The Different Worlds of Shamanic Cosmology

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As humans, we have always been fascinated by the world that surrounds us. From the distant stars in the sky to the depths of our oceans, there is no end to our curiosity about the world we live in. However, there are also other worlds that exist beyond our physical reality, worlds that can only be accessed through shamanic journeying. These worlds constitute the shamanic cosmology, a complex and intricate view of the universe that has been around since ancient times. In this article, we will explore the different worlds in shamanic cosmology, the beings and spirits that inhabit them, and the role of shamans in accessing and interpreting them. Join us on this journey of discovery as we delve into the fascinating world of shamanic cosmology.

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The Three Worlds

The Three Worlds
As we delve into shamanic cosmology, one of the most intriguing concepts we encounter is the existence of three distinct realms: the upper world, the middle world, and the lower world. Each of these worlds is believed to contain its own unique set of beings, spirits, and inhabitants, and offers a unique perspective on the nature of the universe. By exploring the characteristics of each world, we can gain a deeper understanding of the complex belief systems underlying shamanic practices. So, let’s journey together as we explore the mysteries of these three realms.

Upper World

The Upper World is the highest of the three worlds in Shamanic Cosmology, and it is often associated with the benevolent spirits and deities. This realm is believed to be the source of wisdom and intuition, and is a place where shamans can seek guidance, knowledge, and transcendence.

The Upper World can be accessed through journeying, a shamanic practice of entering an altered state of consciousness. In this state, the shaman is able to communicate with spirits and entities beyond the physical realm. The journey typically involves a guided meditation, with the shaman visualizing themselves climbing a ladder, going up a stairway, or being lifted by a bird or a spirit guide into the Upper World.

Once in the Upper World, shamans can encounter benevolent beings such as angels, ascended masters, and spirit guides. These entities are believed to offer guidance, healing, protection, and insight to the shaman. In this realm, the shaman can also connect with ancestors, spiritual mentors, and higher aspects of their own being.

The Upper World is often described as a place of light, beauty, and harmony. It is believed to be a multidimensional realm where time and space are different from that of the physical world. Some shamans describe it as a garden, a meadow, or a celestial city, while others see it as a vast expanse of stars, galaxies, and nebulae.

The Upper World is an important aspect of Shamanic Cosmology, as it represents the spiritual dimension of existence. It reminds us that we are interconnected with all beings and that our physical existence is just one aspect of our spiritual journey. By exploring the Upper World, shamans can expand their consciousness and gain a deeper understanding of their purpose in life.

Here is a table summarizing some key aspects of the Upper World:

Aspect Description
Access Journeying through an altered state of consciousness
Inhabitants Benevolent spirits, angels, ascended masters, spirit guides, ancestors
Functions Wisdom, intuition, guidance, healing, protection, transcendence
Characteristics Light, beauty, harmony, multidimensionality, timelessness, interconnectedness
Importance Represents the spiritual dimension of existence, helps in expanding consciousness and understanding one’s purpose in life

Middle World

The Middle World is the realm in which we live our daily lives. It is considered the world in-between the Upper and Lower Worlds. This world is where we experience the physical reality and interact with others. It is the world of time and space, where we encounter our daily challenges, joys, and sorrows.

Features of the Middle World:

  • The middle world is the place of balance.
  • It is where we must face our fears and learn from our mistakes.
  • It is where we have our relationships and experience our emotions, growth, and development.
  • It contains the natural world, where we rely on the plants and animals for our sustenance.
  • The middle world is where we face the challenges and the consequences of our actions.

Shamans believe that the Middle World is inhabited by spirits, beings, angels, and ancestors who guide and protect us. The spirits of nature, animals, and plants are considered essential allies in the Middle World, as they provide us with medicine and support when we need it. Shamans also work with the spirits in this world to help heal the sick, resolve conflicts, and promote balance and harmony.

In shamanic journeying, the shaman travels to the Middle World to retrieve information, guidance, and healing from the spirits. This practice enables the shaman to connect with the spirits of nature and animals, which helps them in their healing work.

The Middle World is viewed as the place where we experience our physical lives, encounter our challenges, and learn from our experiences. It is also the place where we connect with spirits, beings, and ancestors who serve as our allies and guides on our journey.

