Power animals are easier to contact than ancient ones. Their voices are louder. They are easier to see. They will come and speak to you when you need them. The animals are helpers. Like ancient ones they are guides. They tell you what you need to know. They give you their immense energy. No shaman would ever go into sacred space without their animal helper.
Power animals can assist you in the waking state as well. Perhaps you are trying to teach someone a particular theme and they are having difficulty understanding. Power animals are not limited to mammals. The reptilian and insect kingdoms can be just as helpful.
- Ask Wolf for assistance; she is the great teacher.
- Remember the old adages: clever as a Fox, strong as an Ox, etc.
- Perhaps you need camouflage – then ask Brother Fox for assistance.
- If you seek wisdom, ask the Eagle.
- Lynx knows the art of keeping secrets.
- Swan guides one into dreamtime.
- Panther is a good protective animal, though she does have a sarcastic, laid back nature.
- Dragonfly tells us how to break through illusions and how to gain power through our dreams and goals. She teaches higher aspiration.
For a listing of animals and their qualities, you can visit these posts: Animal Symbols in Magick, Animal Symbols and Archetypes, Celtic and Druid Spirit Animals.
The energy of the animals, birds and other creatures that assist us should be honored. For too long, we have subjugated these creatures who are our equals in the system of the Universe. The act of honoring an animal is not an act of worship, but is the acknowledgment of their power and their being as brothers and sisters of the entire universe.
When honoring – leave a gift of some sort. The Native Americans leave tobacco as a gift, scattered on the ground. You could also burn incense in honor of the animal. You might also consider donating to The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, or other organization committed to the preservation of our wild family.
Meditation To Meet Your Power Animal
This guided imagery is about meeting your power animal. Like the ancient ones, the power animals come from deep within the consciousness of our Earth Mother. Power animals are our deepest memories. We all share DNA with all the animals alive on earth. A lion has the same DNA as we do for many systems. We can, in our memories, see out of the lion’s eyes. We are them. They call to us deeply, loudly.
Read the following meditation a number of times, and then take the journey from memory. Alternatively, you could record it and play it back.
Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, let your abdomen rise and fall. Allow yourself to become really relaxed. Think about a place, real or imagined, where you feel really safe, where you feel deeply connected with the earth.
Now put yourself on a path. Feel your feet touch the earth, smell the fresh air, feel the warm breeze on your face. Walk down the path. It goes downhill slightly. The ground is hard and has small stones in the soil. It is solid and secure. Feel the ground and the grass that is on each side of the path.
Walk down the path. It crosses a wooden bridge across a rushing stream. The bridge has stout railings. You can hear your feet echo on the bridge like a drumbeat as you walk across. If you need to drop something in the water that you want to get rid, of you can do that now.
The path now goes upwards slightly and comes over a rise. Below you is a large meadow. In the center of the meadow is a grassy circle. Sit in the circle and wait. Now ask for your power animal to come to you.
It might come from a distance or appear from nowhere. Whatever animal appears to you is your animal helper. It is your power animal. Allow the animal come towards you. Watch how it moves, listen to it speak.
You can stay in the meadow as long as you like to and feel connected to the earth. Your power animal is part of the earth. It has tendrils that reach deep into the earth, the sky, and you, and connect it all together. If you feel comfortable, you can invite your animal to come to you, touch you, even come into your body. You can merge with them and see out of their eyes.
When you feel complete, stand up and leave the meadow. The path goes out of the far side and you can walk down the path further. It leads to the edge of an ancient forest of old growth trees. Stand at the edge of the forest by a great ancient tree.
Find a tree that speaks to you and tells you to come to it. Now put your hand on the tree touch its rough back. Feel its warmth, it life. Now imagine that when you put your hand on the tree, you spiral deep into the spiral of your own being. You spiral deep inside yourself, into your heart. And inside your body, your heart opens with wings. A spirit eye opens within you and sees this experience.
Walk back to the meadow, then to the bridge, retrace your steps until you are back to where you started. Bring your spirit animal with you. Bring the connectedness with you. Now move your feet, your hands, your body. Look around. Your life has changed.
Source: The Powers That Be
The False Face Society is the best known of many medicinal societies among the Iroquois. The society is best known for its dramatic wooden masks, the “false faces.” The masks are used in healing rituals which invoke spirits and a dream world. Those cured by the society become members. Also, echoing the significance of dreams to the Iroquois, anyone who dreams that they should be a member of the society may join.
