Elemental Journey

Contributed by Jack Peredur

This exercise is closely based on one her Aunt Theda used introducing our first teacher Alaine to the Elemental Realms and their Guardians, as recorded in Alaine’s Book of Shadows. We of Ravenwood Associates have made minor edits for clarity.

The exercise is meant for use by two people, one as traveler and the other to read the guidance and write down the traveler’s responses. When finished, you may trade places if you wish so the former guide becomes the traveler and vice-versa.

We strongly urge choosing a time and place free from possible interruption. At the very least, silence your phones! While it is not necessary to cast a Circle, we suggest you do so for a little added protection. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, or go skyclad if you prefer and the place is warm and private enough. If outdoors, use bug repellent!

As guide, please speak clearly and a little more slowly than you usually do. We have set your words to read aloud to the traveler in italics. You will be asking the traveler questions, questions, questions. It is a good idea to emphasize these slightly when speaking. We have left a blank line after each question as a reminder.

After asking a question, wait until the traveler has finished answering it before moving on. Sometimes a long pause simply means the traveler is looking around before reporting more detail. Never interrupt the traveler when he or she is speaking. Never physically distract the traveler with a touch or otherwise.

We recommend printing this exercise out so you can use the sheets not only as a script but also to record the traveler’s answers in the blank lines following the questions.

There are no right or wrong answers, no right or wrong ways to perceive the Realms, their Guardians and the gifts the traveler may find. In our experience no lone traveler sees them in quite the same way as any other. It is only when travelers visit in groups, as in the Memoir or in some shamanic practices, that all perceive substantially the same things.

Tonight you are going on a journey of discovery: a journey into realms lying both within ourselves and outside the world we normally inhabit, in a larger reality. You may have visited those realms before; perhaps you know them well already. Or perhaps this will be your first visit.

Relax! This is no difficult journey. These ways are well-mapped already, and though danger may sometimes seem to loom, you will be guarded so no harm can come to you. And if you find at any time you wish to return, the way back is as simple as opening your eyes.

Yet it is a journey of discovery, of gathering knowledge both about yourself and about the worlds beyond.

Lie down now, in a comfortable position so your body's needs won't distract you and your inner self can journey without interruption.

Wiggle your toes a little…and now, let your feet relax. Tense the muscles in your legs and hips…and now, let them relax. Shrug your shoulders, clench your fists…and now, let your arms and torso relax. Yawn, make a face…and now, let the muscles of your face and head relax.

Take a deep breath…and slowly let it out. Another…and slowly let it out. A third…and as you slowly let it out, close your eyes.

EARTH

Feel yourself sinking now, traveling slowly downward, as if you're lying in an elevator traveling smoothly down a deep, deep shaft. It is warm and dry, and the motion is slow and smooth and steady, carrying you down and down…down and down with every breath you take…and as you take each breath, feel yourself sinking yet further down, very calm and relaxed…down and down with every breath.

See the walls moving upward around you, smoothly and steadily, as the elevator carries you further and further down. You are moving now past layers of rock, layers you can see in the walls as they pass: layers of gray, layers of brown, layers of black, layers of white. In them you may see crystals gleaming, or fossil shells, or flecks and veins of bright metal. But the elevator keeps carrying you down past all these, down and down…always safe and smooth and secure…down and down….

Now finally you feel it beginning to slow…and now, gently come to a stop at the bottom of the shaft.

Imagine yourself slowly sitting up…and now, getting to your feet. You remain very calm, very relaxed.

It is light where you are, and you can see clearly.

Where is the light coming from? What color is it?

 

As you look around you, in this chamber at the bottom of the shaft, you find a door facing you in the wall. Examine this door carefully. How large is it? What is it made of?

 

The door leads into the Realm of Earth, a cavern deep underground. It is a place of twisting tunnels and vast chambers, of beauty and grandeur. It will be dark in places, dropping to unseen depths…but always there will be a safe path forward, and on that path there will always be light, much like the light in the chamber where you are standing now.

As you enter the cavern, you may also find that your body or your clothing will change… or you may choose to change them deliberately, to make this part of the journey easier.

Now open the door, and step through into the Realm of Earth.

Look down. What are you standing on?

 

Look at yourself. How are you dressed? How does your body look? Are there any changes from when you started this journey? Do you choose to make any changes now?

 

Now, look around you: ahead of you, up, and to the left and the right. What do you see?

 

After a moment, begin to move slowly forward. Depending on what is before you, it may be easier to walk, to crawl, or to climb using both hands and feet.  Or you may you can use some new form of motion, such as taking long jumps or flying or swimming through the air.

Ahead of you is an opening into a new part of the Realm, a large open chamber you haven't seen yet. In that chamber will be some sort of Guardian – maybe an animal, maybe a bird, maybe a human figure, maybe something quite different –representing the Powers of Earth. It will not hurt you, for you are welcome in this place.

Go forward now into the new chamber, and stop when you see the Guardian. What sort of creature is it? What is it doing?

 

Now go closer to the Guardian. What happens?

 

Ask the Guardian if it has any message or knowledge it wants to give you. How does it respond?

