance-state, for those of you who’ve followed my Past Life Regression and Hypnotherapy explorations. If you’re intrigued here, look into BPM and audio meditations to help take you there. There are plenty on YouTube. +/- light drugs depending on your stance.)
  • We journeyed to drumming, at a specific BPM scientifically shown to facilitate an intentional, “active” trance (induce an alpha brainwave state).
    • While Moss felt strongly that journeying is not akin to meditation, I frankly disagree. It is different, but very similar.
    • “Journeying resembles a waking dream.”
    • We are in control of our self, but not what the spirits will give us.
  • I journeyed several times over the course of the weekend. Each time for about 15 minutes “reality time”. I began with an intention – a question or a purpose – and then traveled to either the lower or upper world, each of which serves different needs. Without too much detail, as you should experience your first journeys objectively, I believe, (with a beginner’s mind!), the basic structure involves:
    • Encountering the spirit(s)
      • When I take my first journey, to the lower world, I am again near tears. The process is slow at first and then suddenly vivid and strong. When I return, I think that I might well spend more and more time journeying – as I’ve started to feel the pull to with meditation, and hypnotherapy – reflection, introspection not that I’ve not spent so much of my life in my mind already but it is more expansive than, well, much of the “reality” we otherwise live in.
    • There are a lot of particulars and different approaches to getting into, navigating and leaving the journey – and it can be done in partnership as well, which we also did – but I’m not studied enough to get too into that for you. It’s also a personal experience and will be different for everyone.
    • Thereafter, anything that occurs, relates to the answer to your question, or in address of your intention.
      • This is where abandoning logic isn’t entirely required to be receptive to this stuff.
      • These spirits … could be external forces, or, I might believe, our subconscious. And if consciousness is collective, which I do believe at this point, then external and intuitive are one in the same. #absolutetruth? and I'll be damed if didn’t take me this long to get to that.
    • The direction
    • The intention or question

The Upper and lower worlds are compassionate and exist outside of time. It is only ever the present in those worlds. But, it always is.

  • The Lower World
    • To reach the lower world, we leave the middle world from a physical location that actually exists. A tree, a lake, a well – wherever you know, and that can take you down.
      • (I wonder, informed by The Field, which I’ve been reading and owe you notes on, is: Is this initial experience some sort of remote viewing? Which I also believe may be more integral to past life regression than I’d known previously. I’ll leave it at that for now and report back after I’ve reconvened with Dan Ryan.)
      • The Middle World
        • This is the world we “know”, which is only a shadow of NOR.

To be continued with Day Two, which will include:

  • The Upper World
  • Divinations
  • Power Songs
  • The Giants (Spirit Guides) and spirit animals
  • Partner Journeying
  • Ethics
  • Shamanic Healing
  • Soul Retrieval

And, Misc/Bonus material:

  • Consider that we are all here, exactly where we are now at the very moment that you are t/here, as a result of all paths, all choices and influences, all everything in your life to date that has lead you to the present moment.
  • The east is known as “dawnland”.
  • Do take the world personally; it does you. The natural world will always answer you. But, also know that you are not the whole story.