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What My Shamanic Journey Taught Me About the Purpose of Suffering

AI Egyptian temple with a pool inside

Somewhere along the river Nile in Egypt, I attended a meditation on the rooftop of our cruise. It didn't take long before the rhythmic beating of the drum sent me deep into an altered state of consciousness.

In my shamanic journey, I was taken down into an underground temple with columns and stone walls lit by torches. My guide, a very experienced priestess, wearing a cloak that prevented me from seeing her face, awaited my arrival in the second of three rooms. As I approached her, she lifted her arm pointing for me to go deeper. As I entered the small dark room in the back of the temple, I saw a small rectangular pool with stairs leading down into it, and a very intimidating 300lbs crocodile to the right of the stairs watching my every move.

"It is time" were the words spoken by the priestess that initiated the crocodile to slowly waddle its way down the stairs into the water. For this being a meditation you'd think I'd be unaffected emotionally, but that wasn't the case. I did not, at all, trust this crocodile, and felt very much in the presence of something that could kill me at any moment. I turned back to look to my guide one last time hoping she would clue me into what I could expect, but like a good teacher, she didn't anything away and just reminded me:

"You wouldn't be here if you weren't ready."

I followed the crocodile into the water, knowing the test would begin.

Sobek crocodile hieroglyph

A Journey Through Illusion

The emotionless creature used its powerful tail to rhythmically splash waves in my face, which over time seemed to wash away my memories. At first I could maintain a broader perspective that this was a test, but with each splash I became less and less aware that I was in a small pool and eventually felt like I was desperately trying to catch my breathe as the waves kept crashing in my face at the exact pace that wouldn't kill me but would perpetuate the feeling that I was drowning.

I ended up spinning around, thinking that would help me catch my breath and see better, but instead the waves became more chaotic and eventually I lost all awareness of what was causing the choppy waters, let alone why I was even in the water to begin with. I became just so focused on surviving. Panicked and exhausted, I looked around for anything I could use to stay afloat to stop from constantly getting tossed around underwater. Then it dawned on me that the gentle glow above the water was the torch on the temple wall, and that choppy silhouette was the priestess watching over me.

In that instant I became aware that I was simultaneously in a small pool and outside in a large body of water, that one was occurring over a very short period of time and the other a very extended period of time, and that I was very deep in a holographic experience testing something within me. As tempted as I was to pull myself out at first, the clarity gave me the resolve to turn back around and face the crocodile head on. At this point in the journey, I was guided to find "the light" but it was nowhere to be found. My stamina and resilience had been so beaten down, I reached a point where I didn't care about protecting myself from death anymore. One way or another I needed the suffering to end. I started to get a sense that the light was hidden within the darkness of the crocodile, so like any cliche "here goes nothing" moment, I grabbed the crocodile's tail.

hathor pillars at isis temple

The Purpose of Suffering

As the crocodile spun around to sink its teeth into me, I had one final opportunity to pull away to protect myself before the point of no return. But I didn't take it. I surrendered my will knowing that what lie ahead couldn't possibly be as bad as what I just went through.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anaïs Nin

In that exact moment, the light I'd been searching for emerged from the back of the crocodile's throat. I found it! I completed the ceremony!

The light transported me to an ethereal place where the higher selves of all my loved ones were waiting to congratulate me. In that moment, I realized that they, too, were just playing along in whatever dramas I needed to face my fears one by one, to return back to my wholeness.

As I look back on my journey, I can see how the crocodile was serving as divine chaos who taught me much about the purpose of suffering. We are so strong, but that resilience and willpower can end up being the exact thing keeps us imprisoned.

When we don't allow ourselves to flow with Divine Will, the gift of suffering supports the restoration of balance by making it increasingly unbearable to maintain our resistance.

In other words, it depletes our will so that we may eventually become unwilling to continue fighting, protecting, defending, controlling, manipulating, and everything else we do to avoid reality. It nudges us towards embracing the reality we are in, so that we can begin to discover how it also serves our highest good. What we want may not be what we need, but what is needed by our Soul will always be worked into our experience by the laws that govern reality.

Suffering and Surrender are 2 Sides of the Same Coin

If you wish to end your suffering, you must face what you're running from by neutralizing the fears that fuel your resistance to that experience being in your reality. This doesn't mean running towards the outcome you're trying to avoid; it means being vulnerable and working through the fear so that you can find balance regardless of the outcome. As you ease your desperation it will become easier to trust that your highest good is also accounted for in the divine plan that moves us all towards love.

Only when you accept what is and surrender your will can you begin to perceive the opportunities within reality that are there for you. This helps us move back into flow and allows the laws of the Universe to work for and through us.

Hathor's Journey Through Illusion

Hathor room at dendera

Egypt is such an incredible place that offers so much remembrance to awaken within us. My first visit back to the Temple of Isis in this lifetime occurred just after sunset, when the last boat of tourists departed the Island of Philae. We had the entire temple to ourselves.

After taking it all in, something kept nudging me to pay attention to the Hathor faces atop the columns to the left of the small court. As I studied them, I realized the eyes became more detailed and Hathor’s expression more serious the closer the column was to the vestibule entrance. What a perfect metaphor for my shamanic journey!

I understood that the more Hathor became consumed by the hologram of physicality, the more serious she became. It's the same thing that happens to us all as we assimilate into the physical and naturally become absorbed by the holographic illusory testing grounds we all agreed to. We each go through our own trials and tribulations that disconnect us so we may have the experience of finding our way back to our connection.

It's okay. It's designed this way.

We're supposed to lose our memories, we're supposed to forget who we are, we're supposed to experience separation. That's how we learn how to transform fear into love, separation into oneness, and resistance into complete trust in the divine plan.

Please note, I am preaching from the trenches not the pulpit. I have not ended all suffering in my life, and to be honest some days feel like the moment I pick myself up I get thrown down with another challenge. I will be the first to acknowledge that what I've shared with you today is simple in theory but not easy in application. What I can say though is that I'm learning.

I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that are sent my way to help others on their path through the channeled information that comes through my own meditations, the hypnosis sessions of my clients', and all of the guidance that is surrounding the planet beckoning us towards great ease, inner peace, and (eventually) lasting joy.

Afterall... you wouldn't be here if you weren't ready!

Katie Christensen is a teacher on Insight Timer, a past-life regressionist, and hypnotist trained in Dolores Cannon's technique (QHHT) and Beyond Quantum Healing. She also hosts the Meetup Group Awakening Through Explorations of Consciousness. To find out more, visit


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