Lower World

The lower world is the final realm in shamanic cosmology. Described as an underground realm, it is a place for journeying that is accessible through a variety of entrances, such as caves or holes. While the entrance to the lower world is often perceived as dark and foreboding, it is important to note that this realm is not inherently negative or scary. In fact, it is home to numerous spirits who may offer guidance, wisdom, or healing.

The inhabitants of the Lower World

The lower world is home to a wide variety of beings, each with its unique characteristics and abilities. These spirits can range from playful to mischievous, helpful to withholding, but all are ready to teach us valuable lessons if we are willing to listen.

One of the most common beings found in the lower world is the animal spirit guide. These spirits may appear in the form of domesticated or wild animals, or even mythical creatures such as dragons or unicorns. Animal spirit guides are believed to offer guidance and protection, and can be especially helpful for those looking to overcome obstacles or gain a deeper understanding of themselves. Other spirits that may be encountered in the lower world include plant devas, elementals, and ancestors.

Exploring the Lower World

Journeying to the lower world can be an incredibly transformative experience. Like the other realms of shamanic cosmology, it is accessed through deep meditation or ritual. Once there, a shamanic practitioner may explore the landscape, meet with spirits, or engage in healing and transformational work.

One of the most valuable aspects of journeying to the lower world is the opportunity to confront and heal one’s shadow self. As the realm of the subconscious, the lower world can reveal hidden emotions, patterns, and traumas that may be holding us back in everyday life. By working with the spirits of the lower world, we can gain insight into these issues and begin to release them.


While the lower world may seem intimidating at first, it is a crucial part of shamanic cosmology. By journeying to this realm, we can gain valuable insight, overcome obstacles, and connect with a vast array of beings who are ready and willing to help. Whether you are a seasoned shamanic practitioner or a newcomer to this practice, exploring the lower world can be a powerful journey of self-discovery and transformation.

Inhabitants of Lower World Characteristic
Animal Spirit Guides Offer guidance, protection, and self-understanding.
Plant Devas Nature spirits that can offer healing and transformational work.
Elementals Spirits of the four elements who can help with balancing and harnessing elemental energies.
Ancestors Spirits of one’s bloodline who offer guidance and wisdom.
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What Lies Within Each World?

What Lies Within Each World?
As we delve further into the intriguing world of shamanic cosmology, we can’t help but wonder what lies within each of the three worlds. The shamanic worldview believes that these worlds not only exist but are integral to understand the universe and our place in it. Through journeying, we can meet beings and explore realms that may seem fantastical but can offer profound insights and healing. Let’s take a closer look at what awaits us in the upper, middle, and lower worlds.

Upper World Beings and Spirits

As we delve deeper into the shamanic cosmology, we find that the Upper World is home to several fascinating beings and spirits. These entities hold immense significance in the spiritual practices of shamans.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these remarkable entities:

Entity Description
Angels Divine creatures that are known for their purity and wisdom.
Ascended Masters Spiritual beings who have reached a high level of enlightenment.
Spirit Guides Spirits that offer guidance and protection to those who seek their help.
Totemic Animals Animals that are believed to hold spiritual significance and serve as guides.
Deities Gods and goddesses that are worshiped or revered for their power and wisdom.

These Upper World entities assist shamans in their spiritual practices and offer guidance and wisdom to those who seek it. The angels, in particular, are believed to be divine messengers, conveying important messages from the spirit world.

Shamans often journey to the Upper World in search of these entities, and it is said that the journey can be challenging but it is also deeply rewarding. The experience can offer life-changing insights and revelations.

It is important to note that while these entities are revered, they are not worshipped. Shamans hold a deep respect for the powers they possess, but they also understand that they are part of a greater whole and that all entities are connected on a spiritual level.

The Upper World entities serve as powerful symbols of spiritual guidance and protection, offering insight and wisdom to those who seek it in their shamanic practice.

The Middle World as We Know It

When we talk about the Middle World in shamanic cosmology, we’re referring to the world as we know it, the physical reality that we can see and touch. This world is where we live, where we interact with other humans and with nature, and where we experience the pleasures and pains of life.

Middle World is the realm of intricate balance and constant evolution. Over millions of years, it has evolved to create the perfect environment for living beings to thrive. It is home to an incredible variety of plant and animal life, and supports delicate ecosystems that are vital to the health of our planet.

