Journeying and The Forty Servants
“We’re going to go on a shamanic journey to the underworld today.”
featured image by Jeremy yap via unsplash.
It’s in these moments I laugh a little bit to myself, thinking about how I went from growing up strictly Catholic to now being nervous and excited about the opportunity to journey to the underworld. As a child, Harry Potter was completely banned from our household because it contained witchcraft—but hey, somehow the Lirael series that involved necromancy slid under the radar, perhaps that is really where everything went wrong for me!
Humor aside, my favorite days are the ones that I can fully steep and immerse myself in learning more about magical practices and tools I can use. Therefore, when I heard that we had a chance to go on a journey as part of a magic class I’m enrolled in, I really couldn’t be more delighted.
To prepare for the journey, we were offered different flying ointments as a way to thin the veil. It was my first time using the flying ointment datura and wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but found that it was gently calming and helped me focus while meditating. My mind was just more easily able to stay on-topic during the journey instead of slipping into to-do lists, worries, etc. as quickly. I specifically used datura and will probably purchase some for myself to use for other journeys.
The journey itself was incredibly restorative and healing for me. I had the chance to commune with my guardian angel, Aurelius, who has remained an incredibly strong presence in my magic practice even though he’s a figure from my aforementioned Catholic upbringing. He was with me when I received my first Reiki attunement and is often present when I meditate.
While I would go into more detail, my journey was quickly summarized when my instructor had us all draw a card from The Forty Servants oracle deck.
What are The Forty Servants?
The Forty Servants is an oracle deck created by Tommie Kelly that was released in 2016. According to his blog, Adventures in Woo Woo, (which I’m honestly disappointed I didn’t think of as a blog name) these cards can be used for either divination purposes—just like any tarot or oracle deck—or they can be used for magical purposes as servitors.
Servitors are created to fulfill a certain function or purpose. In the case of The Forty Servants, each card indicates a particular role that has been given for the purposes of aiding or guiding you as the user. They can be used in day to day life as a way to increase or decrease “the amount of energy of influence that each Servant represents.” It also allows the user to think about embodying said archetypal energy and acting accordingly—this makes me think of how I like to look at court cards in the tarot as roles to embody or try on.
The cards themselves include an image as well as a sigil which can be used and incorporated into further magic work. For example, you could place that sigil in your home as a reminder, carve it into a candle, etc.
Something unique about servitors is that they rely on being “fed” to continue existing. In the case of The Forty Servants, they rely upon the attention that humans give them to feed them. This also means that as more people use them and think about them, their power grows.
After my journey, I drew The Eye from The Forty Servants. It was incredible to see how the most important messages that my guardian angel had delivered to me were perfectly encapsulated in this card. Drawing The Eye shows us that all is as it should be and that there is a divine plan to all things. This echoed how Aurelius kept assuring me that he had everything set up and planned for me, I simply needed to follow his lead. This card always indicates that someone in the spirit realm is looking out for me, which resonates with his insistence and reassurance that he would always be looking out for me and protecting me.
I’ll be honest that this was incredibly reassuring for me as just earlier that week I had had an experience with oracle cards that brought a lot of emotional pain up for me and seemed to point out all of the unhealed parts of myself, bringing them to the forefront in a discouraging way. Putting my woundedness in the spotlight made me question starting this blog and the many projects I have associated with it. To be able to have this experience with Aurelius and then to draw this card, and to have the sigil to work with later, helped me breathe and reassured me that healing can continue with time and that it doesn’t define my being. Instead, the process of healing and working on these projects can inform one another to create an a deeper, multifaceted creation.
How Do I Journey?
Alright, if you’ve read this far you might be wondering how you can go on your own journey. Journeying, self-hypnosis, and meditation are all perfect to incorporate into your regular magical practice. I feel like we often stop ourselves from engaging in rituals or magical practices because we don’t have the money to buy a billion crystals or we feel like we need a cupboard filled with herbs and oils. Meditating is incredibly accessible because it is free and you really don’t need any experience. Naturally, practicing it regularly will strengthen your meditative practice and allow you to utilize it for more purposes, but everyone has to start somewhere! We weren’t born as Dalai Lamas!
Journey to the Underworld
The journey we went on in class was very simple. Of course, you can use flying ointments like we did, incorporate essential oils, or whatever you like to use for your meditative practices.
Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed for at least fifteen minutes. Here you can choose to sit or lay down, whichever will allow you to be the most comfortable.
Choose a long meditation track that you feel like may work best for you. We used a track with a quick drumbeat which at first made me feel a little rushed, but in the end I think it helped my mind keep moving forward with the meditation rather than chilling out and lingering on things that were distracting.
If you want to save yourself some Spotify browsing, here’s a track I found that I feel like would work for these purposes.
Begin your journey to the underworld by locating a portal to enter. For me this was my backyard. Choose a space that you will be able to easily imagine. When your journey ends try to make sure you exit the underworld the same way you entered.
Begin. Breathe, get centered, and let the journey be revealed to you. I would highly recommend recording it in your journal afterwards!