Drawing from the Well

Sean Ryan talks about the importance of dream journeying in the creative process

Katherine Ewen
BrightSky Community
5 min readFeb 15, 2021


Grab a cup of your favourite tea and sit down for a while and imagine this.

Imagine I could take you on a journey to other worlds and lands. There you might meet talking trees who communicate mathematically with sentient magic tree pollen. You might meet teachers and higher powers who live in white pyramids but are actually bumble bees. You may take a bath with whales in an active volcano crater filled with seawater, or you may take a bath in the healing waters golden waters of a pool designed to rejuvenate and renew your mind and body.

What if in these lands you could be taken to, dreamscapes and places that defy logic, shown sights you can not describe and smells and tastes that delight and revive you? You might be shown past or future cultures where we all live in harmony, sharing and growing together. You may receive blueprints to bring back or ideas to share. You may even be given healing in the form of energy or practices to follow. You may be shown imagery which inspires you to learn, to write stories, poetry and songs. Even compel you to make visual art.

I know this may sound ‘farfetched’. Imagine if this was all open access — a system of self-revelation, for everyone and all you needed was a drum beat, an open heart and intention and a method to record your adventures (a notebook will do)?

I’m describing the worlds open to everyone through the practice of shamanic journey work. This has been part of my creative and life practice for some years now.

In some ways, you can compare journey work to dreaming — but dreaming with intention, with conscious involvement.

By listening to a repetitive drumbeat of ideally 205–220 bpm the process can change your brainwaves to 4–8 hertz, known as a state called “Theta”. This brain state is where we experience creativity, deep meditative states and dreams.

In this journey state, you will experience a ‘hypnagogic’ state of reduced consciousness the ‘magical’ zone between being awake and asleep- and you will enter alternative versions of reality, dreamworlds which defy logic, the lands of the ‘trans-rational’.

This process is very instructive to my creative process as an artist and as a card reader. I will journey several times around a piece of artwork and always make a short journey before a reading. They will inform the subject matter, the structure, timing and sometimes minute detail of the artworks and my life in general. Sometimes the messages are complex, and sometimes (as in yesterdays) a simple message to ‘have fun and enjoy the process’.

I’ve learnt that intention is key — if you have the desired outcome or would like some help with something in particular — set it as the intention.
Think of it like a literal journey -where do you wish to go? You may need to set a desired destination or outcome — like ‘please show me what I paint next’.

I sometimes find that the journeys will meander off the subject and its really up to the individual if you want to follow these diversions and then return to the intention or whether you go with the flow and see where the spirits of the journey will take you. Reaffirming your intention mid-journey is always helpful. You are in the driving seat for these journeys — you will not be a passive passenger.

A journey with no intention can be a relaxing joyride but I’ve learned that my guides prefer a clear intention, and some real integration or action to implement the given messages.

It feels a little pointless to me to receive a message — do nothing about it and then move on to the next journey- but that’s just something I have arrived at through practice, and I hold no judgement for anyone in their own practice. (On that subject this whole piece is very personal and from my heart, and I invite you all to take from it what you wish. This isn’t ‘the way’ just the way it works for me).

There are always opportunities for wider intentions — ‘Show me what I need to know’ or ‘ please give me the healing I need right now’ — and this can be useful but I’ve learnt over the years you get out what you put in and it’s worth taking time to set a clear intention.

You don’t always get what you expect or want. What comes through often requires some interpretation-this can feel frustrating to some people, but, it is a valuable part of the process, and can lead to a deeper sense of connection to the messages or teachings and thus a deeper sense of integration.

The language of spirit isn’t always one hundred per cent clear and logical — remember we are dealing with imagery that possibly exists before and without language as we know it. It can come in images, smells sounds and other metaphors. Often it can just be a pointer in another direction- a suggestion to implement a new idea, or attitude or come in the form of an invitation to take a break. If this practice is a conduit for a world of imagination and possibility, it is worth allowing these obscure messages and suggestions to happen.

What has become clear to me though is for whatever reason the spirits that reside in these worlds seem to want to help me and help us to live richer, more creative and meaningful lives and want to support the soul — work it seems we were put here to do.

A note on manifesting

This process isn’t a cosmic ordering system where we can magically make wishes or command the Universe to give us what we want. Within the jury work, we receive messages and visions that will help us build our plans for whatever we wish to manifest, but we still have to do the work. It is not an end in itself and requires that we take action and responsibility for our own lives. It is also a practice — the clue is in the word. Everyone can journey, it requires no gift but regular practice, and as with most things, will yield positive outcomes.

I will be holding space for some courses on-line and hopefully physical space at the Herford centre Growan later this year. I will implement the shamanic journeying techniques I have been using, by showing how we can access the deep wells of inspiration we all have. I will show how to put the messages to practical use to make creative art and imaginative plans. I will also show how messages can be put into future use or just given space for expression, thus creating space for un-expressed creativity to live and breathe.

To find out more about Sean visit his BrightSky profile here: https://brightsky.community/listings/946da7a8-ad37-11ea-9bb8-000c29b586f3#contact