|Representation of the World Tree: |
the Shamanic Model of the Spiritual Realm
In the shamanic model of the spiritual world, there are three aspects which are connected to one another through the symbolic world tree: the upper, middle and lower worlds. In my experience, the upper world is the realm of wisdom, guidance and creativity, and often the place where inspiration is found. The middle world is the one where we assert ourselves, and the lower world signifies power and earth energies. To reach the upper world, a shaman needs to move his consciousness up the world tree and through a boundary that indicates the limit of the middle world. From there she has access to the universe of light represented by the sun, the moon and the stars, marked by freedom from the heaviness of the earthbound realm. Perhaps because of their dreamy attribute, I see the border between upper and middle worlds as a layer of clouds. The realm of the upper world is marked by infinity, but the creative energy of the universe can only take unique expression within boundaries, otherwise it becomes lost. From this perspective, clouds represent the thought processes beyond which we have to move to get inspiration, but to establish these ideas, we have to return to the material world where we act. Clouds contain the elements of air and water, indicating that intellect and emotion work together in the creative process. The light or fire on the other side of clouds signifies Source that acquires depth through the individual perception of its contrast with the shadows.
One element that is missing from clouds is earth, which represents the material reality. When it comes to dreaming, the biggest challenge is often how to give structure to our visions in a world ruled by restrictions. Clouds can never be captured, and by the time their substance reaches the earth, their form is lost. The dreamer can, however, plant seeds, and build on what he would like to see grow. When seeds are planted and nurtured under the right conditions, at least some of them will find a way to grow, aided by the sun and the coming down of the clouds. There is a lot that the planter has no control over, and this illustrates that although working with love is necessary, trust is also required. While dreams can reveal something of our connection to the universal mind, the matter that we work with doesn’t truly belong to us, and sometimes it’s best to let the universe decide how and in what way our dreams will come to fruition. The dreamer is an instrument of universal will as much as the entirety of creation is an expression of something we cannot know or understand.