 

Beyond the Guardian is some sort of container: maybe a box, maybe a bowl, maybe just a hollow in the ground or in the wall, or maybe something quite different. Inside is something you may take away with you, if you choose, as a gift from the Powers of Earth.

Move now until you can see the container clearly. How large is it? What shape? What is it made of?

 

Go to the container and look inside. What is in it? Is it something you wish to take with you?

 

Take the gift if you wish. Or if you prefer, you may simply leave it here for now in the Guardian's keeping, knowing that you can come back for it another time.

Now move past the container. Ahead is an opening to a tunnel sloping upward. The tunnel stretches a long way, but you find you are moving along it quickly. Soon you come to a place where it levels, and you begin to hear the sound of ocean waves crashing somewhere ahead.

WATER

The tunnel ends in a valley among cliffs, open to the sea and the sky. Ahead of you the ground slopes down to a beach where the waves are breaking. You have reached the Realm of Water.

Go down and stand on the beach. Look around you. Is it day or night? What is the weather like? What color is the ocean?

 

In a moment, you are going to move down into the Realm of Water…but nothing in it will harm you, and you'll have no trouble breathing. You may choose to walk down along the bottom, or swim down… or you may find some completely new form of motion easier to use in this place. As you go, you may also find your body or your clothing will change… or you may choose to change them deliberately, to make this part of the journey easier.

Walk slowly now, out into the water. It grows deeper as you go: now up to your waist, your chest, your neck. Take a deep breath of air, and let your head go under…and keep on going, deeper and deeper. In this sea the water is breathable, and it cannot hurt you. So let that breath out, if you like, and continue breathing easily and normally.

Pause now, and look down. What are you standing on?

 

Look at yourself. How are you dressed? How does your body look? Have there been any changes since the last time you looked? Do you choose to make any such changes now?

 

Now, look around you: ahead of you, up, and to the left and the right. What do you see?

 

After a moment, begin to move slowly forward again. Go deeper and deeper. Now the light from above is fading, yet you can still see perfectly well. Where is the light coming from? What color is it?

 

Ahead of you now is a place where another Guardian waits for you – maybe an animal, a bird, a fish, a human figure, or something quite different – representing the Powers of Water. It will not hurt you, for you are welcome in this place.

Go forward now until you see the Guardian. What sort of creature is it? What is it doing?

 

Now go closer to the Guardian. What happens?

 

Ask the Guardian if it has any message or knowledge it wants to give you. How does it respond?

 

Beyond the Guardian is some sort of container: maybe a box, maybe a bowl, maybe just a hollow, or maybe something quite different. Inside is something you may take away with you, if you choose, as a gift from the Powers of Water.

Move now until you can see the container clearly. How large is it? What shape? What is it made of?

 

Go to the container and look inside. What is in it? Is it something you wish to take with you?

 

Take the gift, if you wish. Or, if you prefer, you may simply leave it here for now in the Guardian's keeping, knowing that you can come back for it another time.

Now move past the container. Ahead is open water, and you travel onward through it until you find the bottom sloping upward again. Ahead the light is brighter, perhaps flickering like fire, and the water grows warmer as you pass through it.

FIRE

The slope leads upward to a narrow beach with jagged rocks beyond. From behind them great brightness, flames, or beams of light are rising into the sky.

Look around you. Is it day or night? What is the weather like? What do the sand and rocks look like? What color is the light ahead of you?

 

In a moment you are going to move past the rocks into the Realm of Fire…but a safe path leads through it, and nothing in it will harm you. You may choose to walk along the path, or you may find some other form of motion is easier to use. As you go into the Realm of Fire, you may also find that your body or clothing will change again… or you may choose to change them deliberately, to make this part of the journey easier.

Walk slowly now up out of the water, and across the beach. As you near the rocks, you see that a way leads through them. Follow it.

Soon the rocks are behind you, and you can see the Realm of Fire spreading out ahead of you and to both sides. Pause now, and look down. What are you standing on?

 

Look at yourself. How are you dressed? How does your body look? Have there been any new changes since the last time you looked? Do you choose to make any such changes now?

 

Now, look around you: ahead of you, up, and to the left and the right. What do you see? What does the path look like? What lies to the sides of it?

 

After a moment, begin to move slowly forward again. Go deeper and deeper into the Realm of Fire. Now the brightness is all around you, though you remain safe on the path. What color is the light?

 

Ahead of you the path widens to become a broad open space, and in it another Guardian waits for you – maybe an animal, a bird, a human figure, or something quite different – representing the Powers of Fire. It will not hurt you, for you are welcome in this place.

Go forward now until you see the Guardian. What sort of creature is it? What is it doing?

 

Now go closer to the Guardian. What happens?

 

Ask the Guardian if it has any message or knowledge it wants to give you. How does it respond?

 

Beyond the Guardian is some sort of container: maybe a box, maybe a bowl, maybe just a hollow, or maybe something quite different. Inside is something you may take away with you, if you choose, as a gift from the Powers of Fire.

Move now until you can see the container clearly. How large is it? What shape? What is it made of?