The masks are considered to be living and breathing. They are fed with cornmeal ‘Mush’ and they accept gifts of tobacco as payment for rituals. The design of the masks is somewhat variable, but most share certain features. The masks have long, black, reddish brown, brown, grey or white horse hair. Before the introduction of horses by the Europeans, corn husks and buffalo hair were used. The eyes are deep-set and accented by metal. The noses are bent and crooked. The other facial features are variable. The masks are painted red and black. Most often carry pouches of tobacco on their foreheads and/or nostrils. Basswood is usually used for the masks although other types of wood are sometimes used.
When making a mask, an Iroquois man walks through the woods until he is moved by a spirit to carve a mask from the tree. The spirit inspires the unique elements of the mask’s design and the resulting product represents the spirit itself. The masks are carved directly on the tree and only removed when completed. Masks are painted red if they were begun in the morning or black if they were begun in the afternoon. Red masks are thought to be more powerful. Masks with both colors represent spirits with “divided bodies.
A story about False Face can be found here: The Story of False Face
For months now, I’ve been talking about needing to find a “teacher,” someone to teach me about magick, shamanism, healing, spirituality, life, living, and all those things that I am so intent on knowing. Finally, one day I suggested to my friend Daniel that maybe I should just make an appointment and show up and wait… like for example, I could tell the Master of the Universe that I could be found every Sunday at 2 pm sitting in the coffee shop at Borders in Lee’s Summit, and to please send my teacher there to find me.
God often speaks to me through books, and I figured that if no one showed up, maybe I’d at least find a book or a CD, and if all else fails, I will have enjoyed a good cup of coffee.
However… always there’s the buts and the howevers… it never seemed really practical or possible to commit to being in town at a specific place at a specific time on one of my days off, and I for sure wouldn’t be able to commit for the days that I work. So… the idea just sat there… unattended and well… fermenting.
Then, when I was in Texas, my sister and I visited Barnes and Noble and I found a really cool book on the bargain table. The North American Indian by Edward S Curtis.
I opened it up and flipped through the pages, and stopped, riveted by the image of this most amazing person. He looked right into me. I could hear… yes, really… I could hear him chanting Lakota prayers… almost I could smell the sage… and the warm red earth… the feathers and the skins and the people around me… almost.
It was like a revelation. Here was my teacher… here were my teachers… I would take that book home, and every day as part of my morning meditation, I would open the book at random, meet with my teacher, and listen, and learn. Cool huh?
Blessings from my heart to your eyes!
The Red Race has understood and utilized many unspoken languages for centuries. We have been taught to read the signs in the faces of the Cloud People; the changes in the weather; the movement of the herds; the habits of our Brothers and Sisters, the Creature-beings, the cries and howls of the wild; the messages in our Medicine Dreams; and the language of the heart.
Smoke Signals are another universal unspoken language of Native Americans. The Sky Language is achieved through lighting a fire of mixed green and dry wood and using a wet blanket to smother and then release clouds of smoke. In times of battle, each Tribe used different signals to mark a path of action or to change their secret plans. This constant activity kept the enemy bewildered and confused.
Smoke Signals are the bridge between the Earth and Sky. The smoke from the Pipe is the essence of our prayers in visual form, traveling to the Great Mystery. In this manner, All Our Relations are put on notice that the prayers of the People are traveling to the Great Star Nation to be heard. The Smoke Signals used in communication between scouts sitting long distances apart are no different than the Smoke Signals sent through the Pipe to Great Mystery. Both are unspoken languages that signal the sender’s intent.
Few people know that the first revolution in the United States began with two unspoken languages. These were the knotted cord carried by various runners to various locations and Smoke Signals.
In 1680 the brave, yet peaceful, Pueblo Indians had been made a slave race by the invading Spaniards. The Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico was formerly known as Aztlan. It was the homeland of the Aztecs long before Cortez and Coronado began their quests for gold. Each Pueblo had a different set of laws and a different language; however, all had lived in peace with each other and in harmony with the Earth Mother for centuries.
After many years of cruel domination, a Pueblo Medicine Man named Popi united each Pueblo and helped to orchestrate the revolt that crushed the hold of the Spanish. This brilliant plan signaled the return to power by those who lived with the land rather than taking from it.
Runners were sent to the first Pueblo with cords knotted in a certain manner but were caught and killed by the Spanish. The Smoke Signals that told of revolution were issued forth three days later. The runners’ attempt was pure subterfuge and it worked. The Spaniards had tortured two young runners who had carried knotted ropes and were told that the revolt would take place on the fourth day after the runners were shot. The actual revolt begun on the third day was begun by Smoke Signals.
