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8 tips for drum journeys - the three shamanic worlds

8 tips för trumresor - de tre shamanska världarna

Traveling shamanically has been done since time immemorial and in different ways. All shamanic traditions have their own ways - some travel using plant medicine and others via the drum. In Celtic shamanism we travel by drumming or by listening to drum tracks. Both work equally well and enable the shaman to shift reality and thus be able to seek help or answers to what the person needs. Some explain the difference between what mediums and shamans do is that mediums call the spirit world here, and shamans travel to the spirit world. Very simplified, but maybe it gives a small picture of what it might look like.

Shamanic technique

A shaman believes that all living things have a soul. We live in harmony with nature and all people and creatures. Some call this because we are all a drop of the same ocean (ocean of spirit) or the web. The shaman works with guidance and healing. As humans, we are often hit by events that cause us to lose strength, and sometimes even lose a part of our soul or tie bonds that cause us to leak energy. In order to feel good, we need to stand in our full power, and this the shaman helps with. This is where the drum trip comes into play. By drumming, one can go back and forth in time, or to any place in the universe and retrieve the lost soul or go back to where it all started. It can be about untying knots in previous lives, in this life, healing inheritance that is in the family or removing heavy energy that is stuck in the body.

Who then can call himself a shaman? Opinions are divided on this, but many believe that to become a shaman you are either initiated by the spirit world, or appointed to it by your context, tribe or community.

You can also drum travel

By listening to drums, you can shift reality. However, you don't have to be a shaman to be able to travel with the drum. It may take some practice, but you can learn to drum without being a shaman. It is a very effective way to connect with the spirit world and to receive guidance or healing. In some cities, there are shamans who organize drum trips in groups. It's a fun way to learn to travel to real drum sounds and then to share your journeys with others.

What happens in a drum trip is that you put your brain in theta waves, that is, the stage just before you fall asleep, and this allows you to shift reality and "leave the body".

A drum journey does not have to be that long, between 5 and 20 minutes is usually enough as the time in the journey is experienced as much longer than you think. It is almost like dreaming and very similar to astral travel.

The three shamanic worlds

There is a lot of exciting and fun to explore in a drum trip. In order to travel, one needs to decide on a starting place and know the three shamanic worlds. These worlds are a way to approach the idea of ​​other dimensions. In other contexts, one might speak of "the other side", or count dimensions upwards in numbers while shamanically talking about the three worlds: the Underworld, the Middle World and the Overworld.

The starting point is exactly what it sounds like - the place where your adventure begins. It can be a place in nature that you have either been to a lot, or an invented place. It makes it easier to decide on your starting place before you start listening to the drum so that you don't have to spend time deciding on a place during the drum journey itself. The starting place should be a place that you can see clearly for your inner self when you close your eyes. It happens that you sometimes change the starting place, but it is easiest to have one and the same starting place and become familiar with it.


According to Celtic shamanism, the Underworld is your subconscious. To get here, travel downwards from your starting point. You can lie on the ground and sink into the earth, you can enter a tree and tunnel down, or maybe walk down a staircase until you notice it shift. Some dive into water to get down here. Everyone's Underworld looks different and it can be enough to have the intention that "I want to go to the Underworld".

Everything you see in a trip is important and can be a message. It is about trying to let go of logic and our so-called mind. Make a careful note of what you see, such as any plants or animals. You can talk to the animals, often telepathically, and ask if they are power animals or symbols to take to heart.

So in the Underworld we find our power animals. We all have a main power animal that acts as a guide. They are our companions and can guide and show us around. Our main power animal is with us most of our lives. Personally, I almost always have mine with me when I travel with the drum. It gives me security.

To find out your main power animal, you can travel with the intention "I will travel to the Underworld and meet my main power animal". When you meet an animal, ask if it is your main power animal, if it says no or shows that you are going to move on, do it. When you just meet your main power animal, you will know or feel that it is right. Ask your power animal what it brings, if it has a message or wants to show you something. Some power animals are not so talkative but like to guide by showing. Be patient, you are starting a relationship now and it may take time to get to know each other. You don't have to be afraid if you come across animals that you find unpleasant. They do not harm you, but they can be a symbol from the spirit world and be a message in itself.

There is a lot you can do yourself. When you want to work with things that lie in your subconscious and smolder, maybe even work with shadow work, you can therefore travel down into the Underworld. Questions like “What have I put in the shade?” or "I want to see what I'm running from" can be good intentions for traveling downward.

In the Underworld we also find entrances to our past lives, heritage that lies in the family and our ancestors. The so-called "other side" is also here, but you can also meet the deceased in the Overworld. As with everything, this is a bit fluid. Investigating past lives or healing family heritage is quite complicated, and here as an inexperienced traveler you need help from the shaman. But it can be fun to know where the shaman goes to find answers to these things.

The Middle World

The shamanic Middle World is a kind of mirror world of the one we live in as humans. Everything we have in our physical reality is here. It is not recommended to travel here unless you are an actual shaman. The middle world can be tricky and according to Celtic shamanic tradition we do not travel here alone, but always have two guides with us. It is therefore required that you have good contact with your guides and ALWAYS obey their slightest hint when you are in the Middle World. There are various entities here in addition to people who can jump on one, and it takes a lot of experience to move around here. It happens that shamans conduct shamanic wars in the Middle World, so even as a shaman you are careful when working there.

