In the last article [“Dreaming and Journeying”], I mentioned that “it’s really impossible to talk about journeying without talking about the Spirit beings that share those journeys with us, as guides and companions.” Now, in the third post of my series about the shamanic perspective in dreamwork, I’d like to consider who these “Spirit Helpers” are, and to look at their relationship with us in dreaming and waking.
Shamanic practitioners (whether they are full-fledged shamans or not) explore other ways of experiencing reality—other worlds—through “journeying” in a trance state. In these journeys, they encounter a variety of Spirit beings, just as in our dreams we encounter various dream figures. Such beings regularly appear in animal or human form (though there are also elemental spirits, plant spirits, weather spirits, etc. that can take other forms).
Among these Spirit beings, journeyers will meet one or more who volunteer themselves as committed companions—generally because they have some connection with the journeyer’s life path, or because they have something unique to offer him or her. In the shamanic tradition, these Spirit beings who have chosen to become our individual companions are referred to by many names: Spirit Helpers, Power Animals, Spirit Guides, etc. Often, these companions appear in dreams as well as in journeys. [see “Dream Messengers, Guides, and Guardians”] Continue reading