by Dr. Alberto Villoldo: The shamanic cosmology of the Laika divides the collective unconscious of all humanity into three parts:
The Lower, Middle, and Upper Worlds. These aren’t physical places, but rather archetypal and energetic domains.
The world we live in, where we work and raise our families, is the Middle World; the Upper World is the invisible domain of our destiny and our spirit; and the Lower World, where the record of all human history is held, is the realm of the soul.
In the Middle World, we perceive time to be linear – tomorrow always follows today – so it’s difficult to imagine how we could travel into the past or future. But by using the technique of journeying, we can visit the Upper and Lower Worlds where time loops and wormholes into the past and the future.
We journey to the Upper World to find our highest destiny, and we journey to the Lower World because that’s where our childhood and former lifetimes reside.
The Lower World
In the Lower World we recover the lost parts of our soul, which take the form of beings: a frightened seven-year-old, an anguished mother, or even a cruel taskmaster. We learn their stories, heal their wounds, and write new contracts that free them from their burdens. Then we retrieve these healed soul parts and bring them back to the present.
The Lower World is the primordial Eden, which legend says we’ve all lost. It’s an earthly paradise that we can return to anytime. This realm is divided into four chambers, each containing a record of our soul’s history:
- In the Chamber of Wounds, we discover the original wounding that caused part of our soul to flee and to derail the course of our destiny.
- In the Chamber of Contracts, we discover the soul promises that we’ve made.
- In the Chamber of Grace, we find our healed soul part, which is ready to return to us with all its life force.
- In the Chamber of Treasures, we can dig deep to harvest our most precious assets.
The Upper World
All traditional societies – and many religions – refer to the Upper World, and have maps to describe the terrain. The Christian depictions of purgatory and paradise delineate the levels of purification humans must undergo before entering into paradise. The ancient maps of Tibet illustrate the bardo planes, where a person’s soul atones for his mistakes and then returns to the light after much hardship and suffering.
The Laika tell of five planes, which are inhabited by the collective souls of minerals, plants, and animals, as well as the souls of our ancestors. Each of the five planes in this realm exists in a different relationship to time. Like many other faiths, the Laika believe that after our death, we naturally gravitate toward one of the levels of the Upper World based upon how we’ve lived our life.
Although all five levels are available to us after our death, they can also be visited while we’re living, through journeying. We can ask our celestial parents to remind us of how we can live according to our original sacred contract in this lifetime. We can reinstate its original terms and explore the ways in which we may want to revise it. We can ask them to guide us through a process of reflection on how true we’ve been to our sacred contract and how we’ve served it (or neglected to).
These five levels are:
- The Level of the Stone People: An earthbound world of darkness and suffering, where we purify ourselves before moving on to higher levels that are filled with joy and peace.
- The Level of the Plant People: Here, the many streams of our previous lifetimes run into the currents of our most recent existence. As in a dream, people from the distant past and from our recent lifetimes appear and seek forgiveness or vengeance.
- The Level of the Animal Spirits: This domain is populated by the spirits of animals, including extinct species. The human souls that inhabit this world are in their final stages of purging. All that’s required now is that they awaken and realize that they’re dreaming.
- The Level of Ancestors: This domain is filled with people, places, and things that mirror and parallel those from our world. Here we can meet our loved ones who have completed the journey back “home.” Our celestial parents will remind us of the reason that we were given life, and help us choose the next family we’ll be born into.
- The Level of the Highest: This is the realm of the angels and archangels, where the great medicine healers reside. This is where we meet our self that never entered the stream of time, the one containing all the knowledge of the person we’re evolving into.