The possibility of victory for the peaceful Pueblo people struck a chord in the hearts of the raiding Apaches who had plagued the Pueblos for many years. The Apaches joined the fight in some areas and the Spanish were ousted from the mountains and valleys of Aztlan.
The intent of the Red Race was to reclaim their right to their own Knowing Systems and to use their own Medicine. The Masks, Kachina Dolls, Rattles, Drums, Eagle feathers, and other sacred objects had been burned by the orders of the Catholic Padres in an effort to force Christianity upon the Pueblos. The Smoke Signals sent the intent of the People to the Sky Nation as a resounding cry for freedom and they were victorious.
The unity of one heart and one mind among the different Tribes who could not speak each other’s languages was accomplished through the unspoken tongues of Smoke Signals and knotted ropes.
Smoke Signals are the language of the Sky Nation that relay the intention of the sender to those spirits who understand the heart’s whispers. The answers to the Smoke Signal’s questions can be read in the faces of the Cloud People. When Smoke Signals are sent to Great Mystery via the Fire or Pipe, a seeker is asking for an inner-knowing about some question.
Smoke-forms are one way in which spirit can be visually seen by humankind and the manifestation of these Medicine Helpers can bring serenity to the heart of a seeker. If, on a Vision Quest, a person lights a Fire to sent the heart’s intent to the Sky Nation, the answers may come to that person in forms created by the Cloud People.
The Medicine Bundle is a collection of items that has come to you in a variety of ways and that represent the Totems of your Power Animals or Allies among nature. In a Medicine Bundle you might find a seed pod, a Tobacco tie, a ball of dried sap from a Pine tree, a scalplock, an Elk tooth, Horse hair, a quarts crystal, an Otter tail, a Stone Person, a special string of beads, and/or any other item that represents Medicine to the Bundle’s owner.
In ancient times many of the items were of special significance among the Tribes and Nations of Native America. For instance, the Crow believed that an Elk tooth was Medicine that would bring abundance in a material manner to the owner. A piece of blue cloth meant good luck, Bear hair and claws would keep a Warrior’s Horse in prime shape, and a Swallow wing would give the power to evade enemies.
Medicine Bundles were used for many different things. There were bundles for personal Medicine, Tribal Bundles, Warrior Bundles, Sun Dance Bundles, Giving Birth Bundles, Hunting Bundles, Dreaming Bundles, and Vision Bundles. Some Bundles would be created by a Medicine Man or Woman for special needs, or people could create their own. Some were passed down before death to a family member or worthy Tribal Member. This passing of the Medicine was to ensure the proper use and Guardianship of the Medicine Bundle.
Each Medicine Bundle came with its own set of rules.
For instance: if the owner had a Warrior Bundle that gave him great strength in battle, his Allies connected to that Bundle may have forbidden him to eat female Deer meat and never paint his face with blue. The gentleness that is a part of the Doe could inhibit his actions in Counting Coup. Blue face paint could draw him toward the Road of Spirit and might bring an early death.
Every Bundle has a specific purpose, and must have regulations that will strengthen the Medicine of the Bundle’s Allies. Thoughtless actions can create havoc in the harmony achieved between the Medicine Helpers and the person seeking assistance if there is no respect for the Bundle’s natural sense of order. The same rules apply to a smaller Bundle worn on the person, which is called a Medicine Pouch.
Medicine Bundle Copies
Some Warriors purchased special copies of a Bundle from another Tribal Member whom they respected. If these Braves had no vision of what their own Medicine was, they were left with no protection. The Allies of nature had been called upon but for one reason or another, some Warriors could not receive their Medicine Dreams. Possibly the problem was that they were not in touch with their female receptive energy due to the rigors of having to prove their right to be Warrior Clan. In any case, to be an unprotected Warrior meant sure death at an early age.
To lie about having received messages from your Power Totem or a vision of your path was to invite disaster, and yet for a Tribe to have a Brave without a Medicine was worse.
The predicament was solved by wise Medicine Men, Chiefs, or great Warriors. These men would accept Horses or other valuable items for a copy of their Medicine Bundle. The Bundle’s maker never put every object that represented his total protection into the copy. The reason for this was that to Give Away all of your Medicine would leave your spirit at risk. No one should ever know all the items in a Personal Medicine Bundle. If someone was trying to use bad medicine to attack a powerful leader in a Tribe, they could harm that person by knowing their Medicine and using sorcery.
The penalty for stealing another’s Medicine Bundle was death. Unless invited, it was forbidden to touch any personal possession belonging to another Tribal Member – man, woman, or child.
