Somatic Healing & Shamanic Drum Journeying

Somatic healing and shamanic drum journeying are two ways to heal - one from inside, the other from outside of your body. In a shamanic drum journey, you energetically go somewhere and work from a distance of your body, in somatic work, you engage within your body. 

Leaving your body (also known as dissociation), is very common for those who have experienced pain or trauma. As Peter Levine talks about in his work (most notably Waking the Tiger) trauma doesn’t just have to come in the form of capital T trauma, we can also be affected by so called little t traumas that happen, and we don’t know how to reconcile in our space. Trauma also can be physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual, and regardless of origin, trauma causes pain. Pain is what has us want to leave our body, and according to some distinctions, pain is just a result of stuck energy. 

Sometimes, it’s only through a journey outside your body that we are able to look at difficult pictures or memories, because the experience of being in the body is just too painful. That’s when tools such as drum journeys, trance work, some styles of meditation, or psychedelics can be really helpful. 

Not only will a shamanic drum journey support you in leaving your body to do healing work, it is also one of the easiest ways to connect initially with animal guides so that you can work with them in the physical realm. 

Possible drawbacks of journeying work, if not done with proper training, or a knowledgeable guide, are that it could reinforce a pattern of wanting to stay out of your body, encourage avoidance of the physical day to day world, or cause you to be affected by some not-so-nice energies that counteract your intended healing work. 

Somatic work involves releasing stuck energies from the body by allowing/inviting a connection with the corporeal storage place.

A possible drawback of this work is that it can be more challenging for some because it involves connecting with unadulterated physical and emotional discomfort, rather than avoiding it. However, when used conscientiously, it is an incredibly powerful way to release not only trauma residue, but also the physical pains, restrictions and illnesses associated with it. 

The more we are able to inhabit our own body, the less space we have for other energies that aren’t in alignment with our path. And since the body can only exist in the present (as opposed to the mind which can only exist in the past and future), the spirit (which can exist in past, future and present), can use the body as a tool to be truly present. The more comfortable we feel in our own skin, in our own space, the more embodied we become. Being more embodied means being more present, less worried about the future, and less fearful, depressed and impacted by the past. 

Ultimately, I see the main goal of healing is to be able to be more embodied, not less (we are spirits in bodies after all), regardless of the chosen method of healing. These are just two of the ways to get there.