In many cultures, Shamans would create gateways to journey through. These gateways were physical objects that served as a kind of door through which you could move into the journey. When you journeyed into them you could go directly into a place or energy without passing through the places between you and the destination.
Some of these gateways were flat objects that had a hole in the center. Sometimes these were created as a passage way for the dead to move on to the next life, and sometimes to facilitate the journey. A gateway can also be created by making an image. The image may be a picture of the destination, or an image or symbol that provides access to the destination, or an abstract image that represents the energy of the destination.
Some shamans would journey into their drum, which would serve as a multi-destination passageway. The shaman’s intention opened the correct door to the specific destination he or she wanted to go to.
When you journey through such objects or images, they will allow you to go directly where you need to go. In the case of an image, you see yourself journeying directly into the image. In the case of an object with a hole in it, you would journey through the hole. In each case, you return through the gateway to come back home.
Why Create Journey Gateways?
In some cases, a journey gateway is simply an efficient way of going directly where you want to go. Also, some destinations have a significance to a group of people such that the place is visited frequently. It makes sense to create a gateway to such important destinations.
In other cases, a shaman may find that he or she has difficulty making the journey to a spiritual place or spiritual energy she needs to go to. Creating an object provides an anchor to the gateway that leads to that location. Sometimes the spirits instructions about how to get to a destination in the spirit world might not make sense to us. It can be much easier to instruct a practitioner how to make an object that embodies the gateway rather than to communicate the information of an unusual path of journeying.
Gateways can also connect us to important energies. For instance, I created an image called re-Knowing. The picture represented the consciousness of knowing your divine nature. By journeying into the picture I was able to directly connect with the energy of re-Knowing and that energy flowed into my soul and into my body.
Finally, a gateway can serve as a good way of helping the inexperienced go on a journey. If there is someone you wish to help, who does not want to go through the process of learning to journey, it is not always necessary to teach them how to journey. It is possible to create a specific image for them. This image allows them to connect to the energy, information, or location they need to go to. They can just mentally imagine themselves entering the picture, and often will have the experience that is needed for at that time. (This is approached as a guided visualization or a meditation.)
Where should I go?
There may be a destination you have heard of that your interested in. Parallel dimensions, sacred places, specific times that could be accessed using a gateway. You may also have a place you have been to that you would like to be able to return to directly or more frequently. You can make a gateway that takes you directly there. Another possibility is that the spirit world has a place they have wanted you to go, and would love an opportunity to get you there using a gateway.
You need to be careful about taking a tourist’s attitude to gateway creation. Gateways are sacred objects that should be respected. But you can approach gateways with an explorer’s heart. Or you can use them in whatever way they support you in your shamanic practice, either to connect to specific healing energies or to places that are important in your work.
How do I create a gateway?
You should always be guided by the spirit world when you create a gateway. So the first step is to journey to your spirit guides and teachers. Talk to them about what you are considering and find out if they think it would be a good use of a gateway. You may also ask them if they would like you to make a gateway to a place you have never been.
Your spirit teachers can then instruct you on how to create the gateway. When creating any objects in shamanic work, the process of creating them is how your give the power of the gateway or of any energy its anchor or form. You can use whatever craft comes naturally, and hold the intention of what you are making as you do the work of creating it.
One very easy way is to create a picture. I find that crayons or colored pencils are the easiest tools to use, because they don’t require any experience to use them. The object you create does not have to be perfect. It is really the work you put into it, rather than the quality of the final appearance that puts the energy into your object. You may wish to play some meditative music while you make the object to help you stay in a slightly meditative state of mind.
You may also ask the spirit world for a ceremony to anchor the energy in your object, especially if you have created one before you realized it was to become a gateway.
Shamanic art (and craft) does not represent power, shamanic art is power.
The object IS the gateway.
How do I use a gateway?
Using a gateway is simple. You journey as you always do, but instead of going where you normally go, you direct your journey path into the object or image. This part is very easy. Nor have I had any trouble returning through the same path to come home. However, you can always ask your spirits what the gateway looks like on the other side before you use the gateway. That way you would know what to look for when you come back.