Dangers of the Shamanic Journey
Is a shamanic journey with drumming in the background dangerous to the lay person?
Someone told me that individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome might have a bad trip and that, therefore, the journey is dangerous.
My first thought is that these individuals bring the condition with them and are not endangered by the drumming and shamanic journey per se but by their own preexisting condition. Am I'm wrong? Is the journey itself dangerous to the lay person?
As a general answer, this type of shamanic journeying with drumming would not be at all dangerous to most people. If you have a known history of dissociation or psychosis, then there is some potential for those symptoms to be triggered or increased by such an experience. In those cases it would be best to work with the guidance of a professional who is trained in shamanic work. In some types of shamanic healing, the shaman does the actual journeying on your behalf and you just lay there and you don't have to actively "do anything."
For most people, the rhythmic drumming used for journeying produces a calmer brain wave and a feeling of relaxation. If doing this brings up any intense emotions that feel uncomfortable or scary, I suggest stopping. If you can accept and allow emotions to come out and pass through, then it could be okay. But again, when in doubt, do this with guidance.
Ben Schwarcz, MFT