The Middle World is also the realm of humans, and the world we create through our collective actions. It is the realm of culture, society, and civilization. We build cities and create art, we develop systems of law and governance, and we form complex social structures that allow us to cooperate and thrive.

However, our actions also have consequences in the Middle World, and we are currently facing a number of pressing environmental and social issues that threaten the delicate balance of this realm. Climate change, pollution, and destruction of natural habitats are all problems that we must address if we are to preserve the Middle World for future generations.

Despite the challenges we face, the Middle World remains an incredible and fascinating place, full of wonder and complexity. It is a realm that shaman and non-shamans alike can explore and appreciate, and it is up to all of us to work together to ensure its continued health and vitality.

| Middle World |
| Physical reality |
| Home to plant and animal life |
| Civilization and society |
| Culture and art |
| Pressing environmental issues |
| Requires preservation and balance |

Lower World and Its Inhabitants

The Lower World is often viewed as a mysterious and unknown realm that is home to a variety of different beings and spirits. These entities can be both benevolent and malevolent, and it’s important to approach them with respect and caution. Let’s take a closer look at some of the inhabitants of the Lower World.

Inhabitants Description
Animal Spirits These can range from spirit guides to totems and are often seen as protectors and guides. They can appear in various shapes and forms and may even change over time.
Ancestors The spirits of our ancestors can also be found in the Lower World. They can offer advice and guidance to help us navigate our lives and connect us to our lineage.
Underworld Deities These are powerful beings that are often associated with death and the afterlife. They can offer protection and guidance, but should be approached with caution and respect.
Shadow Beings These are often seen as negative or malevolent entities that can represent our fears and negative patterns. They can be confronted and overcome through shamanic practices.

In shamanic cosmology, the Lower World is seen as a place of transformation and healing. The beings and spirits that reside there can offer guidance and support as we work to overcome our personal challenges and obstacles. By journeying to the Lower World, we can connect with these entities and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. It’s important to approach this realm with respect and caution, as its inhabitants can be powerful and unpredictable.

The Importance of Journeying

The Importance Of Journeying
As we dive deeper into shamanic cosmology, we cannot ignore the significance of journeying. This practice can take us to different worlds, offer us experiences that we might never have had in our daily lives, and leave us with profound insights. Journeying requires a certain level of openness and trust, as we allow ourselves to be guided by energies and spirits that we cannot always see or understand. In this section, we will explore the importance of journeying, and how it can expand our understanding of the world and ourselves.

Journeying to the Upper World

When journeying to the Upper World, it is important to set a clear intention and create a safe, quiet space for the journey. Below are some steps you can follow to embark on your journey:

  1. Preparation: Before beginning your journey, take time to reflect on the intention for your journey. You may want to write it down and set it aside for later. You can also light candles or incense, and create an altar or sacred space to help set the mood.
  2. Relaxation: Find a comfortable and quiet space to sit or lie down. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and focus on relaxation. You may want to listen to music or use a guided meditation to help you relax.
  3. Visualization: Once you are relaxed, begin to visualize yourself in a peaceful, natural setting. Imagine yourself walking in a beautiful landscape, and keep walking until you find a path that leads you up to a mountain, a tree or a staircase.
  4. Meeting Your Spirit Guide: Once you reach the top of the path, call out to your spirit guide and wait for their arrival. Your guide may appear as an animal, a human, or a mythical creature. Allow yourself to receive any messages or insights they may have for you.
  5. Exploration: After meeting your guide, you can explore the Upper World and interact with any beings or spirits you encounter. This is a time for receiving guidance, inspiration, and healing.
  6. Return: When you feel ready to return from your journey, thank your guide and any other beings you encountered. Begin to visualize yourself returning down the path that led you up the mountain or the tree. You can also visualize yourself returning to your physical body and feel the sensations of your body before opening your eyes.

Remember to take your time with the journey, and allow yourself to fully immerse in the experience. Writing down your experiences and insights can also be helpful for further reflection and integration.

Journeying to the Middle World

Journeying to the Middle World is a fascinating experience for those who practice shamanism. It involves accessing an alternate reality where spirits and entities exist alongside our physical world. To successfully journey to the Middle World, one must have a clear intention and strong connection with their spirit animal or guide.

