by Tom Petruno, Herbalist
Getting into a shamanic journey state of mind and completing the journey can be a difficult exercise in concentration.
You really have to get yourself into the zone.
Luckily, we have various tools to help get you into that sacred space and in this post, I share 6 herbs that will help you.
BUT, I am not going to go into any herbs that are illegal to consume. There are plants out there that are so powerful, addictive, or dangerous when in the wrong hands that some governments have made them illegal. These sometimes psychoactive plants have their place in spiritual work and are valuable for what they can do. Some examples of what are included here would be psilocybe mushrooms, San Pedro cactus, Ayahuasca brew, and Opium Poppy. There are more, but this gives you an idea. All very strong and mind altering substances that should be used in the presence of a trained professional.
The herbs I am going to talk about here can have powerful results and take your mind to places it has not been before. Unlike the above, however, you will not be in danger of performing an illegal act and will not run the risk of a positive drug test.
Let's dive in!
6 Herbs for Shamanic Journeying
1. Kava Kava
The kavalactones in this herb will numb your tongue and relax your body, however, the root will sharpen your mind. This plant has been used for ages in ceremonial and social purposes. Classically the root was prepared by chewing it, spitting it out, and muddling it with coconut milk. Be careful, though, Kava Kava can be intoxicating and when consumed in excess you will be impaired, probably not feeling well either. Used sparingly this herb can really bend your mind and allow you to proceed into mysticism vibrantly engaged. You can use this herb as part of a loose leaf tea or as a powder for use in your beverage creations.
Interestingly enough, this plant shares a family with Passionflower. Passionflower’s name gives the illusion that it would spark romance between partners, when, in fact, that is not really true. Passionflower is more likely to make you want to sleep than to make love. However, Damiana does have the ability to ignite passion between two individuals (perhaps a name change is in order?). Back to the matter at hand, Damiana is a powerful spirit revitalizer and dream machine. Imagination can be the root of spiritual work, as it allows you to see past our physical realm. If you are looking to enter a vivid dream-like meditation, Damiana could be for you.
Damiana is a very bitter herb so people steer more toward effective tinctures and capsules for its use. However, my favorite avenue in taking the herb is to have a tea and smoke it at the same time. Loose leaf damiana is actually often used as an alternative to smoking marijuana. But, if you do make a tea, make sure to combine it with something really tasty to counteract the bitterness.
Good old Indian Tobacco, a remedy used for ages by native americans to open up breathing passages. It has come under some scrutiny during the advancements in modern medicine, being labeled as dangerous and possibly toxic. Well, Lobelia is an emetic, an herb that induces vomiting, when taken in larger quantities. This property has many times helped people who have ingested something toxic. Quite the roshambo, there.
Lobelia is an extremely strong herb, so when you start using it, start slow and use small amounts. I would recommend less than a teaspoon per cup of water to start when consumed in a tea. Another property this plant has is its extreme muscle relaxation. When used, this herb will allow your body to completely unwind, and having your mind follow its lead is easy from there. For tea making or smoking, Loose leaf Lobelia is the way to go. But, if convenience is desired and time is an issue, try it as an extract.
This is one that is, personally for me, very powerful. A strong chamomile brew does something to me that I can’t really say any other plant does. It takes me to a whole new place, gives me a different perspective. A journey with chamomile is one that is sure to bring the many angles of the universe into perspective. It is possible chamomile does not have the same effect on you, and if that's the case, play around with some herbs and you may find your chamomile in another common plant. My product of choice is loose leaf chamomile. Steeped into a tea. You can also try it as a scent and allow the scent to transport you to journey-land. Use a diffuser and essential oil.
The gateway herb. Dandelion is like a gatekeeper to different realms. A matchmaker in the spirit world. Dandelion will connect you with your guides, unite you with different spirits, and get you ready for a journey if that is what you choose. In spiritual work, dandelion has this very specific role and it does it well. It's also an excellent detoxifier. So, if you're spiritually ascending and detoxing, Dandelion may be your gal. You can use both the leaf and the root in a tea. Dandelion root is used as a coffee substitute, give it a try.
Although, as previously discussed, Passionflower does not invoke the same fire for a partner as Damiana, it does offer similar dream activating properties. Passionflower is a supreme relaxing herb, one that puts an active mind and body to ease. One of the first things you need to do to journey is to stop, just stop. Stop the mundane thoughts and worries that run through your head constantly. Relax right into a meditation and a journey that will be enhanced by the work of Passionflower. This vine aids you in twisting through the sometimes confusing path to your spiritual destination. Lucid meditations and journeys can be expected when you embark with Passionflower. Loose leaf Passionflower is a wonderful addition to any tea.
Looking for journey meditations to get started? Our shop is filled with meditations for communicating with Spirit and for healing what ails you. Check it out!
Tom Petruno is a trained plant spirit herbalist, homesteader, stay at home dad, lover of wild foraging, and homebrewing enthusiast. Oh yeah, he's also Sarah's husband. He also writes for the Tom's Tidings section of the monthly The Shaman Life subscription program.
LAST UPDATED: September 8, 2016
Disclaimer: The information presented in this post is for educational reference and is not to take the place of consultation, diagnosis, treatment and care by a healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult your doctor if you believe your health is at risk.
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