Communications from the Spirit realm – what do they actually mean?

posted by Roman Hanis on June 19th, 2015

visionBeing on a shamanic path of self-realization often entails being receptive to messages from the beyond. Throughout eons, people would embark on spiritual journeys or pilgrimages to receive visions or communications from the higher consciousness.  In Central and South America, this is often done through Temazcal, Ayahuasca and Huachuma ceremonies, while in the Northern Native American tradition, examples include the sun dance, vision quest, tipi peyote ceremony and inipi sweat lodge. Historically the leaders, healers and lineage holders of these different traditions were responsible for understanding Spirit communications and subsequently translating them to specific circumstances of intended recipient. While understanding the messages of the Great Spirit for oneself is possible and is something to strive for, it takes quite a bit of experience as well as sober guidance and perspective from people who have gone further on the path of self-realization.

Here is a little story to bring this into perspective:

Recently a friend of mine contacted me with an urgent life changing transmission received in an Ayahuasca ceremony, in which she was guided by practitioners I am not familiar with. Essentially the vision entailed all of the population on our planet being obliterated within a 5 year period, with guidance that she should stop wasting time on mundane superficialities while focusing only on spiritual awakening. The facilitators of that ceremony did not really seem to care what she did with that message or her emotional state in connection to it and encouraged her to take it literally as a sort of a bucket list from Mother Nature. She therefore decided to completely abandon her life in society, her work (which is based on a spiritual path) and her family, sell everything she owns, move off the grid, and disconnect from the world completely – as urgently as possible…

Now, when she informed me of all of those drastic changes in her life, I urged her to take some time and really listen to her intuition without being driven by the emotional factors – especially if they are fear based. Experience shows how we often regret decisions made out of anger or fear and how the objective perspective can be clouded by an overwhelming emotional state.

In the Ashuar tribal tradition for example, the communication with the Spirit is very closely associated with the Dream language. The dreams first and foremost relate to one’s own being and only afterwards to the rest of the world. Furthermore, only the elders and experienced healers who have worked out a lot of their personal issues are considered to be trusted with collective visions that may relate to the rest of the tribe or the global population in general. Seeing apocalyptic visions or dreams within that tradition, as well as in Jungian psychology, more often than not actually refers to the death and rebirth of one’s own ego, or an end to a specific behavioral cycle in life. Furthermore, within those traditions, it is advised to apply the messages and visions to a specific state of being rather than a state of doing. In this way it is possible to bring the spiritual insights into the most mundane superficiality and make life meaningful no matter where one is, rather than escaping from a certain developmental challenge.

There is nothing wrong with an occasional retreat in order to renew, and receive a more objective perspective into one’s life and it can actually be very beneficial. There is also nothing wrong with moving off the grid. However these type of drastic life changing decisions involving the very basis of one’s existence should be weighed during more prolonged periods of time and considered carefully so that one does not regret them soon after or so that they can actually last. I have also found that true transformation, personal growth and evolution do not come as a quick burst, but rather as gradual and grounded changes, which require sustained conscious effort.

In this case my friend was relieved after deciding to listen to the feedback and taking some time to make a choice while continuing to observe the dreaming realm and see if there were any subsequent more clarifying messages coming to her. She realized that the message had a deep symbolic meaning and was meant to be taken more lightly in order to focus on a greater level of love, trust and compassion for herself and others instead of fear, paranoia and conspiracy theories. Focusing on the latter actually would have defeated the whole purpose of the message. In fact she was able to recognize that the apocalyptic visions were part of a purification process where a lot of past anxiety and fear-based mentality was being released from her being. A good amount of processing on her part and extensive experience of similar cases in my own life was necessary for this particular crisis to resolve itself.

This example is but one illustration that I often meet in this work where the communication  received is not always interpreted in the most objective way possible. Unfortunately many shamans and healers of the new generation overemphasize the importance of singing pretty songs during the ceremonies. While this is great, for the wise teachers in my life, truly understanding the evolutionary process of consciousness and the human psyche is actually more essential than anything else. Supporting people to grasp the most objective understanding of the messages received can make all the difference in the world.

Here’s One Simple Tip:

If an interpretation of any experience is leading one into a state of fear and panic, this is definitely a red flag. In addition, it’s also good to keep an eye out for any messages that are inflating the ego, or making one feel to be very self important or “enlightened”. Only life challenges experienced through time will show how enlightened you really are. In many indigenous traditions as well as Transpersonal psychology the language of the Great Spirit or Higher self is always meant to help guide oneself into deeper states of essential humanity such as presence, compassion, discerning wisdom, wholeness, and peace.

At our Ando-Amazonian retreat center, Paititi Institute, we have found that the Shamanic Transpersonal Dreamwork practices we work with (an integration of Ashuar tribal and Jungian approaches) is an essential element helping us to understand the language of Mother Nature in ceremony and transformational work. This practice allows for each individual to navigate very subtle realms. In fact, some of the most profound and positive breakthroughs and realizations we have witnessed have taken place with the help of this practice.