past life regression

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.

Interview: Daniel Ryan, Hypnotherapist & Regression Therapist

Daniel Ryan Hypnotherapist & Past Life Regression Therapist
Daniel Ryan Hypnotherapist & Past Life Regression Therapist

Name: Daniel Ryan

Profession: Hypnosis, Past Life Regression

What does that mean, exactly? My practice resembles a normal therapist's, though I'm using hypnosis to create positive change in people's lives. I meet with groups and  individuals at my office in Manhattan at The Center for Integrative Hypnosis.

What is your passion? Working with people, examination of the mind, revelatory experiences.

Why? I'm one of those lucky folks who really enjoys what they do. Tools like meditation, hypnosis and past life regression offer refreshingly natural means of relief and relaxation in this age of pandemic anxiety and over-medication. As a consumer, one can  see alternative approaches to mental healthcare are needed. Among the challenges are messaging, awareness, education and the institutionalized Goliath of the insurance industry and it's intricate web of corporate and political interests. (To name a few.)

Do you have a mantra? Yes, it was given to me with my meditation practice. As part of this particular tradition, the mantra is not written down or said aloud. It is a Sanskrit sound and said to be a fire mantra which burns up the past.

Favorite health routine/recipe/trick/approach/go-to? Exercise. There is no such thing as a panacea or universal prescription. The closest thing we have is exercise. Humans evolved walking 12-25 miles daily. In direct opposition to the stationary positions most of us are in all day, our bodies (most importantly our brains) function with greater speed and efficiency in motion. Every system in the body benefits from it. Get enough sleep, eat well, meditate and exercise.

What one or few thing(s) have improved your quality of life most? Getting older is an interesting thing. I'm 35 now and looking forward to 36. I once heard someone say "it's not how old you are, but how you are old." Befriending time and moving with nature have  served me well. Also, good company. Spending my time with positive people who stimulate and challenge me.

What matters most to you these days? Structure. There was a time when I thought I didn't need it or want it. I've lived long enough now to know the opposite is true. Structure and discipline are usually associated with punishment when we're kids and that is reinforced through the educational system. Truth is when used correctly they are means to freedom. When I have structure and I'm regularly practicing, I am free.

What have you learned recently that you’d like to apply to your life? I've been learning a lot about food, the ideal diet for my blood type and modifications I can make to better nourish my body. There are many aspects I'm excited to apply to my life, but longterm I'm most excited about cooking and growing food. I'd like to learn more about gardening and horticulture, and then find a patch of green space to call my own.

What do you know that you wish more people did as well? All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. This is not just important to hypnotists. It's essential to self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Trance states are common and naturally occurring. Most of the technology in our lives induces trance. Movie theaters simulate powerful hypnotic experiences in the way they focus our attention on the screen, block out all other stimuli and assault our senses with light and sound. And we love it. This circular principle hiding in plain sight points to a fundamental truth about the mind. What we give our attention to grows. There is no such thing as mind-control, but we are all highly suggestible. The most powerful hypnotist is the voice in our heads.

Resources, if applicable: Call me or stop by my office. I love talking about this stuff! There are countless books on hypnosis although most of them are coded in jargon and designed for practitioners. I have not yet found the book on hypnosis that I'm looking for so I'll probably have to write it. For the layperson with a general interest, Hypnotherapy for Dummies is as good a place to start as any.

What do you wish you knew more about? Physics, complex mathematics, musical theory.

Who should we profile next and what should we ask them? Lisa Levine. She is the visionary behind the Maha Rose Center for Healing in Greenpoint. Few people can harness communal forces and create something authentic that gives as much good as it gets. Lisa is one of those people. Maha Rose is a special place for both practitioners and people receiving care.


Photo by Andrew Segreti

Past Life Regression: A Review Por fin (finally) it’s time to write this.

What: Past Life Regression Therapy Session #1. June, 2014.

Why: I’m curious. And not afraid of the depths of my mind as I once was.

Where: Maha Rose Center for Healing. A great location for learning, and community. I received my Reiki 1 Certification there and recommend it for new field explorers (it’s a friendly and unintimidating place with genuinely kind and educated teachers).

The rest:

The hypnotherapist, Daniel Ryan, and I are the only two in the center on a summer Saturday afternoon. We take to a quiet room in the back and talk briefly over a glass of water. Why am I there? Just curious. For fun. Want to experience this. What do I hope to accomplish? Learning only. No set goal, question or conflict to resolve. Then, let’s begin.

