My mentor invited all of her staving peeps to assist her in recording her new albums. We also did some video of Nordic dances with songs and a demo on making runes with the body in dances. After filming, we were recorded (audio only) as we all journeyed the world tree together. This was such an amazing experience, I doubt I’ll be able to write it justice here. The sun dance we did together was very cool, and the energy built up in doing it was something I can’t compare it to since I work alone so much. I suddenly felt the beautiful energy of a true community. I now understand the joy in celebration with others, and I will ponder this part of the experience in regards to healing my issues with holidays and celebrations. It was very awakening and awesome. For the journeying, there were 12 of us staving, and the first go around, which was supposed to just be a test run, ended up being a very intense, visceral journey for me in which I witnessed our whole circle of stavers becoming sunlight and each ray of light rove itself in a circular pattern that seemed to dance above the world. It was cut short, and I really regret that, I wish we would have just continued on. But we broke for lunch and then resumed again into our circle after our lovely break together. We started out in our normal fashion, singing and chanting Komme Komme Alle, calling the directions, and then letting the spirit take our voices as it will. My mentor guided us and we all continued to chant, sing, and otherwise use our voices. This journey was very incredible as I saw immediately Valhöll and Fólkvangr, and I felt the presence of Óðinn, who came directly to me and embraced me and took my hands. I could feel his ominousness, and his kindness. Or a kind of claiming, guarding. It was a softer feeling than any I have ever experienced while encountering him. His is an interesting energy to experience. I could feel Freyja, though I could not see her. I could feel the burr oak behind me, I could see the giant goat Heiðrún standing atop the grassy roof. Hel embraced me as I entered her realm, and I saw the great Mountain of Medicine in the distance. I suddenly could see all of the stavers coming together in a circle, and all of the gods and goddesses mirrored us. I felt as if the whole world were experiencing healing, and that the deities were working towards the same goal to healing as we were. It moved me to tears, and I chanted through my sobs and let the wonder of the whole thing permeate me. This work….it is difficult and beautiful work.
There was more to this journey, though I was not able to journal about it until much later in the evening, so I didn’t get it all down. Much happens in these mysterious places that are so beyond words. I have noticed that the more uncomfortable I am, the more intense the journey. This is one of the biggest dangers in shamanic journey, of course, is the very nature by which the worlds are accessed. Excitatory states are those which generate energy such as ecstatic dance or hyperventilation, and inhibitory states are those which are calm such as meditation or slow drumming. I have found that any kind of severe discomfort can aid in the process, such as low blood sugar or a completely full bladder! The journeys in which I feel like I can barely go on for the physical discomfort I’m feeling in my body (all that icy paralysis that I get in Hel is part of it, too) are some of the most intense and vivid experiences. This is why shamanic journey can be dangerous to the physical body, and why I think it is wise to know when one should not work alone. There are a few methods that can release the body quickly when doing this: one is to press the thumb into the palate at the top of the mouth and breath or “seethe” through it. I found this particularly helpful when I invoked pure divine energy into me (Freyja and Thor or Heimdallr) and felt as if my body might split into shafts of light. The way we typically leave the world tree is by tapping three times on the ground with the stav and then yipping loudly. Sometimes when I have neglected to do this, I’ll clap loudly to disperse the trance energy and “wake up”, coming fully back into consensus reality. I learned quickly in trance work that to leave yourself in trance state is not healthy. I have not come out of trance properly before going to sleep, and though my body was asleep, my mind remained conscious or seemingly conscious all night and I was exhausted the next day. Another good way to come out of it is to ground yourself by eating. This is such an effective way that I would say just do it for good measure!