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Nature Spirits

16 17 SPiriT doorS shamanic journeying Spiritwalkers both ancient and modern use the symbol of the tree to aid their journeying to realms beyond the mortal world. Often known as the world tree, its branches reach to all times and places, its heights extend to the upper realms the heavens and the cosmos, as well as the future, its trunk allows access to other parts of the middle or mortal realm, and its roots can be followed into the underworld, into the past and the realms of the ancestors as well as into the deep heart of the Earth goddess. To the druids, the oak is the most powerful and significant of the trees, and its name dara, or duir in Gaelic and the druidic ogham alphabet, means door. The spirit of the oak, the oak king, is considered an embodiment of the god of fertility and the supreme protector of the people, on spiritual as well as physical levels. Visualising an oak tree to assist in a shamanic journey calls upon the oak kings assistance and protection. There are various techniques used to travel the other worlds. In some traditions the invocation of spirit allies and guardians is assisted by repetitive drumming, and the visualisation of a door which leads and grants access to the spirits or places sought. Assistance, instruction and healing is gained from this connection with the spirits, which can become an increasingly defined and fruitful experience over time. The return journey is always made by retracing the route, and grounding back into the mundane realm, often by eating and drinking. Travelling the realms of spirit is beautiful, perilous, illuminating and confusing, and the shamans allies are essential. To walk spirit paths is to learn the secrets of the gods, and once begun, the journey is long and rambling, growing endlessly in wonder and awe.
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