 

Go to the container and look inside. What is in it? Is it something you wish to take with you?

 

Take the gift, if you wish. Or, if you prefer, you may simply leave it here for now in the Guardian's keeping, knowing that you can come back for it another time.

Now move past the container. From there the path leads on again, much as before, but now the way is rising, leading higher and higher. Soon you find the sky ahead looks cool and blue. You have come to the end of the Realm of Fire.

AIR

Continuing to move forward, you find yourself at the top of a high cliff, looking out over land or sea to a distant horizon. The air nearby is clear, but above that horizon hangs a bank of thick clouds. What color are they? Do any distinctive shapes catch your eye?

 

Your safe path leads on into the Realm of Air, leaving the cliff and going out across the emptiness toward those distant clouds. It may be visible or not. If you can see it, what does it look like?

 

In a moment, you are going to leave the cliff and follow that path into the Realm of Air. On it you will be safe, and nothing will harm you. You may choose to walk along the path, or you may find some other form of motion is easier to use, such as flying or swimming through the air. As you set foot on it, you may also find that your body or clothing will change again… or you may choose to change them deliberately, to make this part of the journey easier.

Walk slowly now to the edge of the cliff, then step off it into the Realm of Air. You are safe; the path supports you easily. Look down. What is now holding you up?

 

Look at yourself. How are you dressed? How does your body look? Have there been any more changes since the last time you looked? Do you choose to make any such changes now?

 

Now, look around you: ahead of you, up, and to the left and the right. What do you see?

 

Go further and further along the path, closer to the clouds, until they loom up like a wall before you. The path leads right into them. As you move forward the cloud-wall parts like mist; only the path is solid.

And now, inside the clouds, you find a clear space. The path widens there, much as it did in the Realm of Fire. What do you see above you now? Where is the light coming from? What color is it?

 

In the clear space another Guardian waits for you – maybe an animal, a bird, a human figure, or something quite different – representing the Powers of Air. It will not hurt you, for you are welcome in this place.

Go forward now until you see the Guardian. What sort of creature is it? What is it doing?

 

Now go closer to the Guardian. What happens?

 

Ask the Guardian if it has any message or knowledge it wants to give you. How does it respond?

 

Beyond the Guardian is some sort of container: maybe a box, maybe a bowl, maybe just a hollow, or maybe something quite different. Inside is something you may take away with you, if you choose, as a gift from the Powers of Air.

Move now until you can see the container clearly. How large is it? What shape? What is it made of?

 

Go to the container and look inside. What is in it? Is it something you wish to take with you?

 

Now move past the container. Ahead of you is a sort of raft floating within the cloud, waiting to take you home again. How large is it? What shape? What is it made of?

 

Step onto the raft. Sit down, and take out any gifts you have brought from the four elements you have visited. Look at them closely. Are they still the same, or have any of them changed?

 

Now, lie back on the raft. Find a comfortable position. Your journey is nearly over, and the raft will take you the rest of the way.

COMING HOME:

Slowly, now, the raft begins to sink down. Down, down, out of the bank of clouds…down through clear sky…down into the layer of mist below. And further down…coming closer now to the everyday world…to this place and time…to this room, where the journey began.

Now the raft is slowing…now it has stopped…and now it is dissolving away leaving you back in this room, just as at the start of the journey.

Wiggle your toes a little, and feel your feet coming awake. Tense the muscles in your legs and hips, and feel them waking up. Shrug your shoulders, clench your fists, and feel your arms and torso waking up. Take a deep breath, and as you let it out, open your eyes.

Welcome back!

[ To the guide: we suggest you give these sheets to the traveler now so he or she can fill them out in as much detail as desired. ]

FINISHING UP:

Think back, now, on what you experienced.

The questions below are only meant to spur your memory, and you may think of other details as well. Whatever you recall and want to add, write it below a relevant question or on the back of one of these sheets.

Did you notice any particular sounds, shapes, colors, textures or other sensations in each Realm?

 

How did your clothes and body change in each Realm?

 

How did you choose to move through each Realm?

 

What form did each Guardian take appearing to you, and what message, if any, did It give you?

 

What gifts did the containers hold, and which of them did you bring away with you? How did you carry them through the Realms?

 

What else stands out in your memory from each Realm?

 

You may also wish to use the backs of these sheets to draw some of the things you saw on this Elemental Journey.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT:

The Guardians may not be quite finished with you yet on this journey.

Over the next few days or weeks, keep an eye open for Earthly counterparts of the gifts They gave you. These may come from unexpected sources. Alternatively, you may choose to make your own or look for them online, perhaps at etsy or ebay. Collect, if you can, the full set of four. You may wish to display them on a home altar, carry them with you in daily life, or use them as anchor points for casting Circles or otherwise in rituals.

Jack Peredur

Jack Peredur

Merry meet! I’m Jack Peredur, author of Ravenwood: A Seeker’s Memoir. You’ve probably read my bio on the main Associates’ page, so I won’t say more here. If you want to know, read the books or ask me in the Forum. Got lots of random knowledge to share!