The journey begins imagining myself in a spirit canoe that is a birch bark canoe. On the right I invite male ancestors, a bear, and the female ancestors, my Native American elder grandmother, on my left. (Ancestors can appear in any form). My guide is in the bow and Protection, a crystal formation, behind me in the stern. Then I state my intention: Show me an animal to teach me what I need to know. I use all my senses while journeying so not to miss anything. There is a monotonous drumbeat as I journey.
Standing in my canoe I look right; my bear is sleeping under the tree with his three young apprentices. I call out; he awakens slowly, stretches and rises. I know that he has heard my call. On the left Grandmother once again will send her apprentice, Too Many Feathers, in her place. Too Many Feathers also has been sleeping and rises slowly stretching. In the bow I see a large black bird, the raven. “This is a new guide,” I think. Behind me is the crystal formation.
We slowly cast off from the shore and settle in. The water is effortlessly flowing faster. Several familiar spots pass by, then the river widens like never before. “This is not my river,” I think. The water here is shiny and deep and black, like obsidian.
We are slipping along, destination unknown. I begin to sense that we are not alone, the water is alive with forms. It is bubbling and boiling, teeming with life. My canoe has turned into a teacup, turning and rolling with the undulating water. I feel no fear. Bobbing along, something slithers into the cup and I just notice it has a big head and spiky teeth; opening its mouth it swallows me whole. Inside, I see pink sweet flesh, like bubble gum. I walk inside this being, all shiny and pink. Coming out the end, into the sun I am very small and the being, an eel, I think, is much larger than I. I walk up his length to a spot between his eyes. I sit there. The landscape is unfamiliar. The air is close and presses against my skin. It is like Jell-O all around my body. I wave my arms around in this substance and wonder, “Where am I?” Jumping to see what happens, I am flying and held all at once. Arms outstretched, I twirl with no effort, secure. I look around for the eel and it is mimicking my movements as I explore my capabilities. It slithers close along beside me. I reach out and touch this being and feel a shudder as we journey together. Then I know I can ride on him and so I do; we speed up and zoom along very fast, with my arms around its neck; I am pressed close.
My body feels unlike anything I have ever experienced: fluid and flowing, long and sinewy, stretched out over time and space with no beginning and no end, ever present and always there. We spiral around the circumference of the earth many times, my fingers and toes miles long. I am still me and yet so much more than me. I notice me noticing me, and this image goes on as if in a mirror. The eel is grinning now and I grin back as I get “it,” whatever “it” is. Laughing with each other, I am swallowed again. I enter that pink sanctuary where I began this journey. Traveling along the tunnel, I caress the sides of the tube as it narrows down and I remember I am about to exit. I think, “I am not ready to let this go” and I do anyway.
Coming out the end I am back to me but more than me. I am changed; I wonder how and know that it is not important. Stroking his sides I thank him for this glorious journey. He nods and jumps back into the mass of movement in the water. My canoe and my guides have returned. Raven nods, “Good story” and flies off. In my canoe at the edge of my river I take a deep breath. I thank Bear and Too Many Feathers, who are both grinning at me. The drumbeat slows and I have returned to ordinary reality or perhaps the illusion of my life.
As the Visionary I use all my senses and my body to be aware in the journey. As the Enlightened Spiritual Warrior I allow myself to be swallowed twice by the eel. Once inside, I willingly and without fear walk through the creature’s body. A rebirthing occurs as I go into the depths, the unconscious and emerging conscious again. As the Teacher I learned to walk into the unfamiliar without fear. Go with the flow of what is rather than needing to be in control. The Healer in innocence stretches beyond what is believed is. The Magician says remember to laugh and be playful even when moving beyond preconceived limitations. Stretch yourself, do Yoga, expand beyond what you think you can do.
Shamanic journeys have lessons, healing and actions to be taken. Journeying is a powerful therapeutic tool. Each person experiencing a journey gains a unique perspective and insight. Participating in and listening to others’ journey experiences can help you gain insight into your own life and act upon those insights.
Now, let’s look at the metaphors in this journey. My eel is a long, huge-jawed bony fish living deep in the ocean. Its body is not very muscular and recently I have been entertained by the idea of working out more. It has tiny eyes and a small, reddish light at the tip of the tail. What am I not seeing? I pass all the way through and come out into the light. This fish can eat prey that are larger than itself, I am swallowed whole, twice! Eels hatch from eggs and as they mature its body changes shape. We like the eel, are in metamorphosis one more time as a new year begins. Many eels migrate over long distances to breed and to eat. How far are you willing to go to meet your soul mate? To find good food? To allow yourself become the change we are all looking for? What are you willing to do? Be bold, take action and play more. Aho