Steps to Journeying to the Middle World:

  1. Find a comfortable and quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Use drumming, rattling, or chanting to alter your consciousness and enter a trance state.
  3. Mentally set your intention to journey to the Middle World.
  4. Visualize a portal or entrance to the Middle World and step through it.
  5. Take in your surroundings and explore the landscape of the Middle World.
  6. Encounter and communicate with any spirits or entities you may meet.
  7. Acknowledge any messages or guidance you receive.
  8. When it’s time to return, find the portal again and step back into the physical world.
  9. Thank your spirit animal or guide for their assistance.

It’s important to note that the Middle World in shamanic cosmology is not a physical location but rather a state of consciousness. This means that the experience of journeying to the Middle World may differ from person to person, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. The Middle World is often associated with the realm of humans and nature spirits, and it can be a place for healing or seeking guidance.

Journeying to the Middle World can provide a deeper understanding of oneself and the world around us. It can also help individuals connect with their purpose and gain insight into their life’s path. Through this practice, one can learn to navigate the Middle World with ease and integrate the lessons learned into daily life.

Journeying to the Lower World

Journeying to the Lower World can be a transformative experience where one can connect with their inner self and the spirits that reside there. This world is often associated with the element of earth, and its inhabitants are said to be deeply connected to the natural world.

The Lower World: A Place of Healing and Renewal

The Lower World is a place of deep exploration and healing. It is often described as a place where one can confront their fears and find the strength within them to overcome them. This world is typically entered through a tunnel or cave-like entrance that leads deep into the earth.

The Inhabitants of the Lower World

The inhabitants of the Lower World are said to be powerful and wise, often taking the form of animals such as bears, wolves, and deer. Other beings that can be encountered in this world include elementals, tree spirits, and even ancestors. These beings can be guides, teachers or messengers, providing insight and wisdom to those who seek it.

Animal Guides in the Lower World Elemental Beings in the Lower World Ancestral Spirits in the Lower World
Bear Earth Elemental Grandmother/Grandfather
Wolf Fire Elemental Ancestors from Previous Generations
Deer Water Elemental Ancestors with a Shared Passion or Talent
Snake Air Elemental Ancestors Who Lived in the Same Area as You

The Importance of Lower World Journeying

Journeying to the Lower World can be especially meaningful for those who seek a deeper connection to nature and those who feel disconnected from their inner selves. This world can be a place to find guidance and support, to release negative energy, and to gain a greater understanding of one’s own personal power.

Preparing for Lower World Journeying

Similar to journeying to the Upper or Middle World, it is important to prepare oneself before beginning a journey to the Lower World. Burn sage or other cleansing herbs, and set an intention for your journey. Use drums, rattles or music to enter into a trance-like state, and focus on entering a cave or tunnel that leads deep into the earth. Remember that the journey to the Lower World is a personal experience, and each journey may be different, with unique lessons to learn and guidance to gain.

The Role of Shamans in Shamanic Cosmology

The Role Of Shamans In Shamanic Cosmology
Shamans play a significant role in shamanic cosmology, as they are the ones who journey between the different worlds and communicate with the spirits and beings that reside in them. They act as intermediaries between the human world and the spirit world, and they use their knowledge and abilities to bring healing and guidance to those in need.

The shaman’s journey begins by entering into a trance state through various techniques such as meditation, chanting, drumming, or the use of entheogenic plants. Once in this altered state of consciousness, the shaman is able to travel between the worlds and communicate with the spirits and beings that reside within them.

Shamans are viewed as healers, teachers, and wisdom keepers in many cultures. They possess knowledge about the natural world, human psychology, and the spiritual realm that is passed down through generations. They are also skilled at working with energy and can detect imbalances and blockages within the body and spirit.

In addition to their role in healing, shamans also act as guides and protectors for their communities. They are often called upon to perform rituals that honor the spirits and maintain balance in the natural world. These rituals can include offerings, prayers, and ceremonies that are designed to bring about healing, protection, and abundance.

The shaman’s role in shamanic cosmology is a complex one that requires both knowledge and skill. They must be able to navigate the different worlds, communicate with the spirits and beings within them, and use their abilities to bring about positive change in the human world. It is a role that is respected and valued in many cultures around the world, as it brings about healing, balance, and wisdom for all who seek it.

