Guest Author - Lauren D´Silva
Sandra Ingerman has been one of the leading teachers of Shamanic practice in the West for many years. Her latest CD of meditations caters both for the complete novice and for those that have started to explore shamanism already.
I requested Shamanic Meditations for review from Sounds True. I have long recommended Sandra Ingerman’s earlier work The Beginner's Guide to Shamanic Journeying as a resource for my students and clients. Her explanation of shamanic working is clear and easy to grasp. I’ve found shamanic working one of the easiest ways to connect my clients and students to their guides. Everyone I’ve worked with has been successful in doing this. It seems to be an innate human ability given the right conditions.
If you are intrigued by Shamanism, but have been unable to find someone to teach you directly, then Shamanic Meditations: Guided Journeys for Insight, Vision, and Healing could help you. This is a 2 CD pack containing Sandra’s direct instruction on Shamanism. In Session One Sandra explains the Shamanic perspective on the world, that all things in Nature are alive and conscious including the trees and the rocks and that the spirit realms are not something separate from us; we are part of this vast web of life.
Sandra leads you step by step through your first shamanic journeys. The first one is to the Lower World to meet your Power Animal and the second to the Upper World to meet a Spirit Guide. Having journeyed without vocal instruction on the drum or rattle I must admit I found Sandra’s voice on these journeys a bit off putting. I was always ahead of her or behind her on my journeys, playing slow down or catch up. On the Upper World journey she’d cheerfully announced our arrival when I’d barely set off! At several points my conversations with my guides had to be put on hold whilst more instructions were spoken and then we resumed our communication.
Had I been completely new to journeying however I think someone guiding me like this would have been reassuring and useful. I would have liked just one track included of plain drumming or rattling so that once you’d learned to journey you could go again without the commentary.
Session Two is probably of more use to those who have already got the hang of journeying and met their animal helpers and spirit guides. There were several useful exercises. Sandra teaches you to release old stagnant energies from your body into the earth for reuse and recycling. I released some dull lower back ache and found this method immediately effective.
There is a meditation to bring about the awareness that we are pure spirit and a grounding exercise using a tree. My favourite exercise was looking through the eyes of my animal helper, something I hadn’t tried before. He leant me a completely different perspective on the familiar place in Nature that I’d been seeing through human eyes and suddenly the place was chock full of the nature spirits I’d always sensed were there and absolutely bursting with life, though all in monochrome.
If you are looking for more depth of knowledge on shamanism Sandra has also brought out a new book, Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation, along with Hank Wesselman, which includes contributions from leading practitioners and teachers of shamanism today: Tom Cowan, Carol Proudfoot-Edgar, Jose Luis Stevens and Alberto Villoldo. Sounds True sent me a review copy.
This is a meaty and wide ranging book and it is well worth reading by any shamanic practitioners or teachers. This time the included CD has no spoken instruction and provides a range of useful journeying tracks for those that have got the hang of journeying. The first track is a welcome to the spirits followed by two tracks, one of drums and rattles which I felt would work well for trance dancing, the other a Berimbau rhythm, both just over 15 minutes long. The final three drums track is over 25 minutes in length which should be long enough for the most ambitious journeys!
I would still advise people to seek out a real life teacher if at all possible, but Shamanic Meditations really does open up the possibility of exploring shamanism for anyone who wants to meet and connect with their spirit helpers.