Satinka's Workshop Experience. Episode 1 Knoxville Basic Workshop- May 5-6, 1990 I was ask

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Satinka's Workshop Experience..... Episode 1* Knoxville Basic Workshop- May 5-6, 1990 ---------------------------------------- I was asked to relate some of the journey experiences I had while participating in the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Basic Workshop in Knoxville this month (May). For those not familiar with journeying in general, I suggest reading Michael Harner's "The Way of the Shaman." The first day was devoted to Lower World journeys. There are actually two different journeys here - taken within about 40 minutes of each other during the first morning of the workshop. ----------------------------------------- After a bit of getting acquainted, singing in a circle, drumming, and "calling the beasts" we were given instructions for our first journey. We were to enter a hole or cave and go down a tunnel into the lower world. We were not to do anything in particular, simply go, look over the landscape, and return. Although I have done this lowerworld journey many times, I had never attempted it in a group setting, and my trials were far from consistent in results. I was interested to see if I could, in fact get anywhere in this environment. I went into my usual cave, feeling Bear nearby. I could hear the drip of water, and it seemed very dark - moreso than usual. I asked him if he wanted to join me, and he agreed. Draping my left arm over his neck (he always walks on my left for some reason), we rose slightly and began to fly although I had no sensation of movement - more that the tunnel was moving and there was a wind blowing from below. I could still hear the water dripping, and felt that we had not moved. But there must have been water at both ends of the tunnel, that I could hear the entire trip through - I could still hear it as I overshot the tunnel end and was flying over a mist- covered landscape that was patchwork like a farm seen from up high on a mountain. There were no buildings in sight. The colors of the landscape were varied (yellow, reddish, brown, green), but muted and dull looking. The sky was very murky looking, and the mist or fog seemed to gather into clouds, and then melt away - all between me and the landscape below. I flew around a bit, then went back to the lip of the tunnel - I found a ledge there that leads of to the left as a path. A few feet away is a cut in the stone (on my side) opening out into a grassy hilly area on the other side, with a stream down the middle. Looking out over the landscape, I noticed above me quite a ways was a circle of black birds. They were flying almost beak to tail, in a perfect circle. They seemed to be very large birds. I tried several times to count them, but was unsuccessful. I walked on down the ledge then, following Bear, to the ridge above the stream. Three otter people came to me while I stood there above the water. They were grey-brown, about 5 feet tall (just a tad shorter than I am). They wore woven sashes (of reeds or grass) with fringes decorated with small shells. The center otter - the tallest - wore a necklace that had small shells on the sides, and a big pendant of a large, flat shell - similar to an oyster shell - in the center. They were carrying freshwater clams or muscles - with blue shells, that looked something like oyster shells - and they gave them to me with some solemn ceremonial gestures. I opened the buckskin pouch I was wearing at my waist (See note on dress) and offered them each an oyster "from their cousins on the coast," which they greatfully accepted. They got friendlier after that, and touched me with their little hands, feeling my skin, my clothing, and most of all, touching and sniffing my hair. They had very expressive faces. Bear sat by through all of this, looking rather bored, and the otters totally ignored him. When the signal came to return, I said goodbye to the otter people, regretfully. They said I could come visit again, and I promised I would. I put the clams in my pouch, draped my arm over Bear again, and we flew back up the tunnel. At the mouth of the tunnel, he dropped me off and disappeared. All the participants talked about experiences for a while after this journey, but I declined to share mine. I really felt it might be a bit overwhelming for the others, since most of them had really NEVER journeyed before, and I didn't want to say too much. Several people mentioned journeys that appeared to be involving them in their own (past?) funeral ceremonies or other things that might have been a form of initiation. Several others had first journeys that equalled my own in depth and visual experience, and Dana seemed pleased that everyone was progressing so quickly. ***** Journey to find a power animal - lower world The directions for the next journey were more detailed. We were to go to the lowerworld with the intention of finding a power animal. When we found one, we were to ask the question that our partner wanted answered. My partner in this exercise was a man from Knoxville, and he wanted to know how he could get more joy in his life. Bear (See note on power animals) met me in the tunnel, and we went the same way as before. The otters were waiting for me. "Are you my power animal?" I asked them, and the otter with the necklace said he was. "On behalf of my partner, I want to ask