The Significance of Shamanic Cosmology

Shamanic Cosmology holds great significance for those who practice it, as it provides a framework for understanding the spiritual realms and the interconnected relationships between them. It allows individuals to explore the different worlds and connect with the spirits and beings that reside within them.

Through journeying to the Upper, Middle, and Lower worlds, shamans can gain insights and wisdom that can help them heal themselves and others, as well as bring balance to the world around them. By accessing the guidance and teachings of the spirits, they can gain a deeper understanding of the natural forces that govern our world and learn how to work with them in a positive and healing way.

At its core, Shamanic Cosmology is a way of understanding the universe as a living, dynamic system that is constantly in motion. It acknowledges that all beings and entities are interconnected and that everything is imbued with spiritual energy. This worldview sees the natural world and the spiritual world as two aspects of the same reality, and understands that it is through the integration of these two realms that we can achieve wholeness and healing.

For those who are drawn to shamanic practice, the significance of Shamanic Cosmology lies in its ability to provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life. By connecting with the spiritual realms and the forces that govern them, individuals can gain a greater understanding of their place in the world and their role in upholding the natural order. This can provide a sense of empowerment, as well as a deeper connection to the spiritual aspects of our world.

Ultimately, the significance of Shamanic Cosmology lies in its ability to provide a holistic, interconnected understanding of the world and our place in it. By engaging with the different worlds and the beings that reside within them, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity and beauty of the universe, as well as an understanding of our own place in the grand scheme of things. Through this process, we can find healing, wisdom, and a sense of purpose that extends beyond our individual selves into the greater world around us.


In conclusion, exploring Shamanic Cosmology leads us to a better understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings and the importance of experiencing the different worlds through journeying. By delving into the Upper, Middle, and Lower worlds, we gain access to a wealth of knowledge and insight that can assist us in our personal growth and healing. Each world offers unique beings and spirits that can guide us along our path, whether it be in the physical plane or the spiritual realm.

Furthermore, Shamanic Cosmology highlights the role of shamans as healers and facilitators of accessing these different worlds. Shamans act as a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms, helping individuals to connect with their true selves and the spirits that reside in each world. The practice of journeying, guided by a shaman or alone, can be a transformative experience that allows us to tap into our inner power and innate wisdom.

Moreover, understanding Shamanic Cosmology can also aid in our relationship with nature and the environment. This cosmology recognizes that all beings, human or not, are connected and that we must establish a harmonious relationship with the natural world to ensure our continued existence. By experiencing the different worlds and their inhabitants, we can establish a deep respect and appreciation for all forms of life.

In essence, Shamanic Cosmology teaches us about the power of connection, the importance of inner exploration, and the significance of spiritual growth. By embracing this cosmology, we can find meaning and purpose in our lives, establish deeper connections with ourselves and others, and enhance our overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is shamanic cosmology?

Shamanic cosmology is a belief system that centers around the idea of different worlds or dimensions that can be accessed through spiritual practices such as journeying.

What are the three worlds in shamanic cosmology?

The three worlds in shamanic cosmology are the Upper World, Middle World, and Lower World.

What beings are found in the Upper World?

The Upper World is said to be inhabited by spirit guides, angels, and enlightened beings.

What is the Middle World?

The Middle World is the reality we experience every day, including the physical world and its inhabitants.

Who or what lives in the Lower World?

The Lower World is believed to be home to ancestral spirits, animal spirits, and primal forces.

What is journeying?

Journeying is a practice in which the shaman or individual works to achieve an altered state of consciousness and travels to different worlds or dimensions.

How do you journey to the Upper World?

To journey to the Upper World, you must first set your intention, find a safe and quiet space, create a sacred atmosphere, and then use a method such as drumming or chanting to enter an altered state of consciousness.

How do you journey to the Lower World?

To journey to the Lower World, one must enter an altered state of consciousness and use a method such as visualization or meditation to travel to this realm.

What is the role of a shaman in shamanic cosmology?

The role of the shaman is to serve as a bridge between the different worlds and help individuals connect with these realms for healing, guidance, and spiritual growth.

Why is shamanic cosmology significant?

Shamanic cosmology provides a framework for understanding the interconnectedness of all things and offers a path for personal and collective transformation and evolution.


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