Working with the Spirits of the Land
This is Part 2 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:
Every place on our planet is inhabited by spirits of the land—benevolent ancestors, nature beings, the fae, and even the spirit of a place itself.
This article shares shamanic practices for meeting the spirits of the land when you travel, whether you’re staying in a fancy hotel in a big city or camping off the grid.
Practice 1: Journey to Meet the Spirits of the Land
Whenever you travel, you visit the home of the many spirits who live there—this is equally true in both nature and cities. And, just as you would a friend or relative, it’s a good idea to check in before you come over.
In this practice, you’ll journey to meet a spirit of the land. Here, I outline a basic process for this journey, but always trust your intuition. You can adjust any part you’d like to, or even do this as a meditation.
Step 1: Preparation
You may prepare for this journey in whatever way will support you—whether that’s a full altar and ceremony, or listening to a simple drumming track in a comfy chair.
Step 2: Intention
Set the intention to meet a benevolent spirit of the land you’ll be traveling to. It’s important to make sure you clarify that you want to meet a benevolent spirit, rather than just any spirit. Just as there are all types of people, there are all types of spirits. You want to meet a spirit who is directly connected to the light and the divine.
Step 3: Trance State
Next, you’ll enter into a trance state in whatever way works for you. A shamanic drumming track, such as this one from Michael Harner, is a great way to do this.
Step 4: Empowerment
Now, you’ll meet with one of your allies. Often, this will be a power animal who will travel with you as you meet the spirits of the land. I like to attune to the ally that shows up and then to ensure that their understanding of this journey is the same as mine.
Step 5: Meet the Spirits of the Land
Allow your ally to take you to the spirits of the land. Depending on the situation, you may have one already there and ready to meet you, or it might be quite crowded! Here are some suggested questions to ask, though again, trust your own guidance and be open to receive.
Ask to speak with a benevolent representative of the land—state your intention for being there and see if someone is willing to meet with you
Find out more about this being—What is the being’s name? What type of being are they? What is their role? Can you learn anything about their history?
State your intentions for your travels there and ask permission to visit in person
Find out if there is anything you can do in reciprocity of your visit, such as offerings to bring, or a ceremony to have once there
Explore any other information that might be useful for your trip
Depending on how much time you have, you may want to repeat this process with more than one land spirit.
Note: It’s possible that you will not receive permission from the land spirits before your visit. If this happens, please know that you can negotiate! One of my teachers calls this “spiritual diplomacy”. Be creative and open, and see what types of adjustments can me made on both of your parts to ensure a positive experience that is of benefit to all.
Step 6: Thanks & Returning
Once your time with the spirits of the land has come to a close, be sure to give your gratitude for their willingness to meet with you. Then, allow your ally to help you retrace your steps and travel back into your body fully. Give thanks to your ally, as well, and re-enter ordinary reality.
Practice 2: Honor the Land with Offerings
Bringing offerings to the spirits of the land is a wonderful way to nurture a positive relationship with the places you visit. You may have received guidance during your journey to meet the spirits of the land, but here are a few more suggestions:
Bring small natural offerings that will not disturb the environment—dried flowers, small crystals, cornmeal or tobacco, or an item from nature that has personal meaning to you
Rather than add to the land, take away that which doesn’t belong there—perhaps bring an extra bag to collect litter and garbage
A custom anointing oil or aromatic synergy, made with the specific intention of bringing healing to the land (more on this in future posts . . .)
Do a healing ritual—make sure you’ve received permission from the land spirits first, and then follow your guidance to reweave the web of light there, do a soul retrieval for the land, psychopomp a building, or sing love to the Earth
Practice 3: Receive Gifts and Blessings in Return
Just as it fills our hearts to bring blessings and healing to the places we visit, these places often have gifts for us. Try to set aside some time to receive from the place you’re in.
Give yourself the space to spend a few moments in meditation, opening your senses to the many unseen beings around you. They might provide a healing of some sort, or simply acknowledge your presence. Either way, it can be a powerful experience to fully allow yourself to feel the many dimensions of reality in new locations.