you a question," I told him. He nodded. "What can he do to get more joy in his life?" The words formed in my mind, as if the translation of either language or concept from Otter to human was rather difficult: Creative play shared with others. "Can you clarify that for me?" I asked. Immediately, the three otters began to wrestle and fall into the water, sliding down the rocks. Barking and jumping, they tussled goodnaturedly for a few moments. Then they came up the bank again, dripping water (I could feel it on my feet!), and they, and BEAR, joined hands and began to dance in a ring to some absolutely beautiful flute music. (I never saw the source of the music.) They went on for a short time, until I got the call-back signal. They broke the ring then, and I gave them each an oyster from my (evidently overflowing) buckskin pouch. The otter who is my power animal gave me his shell necklace.* We flew back up the tunnel again, and Bear disappeared. When I came back to OSC, I told my partner what they said. He said it did make sense to him, but was reluctant to elaborate. (He later missed half of the second day to work at his job - I get the impression he needs - and knows he needs! - to spend more time in social recreation!). Shortly after this, we broke for lunch, and were told we would do a Spirit Canoe journey after lunch. That will be the subject of "Episode 2." ----------------------------------------- *An interesting aside from this. Our group was meeting in a renovated warehouse (sometimes used as an aerobics studio) behind a Mrs. Winner's restaurant. There were no major restaurants or groceries nearby to account for this happening. Sunday morning I arrived early, and the door was still locked. Deciding to take a short walk, I walked around the warehouse building (the front 2/3 is a gym, the back "room" is our classroom). There was no path from the other side, but it wasn't too wet, so I walked up the grass under the pine tree there. On the ground, imbedded in the mud, was one lonely oyster shell. I brought it back and cleaned it up. Dana was not sure what to make of it (although he thought it was positive and very interesting), but I consider it a "gift" from my Otter, and will drill it for a necklace - a physical representation of the one I was given, and wear in the SSC! _______________________________________________________ Note on Power Animals: There is a lot of discussion about how many power animals you can have at one time. My own theory - based solely on my own experience - is that you can have several, if they are complimentary, and maybe only one or two if they are at opposite poles. I'll get into this in another text, but evidently I have at least 2 at any given time (plus add-ons like the two "attendant" otters), and sometimes 3. This should not be confused with allies that you request aid from for a specific reason, and who normally are not a "part" of you - some animal spirits do this for me, but they are not power animals, they are allies. Note on dress: I've heard a number of people report that they find themselves dressed or looking differently in the SSC than the OSC. Although it's not a particularly important detail, it does make for interesting journeys. Regardless of what I'm wearing in the OSC world, I've found most frequently when I cross over I am dressed in a loose cloth skirt and blouse, or leather leggings and a leather tunic. Either way, I tend to have things with me that I carry only there - the buckskin pouch is a good example. I own no such item in the OSC world, but it is full of all kinds of interesting and useful items in the SSC world! After my journeys, some of the gifts I have received have cropped up in the OSC as well. The oyster shell is a good example of that - I was given the necklace in the SSC world (and I always wear it there, no matter what else I'm wearing), and because I found the shell, the necklace I make from it in the OSC world will be similar to the one the otter gave me. This is a frequent translation problem: it is easy for an outsider or a beginner in this area to confuse the OSC world version with the SSC world version, and to think the actual object that you can lay your hand on in this world is the one with the power in it. The shaman knows the difference. It is simply that the physical object represents the actual object, which resides in the world perceived while in SSC. All forms of magick use physical representations of the "other" reality - and the fact that it is so prevalent among magickal systems makes it more likely to be a universal phenomenon. Well, I hope this elaboration on the basic journey technique is helpful to you. Even without a lot of other reading, you should now understand basically the process by which shaman from all cultures and times have entered another state of consciousness for the good of their people. But as a venerable being once said - every journey begins with a single step. Just reading about it won't do anything for you. Journeying will - both now and for the rest of your life in this world. -=Balance and Blessings=- / - atinka / ======================================================= From: "The Shaman's Rattle" AION QBBS Roswell,GA Modem: 404/640-9670 Copyright (c) 1990 By Satinka Istari. This document may be distributed freely as long as it remains intact and unmodified and contains this notice of copyright.

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