A Shamans work is mainly performed in other dimensions. The other world is where you will find your "Spirit Teacher" and your "Animal Spirit Guide". The Underworld is where you will be tested and learn how to face your fears.
As a Shaman you must be able to travel throughout three "Otherworlds". They are called the Upperworld, the Underworld and the Middleworld. The Middleworld is within the time and space of this world, or our daily reality.
In order to journey into other worlds, you must create a "sacred space" within your mind, which is a duplicate or an alias of the sacred space you have created in the physical world. This sacred space is a place where two or more worlds intersect. You must seek the center of this sacred space and time, which is where the ancient past and the old mysteries continue to exist. You may step outside of this space/time in order to move into other realms.
Your sacred space can be portable (such as a special meditation blanket or rug) or it can be permanent. Many Shamans have a blanket or a rug, as well as a special bag in which tools are carried with them in order to be ready to go on a journey whenever the need arises.
The inner "sacred space" is attained through the World Tree or Mountain, which you have built in your mind during meditations until you are easily able to call it into being. Many traditions begin the journey through a cave, which I prefer. The more solid your images are in your meditations and journeys, the more you are empowered, in order to provide the atmosphere required to create changes in your consciousness.
The World Tree is within the center of the Shamans world. It represents the link between the present physical dimension, the Upperworld, and the Underworld. You may use the tree to climb up into the Upperworld, or climb down into the Underworld. The sacred Cave or Mountain serves the same purpose. You may use whatever image makes you more comfortable. Some Shamans experience a sensations of spinning either clockwise or counter clockwise when they ascend to the Upperworld, or descend into the Underworld.
Traveling to the otherworlds should be done in small, slow steps in order to keep yourself from getting burned. Before you journey into the "otherworlds" you must be proficient in meditation and cisualization techniques.
It is also very important to remember the way back to the doorway you emerged from. You must always keep a mental note of the path you travel just as you would if hiking in the wilderness. Failure to keep track of your path can leave you lost forever, unable to return to the physical world. Which is why it is so very important to have formal training before you undertake any journey work.
Before you begin your journey, you should learn a few relaxation techniques. The technique you choose should be done before you embark upon your journey. You also need to learn rhythmic breathing.
WARNING- I once communicated with a young man who told me that he spent most of his time on journeys. His reasoning for his unwise practice was as he put it "Everytime I go on a journey I learn things about myself. But it leaves me with more questions so I have to return to get the answers." This is NOT how shamanism works! The spirits expect you to take that information then ponder, explore, examine, and question yourself for the answers to the information they give you. The "otherworld" spirits are not a continual hookup to the "411" information service. You are required to do some thinking for yourself. Shamanism is a way of teaching you how to balance this life out as well as work on certain problems. You can't do this if you are never in your body or in this reality, even if you feel that your life sucks! You can't change the problems with your family, friends, peers, teachers or employers if you do not take the time to work on yourself spiritually. The practice of shamanism if done correctly will teach you how to get around and work through all of these problems. It is not a means of escaping the problems, fear or pain in this world, it is a means of facing them and working them out. Persons with addictions to alcohol and drugs, severe depression, serious illness or disabilities can benefit from working with their spiritual selves, but it takes time and perserverence!
You must remember that the spirits you run into may not be telling you the truth. If you question their answers or reliability or even feel uneasy about the information they gave you...beware. That is your inner self telling you that there is something wrong. It's that voice in your heart that we call our intuition. Listen to it, it's always right.
If a spirit requests a favor discontinue your communication with it. If you are in the "underworld" or the land of the dead you are dealing with the spirits of the dead. They are the shades of the deceased persons personality. Although they have learned some things they are not always acting with good intentions, nor do they have all of the answers. The only part of a deceased person that is all knowledgeable is the "spirit" which detaches from the personality or the consciousness of the previous lifetime. If you are dealing with a deceased ancestor they may request a favor, if you decide to agree you must keep your promise or don't bother to agree.