"Don't be curious, be efficient and focus on your task" I was always told by my shamanic teacher when we worked in the Middle World. So what can be done here? Well, in the Middle World you travel as a shaman to heal things that happened in this life. We can travel back to childhood, or really any time in a person's life to bring home any soul losses and heal trauma. In Middle World we can visit places on Earth or in the Universe. It is exciting, but requires accuracy, knowledge and protection. In the Middle World, for example, we can do house cleaning remotely because we can get to the same places that exist in our reality.

Across the world

Like the Underworld, the Overworld is a place you can explore on your own, without much travel experience. Here you will find angels, masters and higher dimensions. The upper world is a good place to seek guidance or to receive healing. Here you can ask questions about the purpose of your life, any assignments and gifts.

When you travel to the Overworld, you see some kind of rise at your starting location. It could be a mountain you walk up, or a tree you climb. Sometimes you can simply just fly up into the sky and when you notice a transition, you have ended up in the Overworld. The shift may look like an edge to get over, a bridge, a door or a fog to go through.

As usual, everything in your journey is a symbol or message. Colors, things, people or creatures you encounter. You can travel with the intention to "see a part of the Overworld", "meet my Overworld guide" or simply ask for guidance on a specific matter. Then you get up and see what happens. No question is too stupid and it can be guidance for everyday things like relationships, job questions and more. Rather, the clever thing is that we sometimes get answers in the form of symbols and images and have to interpret them. Always go with how it resonates with you and what it might mean to you first and foremost - before you sit down and google "what does a snake on a tree branch mean?" for example.

In the Overworld you can encounter deceased people, but here you can also travel into space or visit the Akasha Archives (your life library). You can also travel with the intention of getting healing and maybe you can then visit a healing source and lie down and bathe in it.

How a drum trip goes

If you are going to try traveling by yourself, it is good if you find a place where you can be undisturbed for about 15 minutes. There are free drum tracks on Youtube to try out. Search shamanic drumming or shamanic journeying. Otherwise, shamans around the country hold drum trips. It can feel safe to travel when a shaman holds space.

You can sit or lie down, the most important thing is that you are comfortable and not disturbed by your body. During the journey you should preferably not fall asleep, if you are tired it is better to sit up. Feel free to wear a shawl or sleeping mask for your eyes.

Before you travel, you must have decided your starting point and intention or question you are looking for an answer to. If you want, you weave in whether it is the Underworld or the Overworld you are going to. If you don't know, it doesn't matter, it usually shows or is felt when you get to your starting point. You can also ask a guide or power animal to meet you already at the starting point.

The start of the drum journey sounds like seven short beats, three times. Repeat here your intention for the trip. When the drumbeats then become even and monotonous, it is time to visualize your starting point and travel away. You know when the journey is coming to an end because there are seven short strokes again, three times. You won't miss this as there will be a break in the drumming. Stop what you were doing and say thank you if there was someone you were talking to. Then when you hear very fast drum beats, you hurry back to your starting place. Then when you again hear seven short beats, three times you should be there at the starting point and about to wake up your body. When all the drumming is over, you wake up. Gently move your feet and hands to come back and open your eyes when you are ready. It is very important to come back when you are called home, especially if you are traveling alone and do not have a shaman who can call you home to your body. You don't need to be afraid, but come back. You can travel again after a while if you want.

8 tips when you are going on a drum trip

  1. Have patience. Traveling and getting messages can take practice. It has happened that some go on many drum trips before they manage to get away.

  2. Trust what comes. Traveling is like dreaming and it can feel like you're making things up. Trust what comes to you, you may not understand everything at once.

  3. Ask questions. You can talk to anything you meet. Maybe they talk like us, or maybe you just know their answer inside yourself.

  4. Use all your senses. All experiences in the journey are messages in themselves.

  5. Don't stand still if nothing happens. Repeat your intention or question, and look around. Go forward and examine the place. Most of the time it loosens and starts to float on.

  6. If you feel discomfort, or maybe you feel ready, it's perfectly okay to travel back to your starting point and either stay there until the drum is done, or to return to your body immediately and wake up.

  7. Keep a notebook handy to jot down everything when you wake up. It may happen that you understand messages several months later.

  8. Drop all performance requirements. You travel for your sake. You don't have to perform for someone else or even tell about what you've been through, if you don't want to. If you don't get away, you can enjoy the healing sound of the drum. It is also a sound healing.

The article is written by Andrea Limmerstedt who is a shamanic practitioner, guide and reiki master. Do you want to write an article on our platform? Email us!

Shamanic healing - drum journeys

''I work as a shamanic practitioner (according to the Warrior in the Heart tradition from England), guide and reiki master. You will find the treatments and courses that I offer here . '' - Andrea Limmerstedt

Tip! Do you want to know more about the shamanic worlds, how a shaman works and about Spirit Hacking? Listen to this episode of the Holy Crap Podcast featuring Hollywood's favorite Shaman - Shaman Durek!

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