by Elaine Childs Gowell, Ph.D.
How many of us have ever thought to compare a journey, such as a long air trip, to a shamanic journey or other rite of passage? In this article, Elaine Childs Gowell, Ph.D. relates her personal experiences during vacation journeys she has taken and points out the similarities of both journey types.
Welcome Pilgrim. So, you are passionately engaged in planning a pilgrimage. You are planning a trip; you are going on a tour, a Tourist. You are looking forward to “seeing” more of your past, to “seeing” at a higher level of consciousness. You have been saving up your money. You are going back to the old homestead, where you may be able to interview some of the old folks. You are on your way back to the country of your ethnic roots, or off to see some strange and exotic land which has always intrigued you. Up, up and away to that sacred spot, power center, vortex, spiritual haven, following your guru to visit ancient temples. You have decided to “Follow your Heart” to see and corroborate old “memories,” chase ghosts, looking for the parts of your soul you left behind in other times, and other places. Whatever the reason and wherever it is you are headed, you can be sure that this trip will stretch your imagination. It will make demands on your patience and try you, in some ways even beyond what you thought you could ever endure. Ordeals are a very ancient part of the training of “seers.” (The word “shaman” comes from the Siberian Tungus’ word “saman” meaning “to see”). You will surprise and delight yourself and, at times, find yourself very irritating to yourself and others as you indulge in regressive behaviors you thought you left behind in grade school.