How to use your imagination to go on a shamanic journey.

Use Your Imagination for Shamanic Journeys

When You Use Your Imagination

Society says imagination should be left behind in childhood. We dismiss experiences we can’t explain by saying, “It’s just your imagination”. So, to be taken seriously we talk about brainstorming, practicing creative visualization, visioning, and dreaming up.

According to the Oxford Dictionary imagination is:

  • the faculty or action of forming new ideas, images or concepts of objects not present to the senses (i.e. seeing something in your mind that doesn’t exist in front of you)
  • the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful 
  • the part of the mind that imagines things (what we call ‘my imagination’)

The word imagination comes from the Latin verb imaginari which means to ‘picture to oneself’. Other ways to explain it include using the mind’s eye, thinking in pictures, and feeling into something.

You don’t need to learn how to use your imagination nor can you stop imagining. We already do it all of the time. It is as automatic for us as breathing.

Imagining More Than Just Pictures

Imagination is not just about seeing an image, but also hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, or sensing something that is not physically present before us. 

Picture an apple in your mind. Remember the taste of an exquisite piece of chocolate. Guess what it might be like to be in an ice water bath. Is it day or night on the other side of the planet? How do you know this? What did/does your grandmother’s voice sound like? Right now you are imagining. 

So many of our decisions are based on the power of imagination. We project our imaginations forward to determine what working in that new office would be like or how we might get along with a new acquaintance. Try not picturing things or not knowing them in your mind, not formulating ideas or not guessing what something might be like. All of it is imagining. Even people with aphantasia (the inability to visualize) have imaginations. They conceptualize things, experience knowings, hear inner voices, and have tactile sensations without external stimulus. 

Imagination is NOT Just in Your Head…

There is a myth that the imagination is “all in your head”, but our imaginations are not confined to the boundaries of our mind. Our imagination receives external input from the non-physical realms.

You use your imagination to pick up stimuli BEYOND the five senses. Just like ears enable the body’s sense of hearing, the imagination allows our soul’s senses to work. Our imaginations are more than complex devices that “make things up”. Just because something is in our imagination doesn’t mean it’s unreal. Imagination is the ability to receive images, feelings, and knowings that are absolutely real on the energetic and spiritual planes.

The “Clairs” or Soul Senses

Our soul’s senses are also known as the “clairs” or the “clairsenses”. These are clairsentience (clear-feeling), clairaudience (clear-hearing), clairvoyance (clear-seeing), and claircognizance (clear-knowing).

All the “clairs” operate via our imagination.

Imagination is the way that we experience empathy and feel what other people feel. We are able to sense someone’s love and concern through our ability to imagine.

Our soul uses the power of imagination to sense into the energetic and spirit realms.

Mystical experiences are possible via the imagination because they are outside the five senses. The spirit world contacts us via our imagination. Shamanic journeys happen via the soul sense of the imagination.



Do I Need a Good Imagination to go on a Shamanic Journey?

As a shamanic teacher, I meet many who think they need to have a good imagination to go on a shamanic journey. Much like a waking dream, shamanic journeys allows us to explore other worlds, meet and talk with spirit animals and guides, and gain valuable spiritual guidance. Shamanic journeys are the primary technique of shamanism.

We people say, “I don’t have a good imagination,” they are typically referring to their ability to be artistic. As if somehow the power of imagination only belongs to artists. This is a myth. Imagination is necessary for everyday life, for all we do, no matter what we do.

How to Get Better at Imagining

We all have an equal measure of imaginative capacity, but varying degrees of competency.  The more we can increase our competency, the easier shamanic journeys become. And it works the other way around too. Going on shamanic journeys helps us become better at imagining.

Four things impact our imaginative competency: 

  1. Practice: To get better at imagining, we need practice imagining on purpose. Without actively and consciously working with our imaginations the “muscle” of the imagination can weaken.
  2. Trust: The degree of trust we have in our ability to imagine makes a big difference. Depending on our upbringing, conditioning, and self-esteem we block or allow our imaginings. Someone with a good imagination is more likely to trust their gut and follow their intuition. 
  3. Mindfulness: Imaginative skill comes from focusing our minds and being resilient to distraction. A person with a good imagination is more likely to be experienced in mindfulness. Practices such as mindfulness meditation, self-reflection, therapy, and self-awareness make shamanic journeys much easier.
  4. Range: When we are good at imagining, we can use our imaginations for a wide variety of tasks including sensing into the spirit world. The world beyond the five senses is familiar territory, and we don’t rely physical stimulus to feed our imaginations. Our imaginations have great range.

One of the biggest reasons why I teach shamanic journeys is because it gives us the chance to build the soul sense of our imaginations. A shamanic journey is a leap of faith and tests our self-esteem. What if we find nothing? What if we come back with a ridiculous story that everyone laughs at? How can we know we’ll be good at it? It is these doubts that we face and overcome to harness the power of imagination.

Use Your Imagination on a Shamanic Journey

The key to use your imagination on a shamanic journey is to release your expectations of what this is supposed to look like. With the advent of surround sound, 3-D movie theaters with crystal clear CGI (computer-generated imagery) we’ve begun to think everything should look like a movie, including our imaginings. We want our shamanic journeys to be full immersion experiences. Even better than going to a movie, we think a shamanic journey should be like real life. 

Shamanic journeys, especially at first, can be jumpy and cloudy. We may feel a lot, see a couple images, and hear nothing. We might see a lot, but not feel a thing. Self-doubt and a distracted mind can derail the experience over and over again. Developing our soul senses and honing a focused mind takes practice. We have to exercise our power of imagination to strengthen it.

Just like any natural ability you have, it helps to use your imagination often in the spirit world to become good at it. After going on a number of shamanic journeys, the experience becomes more fluid and natural. More of the clairs (soul senses) are activated and we can touch, see, know, and hear more. Our trust in our imaginations grows and we are able to surrender more fully to the experience, which makes it that much more deep, fun, and rich.


Learn How to Go On A Shamanic Journey





Stacey Couch

About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch

Stacey Couch is a Spiritual Advisor who supports creative seekers learning as they go on the spiritual path. She serves beginner and life-long students of the soul. Her compassionate and collaborative approach honors the humanity and value of each person. Wisdom found in story, mysticism, and nature provide guidance and healing in her work. Through meeting with Stacey, lost souls find refuge. Connection to the Divine is realized. Belonging comes. She is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. Learn More about working with Stacey
3 replies
  1. Delta
    Delta says:

    I guess I don’t understand when you say use your imagination. Do you mean as you are listening to the drum beat to journey, create the place in your mind on what world or place you want it to look like that you’re journeying to?


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