by Dr. Alberto Villoldo: For the past few weeks we’ve learned about the Chamber of Wounds…
This week we learn how to journey there. This process may take several minutes, several hours, or even several sessions. I recommend reading instructions for this kind of exercise into a recording device and then playing them as you do the exercise.
Prepare for this journey by opening sacred space: Sit comfortably, fix your gaze in front of you (or close your eyes), and take your hands into a prayer pose at your heart. Create the proper intention for this journey, then extend your hands up your centerline very slowly past your forehead, so your palms are together above your head. Then reach up to your eighth chakra and expand this radiant “sun” to envelop your entire body, sweeping your arms out to your sides like a peacock opening its feathers. Bring your hands to rest in your lap.
Call on the four cardinal directions; the serpent, jaguar, hummingbird, and eagle; as well as to heaven and earth. Perform the little-death breathing exercise and journey to your garden in the Lower World.
Now call on the gatekeeper, Lord of Life and Death, keeper of the Lower World, the one who receives the spirits of the ancestors after they have passed and brings them back to the Mother. State your intent to journey into your Chamber of Wounds. The gatekeeper may ask, “Why should I let you into this place where only those who have died may come?” You must state your intent to be shown your original wound, or you won’t be allowed to enter. The gatekeeper may say, “Today is not a good day for you to journey.” If so, heed his words. The gatekeeper brings harmony to the chaos of the Lower World, and he will know if it is safe for you to enter.
When he lets you in, you must ask the gatekeeper to guide you. To one side, you’ll notice a hill with an opening leading into a cavern. Ask that you be guided into this cavern and into your Chamber of Wounds. You have come here to witness the original wound that lives within you, the one that’s most crucial for your own healing.
Ask your body-mind to generate an image of what may be in store for you in this cavern. Then step into the Chamber of Wounds and discover the play that’s being acted out. You are walking right onstage among all of the players, whom you may or may not recognize. Look into the back of the chamber: Is there a fire? Who’s that person in the shadows? What’s gathering dust up on the bookshelves? Look about you and explore. If you don’t visualize well, try to find another sense that can guide you, whether it be a sense of touch or smell, or even an intuitive sense of what might be going on. This may be more difficult, but at the same time it can be more effective because you won’t be distracted by all that visual activity.
The wounded self could be a small child, a baby, an old person, or even someone of a different gender from yourself. These soul parts are aspects of who you are. Ask your wounded self, “Who are you?” “When did you leave?” and “Why did you leave?” Remember that the wounded self is not the soul part that you’re going to retrieve. You’ll be bringing back the healed self, whom you’ll meet in the Chamber of Grace.
Now prepare to take your leave from this chamber, making your way out the same way that you came in. Take your leave from the Lord of Life and Death. Say, “Thank you for allowing me into your domains, to where only those who have stepped beyond death may come.”
Dive into the waters, let them carry you back to where you rested, and wash away any energies that do not belong in the Middle World. Then begin your journey back up through the bedrock; and back into the room. Take a big stretch, rub your hands together, rub your face, open your eyes, and come back into your body. Close sacred space.
In your journey, you’ve encountered some of the stories of your original wounding. In this exercise, you’ll engage in a written dialogue with the central figure you found there to determine the nature of your wounding, as well as what’s needed for your own healing.
The journaling process awakens powerful healing voices within the psyche that may not have been heard for a very long time. Remember that until the voice is found, the soul part remains dormant, but once it’s discovered, it can begin guiding you back to wellness.
Start by sitting with a journal and a pen in a comfortable place, and open sacred space. When you’re ready, draw a line down the center of a blank page. On one side, list the questions you wish to ask; on the other, you will write the answers provided by the voice of your soul part. Begin by asking simple questions such as: “Who are you?” but allow enough time for a full dialogue to emerge. Try to continue this process as long as possible, asking your soul part to reveal as much of the story of your wounding as you need to know in order to heal. Also ask this soul part what it needs to be healed—how you can honor it and protect it. Ask it: “How can I make you safe?” “What can you teach me?” “What must I let go of?” and so forth.
When your dialogue is finished, close sacred space.
Now that you’ve become acquainted with your wounded self, prepare to journey again—this time to the Chamber of Soul Contracts (next week’s blog). There you’ll learn about the soul agreements you made in the past, as well as how you can renegotiate them.