The Shaman's Death

by Amara

This article will tell you about my own experiences with Shamanic Death, what it is, and cover some of the basic ideas behind opening your perception to worlds beyond.

I did not learn to see spirits; I only learned to communicate with the ones I already saw. The following is an excerpt from my blog at

"I was awkward as a child, homely, clumsy. My mind raced at all times. I was bored unless I was reading or drawing. Until I went to school, I didn't know that I was different. It was obvious then that I was, though I know now that we are all the same. I saw things, heard voices, and when I was no more than a child, I knew what it was to die.

It was not until many years later, in my teens, that I discovered what it was that was happening. There are many psychics in my family, but none had ever talked of this. I was terrified of what it meant, and terrified that I was out of my mind.

As I lay on my couch at home, sick with a fever, I meditated as my mother had taught me. I was 12 at the most, and swimming in my daydream world. It was nothing near sudden, but a gradual awareness of an immense and dark weight upon my chest, then my eyes, my whole self.

My conscious mind gaped open, and was overcome with horror at complete and utter lack of sensation. I was blind, aware of neither light nor darkness. Then there was nothing, not even my horror, and I was nothing, not even conscious thought.

I surfaced, hovering above some unknown soil-colored pit. Upon my back, the same initial weighty shadow loomed, and a finite cord stemmed from me, below me, and pulling down, climbing, attached to my cord were millions of naked and soiled bodies.

They moaned, not into my ears, but into my being, which was also saturated by the most penetrating smell I have ever experienced. The weight upon me, and upon the cord was inconceivable, and it seemed that the bodies kept piling on. The shadow above me expressed to me, or rather it was known to me that I was looking at earth.

When I came to our world again, I became conscious, as I stared at our mottled brown carpet, of many instances of the same happening before. I was to remember this time. "

As I got older, and studied longer, all the while, the spirits whispering, and swirling around me, I realized that I had experienced what was called the Shaman's Death, or Otherworld Journey.

What is the Shaman's Death? It is a rebirth of the spirit. It is leaving behind all that you were and opening up to a whole new world. The experience varies from person to person, but most have main experiences in common. You enter into the spirit world, leaving your body behind, and feel complete nothingness - this is the death part - an then you see yourself for who you really are - the dark self, the secret self.

You return to the world, altered, able to see, communicate with, and interact spiritually with non physical beings of every type. You can sense energy in the bodies of others, speak with their higher self, and heal them in this way. You can fetch back a soul from the brink of death by otherworld journey.

The shamans of old would burn or give to the sea all of their possessions, and leave into the wilderness - where when they were young, as all of the tribe, they had gone for their rite to adulthood - and they would offer themselves to the fire of the sun, to the river, to the cold breeze, or to the abyss of a cave. There, they would be absorbed into the universe, their soul leaving their body and travelling into the otherworld.

Some potential shamans would use mind-altering substances, which in my opinion, creates a fuzzy and uncontrollable vision. Others were brought into it spontaneously in a moment alone or in meditation, or by a severe shock. Techniques that I have used with students include the following.

Drumming and Chanting - these repetitive sounds and actions send you into a deep trance, from which you can move forward into the spirit world. It works whether you are drumming, or a group is drumming for you, or you are playing a looped recording of heartbeat-like drums. In this as in all of the following techniques, an undistracted environment is very important - this includes controlling what all of your senses perceive - visual aides, artwork, color of the room, natural environment, incense, drums and voices, stress free mind, the temperature if indoors, and the position which you are in and how you are breathing.

Deep relaxation/Meditation - this can either be self-guided, or you can be walked through by someone else, or a recording.

Breathing techniques - the idea is to become intently focused on your breathing and nothing else. The breathing is usually deep and rhythmic, and there is no music to distract from the sound. Often, a strong incense like sage, sweetgrass, or cedar is used.

Sensory deprivation - this can be accomplished by a sensory deprivation tank, by a canopy bed with the curtains drawn, in the bathtub with the lights out (caution, be sure there is someone with you to monitor you), or in a specially made box. Witches, the psychics of old, used a specially made garment that covered your whole body and head, blocking out all light, and was suspended from a beam - called a witch's cradle. The idea here is to block out all of the senses so that you have none but the extrasensory.

There are many others, but they all involve in a general way either the blocking out or overloading of the senses, or forms of hypnosis. Be sure that if you attempt any of these techniques, you do so under the supervision of a spiritual teacher or close friend.

Find me on Kasamba and search name: Amara

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