Home > Divination, Lessons for the Modern Man, Men and Spirituality > Another Tool for Inner Guidance

Another Tool for Inner Guidance

Michael Harner has given an amazing gift to the world; building on the earlier work of Mircea Eliade, he brought The Way of the Shaman alive for many of us. And I know there are critics of the popularization of this ancient spiritual technology; there will always be critics who are both skeptical and perhaps a little jealous of those who would gain notoriety and fortune by bringing to life a skill or knowledge that might otherwise be lost or set on a shelf as a quaint research subject. And there is some ground for questioning whether the generalization of a culturally specific spiritual technology is appropriate. All I can say to the critics is I have my own personal experiences as both evidence and guidance that these practices can be effective.

For my part I was first exposed to the Harner methods in the late 70s when I did my first journey to connect with a power animal. This was a transformative experience, although I may not have realized it at the time; I have been working with a Shamanic approach to gaining inner guidance since that early beginning. I have journeyed with many teachers learning their techniques and polishing my own, from drumming to rattling, from leading journeys to doing healing work. It is a powerful tool in my toolkit for gaining Inner Guidance.

Typically when I journey I use a frame drum which I beat myself. I do this in a darkened room with only a candle burning for a bit of light. I drum and journey on the wave of the drum, usually traveling to the Lower World to first seek guidance from my power animals. Sometimes I go to them with a specific question or concern. I also travel seeking general guidance on my current situation, circumstances, issues and offering prayers. After meeting up with my power animals and getting their sense of the situation and their guidance, I bless them, thank them and go off exploring other parts of this world. I am also sometimes directed to the Middle and Upper Worlds – more on this another time.

I know this Shaman approach to gaining Inner Guidance works for me because it has proved to be effective in my life. Perhaps most importantly I don’t rely on this one form of seeking but, as you may realize from reading earlier posts on “tools”, I use several approaches to gain insight into my Unconscious Mind, my Higher Self. I know all of these practices I employ work because they almost always cross-check in a non-ambiguous way.

Here’s a quick example of what I mean: on a recent journey to the Lower World I encountered a Snake. This Snake was telling me several contradictory stories; highly dualistic messages. I followed the snake on a return path and encountered a Bear who grabbed the snake and bit it into two parts; she separated the truth from the lie, the light from the dark! That same evening I cast a Gua for I Ching guidance. The accomplished Gua was Shi He (#21), sometimes translated as “biting through.” And a few days later I drew the Tarot card, VIII, which Crowley names Adjustment. The I Ching correspondence to this card is Shi He! The correlations are both fun and insightful. Do you think I should pay attention to this notion of “Biting Through”?

Tools for gaining Inner Guidance are numerous and flexible. They can be as simple as breathing deeply with lowered, unfocused eyes and as complex as consulting the I Ching or traveling to the Lower World on the vibration of a drum. The point is to do it, find methods and tools that work for you. And I recommend at least two approaches to cross-reference the answers. You’ll be amazed at how often the same answer comes through no matter the channel!

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