Overworld

overworld

The overworld resembles what is called ‘heaven’ in many traditions. It is the place where beings such as gods, angels, spirits and holy ancestors dwell. In shamanism, the shaman’s soul leaves her body in a state of trance and she travels to either the underworld or the overworld. Usually for the purpose of healing others. In contrast to the underworld, the overworld is a place of brilliant light, ‘high up’, light as a feather, transcendent and spiritual. Many traditions posit these ‘peak experiences’ as the goal, including humanistic psychologies and new-age spiritual traditions. In contrast, the tradition that became modern depth psychology, including Neo-Platonism and […]

Underworld

underworld

In Greek Mythology, the underworld is called Hades, as is the god who reigns there. The underworld is the place where the souls of the dead go. In Shamanism, the shaman’s soul leaves her body in a state of trance and she travels to either the underworld or the overworld. Usually for the purpose of healing others. In contrast to the overworld, the underworld is dark, low, turbulent, difficult to navigate and emotionally ‘heavy’. It is said to be very difficult to travel to the underworld and impossible to return, once there. In most traditions there is usually a very dangerous river one has to […]

Drala

drala

In his book Shambhala – the Sacred Path of the Warrior, Chogyam Trungpa uses the Tibetan word drala, which he says, is a magical quality we start to experience when we have come to live on the edge of the vastness of existence. About this, he says: ‘By magic we do not mean unnatural power over the phenomenal world, but rather the discovery of innate or primordial wisdom in the world as it is. … In Tibetan, this magical quality of existence, or natural wisdom, is called drala.’ He goes on to explain that the literal meaning of the word means, ‘above the enemy’ or […]

Nagual

nagual

The word nagual is pronounced ‘nahwil’ and comes from ancient Toltec culture, a shamanic culture that flourished between 900 and 1168 CE. And whom the Aztecs regarded as their cultural predecessors. In his book on Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Carlos, Victor Sanchez helps us to get a sense of the nagual: ‘The nagual is that about which it is not possible to think. … No one knows anything about what lies beyond the borders of the island. The nagual would be all that space of unfathomable mystery surrounding it. Although the nagual cannot be understood or verbalized, it nevertheless can be witnessed and […]