Shamans and shamanic practitioners often use natural openings when they journey to the Lower, Middle, and Upper worlds. Here are a few natural portals I found today in my walk around Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. I’ll definitely use some of these in my shamanic journey work.

Shamanic journeying is the art of entering an altered state of consciousness in order to connect with the spirit world and dimensions of non-ordinary reality.

Think of it like a meditation where your consciousness goes traveling. 

You do it to learn, retrieve information, receive healing, meet with spirit and animal guides, etc. 

To facilitate a shamanic journey, many use rhythm, dance, drumming, rattling, or chanting. 

How to start on a shamanic journey

You typically begin by visualizing a natural portal to these other worlds. This portal can be different for every person. 

If you’re traveling to the Lower World, you could use a hole in the ground or a tree, a bubbling spring, river, lake, or cave. If you’re heading to the Upper World, you’ll use the same kind of portal, but one that points UP (tree branches, a climbing vine, clouds, etc.)

In today’s world, modern shamans don’t just live in the jungle, forest, or mountains. They’re in towns and cities and thickly populated areas. Which means that sometimes, you have to get creative and use what’s around you.

Portals are all around you, if you know where to look. They can be literal holes or openings, gateways, architectural elements, spaces in a stone wall, or even the area between two things (pillars, trees, statues, etc.).  

Find your own portals

Stay tuned for a walking meditation on how to find your own shamanic portals. In the meantime, read more about shamanism and different kinds of ritual work.