How to have a blessing ceremony for your summer travels

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This is Part 1 in a 3-part series that explores Shamanic Travel Alchemy—how to use both shamanic practices and aromatherapy to support your summer travels. You might also like to see:

Here in the northern hemisphere, days are getting longer, kids are finishing the school year, and travel plans are brewing!

Before I settled down in Colorado, I spent years traveling around the world. Over time, I developed a few pretravel rituals for safe, joyful, and enriching journeys.

This post contains my foundational pretravel practice—a shamanic ceremony for travel blessings. Whether you’re planning an overseas multi-city tour or a weekend of camping in a nearby state park, you can use this shamanic ceremony to bless your upcoming adventures.

A Shamanic Ceremony for Travel Blessings

This is a general outline of my personal pretravel ceremony. Please know that you certainly don’t have to do everything I do! Feel into each step, then pick, choose, and adapt in any way that feels good to you.

1. Clean the House

Yes, this really is my first step. I like it because it serves two key purposes. First, I find that cleaning my house both physically and energetically helps create a sacred container for my ceremonies. Second, it’s so much more relaxing to come home to a clean space!

2. Clean Yourself

Following along with number one, I find that pre-ceremonial cleansing helps me step into harmony with my true self, my helping spirits, and the intentions I hold for the ceremony. I love a good aroma-infused Epsom salt bath--but even a quick smudging, done with intention, will help.

how to have a shamanic ceremony

3. Set the Space

This can be as simple or intricate as you like. I tend to have my rattle, a notebook, and a pen nearby. You’ll also want some sort of altar for the ceremony. I usually set up a temporary altar with objects to invite in the elements, make offerings to spirit, and represent my travels.

You might like to add:

  • A piece of jewelry that you’ll wear throughout the trip

  • Offerings that you’ll bring to the spirits of the land you’ll be encountering

  • A small crystal to become infused with blessings and carried with you as you travel

  • A map or postcard of the locations you’ll visit

  • Representations of your spiritual allies

  • Additional symbols for your travels, such as toy cars or planes, pictures, and other creative ideas

If you have more participants in your ceremony, you can invite them to contribute objects as well.

travel altar

4. Invocation

The invocation calls in and gives thanks for all the spiritual support that is with you and that will be involved with your ceremony and, in this case, your travels.

Over time, most shamanic practitioners develop personal invocation practices. If you don’t have a personal invocation yet, you can simply call on any beings you work with (perhaps angels or power animals) and intuitively give thanks for all the spiritual support, both known and unknown to you, that you’ll receive. Finally, affirm that the ceremony be for the highest good of the participants, and ask that the good work of the ceremony be of benefit to all.

5. Intentions

Now you’re ready to really dive into the ceremony. Clear your head, and think about what you really want this trip to be like. Do you want ease and safety? Joyful family connections? Spiritual growth? To meet wonderful or fascinating people? To completely relax and rejuvenate?

Once you have clarity around your intentions, it’s time write them down. Some people find that staying general works best for them, while others like to be more specific. I tend to fill up several pages during this part—affirming everything from staying healthy to sitting next to wonderful people on the airplane—but always surrendering the final outcome to the great mystery.

Tip: Be sure to keep your intentions affirmative. For example, say “I’m grateful that I experience perfect health throughout my entire trip,” rather than “I’m grateful that I won’t get sick or hurt.”

6. Focus and Let Go

When your intentions are clarified and written down, it’s time to focus and align your energy with your desired outcomes. I like to do this by reading my intentions out loud as I focus on feeling that they are true. You can invite all participants to share their intentions at this time.

Once this is done, offer everything over to the care of spirit. My favorite way to do this is by burning the pages I’ve written in a small bowl, with the smoke carrying everything to spirit. “Dissolving paper” is another option—write your intentions on this special paper and watch them dissolve when stirred into water.


7. Receiving Messages

Now you have the opportunity to ask for information around your upcoming travels. Again, this can be specific or general—from getting guidance on which AirBnB to book, to receiving messages about the overall lessons and gifts your trip will offer.

If you have a journey practice, this is a great time to do a short journey and ask your helping spirits for more information. If shamanism is new to you, you might want to simply ask a single question, quiet your mind, and see what comes.

Any divination practice you’re comfortable with will work here. Draw an oracle card, read tea leaves, throw the I Ching—your choice!


8. Closing

To end your ceremony, state out loud that the ceremony is done and your work is done. Give thanks to all the beings who participated, similar to during your invocation. Then release all benevolent beings, elements, and any others who participated in the ceremony.


A Note About “Getting What You Want “ . . .

I absolutely love doing this full ceremony before I travel. When I was younger, I spent about a decade traveling around the world on my own, and I have no doubt that working with my helping spirits before and throughout my journeys contributed to my ongoing well-being.

But this isn’t to say that I did a ceremony and everything was easy—I’ve been feverishly ill in India, picked up some crazy parasites in the Amazon, gotten swindled in Hong Kong, and wandered around lost and in tears in more cities than I’d like to say . . .

But I’ve had plenty of miraculous experiences as well—from a surprise hangout with the Roots in Tokyo (one of my favorite bands at the time), to connecting with Isis in the temples of Egypt, to finding the most perfect camping spot on a busy summer weekend in Colorado.

The thing is, having a ceremony isn’t a way to control everything that happens during your travels.

Ceremonies give us a wonderful way to communicate with spirit and begin creating the energetic building blocks that bring our desires to life—but in the end, we surrender the final outcome and our highest good to spirit. (And spirit’s idea of what your soul needs might be a little different—ahem, or a lot—than your own!)

My travels have been amazingly wonderful and ridiculously challenging, but I’ve always emerged with reverence for our amazingly diverse planet and gratitude for my experience. May your travels shower you with blessings and gifts!

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