Different Types of Medicine Bundles
Tribal Bundles, called the Grandmothers, were the oldest and most sacred. Next came the Sundance Bundles and then the Warrior Bundles. This order of sacredness reflected the Medicine and strength each Bundle had provided the Tribe over long periods of time. Every winter that passed successfully gave further strength to the Bundles.
Individual Sun Dance Bundles were made up by each Brave’s sponsor, who was already acknowledged through acts of courage. The sponsor placed Totem objects into the Sun Dance Bundles that had been passed through many lines of Ancestor Warriors.
No Bundles, however, were more sacred than the Tribal Bundles. These Grandmother Bundles ranked highest in the most ancient, tried and tested Medicines and represented the combined spirits of all Tribal Members – past, present, and future generations. The Grandmothers were so named because they were Tribal Bundles that carry the nurturing Medicine needed by all their children. Like every grandmother in humankind, these Grandmother Bundles seek only the best for their grandchildren.
The Tribal Bundles have been passed down through a line of Guardians. At one time these Bundles had to have their own Tipi and were set up in the camp as a protection for that Tribe. These Grandmother Bundles were protected usually by Warrior Chiefs who had honored themselves and carried strong Medicine. The Tribal Bundles were considered living beings and were never left alone and unprotected.
Today the Grandmother Bundles have been secreted away and many are protected by Grandmother Elders as well as by some Medicine Men. These are among the most sacred objects of the Native American people and still hold the spirit of all the Native American Nations.
The Personal Medicine Bundles can be carried or worn on the person. These Bundles are called on when needed for strength and/or courage during daily activities. Some Medicine Pouches are worn around the neck and are smaller versions of the Medicine bundle. These Medicine Pouches are a reminder for the wearer of the talents, abilities, and Power Animals who will aid them in walking tall and in balance. They are also used for protection.
The Bundles carried by women are not spoken of very much in written history due to the secrets of the Medicine being reserved for the Sisterhoods. The Warrior Clan knew that the women were naturally more adept at receiving due to their female nature, and thus, the women were always honored for their inner-knowing and the Woman Medicine they carried.
These female Medicine bundles could be used to promote fertility, to aid the male Warrior who walked at the woman’s side, to seek new healing techniques with herbs, to aid in delivery of a child, to bring abundance to the lodge, or to maintain a happy family.
The women have always been separate in their use of Medicine and have honored their own societies. They have never had to go through the rigors of physical tests of strength to achieve vision. They are Mothers of the Creative Force of the Universe and naturally receive the messages of their Medicine Helpers to keep and maintain the strength of their Personal and Sisterhood Bundles.
Making and Giving Medicine Bundles
Each object that comes to you to be a part of your personal Medicine can be placed in a piece of hide and wrapped like you would cover a gift, folding all four corners of the hide to the center and then tying the Bundle four times with cords of buckskin.
Medicine Bundles vary in size from something that fits in the palm of your hand all the way up to the size of a newborn baby. Some Medicine Bundles are rolled and some are folded into the pieces of hide. You may want to put some of the smaller objects into a Medicine Pouch and wear it at your waist or around our neck.
If you want to make a Medicine Bundle for a special friend, you would need to look at what kind of Medicine you want to share. Then call on the Four Clan Chiefs (the Four Directions) to send you a dream or vision of what to include. This could be A Bundle for a young wife who fears her first pregnancy, a young man going into the armed forces, a newly-wed couple, someone buying land who would need a Guardian Spirit for the protection of that land, or a friend who is ill. Every kind of Bundle is a gift of Self and is only to be shared with those who will honor the sacred responsibility of the Bundle’s Medicine.
If you are an Elder, you may want to pass your Medicine to a younger person who you know will accept the responsibility with honor and courage. The Bundle may also be passed to another if you do not intend to Drop Your Robe (die). If a person should Drop The Robe before passing the medicine Bundle to someone else, that Bundle and all of the Sacred Medicine belonging to the deceased person should be burned so that the spirit will have no Medicine strings attached to this Wheel of Life and may be free to move on to the Blue Road of Spirit.
Accepting Medicine that has been passed from an Elder or another person with great strengths is not to be taken lightly. It is a great responsibility to respect the life and deeds of another person, carrying yourself in a manner that would allow the original holder of that Medicine to take pride in your action. If you dishonored the life of that Elder or the Medicine, you could receive your share of hard knocks from the Allies.
The Allies understand that all acts of physical life are sacred in their proper time. The allies teach us how and when to experience every act along the Sacred Path with beauty.
- Khetani Machangana: Learn To See