He talks me through to relaxed and then – similar to the guided meditation I’d done previously – we start in my happy place. A haven of my subconscious making, the details of which I won’t share with you but that I can say surprised me in their clarity and beauty. The place is unbound by natural laws, which my mind seemed to know immediately – building landscapes around me, filling in scents and sounds and sensations.

In regression therapy, one progresses through a series of regressions – these are the past lives. Truly, if that is what you believe, or as a model for navigating the subconscious. For two hours, I was consciously experiencing my subconscious – guided by Daniel.

I leave Eden for “the first past life we’ll experience today”.

1. A beach. I’m a barefoot person, alone – looking out to the sea. I want to go in that direction. I say – because it’s escape but then I realize that rather, it’s a destination. It’s opportunity, the unknown and newness. I smell the air (flowers), see some of the scene (huts, boats), but there’s little else. What it means for this life is that “I don’t like to stop moving” (my conscious interpretation).

2. Through a door and I’m split – caught half between a forest and a suburban neighborhood. We retrace and step through the door again and I’m in the forest. I’m a youngish man, responsible and content (I say “complacent”). I work there in the woods, cutting trees. I say that I enjoy the forest. I know it’s all I’ll do with my life, but that’s okay. I am simple.

Daniel asks me if there’s anything else I’d like to see, or should we move on? I say that I’d like to see some people. So, where are they? Up ahead – off to the right. “You know exactly where they are so go to them.” I do and when I see them, my buddies, they’re happy to see me albeit a bit preoccupied by making lunch over a little campfire. I think they call me Joe. I’m really happy to see them. Just to know that they’re my friends. It’s nothing significant – I see them every day – but yes, happy.

I start laughing (in reality – not in my mind – and I get happier and happier. I’m overwhelmed by it. Surprised and grinning and laughing, which now I can’t stop. It feels like the happiest day of my life. Daniel is laughing now too. I don’t know that I have ever, ever felt that happy before. It’s blooming in my chest and face – unmixed, positivity.

He tells me to take it in – enjoy it, let it absorb, and I do and then nearly as suddenly, I’m terrified. Physically cold and scared. (I realize later, as has been a pattern in my life always, that it was the lack of control that scared me. The happiness took over and ironically that made me unhappy and fearful.) Daniel and I analyze the fear – what it looks like, what to do with it. His questions are always for me to ask myself, which I do and then my self answers.

We continue.

3. The third is another life, very different from the first two. I spend some time in it, just walking, and looking around. What I learn from it is that 1. I’d like to have children someday (or so my conscious mind thinks, at the time) and 2. That I’m very strong.

It’s a bit exhausting, the regressions – a lot of mental work. I start to feel it here but don’t want to stop so we return to Eden as my last scene to learn from.

4. There, Daniel suggests we ask for a guide. I do, and receive a little ray of light – an orb like a firefly. I ask the light to take a form so that I might have a conversation with it. It begins – growing into a human shape but without any detail in face or body. I can’t recognize it as familiar or even man or woman. This turns into a playful game. The light lets me poke at it, which creates some more shape, revealing what’s underneath but then quickly returning to anonymity. I try hard to recognize someone but I don’t. I can’t.

And then I realize that it’s me.

“Beautiful. In many ways, your guide will always be a reflection of yourself, Rachelle.”

It is that. A version of me that is more outwardly happy. Laughing and playful. Immediately, my best friend. I am my best friend and it doesn’t make me less happy. I say “It’s good because it let’s me play.” (Conscious utterances aren’t particularly cerebral, if you’ve noticed.)

We are arm-in-arm, the light reflection of myself, in the Garden of Eden. That’s pretty goddamn great.

Daniel asks if I’m ready to go.

I ask if (how) I can bring her with.

He tells me to ask her, so I do.

She wraps herself around me, melts into my body, and becomes a glow that I am and so can take.

I say, “Okay, we’re ready.”


After the session, we speak a bit more, though not much as the realizations had mostly been had. A few more would come later (I dictated the session as I biked home). I enjoyed the experience so much that I went back to the Center the next day for a several hour group regression session led by Daniel again. In that, I experienced several more lives, all very different and with their own epiphanies.

Daniel complimented my deftness with the therapy. “Good at it” because, he said, “you trust your mind”.


Maha Rose Center for Healing

Daniel Ryan, CHT, CRT (Hypnotherapist and Regression Therapy)